The MPK mini mkII is an ultra-compact keyboard controller designed for the traveling musician and the desktop producer. With an array of hardware controls, MPK mini mkII lets you record, compose, and perform with virtual instruments, effect plugins, and DAWs whenever inspiration strikes. This article walks through setting up the Akai Pro MPK mini mkII with Pro Tools First.
- Where do I find Pro Tools First?
- Connecting your MPK mini mkII
- Creating an Instrument Track and Opening Xpand!2
- Mapping the Knobs to Xpand!2
- Syncing the Arpeggiator
- Additional Guides & Videos
- Further Technical Support
Where do I find Pro Tools First?
Pro Tools first is a free version of the popular DAW Pro Tools. This is available as a free download on AVIDs website after a quick registration process. Click the link below to start the process:
Connecting your MPK mini mkII
- Make sure to connect the MPK mini mkII to a free USB port on your computer before opening Pro Tools First.
- Open Pro Tools First and create a New Project. Avid has created some templates that you can use, however, let's create a blank project. To do that, un-check the box where it says Create From Template and name your project.
- Check the Pro Tools is listening to the MPK mini. Choose Setup > MIDI Input Devices...
- Make sure that there is a check mark next to MPKmini2.
Creating an Instrument Track and Opening Xpand!2
Pro Tools First comes with a free multi-timbral virtual instrument called AIR Xpand!2 that you can use to play your MPK mini mkII.
Please Note: While your MPK mini mkII comes with its own plugins like AIR Hybrid and SONiVOX Wobble, Pro Tools First does not allow the use of third-party plugins.
- In order to open Xpand!2, we first need to create an Instrument Track. Choose Track > New...
- Select Instrument Track > Create.
- On your new instrument track, click inside one of the boxes under Inserts.
- From here Choose MultiChannel Plugin > Instrument > Xpand!2(Stereo).
- Click Xpand!2 under Inserts. This will open up the VST Editor for Xpand!2.
- Make sure that your Track is Record Enabled by clicking the Record button on the Track
- Select your preferred preset inside of Xpand!2 and press some keys to start making some noise!
Mapping the Knobs to Xpand!2
One way to use the knobs on your MPK mini is to map them to parameters in the Xpand!2 plugin.
- When inside of the VST Editor of Xpand!2, right-click one of the parameters inside of Xpand!2 and select Learn MIDI CC.
- Simply move the knob or press the pad on the MPK mini to assign it to the selected parameter.
And that's it! To "un-learn" the assignment, simply right-click the parameter again and choose Forget MIDI CC.
Syncing the Arpeggiator
The arpeggiator on the MPK mini mkII can be turned on or off at any time by simply pressing the Arpeggiator On/Off button in the top-left corner. But, in order to sync the timing of the arpeggiator with Pro Tools, we'll need to get Pro Tools to send MIDI Clock to the MPK mini mkII and make sure the MPK mini is listening.
- First, we need to download the MPK mini mkII Editor. Follow the guide below for a step-by-step on downloading, installing and using the editor:
Akai Pro MPK mini mkII - How to use the Editor
- Inside the MPK mini Editor, find the Arpeggiator section in the bottom-right and set the Clock to External.
- Send the preset to the MPK mini Program 1 by clicking Send below Program 1 on the left side of the editor.
If prompted for an output port, choose MPKmini2 from the Output section and click OK.
- On your MPK mini mkII, press and hold the PROG SELECT button and press the pad Pad 5 (Prog 1).
- In Pro Tools First, click Setup > MIDI Beat Clock
- Click the box next to MPKmini2, and click OK
- Press the Arpeggiator On/Off button on your MPK mini mkII to make sure the Arpeggiator is turned on.
- Finally, press Play in Pro Tools First. This is necessary for Pro Tools First to send MIDI clock. The MPK mini arpeggiator will not work until it receives MIDI clock from Pro Tools First.
When you hold a chord on the MPK Mini MKII, you should hear the notes of the chord being played one after the next in an Arpeggio style!
Additional Guides & Videos
Further Technical Support
Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Pro technical support team is available to help!
Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.