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Akai MPK Mini MK4 Release: Our Predictions/ Wishlist!!

When will the Akai MPK Mini MK4 be released? Here's what we expect to see for the MK4...

The Akai MPK Mini MK4.

It’s something that crossed our mind when writing our recent review of the MPK Mini Plus. A 37-key midi controller that pretty much puts today’s MPK Mini MK3 to shame; for not that much more, the MPK Mini Plus introduces a whole load of new features.

Team that with the improvements made to the Arturia Minilab 3, & we can’t help but think that the Akai MPK Mini MK4 is going to be a GIANT leap. In comparison to midi keyboards coming out in 2023, the MK3 is looking ever more outdated. And that got us thinking, what will the Akai MPK Mini MK4 look like? Will carry any of these features across? Or will we be left with a recycled version of the MK3?

So in an effort to try & fathom what the MK4 will look like + when it’ll be released, we’ve done some investigating & through the power of deduction (fused with a little bit of fortune telling) put together our very own wish list for the Akai MPK Mini MK4.

After something specific about our predictions for the release of the Akai MPK Mini MK4? Or just curious what features we think the MPK Mini MK4 might have? Use the menu below to get all the answers you need in just 1 click…

ALL CONTENT IS WRITTEN BY OUR IN-HOUSE AUTHORS & BASED ON REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE. WE MAY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION IF YOU BUY THROUGH THIS SITE.

NOTE: Looking to buy a midi con troller today? Jump into your rundown of the Most Popular 25 Key Midi Controllers + our Reviews Of The Best 32/37 Key Midi Keyboards.

While we’re not 100% when the Akai MPK Mini MK4 will be released (we have no insider information) we can tell you this…

  • The original MPK Mini was released all the way back in 2009
  • Then in 2014 we got the MPK Mini MK2
  • With the MPK Mini MK3 only being released back in 2022

So if you were to make a ‘guestimate’ based on numbers, it would appear that Akai won’t be releasing the MPK Mini MK4 for a fair few years.

However, with the sheer progress that other manufacturers have made to their 25 key midi keyboards in the past year, we think Akai are going to have to do something soon. With every new 25 key midi that comes out, the MPK Mini MK3 is looking increasingly outdated. Face it.

Even keyboards from lesser-known manufacturers like Donner, now come with more features!!

So if we had to hazard a guess, we’d say you’ll be able to expect the MPK Mini MK4 sometime during 2024. And if that’s not the case, at the very least some sort of facelifted version of the MK3.

PS/ Ask us, & this is just karma coming back around. We (& a lot of other midi fanatics) thought that for the 6-year wait, the Akai MPK Mini MK3 wasn’t really all that impressive. In fact, to this the day the MK2 doesn’t even look that prehistoric. So Akai really is going to have to pull something special out of the bag with the MK4!!

Over the past year it’s become clear just how any features the MPK Mini MK3 is missing, when compared to its rivals. Not to mention the fact that some of the improvements we’re about the suggest were available on previous generations of other keyboards, & yet still haven’t made it onto the MPK Mini.

So with that in mind, here’s just 5 improvements that hope/ expect to see on the MPK Mini MK4…

1. An improved keybed

As much as the mini keys on the MK3 are decent enough, when it comes to keyfeel, they’re still lagging behind those of the Arturia Minilab. The keys you get on that midi keyboard allow you to be that bit more expressive during play, & if we’re not mistaken, are also slightly larger.

An incredibly important factor for any piano player, as 25 key controllers aren’t really all that pianist-friendly anyway. So anything Akai can do to make the keys at the very least on par, with the Minilab would be a welcome addition on the MPK Mini MK4.

2. An abundance of new ports

Another area where the MPK Mini MK4 really needs to pull its sock up, is the overall selection of ports. On the current MK3, life’s really very limited; aside from the standard USB, there’s just a sustain pedal input. That’s it. Something that we think not only needs to change, but is something that Akai will change.

If Akai can carry across the Midi In/ Out + the CV Gate connections from the MPK Mini Plus, we’d be very happy customers. Having these connections would mean that just like with the new Minilab & Donner’s recent facelift to the DMK, you’d be able to use the MPK Mini Mk4 with hardware synths.

A really exciting prospect!!

3. A smaller more compact footprint

As much as the MPK Mini MK3 we have today is reasonably compact, it’s got nothing on the DMK 25 Pro. In terms of form factor & curb weight, the Donner makes the MPK Mini MK3 look like it’s been binging on fast food. In today’s marketplace the MK3 is quite the belly buster!

Which is why we hope portability is something Akai focus on with the MK4. Because while the MK3 is that bit more compact than it’s predecessor, we’d argue that it’s actually less portable. That joystick really does stick out & can be a bit of pain when trying to fit the MK3 safely in a rucksack. If we owned a MK3 we would certainly be buying it a case.

And that brings us on to the next point…

4. A new way of controlling pitch & mod

That joystick needs to go.

Hate to sound so pessimistic, but as much as it is a new take on pitch & mod, we’re pretty convinced that there’s a reason no other manufacturer has chosen to copy it. Touch strips & wheels work far better. The main gripe for us with the joystick is how it always returns to centre, which makes finding a certain sound & trying to recreate it, almost impossible.

A pain that’s pretty much eradicated with independent wheels or touch strips. And while we’d say either of these is a better pick than the joystick, we do think that for a portable controller, a pair of touch strips would be the best choice (& what Akai is likely to implement on the MK4). Because while wheels are more ‘hands-on’ and allow you to get a better feel for the sound, strips are just that bit more portable.

Plus, if they can integrate the strips with the screen (like on the Minilab 3 & the Donner DMK 25 Pro), it’ll make the whole pitch & mod affair, a lot more accurate.

5. At last… some transport controls

One of the main reasons we’ve always looked at the MPK Mini MK3 as a bit of a half-arsed attempt at a midi keyboard is that it doesn’t even come with transport controls. Something even back before its release was considered a ‘standard’ feature of any midi keyboard, regardless of size or cost. And if we’re honest, this is one improvement that we’re pretty certain Akai will be making with the MK4… thank God!

Because not only do the latest Akai keyboard controllers now come with transport controls, but pretty much every other midi controller – even some Micro Midi Keyboards – come with them too. Those on the Novation Launchkey range especially go very in-depth, beyond the usual start, stop, play and record. Something that makes those controller without them look pretty amateur.

If you can’t wait for the Akai MPK Mini MK4, then no fear – it’s not like you don’t have a lot of choice.

There’s a whole heap of compact midi keyboards out there, offering as much (if not more) in the way of features & integration. Take the Minilab 3 for instance, which is pretty much the most integrated midi controller you cap pick up today, especially if you use Ableton Live. Then there’s MPK Mini Plus, which has a few more keys, but gives you a SERIOUS amount of options, including the ability to work with hardware synths & even a built-in sequencer.

So if you’re hunting for a midi keyboard now, here’s 3 MPK Mini MK3 alternatives that we think you cannot ignore…

Arturia Minilab 3

Why this midi controller is better than the MPK Mini MK3…

  • With the Minilab 3 you get a full-size 5-pin Midi Out port, which you can use to hook up hardware synths.
  • The integration with Ableton Live & Analog Lab is nothing short of seamless. You can monitor data from your DAW on the screen & navigate through the menus of Analog Lab using the black master knob. Even the faders map to the specific perameters of each clip on Ableton’s Session View!!
  • The Minilab 3 comes with a whopping 5-year warranty, which is pretty much unheard of in the 25 key midi controller space. Safe to say, it’s built to last.

Read our full Review Of The Arturia Minilab 3.

Akai MPK Mini Plus

Why this midi controller is better than the MPK Mini MK3…

  • It has ports galore. From CV gate, Clock & 5-pin Midi In/ Out, the options you have to hook this controller up to external devices are just mind-boggling!
  • Unlike the majority of midi keyboards out there, the MPK Mini Plus even has a built-in sequencer. Something we’d like to see on the MPK Mini MK4, but we highly doubt we will. Perhaps the MK5 if we’re lucky.
  • Having 37 keys allows you to be a lot more expressive when playing this midi controller. Something that should lead to a lot less adjustments being made in your DAW.

Read our full Review Of The Akai MPK Mini Plus.

Donner DMK 25 Pro

Why this midi controller is better than the MPK Mini MK3…

  • When it comes to the ratio of ‘features: form factor’, the DMK 25 Pro scores gold. It’s incredibly portable & at just over 0.5kg, lightweight too.
  • The key feel you get with the DMK 25 Pro is impressive, especially compared to that of the MPK Mini MK3. For keys so small, they play really well.
  • With the DMK 25 Pro adjusting pitch & mod is a breeze. Not only does the DMK 25 Pro use touch strips, but these strips also have a light guide up the side & sync with the onboard screen to help you really fine tune you sound.

Read our full Review Of The Donner DMK 25 Pro.

Enjoyed jumping into our predictions for the Akai MPK Mini Mk4, & eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Reviews Of Midi Controllers, as well as our Music Production Advice. Recently we’ve also done a full in-depth guide to the Best Midi Controllers For Logic Pro X, which may also be a good read.