Akai Professional have just released a new version of their best-selling MPK Mini Play MIDI Keyboard with speakers. The AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 is a 25-note MIDI controller, and a portable keyboard with 128 built-in sounds.
The Mini Play is a step up from the previous model, and now includes the 2nd generation dynamic keybed and MPC-type drum pads that are standard on the Mark 3 MPK Mini controller, which was released last year (2021). There is a larger built-in speaker compared to the old version of the Play, with better bass/low end response. The layout of the device has changed since the last version. It seems that Akai have altered the shape of the pads that are on the MPK Mini. They’re rectangular rather than square, which I presume is to create space for four of the dials/pots, which have been moved above the drum pads. The dials in turn have been moved in order to make space for the larger built-in speaker!
The built-in sounds seem to have been improved since the last version, but you’ll need to plug in some headphones to hear the best of them. The sounds look they’re standard General Midi presets, with pianos, synths, and orchestral names, but there’s no sign of the GM logo anywhere on the keyboard.
On the rear of the keyboard, there’s a switch to change between External (USB) power or internal batteries (4 x AA). This user had a few problems opening the battery compartment at the rear. Maybe my fingers, but it did feel like it may snap at any time! There’s also a USB-B socket, to connect to a computer, a 1/8 inch headphone jack, and a 1/4 inch sustain pedal socket.
Although the AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 can be used a MIDI controller, and map to your favourite DAW, it’s best feature is its portability. According to AKAI, the battery-life is now 14 hours, so you’ll get plenty of time before you have to replace them. Overall, for anyone who wants a portable synth to take anywhere and doodle around some tunes, it looks like it’s going to be well-worth investing in.
It’s worth noting that although the AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 is now available to buy on Amazon (affiliate link) and many other online and physical stores, it still isn’t featured on the AKAI website. Rumour has it that it will be officially launched in March this year (2022), so look out for more news on my website, or check out my unboxing video/first thoughts on the AKAI MPK Mini Play Mk3 on my Youtube channel or at the top of this page.