Akai’s New Pad Controllers: MPD218, MPD226, MPD232

Akai is has been a friend of producers and finger drummers since the release of their Music Production Centers (MPCs) in the eighties. Fast forward a couple of decades and the company gives the world a new, USB MIDI controller that changed the way artists perform. The MPD gave performers like Justice and The Glitch Mob a new way to play their sets live in front of the crowd versus mixing the tracks live on CDJs. The company discontinued the MPD series in 2007, but eight years later the company has revived the series with three new MPD controllers.

The MPD Resurrection

With the success of the original controllers, Akai recognized that producers enjoyed the layout and feel of the original MPD controllers. The 4 x 4 grid gave performers an easy way to play and the added faders gave them a way to manipulate the sound. That in mind, Akai decided to resurrect the controllers by using consumer research and user feedback to pinpoint the needs of the artists who would use the new MPDs. The new series comes in three different flavors with each unit incorporating a slimmer design, 16 thick MPC style pads, and iOS support via the use of a Camera Connection Kit (sold separately).

MPD 218 – $199

  • 16 Thick Fat Backlit MPC pads (48 Assignable Pads via 3 Banks)
  • Increased Responsive Experience
  • Six Control Knobs
  • Three Banks of Parameters; Total of 18 Controls
  • USB Powered (No Additional Power Source Required)

MPD 226 – $299

  • 16 Thick Fat RGB Illuminated MPC pads (64 Assignable Pads via 3 Banks)
  • Increased Responsive Experience
  • Four Q-link Control Knobs
  • Four Faders
  • Four Q-link Buttons
  • Three Banks of Parameters; Total of 36 Controls
  • A new 64 channel,  32-step performance sequencer
  • MIDI In/Out for External Gear

MPD 232 – $399

  • 16 Thick Fat RGB Illuminated MPC pads  (64 Assignable Pads via 4 Banks)
  • Increased Responsive Experience
  • Eight Control Knobs
  • Eight Faders
  • Eight Buttons
  • Three Banks of Parameters; Total of 72 Controls
  • A new 64 channel,  32-step performance sequencer
  • MIDI In/Out for External Gear

The new MPD2 Series will also include $400 in free software such as Akai Pro MPC Essentials, Big Bang Drums and Big Bang Cinema from Sonivox, Ableton Live Lite, and Software Preset.

Akai is aiming to bridge the gap between technology and creativity with these new controllers. The MPDs have been begging to be updated and now a whole new era of artists can find ways to innovate their live setup with one of these drum pad controllers. The new MPD2 series will be available in summer 2015.

AbletonAbleton Liteakaicontrollerscreative toolsdrum controllersdrum padsiOS supportjusticemidimpcMPDMPD 218MPD 226MPD 232MPD2music productionnewperformancePerformance controllersThe Glitch Mob
Comments (10)
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  • Cam

    Is it possible to use the MPD218 with Maschine?

    I have a axiom keyboard controller and if I try and load a kit in Maschine and press a key or pad it plays that sample or drum, but when I hit the next key to play the next sample or drum it doesn’t. It continues to play the first one but just a octave higher and continues to do that on every key I press.

  • Sven van Bavel

    Anyone tried mapping the mpd226 to traktor rmx decks? Especially as step sequencer with the 16 pads sounds interesting. It’s like 2 F1’s with the knobs and faders but only one 16 pad grid with bigger buttons and by using the banks you could chose deck C or deck D.

    As said especially with the step sequencer I can see nice possibilities. Anyone tried?

  • Alessandro Ratoci

    MPD 232 Is a clear example of marketing lie. I bought the MPD232 and found that AKAI falsely advertise the presence of 8 q-link knobs, and instead are only MIDI knobs with no q-link function enabled on MPC essential. They advertise one fact and then if you ask for question in the forum they reply with another, saying that q-link on MPC software is available only for MPC controllers. So, why they advertise q-link also for MPD line?. DON’T Buy if you hope to use Q-LINK integration in MPC Studio or MPC Essential….

    • I'm Brooks

      I have been trying to figure out how to most efficiently use MPD226 with MPC Essentials software. It is really difficult figuring this out.

  • Roger Bonner

    I am waiting for the Renaissance 2

  • djbp

    200 for a 4×4 grid seems expensive when you can get a maschine mk 1 for 200 and a maschine micro mk2 for 200 (used of course, but still). Not to mention the maschine pads will probably be better if these pads are anything like the ones on the keyboards. And if you are looking at the top of the line controller for 400, you are competing with brand new maschine mikro mk2s (and pushing the budget for like-new ableton push’s @ 500 all day)

    • Aken

      Exactly what I thought when reading the news. 50$ cheaper would make these controllers compete with NI and Novation. But we cannot complain about more controllers on the market ^^

  • Unreallystic

    Blame NI, blame Ableton, but the plastic look, just looks ‘cheap’ and ‘like a toy’ on those. The spacing on the buttons take away from the looks also. The pads look great and I’m sure they’ll function as well, but they need to step up the aesthetics a little to look more ‘grown’.