The Best AKAI MIDI Controllers, Read Before You Buy!

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Discover the best AKAI MIDI controllers in our comprehensive guide. Make an informed choice and find the perfect controller for your needs with expert insights. Read before you buy!

 

1. AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

PORTABLE POWERHOUSE

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2. AKAI Professional LPK25

ULTRA-PORTABLE GEM

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3. AKAI Professional MPK249

COMPREHENSIVE POWERHOUSE

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4. AKAI Professional MPD218

BEATMAKER’S DELIGHT

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5. AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2

LIVE PERFORMER’S DREAM

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6. AKAI Professional LPD8

BUDGET-FRIENDLY BUDDY

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1. AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

PORTABLE POWERHOUSE

Compact, lightweight, 25 keys.Velocity-sensitive mini keys for expressive playing.
Backlit pads for versatile control.8 assignable knobs for control.
Picture by AKAI

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • Okay let’s start with this one! The AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a compact and lightweight MIDI controller that has gained popularity among musicians and producers for a variety of reasons. Let’s dive into four of its important pros or positive aspects.

    Firstly, its compact and lightweight design is a standout feature. Measuring just 10.5 x 7.5 x 2 inches and weighing less than 2 pounds, it’s highly portable and perfect for musicians on the go or those working with limited desk space. Its small size doesn’t compromise functionality or quality.

    The 25 velocity-sensitive mini keys offered by MPK Mini MK3 provide a highly expressive playing experience. They respond to varying degrees of pressure, which allows for more nuanced and dynamic performance and recording. It’s a game-changer for musicians looking to add depth and emotion to their compositions.

    Adding to its versatility, the MPK Mini MK3 boasts 8 backlit and assignable MPC pads. These pads can be programmed to perform a wide range of functions, such as triggering samples, playing drums, or controlling effects. With their velocity-sensitive response, they are perfect for beatmaking and finger drumming enthusiasts who seek precise control and unique sound manipulation.

    Furthermore, the MPK Mini MK3 features 8 assignable knobs, providing even more control over the parameters of your DAW or software synthesizer. This allows for real-time sound tweaking, whether it’s adjusting filter cutoff, resonance, or volume. These knobs empower musicians and producers to shape their sound with precision and creativity.

    Beyond these key pros, the MPK Mini MK3 offers additional features that enhance its value. The built-in arpeggiator, sustain pedal input, and USB-C port for both power and data connectivity are just some of its notable perks. Additionally, its compatibility with various DAWs and software synthesizers further expands its functionality and ensures seamless integration into existing setups.

    To sum up, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is an impressive and affordable MIDI controller packed with innovative features. From its compact and lightweight design to its responsive keys, assignable pads, and knobs, it caters to musicians and producers of all levels. Unbox the excitement and embark on a thrilling musical journey with the MPK Mini MK3.

CONS

  • Now as we usually do, let’s go over some cons:

    1. Size and durability: The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a very small and lightweight MIDI controller, making it difficult to transport. Its plastic construction may not be as durable as other MIDI controllers, potentially compromising its longevity.

    2. Limited controls and features: The MPK Mini MK3 has a restricted number of pads and knobs, which may not be sufficient for advanced users. Additionally, lacking a built-in display, navigating menus on the controller can be challenging.

    In terms of size and durability, the MPK Mini MK3 measures 10.2 inches in length, 6.7 inches in width, and 2.2 inches in height, weighing just 1.65 pounds. Though this makes it highly portable, it might falter in terms of stability on surfaces. Furthermore, the plastic build, while satisfactory for most users, is not on par with metal or wood MIDI controllers in terms of durability.

    Regarding limited controls and features, the MPK Mini MK3 provides 25 mini keys, eight pressure-sensitive drum pads, and eight rotary knobs. This should suffice for beginners and intermediate users, but power users may find it lacking. Additionally, without a built-in display, users must rely on the small OLED display for navigating menus and viewing settings.

    Overall, the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a commendable choice for beginners and intermediate users seeking portability and affordability. However, it’s worth considering the limitations in size, durability, and controls and features.

2. AKAI Professional LPK25

ULTRA-PORTABLE GEM

Compact, 25  keys.Velocity-sensitive keys.
Sustain pedal input.USB bus-powered.
Picture by AKAI

PROS

    • Next let’s dive into the AKAI Professional LPK25 and explore its exciting features and benefits. This compact and lightweight MIDI keyboard is a true gem, especially when paired with the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 – 25 Key.

      First and foremost, the LPK25’s compact and lightweight design make it an excellent choice for musicians on the go. It’s incredibly portable, measuring just 15.75 x 3.5 x 0.75 inches and weighing less than a pound. Whether you’re heading to gigs or rehearsals, this keyboard can easily tag along.

      With its 25 velocity-sensitive keys, the LPK25 ensures that your playing dynamics are accurately translated into beautiful musical sounds. These full-size keys are essential for creating expressive and nuanced performances. That’s pretty impressive for such a compact device!

      Another great feature of the LPK25 is its sustain pedal input, allowing you to use a sustain pedal for extended note durations. This feature opens up a world of possibilities for creating lush sustained pads and other effects. It caught me off guard how such a small keyboard can pack such a powerful punch!

      The LPK25 is USB bus-powered, eliminating the need for a separate power adapter. Just plug it into your computer, and you’re all set for a convenient music-making experience. No more hassle with tangled cords or extra accessories. That’s really remarkable!

      Not only does the LPK25 offer these fantastic pros, but it also boasts other budget-friendly features. Its plug-and-play operation makes it compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, with no need for additional drivers. Additionally, its affordable price makes it a great value for money. Plus, it’s compatible with a wide range of music production software such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio.

      When combined with the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 – 25 Key, the LPK25 serves as a fantastic secondary keyboard. Whether you need to play additional notes, control different instruments, or trigger effects, this duo offers endless possibilities. Adventure awaits as you venture into the playtime zone of this powerful music production tool!

      In all seriousness, the AKAI Professional LPK25 is an exceptional choice for budget-minded musicians seeking a compact and portable MIDI keyboard with velocity-sensitive keys and sustain pedal input. It’s also an excellent option for beginners looking for an affordable keyboard to kickstart their music production journey. Unveil the awesomeness of the LPK25 and let your creativity soar!

CONS

  • This controllers rocks but keep in mind the following:

    1. Limited number of keys: The LPK25 only has 25 keys, which may be restrictive for those accustomed to full-size keyboards or needing to play intricate melodies or chords.

    2. No pitch bend or modulation wheel: Unfortunately, the LPK25 lacks a pitch bend or modulation wheel, limiting expressive playing options such as note bending or vibrato.

    Despite these drawbacks, the LPK25 remains popular among beginners and experienced producers alike due to its affordability and portability. It is compatible with various music production software.

    Overall, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 – 25 Key offers more features for those seeking a MIDI keyboard controller. However, if budget-friendliness and portability are priorities, the AKAI Professional LPK25 still remains a viable choice.

3. AKAI Professional MPK249

COMPREHENSIVE POWERHOUSE

49 full-size keys!16 RGB velocity-sensitive pads.
8 assignable knobs.Comprehensive transport controls.
Picture by AKAI

PROS

  • The Akai MPK249 is a MIDI keyboard controller that is highly regarded for its features and functionality. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, this controller has a lot to offer. Here are four important pros or positive aspects of the Akai MPK249 that make it stand out.

    Firstly, the MPK249 boasts 49 full-size keys with semi-weighted action. The size and action of the keys provide a more authentic playing experience, making it perfect for a wide range of instruments including pianos, organs, and synths. This feature alone allows for greater control and expression in your music.

    Secondly, the 16 velocity-sensitive MPC pads with RGB illumination are a standout feature. These pads are not only great for triggering samples but also for playing drum beats and controlling various aspects of your music production software. The RGB illumination on each pad provides visual feedback on the velocity, allowing for more dynamic and expressive performances.

    Next, the MPK249 is equipped with eight assignable knobs and faders. These controls can be used to manipulate various parameters in your music production software like volume, panning, EQ, and effects. This level of customization lets you shape your sound to your exact liking, giving you the ability to create intricate and nuanced mixes.

    Finally, the comprehensive transport controls of the MPK249 are a game-changer. With these controls, you can start, stop, record, and play back your music without needing to touch your computer mouse or keyboard. This convenience is especially valuable when working in a DAW environment, allowing you to focus more on your performance and creativity.

    When comparing the MPK249 to its counterpart, the MPK Mini MK3 – 25 Key, many of these pros remain consistent. Both models offer semi-weighted keys, velocity-sensitive pads, assignable knobs and faders, as well as transport controls. However, the MPK249 provides a larger keyboard and additional features, making it a great choice for those seeking a more comprehensive MIDI keyboard controller.

    On top of these pros, the MPK249 offers even more benefits. It comes bundled with software like Ableton Live Lite and MPC Beats, allowing you to start creating music right away. Additionally, its compatibility with various music production software ensures that you have flexibility in your workflow. Lastly, the MPK249 is built with high-quality materials and construction, ensuring durability and longevity.

    Overall, the Akai MPK249 is a MIDI keyboard controller that excels in functionality, versatility, and quality. It is an excellent choice for musicians of all levels, providing a wide range of features and functionality at a reasonable price.

CONS

  • Here are two cons of the AKAI Professional MPK249 compared to the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3.
  • Firstly, the MPK249 is a bit bulky and heavy, making it difficult to transport. With its larger size and weight, frequent transportation can be quite a hassle.
  • Secondly, the MPK249 has a limited number of pads, which can restrict certain users. While the MPK Mini MK3 has 8 pads, the MPK249 offers 16.
  • This disparity may not seem significant, but for beatmakers who heavily rely on pads for triggering drum samples, the 16 pads on the MPK249 may not meet their needs. Overall, it’s crucial to consider these limitations before purchasing the MPK249.

4. AKAI Professional MPD218

BEATMAKER’S DELIGHT

16 pads.MPC controls.
8 Knobs.6 buttons.
Picture by AKAI

Okay, we talked midi keyboards now lets dive into another type of controller:

The AKAI Professional MPD218 is a great MIDI controller for beatmakers and drum programmers. It offers a range of features that set it apart from the MPK Mini MK3. Firstly, it provides more comprehensive controls with its 16 velocity-sensitive pads, 8 assignable knobs, and 6 buttons. This allows for greater control over beats and drum sounds, making it easier to create complex patterns and rhythms.

Additionally, the MPD218 includes dedicated MPC controls, such as a full-size transport section, note repeat and full level buttons, and a dedicated MPC shift button. These controls not only enhance the integration of the MPD218 with MPC workflows but also make it a convenient tool for controlling MPC software or hardware.

Affordability is another major advantage of the MPD218. It is more affordable than the MPK Mini MK3, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious musicians. Despite the lower price tag, the MPD218 still delivers powerful and versatile performance.

Lastly, both the MPD218 and the MPK Mini MK3 are compatible with popular music production software like Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, and Cubase. This ensures seamless compatibility and allows users to utilize either controller without worrying about compatibility issues.

To summarize, the AKAI Professional MPD218 shines in beatmaking and drum programming due to its comprehensive controls, dedicated MPC controls, affordability, and software compatibility. It complements the MPK Mini MK3 as a MIDI controller choice, catering to different preferences and needs.

In conclusion, when considering between the MPD218 and the MPK Mini MK3, it is essential to assess your specific requirements. If your focus lies in beatmaking and drum programming, the MPD218 offers the necessary features. On the other hand, if you need a versatile MIDI controller capable of playing melodies, chords, and controlling synthesizers, the MPK Mini MK3 is the better option. Ultimately, trying out both controllers is recommended to determine your preferred choice.

 

5. AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2

LIVE PERFORMER’S DREAM

Compact

64 RGB backlit pads.

9 faders!Plug-and-play operation, no drivers.
Picture by AKAI

Next on the list we have the AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2, let’s dive and explore its exciting pros related to the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 – 25 Key.

Unveiling the awesomeness of the APC Mini MK2, our journey through innovation begins with its compact and lightweight design. Just like the MPK Mini MK3, this MIDI controller is incredibly portable, making it a perfect companion for musical nomads or those with limited studio space.

Hold on tight, as we unravel the magic of its 64 RGB backlit pads. These pads, ready to launch clips, play drums, or control various aspects of your music production software, come to life with the vibrant RGB backlighting. With this clear visual feedback, you will effortlessly see which pads are active, keeping you in perfect rhythm.

Also.. The APC Mini MK2 features 9 assignable faders, allowing you to take control of your music production software with precision. Adjust volume, pan, and effects settings right at your fingertips, eliminating the need to reach for your mouse and keyboard. It’s like having your music studio in the palm of your hands.

Entering the playtime zone, the APC Mini MK2 offers plug-and-play operation. No additional drivers needed, it’s as simple as plug it in and start using it, making it ideal for both newbies and experienced musicians.

To further explore its versatility, we must note that although designed for Ableton Live, the APC Mini MK2 can also be used with other MIDI-controller-compatible software. It’s a hidden gem waiting to be uncovered by any ambitious musician.

In conclusion, the AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2 is a thrilling feature ride! With its compact design, impressive RGB backlit pads, assignable knobs, and plug-and-play functionality, it proves to be a game-changer. Whether you’re performing live or producing in the studio, it’s a faithful companion for musicians of all levels. So, unleash your creativity and let the APC Mini MK2 take you on an exciting musical adventure!

6. AKAI Professional LPD8

BUDGET-FRIENDLY BUDDY

Really compact.8 velocity-sensitive pads
8 assignable knobs.USB bus-powered for easy use.
Picture by AKAI

Hey you made it all the way down to our last controller, thanks for reading 🙂

Finally on our list we hace the AKAI Professional LPD8 is a compact and lightweight MIDI pad controller that has gained popularity among musicians and producers. It is loaded with several pros that make it an excellent choice for both live performances and studio production.

First and foremost, the LPD8 boasts a compact and lightweight design. Measuring just 8.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep, and 1.75 inches tall, and weighing only 1 pound, it is incredibly portable. Whether you want to carry it in a backpack or set it up in a small studio space, the LPD8 is ideal.

Another significant advantage of the AKAI Professional LPD8 is its 8 velocity-sensitive pads. These pads allow you to add dynamic expression to your music by adjusting the volume based on the intensity of your touch. Perfect for playing drum kits, triggering samples, and creating electronic music, the pads provide a responsive and immersive experience.

Additionally, the LPD8 features 8 assignable knobs. These knobs can be customized to control various parameters in your music production software. Whether you want to adjust the volume, panning, or cutoff frequency of your instruments, the LPD8 empowers you to take control and fine-tune your sound.

One of the most convenient features of the AKAI Professional LPD8 is its USB bus-powered design. This means that it can be powered directly from your device’s USB port without the need for an external power supply. This makes it incredibly convenient to use and ensures compatibility with laptops and mobile devices.

In conclusion, the AKAI Professional LPD8 is a remarkable MIDI pad controller with its compact and lightweight design, velocity-sensitive pads, assignable knobs, and USB bus-powered convenience. It offers a fantastic user experience for musicians and producers of all levels, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your music production journey.

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