The Midiplus AKM320 is a MIDI controller that was created for beginners and bedroom producers looking to expand their game. While this can also be used by professionals, it seems a little bit more likely to be used as a first MIDI keyboard for beginners.
With this being said, would I recommend the AKM320 to musicians?
Yes, I would recommend this to beginners and people who are on a hard budget. One of the most appealing things about this controller is the super low price tag.
What I’ve found over the years is that, when it comes to audio, you usually get what you pay for. For this reason, I steered clear of this controller, until one day, I decided to try it out.
Note: This review is going to be completely unbiased. While I do believe this is a good controller for beginners, largely due to the price, there definitely are some things to address.
Midiplus AKM320 Overview
The Midiplus AKM 320 is one of the top-selling entry-level MIDI keyboards available. With this being said, a lot of the sales it has done have come because of its low price tag.
When I dove into this keyboard, there were a couple of things I was actually surprised by. It was for the most part, fully functional with every DAW that I tried.
Depending on which DAW you are using, you may want to go into options and select, “generic controller.” This will make sure it is read properly by the DAW.
Once you do this, it works smoothly and accurately.
One thing that really agitates me is when I watch Youtube reviews of cheap MIDI keyboards and the person comments on the keys being stiff and, in general, not very good.
To me, that’s a no brainer. If you’re spending pennies on a controller, it’s not going to have the best feeling keys. Its purpose isn’t to be a crazy realistic digital piano.
Its main purpose is to send MIDI signals to your DAW and allow you to create music and control sounds. If you want something to use VSTs, but want to still have realistic feeling keys, use your digital piano as a controller.
I’ve done this for years and I simply love it.
With this being said, the keys aren’t great. However, they work and get the job done. They’re rather stiff and feel cheap overall, but this is to be expected.
This is the selling point of this controller in my opinion. It doesn’t have any crazy features, but it works really well with most DAWs, including free DAWS.
You get a pitch-bend and a mod-wheel with this controller that feel a little cheap. With this being said, one thing I want to note is that I never had problems with them, however, some people said they had trouble getting theirs to work.
My guess is that they were using it with a DAW it wasn’t compatible with. To avoid this, jump on a major DAW, even if it’s the free version.
I really like that this comes with a sustain input that works well with my sustain pedal.
Mod Wheel & Pitch Bend
Depending on your DAW, you may have compatibility problems. I’ve seen people reporting that it doesn’t work with certain DAWs, so this may be a problem for you.
The wheels themselves feel pretty cheap, but if they’re compatible, they do just fine.
There aren’t a ton of controls on this keyboard. You will find transpose buttons that are up and down, as well as octave buttons that do the same.
Should You Buy The MidiPlus AKM320?
My honest opinion is that you should just save up another $30 and go for the Akai MPK Mini MK2 or the Launchkey Mini MK3. They have more controls and are far more functional. The keys are smaller, but they’re serious keyboards you will a lot of years out of.
If you wanna dive deeper into a full review of the Launchkey Mini MK3 and why I think it’s great, you can do so here.
Overall, the Midiplus AKM320 is a decent controller that will get the job done, however, will leave you desiring more down the line. The whole purpose of this controller is to allow you to test the waters before spending serious money.
With this being said, it gets the basic function done of allowing you to control VSTs. The overall quality isn’t the best and it definitely feels cheap, but for some, this won’t be an issue.
Everything comes down to what your needs are. If you’re looking to do music full-time, I would recommend spending just a little more and going for a more serious controller, but if you’re doing music for fun and just want something to play with, the AKM320 is perfect.
While 32 key keyboards are rare, they also make some 37 key MIDI keyboards that are also unique. There are some decent options, but if budget is a concern, stick to the AKM320 or maybe even a mini MIDI controller.
What are your thoughts on the Midiplus AKM320 controller? Would you recommend it or do you think I hit it spot on?