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I had high hopes for this thing, I'm looking for a quiet mini key controller for use on a 17hr flight. This is my 5th try and to say I have no faith in controllers would be an understatement- but with an open mind I continued.
This thing feels like a toy, looks immediately like it's thrown together, and within 10 seconds you are up and running- but wait that's not a good thing....
So there are so many issues I'm going to have to bullet them: Cons: 1. keys are all at differing heights, from one end it looks like a Canada highway. They didn't even shop this out os the photo on the box- they literally dont care about the issue. 2. The black keys are so badly bedded that when pressed some push down lower than the white. 3. The underside edges of the keys are so sharp that you can seriously hurt your self, they caugh me pretty bad about ten times in the first 10 minutes. 4. The joystick is shiny so you can't control it with any accuracy or precision, it just slides away from you. 5. The pads are useless, two fingers of the same hand hitting adjacent keys produced 50% differing reading- for fairness I tried it upside down and the results were the same. Inconsistent, inaccurate and poor quality. 6. The software issues are ongoing, the same issues that other people had suffered, I had to create THREE new accounts, but several account licenses were expired anyway once you'd done this. So forget the software with it, regardless of the issues getting connected (after 2 hours I re-boxed it) in the 2 hours since I gave my details my spam has gone un 400%. Tut-tut. 7. The knobs are poor quality and have no grip, the 'texturing' to help this is smooth and shiny, so forget accuracy or in some cases expect that you turning the knobs is in fact just your fingers sliding. 8. The keyboard is nasty, really poorly made and executed, the springs (probably just plastic bending) are so harsh that the keyboard is pushed away from you disengaging the notes, I used it to fire a Malteser (as is my 'this is rubbish' benchmark and it out performed even the MPK Miniplay (which to now held the record) - joking aside, high spring, low quality and stiffness created a fatigued feel I don't get with any other mini keyboard- after 2 hours you feel like you're coming off of a 24hr session. Holding an 7 note chord saw 2 note disengage because or the harsh push-back. 9. The sound chip is the one I had on my JW-50 back in 1990, barely GM standard the sounds are dated, poor quality, and in 2021 you'd expect some EDM sounds, but no- I mean 'Fantasia'? un-ironically is just unforgivable. 10. The rubber feet are useless, caused more slide that without.
Pros: 1. Cheap 2. Plug and play 3. Ready mapped onboard sounds
If you intend to use this with a DAW, buy the (similairly priced) MK3 instead. Most common software (StudioOne, MPC, etc) comes with "one click" connection options for most popular MIDIs. Not for this - it's not even listed . I've spent 3 days tearing my hair out, swearing and generally being extremely frustrated. I am new to MIDI, but not thick. Am exchanging it for the Akai MPK MK3. Lesson learned - do more research !
EDIT - Received the MK3, had a few days of using both. Have decided to keep the Miniplay solely because it can be used by itself, without having to be connected to software. My original frustration still remains - it is harder to get it to connect, but it's a problem that can't be worked around (manual mapping...) In conclusion, I'd say Akai need to make this easier for beginners to get going. It's been emotional ! Hope this helps.