If you like the idea of controlling your DAW using a miniature Akai MPC padset, the MPD range of USB MIDI controllers clearly deserves your utmost attention.
For the purposes of this round-up we’ll focus on the MPD26, which has 16 drum pads, laid out in a traditional 4x4 pattern, that can be switched between four banks to trigger a total of 64 different sounds. Six rotary knobs and six faders can also be assigned to send continuous controller data to your DAW.
The MPD26 features the exact same velocity- and pressure- sensitive pads as are used on the Akai MPC2500, so the overall feel is right on the money - great surface feel, great response. Solidly built, the MPD26 has an enviable pedigree, boasting the same core technologies that made the MPC range so successful. Not only does it feature the
essential Full Level and 16-Level buttons, but the note-repeat function even retains the classic MPC swing feel.
With a little tweaking, we were able to get the bank of transport buttons to operate the play, stop, fast forward, rewind and record functions in our test DAW (Logic Pro 9). This is a big bonus, as having transport control at your fingertips makes song navigation a satisfyingly hands-on experience while programming.
Six faders, six knobs and an effective total of 64 pads will probably be enough for the average e user, but should you need more in the control department, the MPD32 is the next step up, featuring eight knobs, eight faders and eight switches. For all-round playability, quality, features and value for money though, the MPD26 is a standout choice.
Find out more about Akai MPD26