Alesis VI25 vs Akai MPK mini MK2


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Hey, I'm not sure if this was asked before, anyways. I have been looking at MIDI keyboards, 25 keys with pads. Two models quickly came across my research: the VI25 by Alesis and the Akai MPK mini MK2. They both seem incredible but the VI25 is very tempting. I wanted to know if it was worth putting an extra 80$ for the VI25 ( 170$) or to stick the MK2 for 90$ ?
Thanks
 
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SeaGtGruff

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You could focus on comparing the hardware:
- Akai on the left vs. Alesis on the right
- mini keys vs. full-sized keys
- synth-action keys vs. semi-weighted box-style keys
- no aftertouch vs. aftertouch
- 8 pads (times 2 banks) vs. 16 pads
- pitch bend/modulation joystick vs. separate pitch bend and modulation wheels
- USB-MIDI only vs. both MIDI and USB-MIDI
- etc.

If I were buying for myself, I'd probably choose the Alesis based on the hardware comparison. But the Akai's description mentions an arpeggiator and note repeat, which I don't see mentioned for the Alesis. I'd have to download the manuals and other documents for both controllers and do a thorough comparison before pulling the trigger. And the MIDI ports on the Alesis would be a significant factor if I were wanting to use the controller with a portable keyboard, synth, or sound module without having to use a computer as a go-between-- although using a 25-key controller to drive a portable keyboard or synth might not make a lot of sense unless the controller offers some feature or control that the keyboard or synth doesn't already have (e.g., aftertouch, pads, modulation wheel, etc.).

However, you may also want to compare the software that's bundled with each controller, both in terms of how many programs are included and what their features/patches are, as well as how much they would cost if you were to buy them separately. On that score alone, the Akai looks like an incredible bargain.
 
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You could focus on comparing the hardware:
- Akai on the left vs. Alesis on the right
- mini keys vs. full-sized keys
- synth-action keys vs. semi-weighted box-style keys
- no aftertouch vs. aftertouch
- 8 pads (times 2 banks) vs. 16 pads
- pitch bend/modulation joystick vs. separate pitch bend and modulation wheels
- USB-MIDI only vs. both MIDI and USB-MIDI
- etc.

If I were buying for myself, I'd probably choose the Alesis based on the hardware comparison. But the Akai's description mentions an arpeggiator and note repeat, which I don't see mentioned for the Alesis. I'd have to download the manuals and other documents for both controllers and do a thorough comparison before pulling the trigger. And the MIDI ports on the Alesis would be a significant factor if I were wanting to use the controller with a portable keyboard, synth, or sound module without having to use a computer as a go-between-- although using a 25-key controller to drive a portable keyboard or synth might not make a lot of sense unless the controller offers some feature or control that the keyboard or synth doesn't already have (e.g., aftertouch, pads, modulation wheel, etc.).

However, you may also want to compare the software that's bundled with each controller, both in terms of how many programs are included and what their features/patches are, as well as how much they would cost if you were to buy them separately. On that score alone, the Akai looks like an incredible bargain.
Thank you for that very detailed answer. You mentioned something I didn't check before : the software included with each! Thanks for that ;)
I just knew they both had ableton live 9. I have to look deeper into it I guess. Thanks you very much
 
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You could focus on comparing the hardware:
- Akai on the left vs. Alesis on the right
- mini keys vs. full-sized keys
- synth-action keys vs. semi-weighted box-style keys
- no aftertouch vs. aftertouch
- 8 pads (times 2 banks) vs. 16 pads
- pitch bend/modulation joystick vs. separate pitch bend and modulation wheels
- USB-MIDI only vs. both MIDI and USB-MIDI
- etc.

If I were buying for myself, I'd probably choose the Alesis based on the hardware comparison. But the Akai's description mentions an arpeggiator and note repeat, which I don't see mentioned for the Alesis. I'd have to download the manuals and other documents for both controllers and do a thorough comparison before pulling the trigger. And the MIDI ports on the Alesis would be a significant factor if I were wanting to use the controller with a portable keyboard, synth, or sound module without having to use a computer as a go-between-- although using a 25-key controller to drive a portable keyboard or synth might not make a lot of sense unless the controller offers some feature or control that the keyboard or synth doesn't already have (e.g., aftertouch, pads, modulation wheel, etc.).

However, you may also want to compare the software that's bundled with each controller, both in terms of how many programs are included and what their features/patches are, as well as how much they would cost if you were to buy them separately. On that score alone, the Akai looks like an incredible bargain.

Hi,
I've got plans of buying a midi controller as well although I'm confused on what to choose, Alesis v25 or akai mpk mini mk2. I will be connecting the midi controller to my Macbook pro, hence I wanted to know what would have the best software and hardware features of the two of them, (without having to spend more on buying a music program i.e ablenton) ?
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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Hi. Moody96!

I'm not sure about all of the software that comes with those two controllers. In particular, I can't find a detailed description of the MPC Essentials software that comes with the Akai MPK mini mkII, so I don't know how it compares and contrasts with Ableton Live Lite.

I can tell you that Ableton Live Lite is fine for casual tinkering, but might be too "lite" if you're planning to do a lot of serious recording. Following is a comparison of some basic specs for the different versions of Live:

Live Lite:
- 8 audio/MIDI tracks [EDIT: That's 8 tracks total, such as 3 MIDI plus 5 audio, not 8 of each!]
- 2 send/return tracks
- 1 master track
- 8 scenes
- 2 audio inputs
- 2 audio outputs

Live Intro:
- 16 audio/MIDI tracks [EDIT: That's 16 total, not 16 of each.]
- 2 send/return tracks
- 1 master track
- 8 scenes
- 4 audio inputs
- 4 audio outputs

Live Standard and Live Suite:
- Unlimited audio/MIDI tracks
- 12 send/return tracks
- 1 master track
- Unlimited scenes
- 256 audio inputs
- 256 audio outputs

There are other differences, such as which virtual instruments and effects are included, but this should give you an idea of whether Live Lite would be adequate for recording purposes, or whether you'd eventually need to buy one of the other versions.

By the way, if money is an object (as it is for most of us), there are a few free DAWs you might check out, such as PreSonus Studio One Prime or Tracktion T5. Studio One is nice, but the Prime version doesn't support third-party plugins, and in general Studio One (as well as Ableton Live) doesn't support MIDI SysEx messages-- which you might not need, although if you do need them then you should be aware of that limitation ahead of time. On the other hand, Tracktion T5 does support both third-party plugins and SysEx messages. And I think GarageBand is free for the basic program, although to my knowledge it doesn't really support MIDI output-- MIDI input, yes, but not sending MIDI to external devices or exporting to MIDI files (if you need that).

As for the other software, the Alesis comes with Xpand!2, which has a variety of instrument sounds-- orchestral as well as electric-- whereas the Akai comes with a couple of soft synths, so you might be more inclined to one or the other depending on whether you're more interested in creating electronic music or music that employs traditional acoustic and electric instruments.

Of course, there are also free plugins available, ranging from soundfonts and sample players to soft synths. They might not be as polished or sophisticated as paid commercial programs, so sooner or later you'll probably want to spend some money on additional software instruments. But you should be able to find some free plugins-- as well as a free DAW, if necessary-- to get up and running regardless of which keyboard controller you decide to go with.
 

Fred Coulter

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- 256 audio inputs
- 256 audio outputs
Just because the software can handle it doesn't mean that the computer can handle that many audio inputs and outputs. You'll also be spending a crap ton of money on audio I/Os.

But you'll easily need more than the four the previous level provides.
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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Yes, I think the huge number of inputs and outputs is aimed at professionals who plan to use Live in a studio environment. For home use, something like that would probably never be needed. :)
 

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