The largest community for DJ and producer techniques, tutorials, and tips. Traktor secrets, controller reviews, a massive MIDI mapping library, and more.

Pad Controller Smackdown

Reviewed by: Bill Griffin aka SOCIALPEST

If you’re looking for a MIDI pad controller on a modest budget and can’t be troubled to build your own then no doubt you will have found these three; M-Audio Trigger Finger, Korg padKontrol and the Akai MPD24.

They are all around a similar budget and each has their own appeal but on paper its a tough call. Thanks to the help of online store thomann.de I got my hands on all three and set each up in Traktor, Serato and Live to see which would be reigning champ in the sub 200 EUR midi pad controller class.

THE WEIGH IN OF CONTENDERS

M-Audio Trigger Finger

In the blue corner we have the rather lightweight M-Audio Trigger Finger. This is the cheapest of the three, and to be frank, it looks and feels it. It offers nearly the same features as the Akai MPD 24 but is around 26 EUR (40 USD) cheaper.

Size
Width 27.9 cm
Depth 25.4 cm
Height 5.7 cm
Weight 1.21 k

Akai MPD 24

In the red corner we have the heavyweight Akai MPD 24. This thing is built like a tank, has a solid metal base, the knobs and faders are well spaced and feel really pro.

Size
Width 31.8 cm
Depth 28.3 cm
Height 6.8 cm
Weight 2.18 kg

Korg PadKontrol

In the flashing lightship hovering above the ring we have the featherweight Korg padKontrol. Whilst all these contenders have 16 drum pads the Korg ditches the knobs and faders and gives you the famous Korg X-Y control! Plus It’s yours for the same price as the Akai.

Size
Width 31.4 cm
Depth 23.36 cm
Height 5.51 cm
Weight 0.96 kg

ROUND ONE: FEATURES

M-Audio Trigger Finger

Controls
16 pads
4 faders
8 knobs

Connections
MIDI out
USB
9V DC

Security
Kensington cable lock

Extras
Screw thread in base to attach to drum rack (or stick over a turntable).

Akai MPD 24

Controls
16 pads (4 bank memory)
6 faders
8 360 degree knobs
Transit controls

Connections
MIDI in & out
USB
6V DC

Security
Kensington cable lock

Extras
Durable metal base

Korg padKontrol

Controls
16 LED illuminated pads (16 bank memory)
X-Y pad
2 knobs
Flam and roll buttons

Connections
Pedal jack
MIDI in & out
USB
9V DC

Security
None

Extras
Flashing pads, make patterns when you hit them

Winner: Akai MPD24

This is a tough call between the Akai and the Korg. If you discount the Korgs flashing lights (does this add value?) then it’s a toss up between the X-Y pad or the extra faders and knobs you get on the Akai. I’m gonna give this to the Akai on the basis that the Korg does not have a security slot. I know Japan is a no crime zone but the rest of the world is not and I’d hate have my pad controller get lifted.

ROUND TWO: BUILD QUALITY

M-Audio Trigger Finger
The case is plastic but it seems solid and durable. The knobs and pads seems solid too. The nasty rubber faders let it down though, they are low profile and make it difficult to make very fine adjustments. On top of that they are fairly wobbly and come off a little too easilly. Given the cost saving of this over the other two, I’m pleasantly surprised how rugged this feels.

Akai MPD 24
Of the three this my choice when it comes to built quality. The case has a metal base which adds weight and strength to the whole unit. The knobs and faders give excellent control. However, compared to the other two the pads feel kind of squishy round the edges (I can’t think how this might impact a DJ performance so it is probably no cause for concern).

Korg padKontrol
The Korg is the lightest of the three. Which is great for your back but makes it feel less than solid. There is nothing that screams “I am of poor build quality” but it just does not feel as substantial.

Winner: Akai MPD24

This thing is completely solid there’s no question it is the best quality of the three. The Trigger Finger is pretty good though and offers a great weight/durability ratio as long as you don’t lose one of the rubber faders. As for the padKONTROL I would seriously advise wrapping this in bubble wrap whilst transporting.

ROUND THREE: ERGONOMICS

M-Audio Trigger Finger
I don’t feel like I have great control over the faders which could be a problem if you assign volume or pitch controls to these. The knobs are really tightly packed. I don’t have big hands but find it fiddly to adjust two knobs that are next to each other at the same time.

Akai MPD 24
Cannot fault it. The only thing that would be would be nice was if the controls were backlit. In a dark DJ booth this would be really handy.

Korg padKontrol
Did someone mention lighting? Some people might write off the flashing pads as a bit gimmicky but as mentioned above in a dark DJ booth things that glow can actually be quite useful. As for the controls, physically, I have no problems with what they offer (though I can’t help but feel I’m a few knobs short and despite the X-Y control a couple of sliders would have been nice).

Winner Akai MPD24

This is another tough call but I think it goes to the Akai again. Everything is well spaced and feels great and tactile. The illumination in the Korg is nice but the whole interface is busy and not as simple and clean as the Akai.

ROUND FOUR: WHATS IN THE BOX

All these come with a USB cable but apart from that some have bundled software which could be interesting. For example it’s a great way to get Live 6 LE which you can then upgrade to pro for cheaper.

M-Audio Trigger Finger

This comes with Live Lite, Pro-sessions samples demo (with a decent selection of samples) and the midi controller setup cd. These come with a Quick start guide on paper format with the main documentation supplied on the cd. I suppose this is a cost cutting move but personally prefer to have the docs printed in a book form.

Akai MPD 24
Nice big book of documentation, a preset editor CD and BFD lite (an Acoustic Drum Module). One thing worth noting, the USB cable included in this one seemed the highest quality of the three. Not a big deal but just another sign of the attention to quality Akai has.

Korg padKontrol
Great documentation – believe me you’ll need it! Preset editor CD and the Creative Kontrol Pack (including Lounge Lizard Session, Ultra Analog Session, Live Lite 6 Korg edition, Reason Adapted, M1 Le, UVI Korg Edition, Pianoteq lite Korg edition.

Winner: Korg padKontrol

I realize that given the context of this review (ie it’s for digital DJs) then most of us couldn’t give a toss about the bundled software. But if you do then you get the most with Korg. Live 7 LE costs 122 EUR. For some reason Live are very secretive about their upgrade costs. To find out how much it would cost to upgrade Live 6 LE I would need to register the demo version I have – which would mean I would make the copy un-sale-able. Which would piss off the shop that lent me the kit. If anyone has any info on these costs it’s be great if you could share this with everyone in the comments as it might be a good economical incentive for someone wanting Live 7.

ROUND FIVE: EASE OF MIDI CONFIG

Just a note, as all these boxes are just dumb MIDI machines most of the work in MIDI config is done in the software and rests on how well it is implemented here. That said they each had their own hardware interface to adjust the MIDI settings and also offered different features, so it’s good to asses as to how useful these actually are.

M-Audio Trigger Finger
This was the only one of the three that did not automatically appear in my MIDI setup when I plugged it in, which means you need to install the supplied drivers. Once this extra step was done the MIDI mapping was simple as far as the Trigger Finger is concerned.

Akai MPD 24
My MacBook found this as soon as I plugged it in and setting all the controls to various functions was a breeze. It was so intuitive I even managed to adjust the range of the 360 knobs without scratching my head let alone even reading the supplied documentation. That’s really good as I can be a bit of an ape man when it comes to problem solving (see below).

Korg padKontrol
Not quite as intuitive, in fact I had to read and re-read the docs before making progress. Of course we all read the docs anyway 😉 so this was no issue. I was really intrigued as to whether the X-Y pad would make up for the loss of so many knobs and faders. I really struggled to set this up and sadly in the end gave up defeated – could be my limited patience combined with lack of MIDI know-how but either way it demonstrated that it was not easy (which is what I was judging this round on). A great thing about the Korg is the 16 bank pad controls – offering a huge 256 assignable pads! A hell of a lot more than you could possible think of what to do with. Also, did I mention that the pads flash? You can actually change the settings so you can decide how the pattern acts when you hit the pads. Why? I dunno, but it kept me happy for a few minutes.

Winner: Akai MPD24

The Akai appeared in my software as soon as I plugged it in and setting up and configuring the MIDI was dead simple.

ROUND SIX: LOOKS

M-Audio Trigger Finger
Compact, clean and simple this a a decent looking piece of kit. Though it doesn’t have killer good looks it’s functional and does away with erroneous decorations.

Akai MPD 24
So how does old George Foreman stand in the looks department? Stong, clean and simple and dare I say pretty stylish. Though slightly on the large size.

Korg padKontrol
This thing is mad as a hatter. If someone slipped this onto the set of Star Trek (the original series) it would look right at home. The plastic silver knobs seem a bizarre choice to me but not as bizarre as the mirrored plastic strip along the top. In the end it all comes across like an 80s shiny suit. Nor appropriate or functional. For me it’s not the flashing lights that make this unit tacky it’s the white and silver color scheme.

Winner: Akai MPD24

Yet again the mighty Akai leaves the other two battered and bruised at the end of this round.

ROUND SEVEN: PRICE

The following prices were taken from thomann.de

M-Audio Trigger Finger
159 EUR

Akai MPD 24
185 EUR

Korg padKontrol
185 EUR

Winner: M-Audio Trigger Finger

Just as we thought the Akai would sweep the floor the Trigger Finger pulls quick jab and wins this round. It is cheaper than the other two but at 26 EUR (40 USD) it’s not a huge amount cheaper, and possibly will not be a deciding factor in your final choice.

ROUND EIGHT: MIXING CHALLENGE

Here is a rundown of each controller in action with Traktor. I’ll be attempting a mix using solely the pad controllers! Which is gonna be interesting.

M-Audio Trigger Finger
This has everything you need to set up a simple mix. Although the reversed layout of the Akai lends itself a little better to DJ use (see below). It’s possible 4 faders would not be enough; deck A vol, deck B vol, crossfader, deck A pitch and – ah crap I’ve run out. Still, who needs pitch control with Traktor on a regular basis?

Akai MPD 24
I set this up with the faders acting as deck volumes and a cross fader. I still had three spare – I guess I could have set the pitch control. For the eight knobs I set gain, hi, med and lo for each deck. Using the 16 pads I set play cue, pause, sync, loop, cue 1, cue 2, cue 3, CUE track for decks A & B. This combined with a few mappings on my MacBook keyboard, up and down to navigate and left and right keys to load each deck, was enough to comfortably make a mix. A bit rudimentary I must admit but combined with a VCI-100 or even an external mixer (to free up the knobs and faders) this would be a great set up. For me the layout is spot on on this machine, I prefer having the knobs at the side and the faders on top than the configuration of the Trigger Finger.

Korg padKontrol
OK, this is not gonna work. Unless I map a pad to the auto fade (left/right)function – but really, who uses that? Did I mention it flashes? Oh yeah I did already. This is only gonna be useful if you have hundreds of cue points you wanna access and have the desperate need to use two effects at once with one finger (and the patience to set this up).

Winner: Akai MPD 24

This is turning out to not be the even competition I had originally expected. Easy setup combined with great built quality and fantastic ergonomics made the Akai a sure winner when it comes to performance.

AND THE OVERALL WINNER IS…

In case you had not been paying attention the Akai MPD24 kicked ass in every round that mattered in this smack down (6 our of 8). OK, it’s a bit more pricey than the Trigger Finger and it doesn’t have as much software as either of the other two but it’s built like a tank and really has a pro feel to it. It’s slightly bigger too, but not enough to make a difference in a DJ booth (which come to think of it probably does not have enough room for any of these options 🙁 ). Mmmm when do those Korg micropad things come available? I’m sorry Korg all is forgiven.

POST FIGHT WRAP UP

M-Audio Trigger Finger
This is slightly cheaper than the other two yet still durable and a worthy contender.

Akai MPD24
Don’t mess with this big fella it’ll kick your ass, then it’ll go kick your momma’s ass and your papa’s ass cos’ it’s that hard.

Korg padKontrol
I don’t know what to make of this. I love the flashing lights (I’m easily amused) but on the whole the padKontrol just feels wrong. It’s no where near durable enough to take out of the studio or living room. This is a real shame as it would make a great performance addition. If the pads were in the body of the MPD24 it’d be awesome. Why Korg chose to make it pearl white with tacky silver knobs and panels I’ll never know. Compared to the fantastic KAOSS pad 3 you’d struggle to believe they came from the same company.

Editors Notes:

Some big thanks are in order to Bill Griffin for taking the time to create this thorough and well done comparison. You can visit him on the web here. We would also like to thank the helpful staff from http://www.thomann.de/ who provided the 3 midi controllers reviewed here.

  • Sacco Svd

    I have a PadKontrol since 2004 and is still intact, working like a champ. No pad degradation either.

    Programming it is really easy.

    The X-Y is very useful on the studio, mostly on drumrolls such as cymbal, toms, snare and timpani rolls..

  • Obed Fraser606

    I feel like you bashed PadKontrol mainly for its lack of faders and knobs.  Besides that it is an AMAZING controller with so much functionality you’ll be spending weeks learning new things to do with it.  As for the faders and knobs, buy a nanokontrol and viola.  You have just successfully added 9 knobs and 9 faders (with 4 scenes so really 36 knobs and 36 faders) to your padkontrol setup and might I mention the nanokontrol is well, nano, its tiny and packs a punch.  And for 60 bucks US, its hardly gonna hurt your pocket.  Padkontrol + NanoKontrol > Akai mpd24.

  • Ivr_rest1

    don’t know the others but i’m a satisfied mpd24 user 

  • Ivr_rest1

    don’t know the others but i’m a satisfied mpd24 user 

  • Haz

    Get a padKontrol and spend a bit of time researching patches for it and different ways of connecting it to control different software, youll be impressed by what this little gadget can do with a bit of patients (whilst configuring it) and some imagination.
       Plus the X-Y pad with the use of the ‘hold’ feature makes it react similar to faders so i say go with the pad! Faders are for mixing desks, this padKontrol makes a great addition to the dj setup, as a nifty lil effects controller.
    Get one. Enjoy. Peace!

  • Haz

    Get a padKontrol and spend a bit of time researching patches for it and different ways of connecting it to control different software, youll be impressed by what this little gadget can do with a bit of patients (whilst configuring it) and some imagination.
       Plus the X-Y pad with the use of the ‘hold’ feature makes it react similar to faders so i say go with the pad! Faders are for mixing desks, this padKontrol makes a great addition to the dj setup, as a nifty lil effects controller.
    Get one. Enjoy. Peace!

  • Haz

    Get a padKontrol and spend a bit of time researching patches for it and different ways of connecting it to control different software, youll be impressed by what this little gadget can do with a bit of patients (whilst configuring it) and some imagination.
       Plus the X-Y pad with the use of the ‘hold’ feature makes it react similar to faders so i say go with the pad! Faders are for mixing desks, this padKontrol makes a great addition to the dj setup, as a nifty lil effects controller.
    Get one. Enjoy. Peace!

  • Dsadas

    STUPID REVIEW! MPD SUCKS, padkontrol IS MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER!!! DONT LISTEN TO THAT SHIT LIKE MPD IS BETTER!

  • Dsadas

    STUPID REVIEW! MPD SUCKS, padkontrol IS MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER!!! DONT LISTEN TO THAT SHIT LIKE MPD IS BETTER!

    • Ivr_rest1

      so, tell us why

    • Ivr_rest1

      so, tell us why

    • Ivr_rest1

      so, tell us why

    • Ivr_rest1

      so, tell us why

    • Ivr_rest1

      so, tell us why

  • Blogkilla

    I have owned a MPD16, MPD32 and currently I own a Korg Padkontrol (black). I used these controllers on hardware mostly a MPC1000 (in place of the deaddying pads). I returned the MPD32 because… well it was 300 bucks and the pads on the korg proved to be much more responsive than any akai pad, and as for MIDI implementation If you use HARDWARE then the korg is super easy, I use my Padkontrol on my MPC1000 I can do realistic shuffles and actually play with real nuance, Akai makes great stuff’ built like a tank but the pads on the MPDs are too stiff, the corners never trigger, and even with velocity settings I can never quite get them sensitive enough. I’m tired of taping up my fingers after a day of solid playing. the rubber on the Korg is smoother too. The Korg Padkontrol really worth the mony, M-audio makes complete trash.

    And The build quality on the korg is cheap… but not any more fragile than a netbook. i mean to say that I throw mine in a backpack with my laptop sometimes and it really seems fine.

    I think the Akia is a better product for sure (korg doesn’t even compare to Akia in the terms of a solid company making solid products), I’ll give you durability, and the quality sliders, but the Pads on the PadKontrol are by far the most pleasurable drumming controller i’ve ever used.

    oh yeah I cant let this slide either….The fact that the Korg didn’t have a security slot, is one of the weakest arguments EVER! Who cares if it has one of those.

  • sammsousa

    about the akai, the pads are the same on all mpd series right??? i want to get the 18, since i really just need the pads, dont need any faders and knobs, in my case the mpd 18 is the on to get right?????

  • sammsousa

    about the akai, the pads are the same on all mpd series right??? i want to get the 18, since i really just need the pads, dont need any faders and knobs, in my case the mpd 18 is the on to get right?????

  • Flik

    The reviewer failed to put in any info about probably what is one of the most important issues of these type of controllers, the sensitivity of the pads. i’m lucky enough to have used all 3. The Korg padkontrol easily has the best sensitivity even from the lightest touch to get those velocity differences in. With the MPD you have to whack the pads quite a bit harder, its even more noticeable when trying to trigger synth notes, you whack drums, but not a synth. Get the Padkontrol if you dont want finger fatigue. Don’t even bother with the triggerfinger, the pads are terrible and the faders are just ropey.

  • kilobytekaushik

    are the pads on the mpd mapable? the pads cannt send midi cc values that means i cant use it as a midifighter?

  • @itsYaBoyEd

    Any one using the Korg Pad Kontrol with Fruity Loops 9? I can’t seem to get the x/y pad to work with it.

    My friend has the MPD 32 and it’s a dope machine! But I find the pads on the Korg are much more responsive. It all depends on what you are going to use the controllers for, if you are just gonna be banging out beats then get the Korg because the pads are amaizing but if your planning on mastering and doing f/x with the unit then i would reccomend the mpd because of the faders and knobs

  • Paul

    I love your site and your reviews. I also would love a review on the sensitivity of the pads. I have a midid keyboard and an APC40, but unfortunately neither of these have a good feel as far as drum hits go. In fact that ia the only thing I am interested in as far as a review for drum pad controllers goes.

  • The pads on the Mpd 32/24 suckkkk. PadKontrol has the best pads out there.

    AKAIs new little pad basher the LPD8 has the best pads AKAI have ever done on anything. They’re about as good as the Korg PadKontrol. Much better than the bigger, more expensive MPD. I hope AKAI use the same technology on a new pad controller, say, LPD16.

  • Soul

    gr8 stuff man.. ive been checkin ur reviews for a while now … i want to know sumthin ( n its buggin me a lot ) The Glitch Mob Live Setup ? .. i dunt get what they are actually usingn how?? i mean i can understand the pads n stuff .. but what about that touch screen thing which is set-up diagonally on their sets .. i would really like to know abt that… thx n keep up the gud wrk cheers

  • I think the MPD would be better suited if you were using it for ad-hoc studio use, or if you’re live set was very simple.

    The Korg, although a bit more of a challenge to program, offers much more flexavility. If offers you up to 16 scenes to program, and you can program just about everything. Ive got scenes for different drum kits, some scenes for switching on and of effects, scenes for program/bank changes, scenes for running VJ software – list goes on. It also runs on two different ports which further enhances midi programing abilities. The X-Y pads and the two knobs might seem a litle more limiting than the MPD, but there is actually a very easy system to re-assign those to 16 different CC’s by holding the assign buttons and hitting pads, or hitting the setting button and switching through all 128 CC’s (and either ports) by simply the selection wheel.

    so if you need a lot of programing flexibility and already have other knobs and/or faders accessble, the korg is def the one. Akai is built like a tank, though!

    M-audio gear i generally find feels like a toy. The one thing the trigger has going for it though is pressure sensitive CC messages from the pads, neither of the others can do that.

  • … i think … akai is still mighty akai … thats all

  • My PadKontrol has a lock on it…at least, isn’t that what the slot on the far left (looking at the back) is? Great roundup, but I have to say you were a little harsh on the Korg…it’s a great controller. The flashy lights may not be the greatest selling point, but the XY pad and roll functions are great…now, if only it had more knobs and a few faders…:)

  • Seemartinbreak

    Does anyone have any input on the responsiveness or speed of the buttons???
    Can you compare to the vci led buttons or arcade buttons?
    Thanks!

  • ? ?? ??? ???-??? ??????? ??????? ??, ?? ?? ???? ??????? ???.

  • Thang

    For me i choose PadKontrol because of this:






    and more 🙂

  • Robbie

    Thanks for the review. I was curious about the three controllers you mentioned. I went to guitarcenter to pick up an mpd32, but the one they had was broken so I got an mpd24.

    Iv been playing around with it for about a week, and I love how the controls map natively with ableton 7. The faders and knobs are awesome. The one thing that gets me is the sensitivity of it. I have it set on the most sensitive setting, most sensitive curve model, and I still have to really hit hard to register a sound.

    Im thinking that since Im planning on purchasing the Akai APC40 (whenever that is, please ableton gods hurry up!…) that I dont need knobs and faders – what I need is a good drum pad. Your review didn't mention sensitivity of pads. Im actually going to return the mpd24 for the korg (dont yell at me…). I havent played one yet but from what iv heard they are a lot more sensitive.

    Ill let you know how it goes.

  • javier

    thanks for this… i was going to get the trigger becaue a friend has it, but once i tried it, didn’t like where the knobs were and the fact that they’re not endless y aalso felt that i needed more faders….. it is pretty solid though. i got the akai because everything was on the right place for me.

    Peace

  • john loco

    Trigger Finger does not need any drivers to install on OS X 10.5.*. At least, not on my MacBook with 10.5.6. Runs fine out of the box.

  • youtube.com/Flipstax

    that kid todds just madd that his korg controller sucks ass lol. of coarse we would all love to have the akai 5000 but not all of us can afford it. To me all these controllers seem very cheap,but thats because i have expensive taste. Since i am a software based dj all i really need is a controller, because i mix & master everything within the DAW. I am going to be pretty much using the controller for sampling, so the only question i have is , does the MPD24 have the same kind of feel that the original mpc's have ?? I have heard that it does from some people and that it doesn't from others. This is the only thing holding me back from buying it, can someone out there let me know whats good ? thx

  • skwrl

    So, one thing that really caught my attention was the mention of building one yourself. I've been looking through the site and found the very amazing HID diy project (the DJ 101), and was kinda curious about how one would go about making a pad controller. They are pressure sensitive, are they not?

    Could someone point me in the right direction? I'd like to try my hand at building one before I purchase one, as I am very much into the "break it first, fix it later" way of learning things… 🙂

  • C.J

    I need a bit of advice. im new into pad controllers and D.J´ing, and like to get my hands on one of these to start. I had my eyes on the korg PadKontrol before reading this section, but i´m not sure if the easy setup that de akai MPD 32 and the winning features , makes the korg PadKontrol seem less viable, and only atractive for its light pads. The only thing is that im gonna need that software that is provided with the korg PadKontrol, which seems to very nice.

    any help pls?….

  • David

    [quote comment=""][…] Finger Korg Padcontrol Akai MPD 32

    zu den dreien gibts hier nen ganz netten blogeintrag… http://www.djtechtools.com/2008/08/0…ler-smackd…

    __________________ :: file under >>> indie :: verkaufe DJM 700 – hier klicken um zur […][/quote]

    [quote comment="15946"]one more thing, the comments about the padKontrol being light weight and poor build quality are absolutely false! If anything the Akai is the poor quality build. Akia makes some really cheap crap![/quote]

    Are you on crack? Seriously. Or is it opposite day?

  • Ean Golden

    [quote comment="15946"]one more thing, the comments about the padKontrol being light weight and poor build quality are absolutely false! If anything the Akai is the poor quality build. Akia makes some really cheap crap! The features of the other two controllers are so basic. I have used all three of them also. Dont listen to the editors their wrong. Probably getting paid off by Akai? Get the Korg PadKontrol, you will be glad you did.[/quote]

    Hey Todd- just to clarify, no one here is paid by anyone. We are just djs trying to share our experiences with others. This review was written by an independent dj in Europe that wanted to test these 3 controllers on his own.

    Thanks for the feedback,

    Ean Golden

    editor

  • Todd

    one more thing, the comments about the padKontrol being light weight and poor build quality are absolutely false! If anything the Akai is the poor quality build. Akia makes some really cheap crap! The features of the other two controllers are so basic. I have used all three of them also. Dont listen to the editors their wrong. Probably getting paid off by Akai? Get the Korg PadKontrol, you will be glad you did.

  • Todd

    WHAT THE F?? BY FAR the PadKontrol is the most feature packed controller. The X and Y pad with Roll feature is amazing. This feature alone makes it a must have! Once you get into this controller it will let you do some amazing stutter glitch beats. The other two controllers are a waste of time!! So what if the padKontrol is light weight it is nice quality.

  • i've got to praise the AKAI MPD32. i've been using it since it's release in the spring and it takes everything up to a whole new level. it's very incredible and has replaced several other devices i was using in the past. it's the backbone of not only my laptop dj sets (when im not using traktor via turntables), production and live performance.

    it's built like a beast and the ergonomics simply couldnt be better. much much love.

  • FinB

    Thanks for a great review, Now I know which one I will be buying.

  • FinB

    [quote comment="Thanks for a greatr review, now I know which one I'll be buying"][…] Finger Korg Padcontrol Akai MPD 32

    zu den dreien gibts hier nen ganz netten blogeintrag… http://www.djtechtools.com/2008/08/0…ler-smackd…

    __________________ :: file under >>> indie :: verkaufe DJM 700 – hier klicken um zur […][/quote]

  • Eric

    I've got an akai mpd 24 and I'm running traktor 3 on a powerbook g4. I completely agree about the quality of this thing. It's got a nice heft to it. It's built like a quality piece of equipment should be. I've been using it successfully with ableton live but I can't get it to work with traktor. Can you shed some light on how to set it up? It registers as a midi interface in preferences but nothing happens when I try to map it to functions via the learn button.

  • abdul tom

    "combined with a VCI-100 or even an external mixer (to free up the knobs and faders) this would be a great set up"

    I play regularly with an MPD24 alongside and Xsession Pro and it works a treat. MPD is used for fx, finer looping, stutters etc, and on the second bank for triggering samples from ableton.

  • Thank you for this review! I've just ordered the MPD 24, because I think it fits to my needs best after reading throught this review!

    Good blog! Keep on writing!

  • What do you guy's think about this unit?

    Akai MPD32 MIDI/USB Software Control Surface

    I have the PadKontrol, but I might upgrade to this unit instead.

    Thoughts?

  • Niels

    haha

    oh DJ toss, your too much

    the akai has something that other controllers will never be able to achieve but I think the korgs for me

  • SpectR

    I've got the trigger finger. I use primarily for cue points on Traktor Scratch. It did something really trippy recently though. About a week ago, I hop on my tables, the Trigger Finger was left on, and I kid you not, the LED (which typically reads the midi value of the last pad you hit) read "6.6.6." In other words, don't buy the trigger finger, cause the goddamn thing is POSSESSED!!!

  • frank bash

    hey guys,

    i got the akai, it´s very easy to use it in traktor

    i use:

    drumpads for cuepoints, live looping, (you got 16 pads and 4 banks that mean you got 64 pads for traktor)

    knobs for the efx in traktor to control 2 channel efx

    faders i don´t use the faders, because i mix on external way, but i try it out for internal and you can use it for volume, pitch or whatever you want

    so keep on rocking the decks

  • Leon Sphinx

    MPD24 kicks ass. I have it and had the trigger finger. Trigger finger build was cheap and the interface is horrible.

    I want the MPD32 because I want the note repeat. You should have added it into the shootout.

  • tobamai

    I have a padKontrol. Like Jah Red mentioned, Native Mode is the unadvertised selling point for these things. It isn't widely used, but if you're into tweaking your setup and making custom control surfaces it's really cool. Native Mode gives you midi from every control on the pk and lets you set every light's state as well.

  • Luis Mondragon

    The Akai MPD24 rocks! It's solid, responsive, it works great with PH Reason and NI Battery

  • "Good article, but I feel it missed some of the day-to-day details and annoyances of using each platform. I’m sure the community can fill in the gaps!"

    Yeah, the article offers a (very) broad overview, as I can see from the comments, you guys have filled in the "gaps" that with a few days of playing I would never uncover. That's fantastic – thanks to all who added their thoughts and experiences! Even DJToS, cheeky bugger 😉

  • Frank

    I Personally own, a padKontrol and it is terrible. I dont recommend it for any one other then a Korg freak. The x/y is hardly assignable and it dose feel very cheap. But un like this review i think the akai is a lil big for live performance, my favorite is the Trigger Finger.

    -Frank DeLO

  • Soo jealous! haha i wanna play with these babies :p

    Cant wait to get my midifighter *drools*

  • Good one. Just, why don't you build one for yourself if the rotaries are not bank-able or the layout doesn't fit your setup?

    P.S.2author: You know, for comparison charts, people have invented tables.

  • Fatlimey

    Good article, but I feel it missed some of the day-to-day details and annoyances of using each platform. I'm sure the community can fill in the gaps!

    For example, the MPD24 allows you four banks of 16 pads using the four bank select switchs, but the faders and knobs only have a single bank – so you have rotary knobs controlling CCs that will never need a jumpless pickup… very odd design choice. The pads have velocity and gushing streams of aftertouch that can easily swamp any MIDI channel you put them on! Velocity sensitivity seems a bit nonlinear on the pads to me as producing velocities less than 65 is easy but reliably getting velocities over 80 is a bit hit-and-miss. Maybe that's just user error and I need more practice.

    Also, heads up for the MPD24 users, there's a new 1.10 version of the firmware that allows you you to reprogram the "play, stop, record" switches from MMC commands to simple CCs. Finally, you can use the MPD24 transport buttons to control Ableton Live!
    http://www.akaipro.com/contentmgr/showdetails.php

  • I have to agree on most of the points that suggest that the MPD24 is a really appealing controller, and consequently I bought it as my first pad controller for Live. Unfortunately for anyone wishing to send MIDI CC values instead of notes through the pads of the MPD24 in anything other than toggle mode you are out of luck.

    Basically, the MPD24 will only let you toggle full velocity changes if you map to a control parameter on an effect with the pad (press once the effect is on, press again the effect is off). This kind of thing is really hard to deal with when you are trying to play effects like beat repeat with the pads over a track. (which is all the cool stuff that you would want a pad controller for in the first place)

    I had to switch to the trigger finger to get velocity sensitive CC values out of the pads (i.e. hold pad to play effect release pad to release effect).

    I have been asked several times recently how to get the kind of performance functionality that i get out of a trigger finger on a MPD24 and without extensive dummy track programming (which will take a minute to figure out) the trigger finger is the better surface.

    Basically the Glitch Mob, Lorin Bassnectar, Uberzone, and many others choose to play with the Trigger Finger for a reason other than price. Before buying you should really make sure the surface that you choose is suited to do everything you want.

  • Mohan

    Does the MPD24 have a similar roll function like the padKontrol? I am trying to decide between the two pad controllers, and I'm picking up a Novation X-Station soon, so I don't know if the assignable faders will be a huge issue.

  • Jah Red

    As an owner of both the padKontrol and the Trigger Finger I personally like the padKontrol better for its pad response over and above the Trigger Finger..

    I have really gotten into the padKontrol in Native mode for controlling Ableton Live and Reason..

    Do a google search on padKontrol + Native Mode…

    wadada

  • ^Edit^

    Oh I totally forgot, the foot switch witch is ONLY on the padKontrol is an excellent tool for adding a quick level of control to the hole system. If you all remember, Ean actually added a pair of them to his VCI-100. Plus if you are making your own beats it can be mapped to the kick or hat.

  • WOO!! I KNEW MY FAITHFUL MPD 24 WOULD WIN!!!

    PROUD OWNER OF THE MPD24!

    A friend of mine lent me his trigger and I dJ'ed with it on a few occasions and it wasn't bad, but the akai certainly provides the room and comfort I so sorely needed for my sets.

    now i just use the borrowed trigger for extra knobs…

  • I own two padkontrols that I use along with my VCI-100. I bring them out with me to the clubs here and there and they stand up fine. I don't use them to flash, but keep them lit up, making them invaluable in the club. Also, keep in mind that the sensors are square, not round like the Trigger Finger, so you have equal response everywhere on the pad.

    Setting it up can be a bitch and a half, though. But when you don't need faders and knobs (I'd never use a pad controller to mix exclusively) it's great for the cost.

    And the flashing lights are fun.

  • Jason J

    I myself have the Trigger Finger. I really enjoy the controls. As well I do like the Enigma software it comes with in order to configure the controls.

    You may of wanted to add a OS compatibility round in there. This as far goes is my reservation about the trigger finger. Working with it in Windows Vista is just cause to become frustrated and pitch the piece of plastic out the window. How do the rest of the pads compare in various other OS.

  • Ya, I have to say I have a padKontrol and the look is ok by me. I'm running Tractor for control of cues and I like it just fine. The one thing I don't think was mentioned that I a curious about was the resolution on the faders and knobs. The padKontrol is not as high res on the knobs as I would like, so no Pitch Controlled mixing. But they do work quite well for FX. Also the X/Y is handy because I have it setup as a cross fader. Gives me a real hands on feel to cuts.

    Honestly I am thinking of getting the Akai as well. This would give me a station for mix controlls and buttons (Akai) and a station for tricks (padKontrol). The layouts would wor so well together beeing that the X/Y is on the left and the Akai knobs are on the right.

    I will say that if you are looking for one piece to get all or allot of you control from, it looks like the Akai is the clear winner. But if you have a controller system all ready (ie. VCI-?) I think the large number of pad pages gives the padKontrol the edge. I have a few different pages for controllerism. And then I have a few pages with difent musical keys mapped out for playing soft synths. It work really well if you are going for that sout of thing. Plus the X/Y is great for combined FX or filters. Plus, it light up. Silly yes, but a great performance piece. You can also find a few Monome mods for it that will turn it into a sequencer. Handy little tool.

    Well thats my just my thoughts. Thanks for the review

    JK

  • MPD32 rock too!

  • Chilly

    The Trigger Finger has 16 banks as well….

  • Argus

    great review, thanks a lot!

    although I do believe you're being a bit harsh about the PadKontrol's looks. I mean come on, it's pretty as a pearl!