Akai MPK Mini Mk3 vs Novation 61SL Mk3: A Comparative Analysis of Features & Performance

You're ready to make a big purchase, but you're having trouble deciding between these two powerhouses, the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 and the Novation 61SL Mk3.

Trust me, I know how difficult that decision is… especially if you have no plans on whipping out that dreaded return postage label!


I've got you covered.

I've broken down the good, the bad and the ugly of these babies, so providing you have a clear idea of exactly what you plan on doing with it, you will have a clear idea on which one is best for you, by the end of this article.


Let get into it…

Akai MPK Mini Mk3 vs Novation 61SL Mk3: A Comparative Analysis of Features & Performance

At A Glance:


Akai MPK Mini Mk3




Novation 61SL Mk3


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Key Differences Between The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 And The Novation 61SL Mk3

Akai MPK Mini Mk3 vs Novation 61SL Mk3

The main differences between Akai MPK Mini Mk3 and Novation 61SL Mk3 are centered around their design, functionality, and recommended user base.

The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 is a compact, versatile, and highly portable keyboard controller. Featuring velocity-sensitive keys and an arpeggiator function, it's well suited for on-the-go music creation. Key features of this model include a bank selector button, sustain button,
a note repeat function and an omni-directional joystick which enhance its overall functionality.

Despite its size,this keyboard consistently ranks among the best MIDI keyboards due to its excellent performance
and compatibility with most digital audio workstations.

In contrast, the Novation 61SL Mk3, while larger in size than the Akai MPK Mini Mk3,
offers more advanced features making it ideal for professional use. It boasts of an eight-track polyphonic sequencer that allows for fast creation with hardware.

This model is applauded for its robust build quality when compared to the AKAI MPK Mini.
The standout feature in this model is the real-time record or input notes per step feature,
this allows for playing and editing sequences directly from the keyboard itself.

  • The Novation 61SL MKIII is generally preferred by more advanced users due to its unique functionalities.
  • The Akai MPK Mini MKIII's portability makes it a popular choice among beginners or those who need a portable option.

Regardless of your choice between these two models,

SpecificationsAkai MPK Mini Mk3Novation 61SL Mk3
Number of Keys2561
Type of KeysMini SynthSemi-weighted
USB1 x Type B1 x Type B
SoftwareMPC Beats, 6 Virtual Instruments, 2GB Sound LibraryAbleton Live Lite, Novation Bass Station and V-Station virtual instruments
Power SupplyUSB bus powerUSB bus power / 12V DC power supply
Weight1.65 lbs14.33 lbs
Dimensions12.5″ x 7.13″ x 1.75″40.63″ x 10.63″ x 3.54″

What You Need To Know About Akai MPK Mini Mk3

The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 is a compact, USB-powered MIDI controller that's perfect for studio production, controlling virtual synths, and making beats. It boasts 25 mini MIDI keyboard keys that respond to how hard you press them, just like a real piano.

Not only does it have regular keys, but it also has an exciting 4-way thumbstick. This means you can control pitch and modulation in a really dynamic way. Plus, there's an arpeggiator built right in! You can adjust resolution, range and modes to make some pretty cool sounds.

One of the standout features is the 8 backlit MPC-style MIDI beat pads. These are great for programming drums or triggering samples – they light up too which is super cool! If you're into synths or work with DAW software, you'll love these!

But that's not all – there are also 8 knobs that turn a full 360 degrees. These are great for mixing your tracks or tweaking synth controls in your plugins.

What makes this little gadget even more special is the fact it comes with its own Production Starter Kit!

This includes MPC Beats software with over 1500+ sounds to play around with straight out of the box. Also included are six virtual instruments and a whopping 2GB of sound content.

So if you're looking at getting into music production or want to take your beat-making skills to another level – check out more on Akai's official website.

My 1 Month Review Of The Akai MPK Mini Mk3

My 1 Month Review Of The Akai MPK Mini Mk3


After a month of jamming with my Akai MPK Mini Mk3, I've got some thoughts to share. As a music enthusiast, this little gem has become an essential part of my creative process.

Design & Build Quality

Wow, the design and build quality on this thing is impressive! Its sleek black finish and compact size make it incredibly portable and durable.
I was able to carry it around with me without any issue, and it didn't take up much space on my desk at all. This was definitely a big plus for me.

User Experience

Speaking of usage, let's talk about the user experience.
The keys felt great under my fingers – they're smooth, responsive, and incredibly dynamic.

The touch-sensitive pitch bend and mod wheel added another layer of complexity to my music production workflow. Mucking around with these features was heaps of fun. Plus the unique note repeat function gave me some extra spice in creating beats!

Pads & Knobs

Oh man, I can't neglect mentioning those 8 velocity-sensitive pads! They are just immaculate – sensitive enough for intricate drum patterns but also robust enough for pounding out heavy bass lines.
In addition to that, the 8 assignable knobs allowed me complete control over mixing my tracks within my DAW. How neat is that?

OLED Display

The OLED display, although small in size, is super useful as it provides handy visual feedback during performances or when selecting presets.
This small detail really played a big part in streamlining my workflow.

Software Bundle

Lastly, I must mention the comprehensive software bundle that comes with this controller – particularly the MPC Beats software which gave me tons of inspiration while creating music.
Fiddling around on Akai's virtual synths (Hybrid 2 & Wobble) was eye-opening as well. This package truly expanded my musical horizon.

All things considered:
– The design is sleek
– It has a staggering level of portability
– The features like pitch bend wheel and note repeat function are absolutely fantastic
– Pads are sensitive yet durable
– OLED Display enhances ease-of-use
– Incredible bundled software

To wrap up this review: after one month with the Akai MPK Mini Mk III; I'm thrilled by what this little beast offers in such a compact package!

I'd definitely recommend it to any music enthusiast looking for something that delivers high-quality sounds while still being portable enough for mobile creation.
I hope you've found this review helpful!

What You Need To Know About Novation 61SL Mk3

The Novation 61SL Mk3 is a great tool that brings together MIDI hardware and CV/Gate synths. It’s like a powerful bridge that connects all your music equipment. You're going to love how it easily integrates your hardware with your DAW, which is the computer software you use for making music.

This controller is just perfect for Ableton Live music-making software. So, if you're an Ableton user, this controller will feel like it was made just for you! It's equipped with an internal 8 track pattern based sequencer.

This feature helps in arranging your music by creating patterns or sequences of tones.

The Novation 61SL Mk3 also has a routable clock that controls timing for the whole system. This means all your equipment will stay in time with each other – pretty cool, right?

And guess what? Novation provides a fantastic 3-Year Warranty on this product and all their others too. That's quite a nice safety net!

Check out more details on the official page.

My 1 Month Review Of The Novation 61SL Mk3

My 1 Month Review Of The Novation 61SL Mk3

First Impressions

From the moment I unboxed the Novation 61SL Mk3, I was immediately taken with its sleek and modern design. It's clear that a lot of thought has gone into crafting this MIDI keyboard controller. The build quality is solid and robust, it feels sturdy to the touch yet surprisingly lightweight – perfect for when I need to take it on-the-go.

The keys are full-sized and semi-weighted, providing an enjoyable playing experience that mimics a traditional piano quite closely. This makes creating music feel more natural and gives me more creative control.

User Experience

After spending a month with the 61SL Mk3, I must admit that it exceeded my expectations in many ways:

Semi-Weighted Keys: The keys respond well to my touch, providing enough resistance for dynamic playability without feeling too heavy.
Tight DAW Integration: Its flawless integration with my DAW (Ableton Live) has truly been game-changing! This allows me to control virtually everything without needing to reach for the mouse.
Clear Display: The clear display simplifies navigation and lets me see exactly what parameters I’m tweaking in real-time – no guesswork needed!

However, there were also some minor drawbacks:

• The software bundle was great but setting it up was a bit convoluted especially if you're new to music production.
• The semi-weighted keys took some getting used to. Although they provide a more authentic feel, they might not be ideal for those who prefer lighter synth-action keys.

Overall though, these are mere nitpicks in comparison to all the excellent features this versatile controller brings to the table.

The Verdict

All things considered, using the Novation 61SL Mk3 has been an enriching experience. It strikes an impressive balance between functionality and ease of use making it ideal for both beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

Despite facing a few minor hiccups during setup, once everything was dialed-in correctly, this controller has proven itself as an invaluable tool in my home studio setup.

The way it integrates so seamlessly with Ableton Live has saved me tons of time previously spent on tedious tasks which now can be delegated towards making music.

In conclusion,after one month of consistent use, I can confidently say that purchasing The Novation 61SL Mk is a decision I do not regret.

Who The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Novation 61SL Mk3

Who The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Novation 61SL Mk3

The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 is a compact keyboard controller that is perfect for beginners or musicians who need a portable option. Here's why:

• The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 offers velocity-sensitive keys, an arpeggiator function, bank selector button, and sustain button which are great for those getting started with music production.
• It features a unique note repeat and omni-directional joystick which enhance its overall functionality. This allows users to create more diverse music compositions even on this compact controller.
• Its compatibility with most digital audio workstations makes it an excellent choice for those starting out or wanting to produce music on the move.

On the other hand, the Novation 61SL Mk3 is designed for more advanced users seeking advanced features and a robust build quality in their MIDI keyboard controller.

• The Novation 61SL Mk3 stands out with its eight-track polyphonic sequencer. This feature makes it ideal for those who want to quickly create with their hardware.
• Another advantage of this model is its ability to real-time record or input notes per step – allowing users to play and edit sequences directly from the keyboard itself.
• Notably, despite being larger in size than the Akai MPK Mini Mk3, many prefer it due to its robust build quality.

In short, those who prioritize portability and ease of use would lean towards the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 while professional musicians in need of advanced features might prefer the Novation 61SL MKIII.

Who The Novation 61SL Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Akai MPK Mini Mk3

Who The Novation 61SL Mk3 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Akai MPK Mini Mk3

The Novation 61SL Mk3 is a MIDI keyboard controller designed for users who desire more advanced features in their music production equipment. It's the perfect fit for you if you are looking to level up from a beginner instrument or if you are a professional requiring specialist tools. Here's why you might prefer it over the Akai MPK Mini Mk3:

Expanded Functionality: The Novation 61SL Mk3 comes equipped with an eight-track polyphonic sequencer – ideal for creating complex compositions, taking your music-making to another level. This model outperforms the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 in terms of advanced features, making it ideal for more experienced or professional users.

Built Quality: If robust build quality is important to you, then the Novation 61SL Mk3 is worth considering. Compared to the Akai MPK Mini Mk3, this model offers a superior build quality that assures longevity and resilience during extensive use.

Real-time Record Feature: One standout feature of the Novation 61SL Mk3 is its ability to play and edit sequences directly from the keyboard itself – a functionality not available on the Akai MPK Mini Mk3. If you're someone who thrives on real-time editing and playing sequences without needing an external device, this keyboard might be suitable for you.

So while the Akai MPK Mini Mk3‘s portability and easy-to-use format may make it an excellent choice for beginners or those with mobile music-making needs, consider the Novation 61SL MKIII if your needs are more advanced.

Whether you require enhanced functionality, premium build quality or innovative play-and-edit features – this could be your ideal MIDI keyboard match.

If you're still on the fence about the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 and Novation 61SL Mk3, I've got a few other comparisons that might help narrow down your choice.

Perhaps you'd like to check out my comparative review of the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61. Or, if you're interested in exploring different brands, I've also done a detailed look at the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 vs Arturia KeyStep Pro.

If more keys are what you need, then my post on the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 vs Nektar Impact LX88+ could be just up your alley. Lastly, for those considering staying within the Akai family perhaps this comparison between Akai MPK Mini Mk3 and Akai Fire will help. Whichever path you choose, happy music-making!


What makes the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 ideal for beginners and those in need of a portable option?

The Akai MPK Mini Mk3 is an excellent choice for beginners due to its straightforward design and ease of use. It features velocity-sensitive keys, a note repeat function, an arpeggiator function, bank selector button, and sustain button which are not overly complicated for a beginner but still add functionality. It's also compact and lightweight making it highly portable. Hence it's perfect for producing music on the go or in condensed workspaces.

Why is the Novation 61SL Mk III better suited to more advanced users?

The Novation 61SL Mk III offers advanced features that suit professional music production needs. With its eight-track polyphonic sequencer, real-time record or input notes per step feature allows users to play and edit sequences directly from the keyboard itself which provides an enhanced level of convenience during use. These added functionalities might be overwhelming for beginners but are beneficial tools for experienced musicians.

In terms of compatibility with digital audio workstations (DAWs), how do Akai MPK Mini MKIII & Novation 61SL MKIII compare?

Both Akai MPK Mini MKIII & Novation 61SL MKIII are highly compatible with most digital audio workstations (DAWs). They offer seamless integration with popular DAWs like Ableton Live, Logic Pro X among others allowing you greater freedom when mixing your tracks.

In terms of build quality as compared to performance capabilities who reigns superior between Akai MPK Mini MKIII & Novation 61SL MKIII?

While both models provide stellar performance capabilities, TheNovation 61SL Mk III particularly shines in build quality over Akai MPK mini mkiii. Its sturdy build ensures longevity even with regular heavy usage making it suitable for professionals who require reliable equipment.

Buyer's Guide: Important Things To Consider & Look Out For When Buying A Midi Keyboard

1. Consider Your Production Needs

Before diving into the selection of a MIDI keyboard online, put some thought into your music production needs first. Are you primarily a beatmaker who could do with a set of drum pads and assignable knobs and faders?

Or perhaps, you're more of a composer needing a good number of synth-action keys. Different keyboards are optimized for various production needs, so be sure to zero in on what's essential for you.

For instance, if portability is crucial because you frequently move around, the lightweight Akai MPK Mini Mk3, which is also an excellent compact option for beatmakers, could be an ideal choice.

2. Understand the Importance of Key Count & Key Type

A major factor to consider when shopping online for MIDI keyboards is key count and key type. Think about how many keys you'll actually need given your style of music or playing comfort level.

Keyboards like Novation 61SL Mk3 come with hefty 61 synth-action keys – perfect if you're looking to play complex melodies or chords fully expressively due to their semi-weighted nature. However, they may not be necessary if simplicity is your thing.

3. Look Out For Extra Features And Controls

When it comes to buying a MIDI controller,, additional features can significantly enhance your workflow and creativity levels in the studio or even during live performances.

Examine details such as velocity-sensitive pads that can give your beats some extra punch and dynamic range; assignable knobs for mapping effect parameters or volumes within your DAW; plus faders that let you manipulate sounds over time.

4. Ensure Compatibility With Your DAW Of Choice

Another important factor when looking into music production equipment like MIDI keyboards is ensuring they’re compatible with your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

Keyboards such as Novation 61SL MkIII offer seamless Ableton Live integration out-of-the-box – ideal if Ableton’s your preferred DAW – reducing setup time and increasing usability right away.

5. Don't Ignore The Connectivity Options Available

How do you want to connect this piece of gear? USB-powered options like Akai MPK Mini MkIII are hassle-free due to their plug-and-play design requiring no extra power cables besides the provided USB cord—perfect when carrying less music gear is essential during travel.

However, certain situations might call for traditional MIDI ports – check product specifications carefully for these options before purchasing!

6. Always Consider The Cost Vs Value Aspect

While cost should never be ignored when investing in new pieces of equipment like a MIDI keyboard controller,, we encourage buyers not only to look at price-tags but also value gained from owning such devices long term.

If extensive DAW control surface functionalities directly contribute towards enhancing workflow efficiency (like those found on Novation 61SL MkIII), spending slightly more might prove extremely worthwhile in hindsight!

7.Examine Online Reviews & Testimonials Before Purchasing

Given online sales lack physical touch—something crucial with musical instruments—it’s only sensible gathering other consumers’ opinions before making decisions.

Reading multiple customer reviews will give useful insights about aspects challenging gauging from product descriptions alone—a keyboard’s build quality being one example worth noting!

Speaking directly with people using similar models will aid understanding what potential hiccups could arise down the line—a very wise precautionary step taking before making final purchase decisions!

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

📧 Email Arielle