Akai MPK Mini Vs MPK Mini Plus: which one is best for you?

Are you looking for a multifaceted and powerful MIDI controller? You do not need to worry about canvassing. Because in this article, we will present to you a comprehensive comparison between two options: the Akai MPK Mini vs MPK Mini Plus. These controllers are very popular when it comes to functionality and features. They are one of the reasons why music producers, composers, and performers always choose them as one of their indispensable tools. May it be for starters or seasoned musicians, finding the right MIDI controller can help you improve your creative process. Without further ado, let’s dive into the differences and advantages of these two remarkable devices.

Price and Dimensions

           We know that one of the things that is always considered is the price. Whether it is fit to one’s budget or not. A crowd favorite when it comes to this is the Akai MPK Mini Mark III. It is retailing at $119, which is considered affordable when it comes to this device. Moreover, it can come down to $99 with frequent discounts. Meanwhile, the MPK Mini Plus is at a slightly higher cost of $169. This is because it offers more advanced features. However, it is well known for being very expensive because it is common to potential pricing inconsistencies. This means that it can be even more expensive for some retailers. 

           When it comes to dimensions, the MPK Mini Plus provides a bit more room to work with. The MPK Mini Mark III measures 12.5″ x 7.13″ x 1.75″. On the other hand, the MPK Mini Plus measures 17.76″ x 7.08″ x 2.04″. If you are always on the go, you do not need to worry about the size. Because both are lightweight, compact and can fit inside a backpack. This can help you take your creativity wherever you go. 

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Key bed and Playing Experience

           For the key bed, both models highlight the same feel. However, you should always remember that these are mini keys. This means that they might need some adjustments, especially if you’re used to full-sized keys. The said “mini keys” are referred to the smaller-sized keys which can be found on compact MIDI controllers. These keys help in making the overall controller more convenient and easier to carry. However, its reduced size can cause unfamiliarity, especially for people who use traditional pianos or full-sized MIDI controllers. You will need some time to get used to its smaller key size and the way they respond to your touch.

           The MPK Mini Plus is ahead with more keys. This makes playing chords and complex melodies very easy. Chords are combinations of notes that are played simultaneously. If there are more keys, it means that your fingers can spread out to a broader range which is more convenient. This allows you to have more creative freedom and versatility.

           If you are a pianist, you should take note that transitioning to mini keys can be a unique experience. Its size can exert influence on how you physically interact with the keys. This is because both your hand and finger movements need to be adjusted. This will result to smaller keys being more accomodated. However, if you prefer a more piano-like experience, the Arturia MiniLab is a great alternative.

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Drum Pads and Controls

           When it comes to the art of drum pad design, Akai has probably mastered it already. This is very evident when observing these two models. Both the MPK Mini and MPK Mini Plus offer a satisfying tactile response when using their drum pads. This is very important because it allows users to register each hit with accuracy and consistency. If you want to maintain a tight rhythm in your beats, this precision is very important. Moreover, if your timing is reliable, you can effectively layer sounds to achieve more professional-sounding compositions. Since both models contain great drum pads, the decision will narrow down to your personal preferences. 

           One enhancement that stands out in the MPK Mini Plus is its replacement of the joystick with traditional pitch bend and modulation wheels. They offer a more precise controlling of parameters, compared to a joystick. This is because you can control the extent to which you bend the pitch of a note. Furthermore, musicians can achieve a more intuitive operation because of this feature. Users can introduce both subtle and dramatic pitch shifts, modulation, and vibrato smoothly. This will not only enhance the creative expression of music but its emotional impact as well.

           Additionally, octave up and down controls are included in the keyboard of the MPK Mini Plus. This feature is very beneficial because it can extend the playable range of a keyboard effectively. Usually, you need to shift your hand position when accessing higher or lower notes. But because of this feature, it can be achieved without the hand shift. 

           Another important feature that is present in both models is the note repeat. This allows you to stimulate both a single note and a sequence of notes at a specific rhythmic interval. It is user-friendly because all you need to do is hold down a pad or key and it can be achieved already. This is very useful when you need to create dynamic musical effects, drum rolls, and rhythmic patterns. 

Transport Controls and Workflow

           The feature that makes the MPK Mini Plus shine the most is its additional dedicated transport controls. The Plus version offers buttons for recording, playing, stopping, and more. Features that lack the MPK Mini Mark III. This is perfect for people who take recording and producing music on a computer seriously. You do not need to switch back and forth between your MIDI controller and computer when you are navigating your projects. This feature alone is one of the major deciding factors for many users, it could be yours as well.

Additional Features: Sequencer and Connectivity

           If you are wondering what sets the MPK Mini Plus apart from others, it is its onboard sequencer. This permits you to create complicated patterns and tap in notes seamlessly. It may not be everyone’s favorite, but it adds creativity when you are performing. Moreover, the Plus variant has standard MIDI ins and outs. It also includes CV and clock ports that allow smooth integration with hardware synths and other gear.


           In the world of MIDI controllers, it is already proven that both the Akai MPK Mini and MPK Mini Plus are outstanding options. Both can cater to various needs, but it is you who shall decide what model is fit for you. If you are looking for an affordable and reliable MIDI controller that has complete essentials, the MPK Mini Mark III is a magnificent choice. However, if your goal is to elevate your music production, the MPK Mini Plus is perfect for you due to its dedicated transport controls and onboard sequencer. Whichever model you choose, you are in good hands when it comes to Akai. So, assess and consider both your needs and wants, and choose the best MIDI controller for your musical journey. 

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