Akai Professional APC40 MKII MIDI Pad Controller
In 2009, Akai, in collaboration with the creators of Ableton Live, developed a hardware controller called the "Ableton Performance Controller" or better known as the APC40.
It was a piece of hardware designed with controlling the functions of software like Ableton Live with live performances in mind.
The APC40 MKII is not just an updated APC40 but a total rework in a more compact footprint.
Other enhanced features include RGB clip-launching grid, reinforced fader design, and a revised knob lay out.
The nine reinforced faders provide control over volume, pan and other parameters, while the eight channel control knobs provide visual feedback and let you easily access control options.
- Pads: 40 (5x8 matrix) clip-launch pads with RGB feedback
- Buttons: 5 x Scene Launch Buttons, 9 x Clip Stop Buttons, 9 x Track Selector buttons, 8 x Track buttons, 8 x Device Control buttons, 3 x Transport Buttons, 3 x Assignable buttons, 4 x Bank Select buttons
- Knobs: 8 x Assignable knobs, 8 x Control knobs, 1 x Tempo knob
- Other Controls: 9 channel faders, 1 Crossfader
- Standalone Mode: No
- Power: USB-powered
- Connectivity: USB Slot, Footswitch Input, Kensington Lock Slot
- Compatibility: Mac with Mac OS X 10.5, Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10
- Software Bundle: Ableton Live Lite with Puremagnetik Effect Racks, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Twist, Prime Loops sample packs, and Toolroom Records artist launch packs
- Dimensions: 16.7" x 10" x 1.8"
- Weight: 3.97 lbs
Users appreciate the pads' LED color lighting, and how they reflect the Ableton session view. This helps users get immediate performance feedback when it comes to triggering clips, mixer, or FX processing without looking at the screen. In his Sound on Sound review, Simon Sherbourne said both performers and composers will appreciate this controller because of its user mode where you can utilize the user button to switch "the pots to generic MIDI controllers, allowing you to use Live’s MIDI Map mode to take control of any parameter. "
Some users noted the inherently flimsy and toy-like feel of the plastic parts and question its long-term durability. Other downsides a few users found were the pads lack of velocity response. Velocities had to be tweaked in the DAW for more nuance. For people who use other DAWs, manual mapping of the trigger pads is required.
If you're a purely an Ableton Live user, The APC40 MKII pairs great with the DAW as it was designed with that specific purpose in mind. You may need additional setup if you wish to integrate the controller with other software.
Although we previously featured the APC40 MKII on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best MIDI Pad Controllers.