Akai Mpd226 Review | The Mpc Has Gone Digital!

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drawing of a midi controller

If you are looking for a great MIDI-over-USB pad controller for your beat making, then you need to look no further than the Akai MPD 226.

This product has a blend of controls and special technologies that make it easy to connect your sampling drum machine styled pads to your DAW of choice through USB connectivity, making your production workflow seamless and fun.

In this Akai Mpd226 review, we have given this midi controller a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of this MPC sampling legacy.

Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls

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  • The sensitivity on the pads can be adjusted
  • Backlights on the pads can be changed according to your style.
  • Affordable price and great value
  • Get control over your DAW


  • The controls are smaller than other models
  • No standalone option

Akai Mpd 226 Review

There are several key features that make this USB pad-based midi controller unique, let’s break down what makes the Akai Pro Mpd226 an all in one solution for beatmakers and producers.

The unit has a series of 64 assignable pads, which are all accessible through four different banks, switch through them when playing and performing live, or access them while creating tracking in the studio on the fly.

Four vertical faders have been builtin to the controller which is all assignable, and the controller has four different Q-link knobs and Q-link buttons for easy access of EQ’s and Effects in the mix.

The  Mpd 226 comes equipped with 36 assignable areas, which are all accessed through three banks. There are 16 old schools, classic MPC pads, that have been reissued with new technology, that is illuminated with velocity and pressure-sensitive. These pads are called Thick Fat pads, and they are made to add comfort and stability to your playing time. Get that classic MPC feel, flow and style without the price tag.

Synch up the other outboard gear and effects with the MIDI in and out jacks that are built into the rear of the system. The controller is iOS compatible, and a Camera Connection Kit can be purchased separately to add to the technology.

There is an MPC note repeat, MPC swing, Full level, and tap tempo options. With thirty different presets, this pad based controller has configurations for almost all the most popular DAWs technology. Spend less time looking at the laptop and making edit with the DAW with a dedicated transport control built-in.

Perhaps the most exciting of the features is the included software: Akai Pro MPC Essentials, Big Bang Universal Drums, Big bang Cinematic Percussion, and Ableton Live Lite.

These features are not found in many of the other USB controllers on the market. In fact, Akai has made themselves stand out from the crowd with the multiple features they have added to their product. Later in this Akai MPD 226 review, we will discuss how other competitor’s products compare to the MPD 226 USB pad based controller.

Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls

When you stop to look at this midi drum controller, you might be like me. I was amazed at the level of technology that this controller has for such a small size and price tag.

If you enjoy creating your beats and remixing anthems, or just straight up making great music, then this is the pad controller for you.

Akai Mpd226 Product Overview

Overall, this product is a high-quality option for musicians, DJs, and others who enjoy playing around with beats and drums. It includes many special features that make it a great option for home or professional use.

It contains all the necessary equipment and software you need, but it also may expand should you decide to add to your collection. This midi controller also has many software options included, but you can purchase your own should you need it or want it. You look a little closer at all the other things involved with this pad controller, you will see just how amazing it is in comparison to other products like it.

We have given it a high rating for all of the incredible features and additional technologies that these products sports. If you are ready to give the music producing fun shot, then this is the product to help you get those results you are seeking. Any music lover, DJ, or music producer will find this pad controller to be adequate and incredible.

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Akai Mpc Style Pads

The pad section of this controller is beyond comparison. It is, in fact, the most important part of the drum machine-style midi controller since this is how all the music is made. This particular product is made with rubber pads that are thick enough to be comfortable for long hours of use.

They are also pressuring sensitive so you can get exactly the control you want. Another great thing about these pads is the ability to configure them to your personal touch. If you tend to have a heavy tap, then you can configure the pads to work with your touch. They can also be configured to work with the chosen software or hardware devices that you enjoy using.

The pads on this controller are also back-lit. You may choose your colors for the lights, which gives you more personalization than any other type of drum pad-based controller on the market.

You also have special sensitivity settings on this controller called gain, curve, and threshold. Each has their sensitivity, and you can use these to adjust the pads to your personal preferences.

Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls
  • Pro Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable feature-packed pad controller with 16 Thick Fat RGB illuminated velocity and pressure sensitive MPC pads
  • Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for 4 pad banks provides a total of 64 assignable pads
  • Assignable Control - 4 assignable faders, 4 assignable Q-Link knobs and 4 assignable Q-Link buttons with a total of 36 assignable controls accessible via 3 banks
  • Feature Packed - Classic MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, 16 Level, Full Level and Tap Tempo controls for immersive expressive performances
  • Comprehensive Software Suite Included - Ableton Live Lite, Sonivox Big Bang cinematic percussion and Big Bang universal drums
  • The MPC Production Experience - Includes MPC Beats Software complete with the finest features and essential production tools from the Akai Professional MPC Series
  • iOS Connectivity Covered - Control your iOS apps and open up a world of pad control capability using the Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)

The Controls

Every USB midi controller has a section for controlling the music and sound on your board. On the Akai Professional Mpd226, the controller section has been placed with the perfect spacing, so you don’t accidentally hit any buttons while using the pad section.

The controls consist of encoders or knobs, buttons, and faders. Each of these allows you the freedom to create new sounds during performances.

The controls on this newer model have been made slightly smaller, which not only gives you movement freedom, but it doesn’t take up as much space as previous models.

The knobs give you all the control you need without being too large. The buttons on the controller can be configured to your needs as well, and you can even save keyboard shortcuts as needed.

Ableton Live Software

The MPD 226 comes with some pre-downloaded free software. What’s not to love about that right? The software comes with an average music product software for free. It is called Ableton Live Lite, and many people use this software with different hardware devices to help product music of all kinds.

There are also two different software options for musical quality.

One is for drums, the Big Bang Universal Drums, and the other is for percussion instruments, Big Bang Cinematic Percussion. These three software options come with the Akai Professional Mpd226 controller, and you don’t have to pay an extra fee for the software either.

This drum pad midi controller even has an editor software attached, and it is amazing. It is intuitive, and it allows you to create mass changes as well as small changes. It has easy tasks, and many features that allow you to upload many different presets to the hardware without too much hassle.

Overall, this editor software is like gold from a mine, and it is something that many music producers look for when starting to create their own sounds.

How Does It Compare?

When you put the Akai MPD 226 up against other competitive products, it just exceeds all comparison. Not every product has the same features as the Akai MPD 226 and not every product is for everyone.

Luckily, we’ve done some of the work for you. Below, we’ve taken three different products and decided to compare them with the MPD 226.

We will be looking at the difference in features, and we will discuss who would best benefit from these different products. The Steinberg CMC-PD is a USB midi controller as well. It also contains sixteen different backlit pads on the surface, along with a rotary encoder and other controllers to help you get the music you want.

What it doesn’t have compared to the MPD 226 is the additional software that Akai gives with the purchase of their pad controller. This product is ideal for beginners who are just learning how to create different sounds with a controller like this.

Akai Mpd226 Alternatives 

The Korg NanoPAD2 is a USB pad controller like the Akai MPD 226, but it also doesn’t have the option to expand or use with the different software. However, you can use the Korg software which can be downloaded from their website. It connects to your computer through a USB cable.

This controller is great for any beginner or someone who wants to save money while trying out this technology. The price of this pad controller is great as well.

The Alesis Control Pad USB is a percussion pad controller, which explains why it doesn’t compare with the Akai MPD 226. It does not have the options that the MPD 226 has.

It has eight different pads and a limited number of controls.

It also doesn’t come with all the added software, but it does come with a FXPansion’s BFD Lite software.

You can use it with drum kit libraries, making this controller a great option for those who only want to use the drums to add intensity to

The Final Verdict

Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls

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Overall, the MPD 226 is a revolutionary USB pad controller. It is easy to adjust, easy to use, and the software that comes with it is second to none. If you are in the market for a pad controller, the Akai MPD 226 is the one to get.

With all of its features and added benefits, who wouldn’t want to choose this product. It has everything you need whether you are a beginner or a professional, and the price just can’t be beaten.

About the author

Daniel Douglas

Daniel Douglas

After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Daniel became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.