Note input with Akai LPK25

Arising out of a conversation in, I bought an Akai LPK25 MIDI keyboard for note input. It is about 335 mm wide and comes with a cable that plugs into a USB-A socket on the computer. I plugged it straight in and turned it on (USB-powered). There is a light that flashes continually, called tap tempo. Reading the quickstart guide, I discover that the switch to the left of it turns this light off.

The biggest drawback is not the fact that it only has a span of 2 octaves, but that the keys are very narrow. Most pianos have an octave width of about 165 mm, my large harpsichord is 158 mm, whereas the Akai octave is only 137 mm. In combination with the heavy spring-loaded keys, this means that there is little likelihood of my being able to play this keyboard accurately while looking at the Dorico display. Normal transposition of the keyboard places middle C in the centre, but this can be transposed by +/-4 octaves, which is more than adequate for anything I write. I have managed to produce 11-note chords without difficulty. The keyboard works without the Dorico window needing to be selected. I have not yet investigated whether the top four notes, which are labelled Pro1, 2, 3 & 4 respectively, can be used to trigger Dorico commands – another day, perhaps…

I wasnt expecting a concert instrument for €45, and it remains to be seen whether I can become any kind of virtuoso on the Akai LPK25; but if using it proves faster than typing note names it will be of of great help.


I wouldn’t recommend a two octave instrument with mini keys for anything other than very occasional use. I find the LPK25 unplayable and have only ever used one when on the road with a single small laptop bag.

Four octaves is the minimum that most musicians will want on their desktop and full size keys are essential even for routine one-handed note input.

Yes, if you want Cochereau transcriptions, it’s not for you. But I find it ideal as a portable ‘note input device’ for individual lines and the odd small chord. It’s certainly much quicker for me than doing it QWERTY.

I highly recommend Korg Nanokontrol 2! It’s the lightest/smallest usb midi keyboard that I have found so far! I have also akai LPK25, but I felt it was not portable enough for my use…

As light, small as Xkey from CME?

Mini keys have the advantage that you can span a whole lot more notes, which is useful for entry.

Sorry, it’s actually korg nanokey 2! But yes, it is 244g while the xme key air 25 seems to be 610g.

Wow, that is small.

The price of the Korg Nanokey2 is pretty much the same as that of the Akai LPK25, as is the size (34cm x 10cm x 3 cm), though the weight is about half at 220g. But is it any better as a keyboard? The non standard shape of the keys, though creative and probably feeling nicer to the fingers, would suggest not.


yeah, the CME Xkey has relatively normal shaped keys that I didn’t need any adjustment to enter notes very rapidly. The keypresses are easy to do. But the stroke is very small. However I don’t mind the stroke. It’s even touch sensitive. It reminds me of the iPod buttons back in the day – little clicks for each key. But I’ve never used any other midi input devices so can’t compare. I relied on online reviews to select it.