Akai Pro MPK Mini Play - How to use the Editor
With over 100 built-in melodic instruments, drum kits, and sound effects, the MPK mini Play is an all in one solution to portable jam sessions. Whether you are on the couch, in the park, or traveling to your next gig, the MPK Mini Play lets you capture those little moments of creation! With an array of hardware controls, the MPK Mini Play lets you record, compose, and perform with virtual instruments, effect plugins, and DAWs whenever inspiration strikes. This article walks through the basics of getting to know the MPK Mini Play Editor.
What You Need To Know
- Getting Started
- Downloading and Installing the Editor
- Common Terms Explained
- Saving Programs and Loading Programs onto the MPK mini mkII
- Selecting the Preset for MPC Essentials
- What's Next?
- Further Technical Support
Before installing and opening the editor, there are a few precautions to keep in mind in order to ensure the most stable communication between the MPK Mini Play and the editor software:
- Keep all other software closed while using the editor to ensure only the editor is using the port for your MPK Mini Play. This includes your DAW, other editors and even web browsers (yes, even Google Chrome wants to use your MIDI keyboard).
- Connect the MPK Mini Play directly to a USB port on your computer. External USB hubs are a popular way to connect several devices to your computer at once, but the way that they merge and transfer data back and forth can affect the success of the editor and we recommend avoiding it if possible.
2. Find the editor in your downloads folder or desktop, right-click and select "Open" or "Run as Administrator". If using a Mac, simply double click on the .DMG file and it will run the Editor program.
3. Click Next and accept the terms of the License Agreement when prompted. Continue to follow the prompts in each window and click Install when prompted. We do not recommend changing any install or folder locations during the process.
4. Once the installation is complete, exit the setup wizard and launch the MPK Mini Play Editor from your Apps section on Windows 10 or your Applications folder on your MAC finder.
For more information on where to find your apps on Windows 10, follow the link below:
Before getting started with the editor, take a moment to learn about some of the common terms and symbols you may encounter during the editing process. These are common MIDI terms and will be good to know if you're just getting started with your MPK Mini Play and the world of MIDI and audio production:
- CC or Control Change - This is a MIDI protocol that will send a range of values between 0 - 127. Each knob or fader can be assigned to a CC number which will then send a value of 0 at it's lowest point and a value of 127 at it's highest point and every value in between. For example, the knob K1 is set to CC1 and when turned all the way up, the MPK mini mkII will send a value of 127 over CC1.
- Lo/Hi - This determines the value range of a CC message (as discussed above). Mostly used for encoders like the ones on the MPK mini mkII, this can be used to decide how much of a parameter is changed during the course of the knob's movement.
- PC or Program Change - Also known as a "patch change", these messages are commonly used to tell hardware or software to switch to a different preset. In some cases, the program change number will be affiliated with a particular type of patch/instrument (piano, organ, etc), but some manufacturers will list patches in any order they wish. Most virtual instrument companies will not follow this standard since their sound sets are unique. For a list of common program change patch assignments, see our guide here.
- MIDI Channel - MIDI data can be assigned to travel over 16 different channels per MIDI port. The MPK mini mkII has one port, the USB connection, meaning you have 16 different channels over which to send the data from the keyboard. In most cases, this will be used to send different MIDI parameters to different areas. For example, the most common use would be sending the pads on the MPK mini mkII to one instrument (i.e. drums) and the keys to another (i.e. piano).If you're interested doing something like this, see our guide on using multiple instances of MPC Essentials to see it in action.
- Toggle and Momentary - There are two ways a MIDI note can be sent: Toggle and Momentary. When using a keyboard, you will most likely be using momentary messaging for MIDI notes. This means an ON message is created when pressing a key, and an OFF message is created when releasing the key. Sometimes when using drum pads or buttons, a toggle style functionality may be desirable. When using a toggle setting, the OFF messages is not sent when the pad is released. Instead, the pad will alternate between sending ON and OFF messages when struck. TIP: Using a button or pad with a toggle function will help control a parameter that needs to stay on after releasing the button/pad. This can be beneficial if controlling something like a solo, mute, or effects ON/OFF switch.
- Clock or MIDI Clock - MIDI Clock is a specific message used to keep two devices in sync with each other, like a metronome. For example, when using an arpeggiator, you will want it to stay in time with the rest of your song, and the best way to do that is with MIDI clock. In that scenario, MIDI clock would be sent from your DAW or other software (i.e. MPC Essentials) to your keyboard for the keyboard to follow along, perfectly in time. Clock can be assigned as Internal or External: Internal meaning that the keyboard generates it's own MIDI clock and will follow itself (used when sync with another device is not necessary), and External, used when the keyboard will be receiving clock from an external source. When set to external clock, the arpeggiator will not respond until it starts to receive a clock signal.
Once you have made your changes with the editor, the assignments will need to be sent to the MPK Mini Play to be stored as one of your Favorites. Be sure to follow the Getting Started section before opening the editor and continuing with this section:
Sending a Preset to your Favorites
Click on the File tab > Send Favorite. Choose where you want to store your preset. By default, the MPK Mini Play editor will send and retrieve presets from the MPK Mini Play controller when it is connected to your computer. There is no need to set it up as an input and output device like in the MPK Mini MKII editor.
Retrieving Favorites from your controller
To retrieve any Favorites from your MPK Mini Play, click on File > Get Favorite. Choose which Favorite preset you would like to retrieve, it will automatically load the preset on the editor GUI.
Saving your Favorite Presets
If you would like to Save your current preset in case the Favorite slot(s) is overwritten by mistake, click File > Save Favorite and you will be asked to select a location for the Editor file to save the preset.
Opening previously saved Favorites
If you have a previously saved Favorite, Click File > Open Favorite. A File explorer window will pop up (or Finder window if you are using a Mac OS.) Locate the .mpkplay file and the editor will open the preset.
If your main goal for using the editor is to set up the keyboard with MPC Essentials, look no further! For most users, simply hold down the Favorites button and press Pad 1 to select the MPC Essentials Favorite. This will line up the pads in MPC Essentials accordingly:
- Pad Bank A - Plays MPC Essentials pads 1-8
- Pad Bank B - Plays MPC Essentials pads 9-16
Now that you're getting to know your MPK Mini Play and all of the extra content and features, here are a few more guides and articles to explore:
- Akai Pro MPK mini mkII - Downloading, Installing and Using the Sample Content
- Akai Pro MPC Essentials - Using Multiple Instances Of The Plugin
- Akai Pro MPK mini mkII - Complete Setup in Ableton Live Lite
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.