Donner DMK-25 Pro: What is it?
Those on the hunt for a portable, affordable MIDI keyboard have never enjoyed so many options as they do today: there’s an abundance of respectably full-featured candidates on the market from brands like Akai, Nektar and Arturia, all of which deliver an array of MIDI control capabilities in a lightweight, wallet-friendly package.
This is exactly what Donner is aiming for with its new MIDI controller keyboard, the DMK-25 Pro. An updated version of the DMK-25, it’s a 25-key affair that’s been outfitted with eight velocity-sensitive pads, four faders, four scroll wheels, a variety of transport controls and two touch strips for pitch and modulation.
That’s an impressive amount of control options for a keyboard that weighs less than 700 grams and could easily slide into a small backpack, with room left over for a laptop and Bluetooth speaker, making it perfect for on-the-go music-making.
While its background in MIDI controllers might not equal that of the more established brands in this field, Donner is known for producing reliable digital pianos and performance keyboards.
As you might expect, this has translated into a decent keybed for the DMK-25, which plays well for a keyboard at this price point and size. Obviously, this is a relative judgement: you won’t be playing Chopin’s piano sonatas on the DMK-25, but you’ll be able to bash out basic chords and melodies with reasonable precision and comfort.
Donner DMK-25 Pro: Performance and verdict
The DMK’s build quality as a whole is acceptably solid. Its plastic chassis likely won’t put up much resistance to heavier forms of wear and tear, but it does weigh very little, helping the DMK deliver on its promise of portability.
The controller’s lightweight body, along with its slimline profile and the inclusion of a bus-powered USB-C connection, combine to create something that’d slot in comfortably to mobile or laptop-based set-ups, and there’s also a 3.5mm MIDI out jack for controlling external gear.
The controller’s faders, scroll wheels, transport controls and touch strips are all useful additions, and when individually mapped to a project’s parameters, pack a huge amount of control into such a small surface.
We did, however, find the eight pads lacking in sensitivity, something that the similarly-priced Akai MPK Mini doesn’t suffer from.
Small but mighty, the DMK-25 Pro packs a surprising amount of functionality under the hood. Using the controller’s OLED display, the user can navigate menus that let them assign various scales to the keyboard, choose between velocity curves, adjust the arpeggiator, note repeat and chord mode functions, and access an assortment of MIDI-related settings.
In addition to the display, useful visual feedback is provided by two light scales adjacent to the touch strips, and multicoloured backlights behind both the pads and buttons.
The DMK-25 comes bundled with three entry-level Steinberg software tools and a Melodics music education package, making it a solid choice for beginners who are looking to get started in music production, or more experienced music-makers who are searching for a cheap and versatile controller that’s both compact and highly playable.
MusicRadar verdict: The DMK-25 Pro stuffs loads into a lightweight, compact, and visually appealing package. Ideal for on-the-go use.
Donner DMK-25 Pro: The web says
"Excellent value for money and will be a useful all-in-one bit of kit in your studio."
Donner DMK-25 Pro: Hands-on demos
Donner DMK-25 Pro: Specifications
- 25-key velocity-sensitive keyboard with aftertouch
- Eight backlit pads
- Four faders
- Pitch and mod touch strips
- I/O: USB-C, 3.5mm MIDI out.
- Weight: 680g.
- Dimensions: 337 x 183 x 26mm.
- CONTACT: Donner