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The Donner DMK-25 Pro is a new mini MIDI controller from a brand that is gaining some steam in my eyes: Donner. Over the last few months, I have been relentless in reviews, and the latest keyboard I’ve got my hands on is the DMK25 PRO.
In this review of the DMK-25, I will give my honest thoughts about it and compare it with a few heavy hitters, such as the Akai Mini and the Nektar Mini series. Before this controller, I wasn’t super familiar with Donner MIDI controllers, but I have had experience with their digital pianos, which I find pretty underrated.
My quick thoughts on the Donner DMK-25 Pro are that it greatly exceeded my expectations. It delivered from the build quality to the workflow inside Cubase (my DAW of choice).
*I’ve had about one month of playing with a reviewing the DMK-25 Pro, and this review is entirely unbiased.
Donner DMK-25 Pro Overview
The DMK-25 is a mini MIDI controller aimed at beginner-level producers, but I’ve discovered this mainly due to its price point and smaller keys.
I’ll dive deeper into this later in the review, but one thing is clear: The DMK-25 Pro is a legitimate challenger to all heavy-hitting mini controllers on the market.
One thing that I want to point out is that the USB for this keyboard is USB-C. This is becoming common, but if you’re used to the older ports, you will want to pick up a couple of these cables.
- Durable build
- Responsive drum pads
- Keys play reasonably well
- More features than most other mini controllers
- 40 Free courses included
- Easy to use and setup
- Plug and play with all major DAWs
- Customer support – one of the best customer support teams – If something isn’t working correctly, their team is quick and accommodating, from what everyone has said.
- It has mini keys
- Velocity sensitivity isn’t always perfect
- 8 Velocity-sensitive back-lit pads
- Mini keys
- Pitch bend
- Modulation strips
- Four assignable knobs
- Six transport buttons on the front of the keyboard
- Weight .68kg
- 40 free lessons included
- Works with all major DAWs
The biggest selling point to the Donner DMK 25-Pro is the workflow. With transport controls, major daw compatability, and playable keys, theres’ not many other options that compete with the DMK25 Pro when it comes to workflow.
The build and design of this mini controller put the DMK 25 Pro above most of the other options at this price point. Most mini-controllers could be more durable. This controller is surprisingly durable and doesn’t feel as cheap as others.
The keys play far better than I had expected. They are not as stiff as other options, allowing you to lay down chords and simple bass licks for beats.
Do I Recommend This Keyboard?
I recommend the DMK 25 Pro to anyone looking for a change of pace. It’s cheap, easy to use, and gives you some extra durability that you don’t typically find at its price point.
VS The Akai MK3
The Akai Mini MK3 is arguably the most iconic mini controller option on the market, and for a good reason: It’s reliable, affordable, and gets the job done. With that being said, it only has a few bells and whistles.
The DMK 25 Pro has transport controls in the middle of the keyboard. This is an excellent placement. You also are given a transpose button with the DMK 25 Pro, which the MK3 lacks.
Upon initial review, I didn’t imagine saying this, but I would put the DMK 25 Pro on the same level as the Mini MK3, one of my favorite picks for this price point.
Vs. Arturia Mini Keylab
Comparing this with the Mini Keylab by Arturia, both keyboards do their job well. They both allow you to make music quickly and at a relatively low price.
That being said, the build quality of the Donner felt better than the Mini Keylab, which caught me off, guard. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the quality of Arturia keyboards, so this is a big win.
VS. Novation Launch Key Mini
The Novation Launchkey Mini is my favorite mini controller on the market due to its 16 pads, low-price point, and bundled software.
I want to say that the Donner DMK 25 Pro competes with this keyboard, which is a significant win again. Again, the build quality of the Donner seems to be top-notch again.
Would I Recommend The DMK-25 Pro?
After spending a month with this keyboard, I recommend checking it out, especially if you’re looking for something cheap that isn’t your classic MK3.
It also has an excellent design that is distinguishable from all other options on the market.
The DMK 25 Pro by Donner is worth serious thought if you’re looking for a mini MIDI controller. It is nice to recommend a product for a price point that one or two brands have controlled mainly for as long as I can remember.