by | Jun 27, 2022 | Best Music Keyboards & Synth Pads, Gear Reviews

Akai’s MPK MIDI controller is basically the industry standard when it comes to MIDI input for home studios, producers and beat makers around the world. So, what’s new here with the MPK Mini Play mk3? Well, for starters you get 100+ built-in sounds on tap, plus a built-in speaker and headphone jack so you won’t bother anyone if you want to make music on-the-go.

Sure, it’s only got 2-octaves, but let’s not focus on what this doesn’t have. After all, it’s likely target audience is probably using it for bass lines, melodies and pads, so you’re not exactly doing 8-octave Jordan Rudess runs here. The keys, for what they are, feel fine, and the pads are exactly what you expect from Akai – nice and touch sensitive without being too spongy. We had no trouble hooking this up to our MPC Studio software and going to work right away on finger drumming and MIDI input.

The draw here, again, is likely to be the built-in sounds. You get about 100+ drums and a handful of nice virtual instruments to choose from. Honestly, if you can’t find inspiration in what’s on tap, then maybe music and beat making just isn’t for you. Because with that many options, for a ludicrously low price point (we’ve seen these on sale for under $100), there’s bound to be something you can latch onto (no pun intended).

You’ve got VST control, too, and a couple of handy knobs up top to adjust and tweak parameters until your heart’s content. Again, for the price, we can’t stress enough how this might just be the centerpiece for any beginner beatmaker’s production toolkit. Just add a laptop and you’ve got pretty much everything you need to get going.

Even the menu screen, which we normally abhor, is bright, easy to use and scroll through, and provides the visual feedback you need to know what’s going on at any given time.

We can’t find any faults with this new offering from AKAI. We recommend it, and just might be adding one to our own desktop setup.


easy to use, nice built-in sounds and pads