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Rating and Reviews: Akai APC40 Ableton Live

Turn your laptop into a performance instrument with Akai's APC40 Ableton Live performance controller. Its knobs, pads and faders mimic the Live workspace.

User Ratings
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Perfect for any type of use" submitted December 14, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: 2, I use turntables, Traktor and Cubase
Music Style: Hip Hop, EDM
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Sound: With The Akai APC40 I have total control over my sound, this product is simply amazing. I can manipulate numerous effect inside of Traktor with this piece of hardware. Feature: One of the most useful features in this product is the options to use different templates on the software you can map buttons to do a variety of different functions making it easy to have total control over traktor. Ease of Use: Overall the Apc 40 is an easy piece of equipment to master. If the user wants to use it with Traktor then he will have to map the buttons, or he can download an already made TSI file online. Either way the ease of using this product is simple. Quality: The Quality of knobs and buttons are at top notch on the APC 40. Never ending encoders on this piece of equipment are really reliable. Faders nice and sturdy, they don't feel cheap. Value: Absolutely worth every penny Manufacturer Support: I have not had any problems with this product so I haven't had to contact AKAI The Wow Factor: All of the awesome lights that light up look super fresh in a dimmed light club setting, that is one appealing aspect of the APC40 Overall: I'm planning on keeping this product for a long time, there are so many possibilities with it. Everyday i'm learning something new that I can do with it.
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"The beast that does it ALL !!!" submitted June 7, 2009

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: musician
Music Style: Electronica
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Sound: midi Controller. not a sound maker. Feature: comes with usb cord and power suply wich must be used to be powered. (it's a beast) . It's 17 inches wide by 14 inches long. It's bigger than I thought it would be. but now that I have it in my set up it really sits well with everything else. Ease of Use: Well, you have to have ableton 7 or later. I have ableton ver 5 and it does not reconize the mapping. One must map it out for itself. But It comes with vers 7 le. and I mean it's limited to what it can do. so anyways I downloaded ver 8...Unfreaking real....Wow it really makes things so easy. everything is so perfectly mapped out. Played with it a couple hours to get acquiented with both Ableton 8 and the Akai... they are a match made in heaven. Everything is very well spaced out on the controller. The mapping also can be over written to change the mapping it came with. Quality: Absolutely well made. this is not a kiddie toy. it's meant for a pro. the buttons have a strong pushback to them, the knobs are strong, the faders have a good feel to them. Built to last for many many many many...... gigs, sessions, tours, recordings. Value: Listen I have bought many controllers to control the software. One for the dj set up, one for the recording sessions, one for performances, so in the long run I believe this akai has just eliminated all them with one shot. So value wise, its really worth it to purchase one at the time since they just came out. Stop wasting money on others, if you use Ableton. because this puppy is really a compliment to the software. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had the chance to chit chat with them, been too busy getting to know my new companion. The Wow Factor: I'm so excited for now, that I really can't find other controllers that can do as much as this piece of equipment can do . I can not express "enough" how much this controller can do. I guess the only thing that maybe it might add in the future is some keynotes. ( it's a thought). but for now Overall: Overall I'm totally satisfied with the purchase. Absolutely no regrets. It really really really makes working with Ableton Soooo much easier.
27 of 28 people (96.43%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Buy it naow!!" submitted May 9, 2011

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: Digital Trance DJ
Music Style: Trance
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Feature: This has MANY MANY features that are extremely useful (Mainly in ableton) being able to map it out to any software that allows you to map midi functions. I use it in Traktor Pro 2 and I have to say it's pure awesome now that I have EVERYTHING in 1 controller instead of needing complex setups for controlling hotcues, effects, transport controls and other various aspects of djing software. Ease of Use: It's pretty straight forward till you start mapping when it becomes a bit much to get it mapped out correctly. Tried it in ableton and was impressed on how easy it was to learn what did what. Quality: HOLY CRAP BATMAN! This thing is HEAVY for all it is but my guess is that the metal bottom is what makes it heavy and also durable. The faders are a tad bendy though thats only a problem if you trip and hit one, bent it back and looks like it never was bent. The faders are STIFF but smooth like butter which is good while im mixing so I dont bump something and throw my mix off. The encoders are extremely smooth and sensitive but thats good, they dont rotate fast but nudging it will register. Value: If you dont have one GO BUY ONE! Its insanely cheap compared to other controllers out there that cost twice if not 3 times more with their quality. The Wow Factor: It's Biased since I love encoders and pads with tons of leds to show me what the software is doing so to me it was hawt as hell! Overall: There are somethings that could use improvement but overall I give this a "KickAss Product" (3dGame man =p)
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"Great Ableton controller" submitted October 20, 2013

By David Toma in Grand Blanc, MI
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Musical Background: I've been playing music for about 10 years and making electronic music since late 2012. Make music at home, never played live.
Music Style: Electronic, House
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Sound: N/A Feature: The main feature of this (for me) is the clip launch section. Not only does it allow you to launch clips, but it also allows you to trigger recording of a clip. This is great if you like to work fast. The second most important feature for me is the mixer. I can now control multiple tracks at a time, making it easier to get the best mix I can create. Some other useful features that I didn't expect, but are nice to have are toggling the metronome, record quantization, midi overdub, and tap tempo. Those are some of the great smaller features this controller has. A feature I really wish this had was a click-feel in the middle of the crossfader so I can easily put it perfectly in the center. This does not have that, sadly, which is kind of disappointing. Ease of Use: This controller is very easy to use. I have only had it for about a month and I have gotten used to using it. There isn't much of a learning curve, so it doesn't take very much time to get used to. Quality: The APC 40 is solidly built. However, some pieces are easy to take off, like sliders (especially on the crossfader) and the caps on top of the knobs. If you have ADD like I do, you like to fidget with things, and that is definitely a problem for this. I guess you could glue them on if you are extremely desperate, but that would be weird. Don't do that. Otherwise, though. This product is built like a tank. It doesn't really feel breakable at all, which I like. Value: This product is definitely worth the price. For all that it has, I am extremely happy with it. Overall: The Akai Professional APC 40 is a great Ableton controller. It is great for home recording if you want to be able to control Ableton without always using your mouse and keyboard. It is also great for controlling the DAW in live shows.
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"The Beast That Tames The Wild Music" submitted November 14, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Musician for 31 years. I DJ, Produce, Compose, and play Classical Guitar.
Music Style: Dubstep, Electro, Trance, Drum n' Bass, House, Classical
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Sound: This product does not generate sound. It is a MIDI controller. Feature: The must useful features are, well, all of them! It's like having a hands on, physical interface into Ableton Live's virtual interface. I run Ableton Live, but it feels like I'm playing an instrument, bringing back a much missed element to working with music. I used to own an Akai MPD32 MIDI controller which is also a fine product, however when working with Ableton Live they two controllers can't compare. The APC40 is designed to mimic Live's interface so well that it's a natural extension to it. Ease of Use: The APC40 is totally easy to use. If you're familiar with how Live works then you'll immediately understand how the APC40 works too. Quality: The product does appear to be of high quality, however its plastic casing does feel like a solid drop would crack it. That being said, the usable features such as buttons, knobs, and sliders do feel to be quite sturdy and will probably last a long time. It's not a toy. It's definitely made for performing professionals. I expect to get years of service from this device. Value: The price for such a high quality, feature rich device so appropriate for working with Ableton Live is completely reasonable in my opinion. If you can't easily afford its price tag then I strongly suggest saving up for it. It won't disappoint if you're an avid user of Ableton Live. Manufacturer Support: I actually haven't had to deal with the company at all. My product worked right out of the box and continues to work just fine. I have heard good things about Akai's support team though. By reputation they are very accommodating, and quick to resolve. The Wow Factor: The APC40 has a high level of appeal among the community of Ableton Live users. I know lots of people that already have it, and even more that are planning on buying one. I've been able to use Ableton Live for years without it and produce just fine, however the APC40 opens up a lot of creative freedom, and gets my hands away from my mouse and keyboard. Overall: I expect to be satisfied with this product for years to come. The only other controller I'm interested in getting is an 88 key weighted keyboard controller for being able to play in chords and melodies without having to use the mouse to add my MIDI notes.
8 of 9 people (88.89%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Fantastic piece of tech." submitted December 15, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
Overall
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Since I was 6.
Music Style: Electronic, classical, horror.
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Feature: Jam packed. Tons of useful features out of the box for direct use. Mapping in Ableton is a snap for custom layouts and with MAX/MSP for Live you can really dig in to some creative templates to increase your workflow. Ease of Use: Plug and play. Slight learning curve for newcomers to devices like this but after a few minutes - you're sailing. The layout is intuitive, although, I would have liked to see more space between the clip pads and the stop clip buttons as not to accidentally hit during a performance - this can be easily remedied with some mapping, however. Quality: One of the highest quality pieces I've owned. Rugged. The endless encoders are VERY solid with no wobble. The faders are "tight" but not stiff to move - which is nice for a volume fader. The crossfader is nice and loose so it is easy to do some trick finger work with scratching vinyl or controllerist scratching. All buttons and LEDs are bright, very responsive and not "squishy". Solid and durable. I'm quite impressed. Value: Feature packed with the ability to map to other DAWs. The Wow Factor: Get it. You will not regret it. Overall: One of the best pieces of tech I've used lately. Very satisfied with it's capability and I do not think I will find a suitable replacement for my DJ gig, controllerist gig or performance gig anytime soon.
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"ZOMG...click add to cart RIGHT NOW.. this thing is epic" submitted May 31, 2010

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Producer, DJ
Music Style: Anything in the electronic category... Trance, DnB, Electro, Dubstep
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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Sound: No sound, midi controller... 10/10 Feature: The controller has everything you could ever want. It was obviously made to go directly Ableton Live, and Akai has done a great job of making them work nicely together. It has record arm buttons, solo buttons, track activation buttons, pan knobs, 3 user sets of knobs that are all customizable, and a very neat layout for effect knobs. The buttons are not touch sensitive, and whilst using the controller, you can tell that its a good thing that they aren't. Activating and deactivating clips/sounds on Ableton has never been so easy!! 10/10 Ease of Use: It blew my mind at how easy this controller was to use directly out of the box. If you have a somewhat basic knowledge of how ableton live works and functions, then you can use this controller. Although there are many features that you may have to refer to youtube or the manual to learn, almost everything is very strait forward. 10/10 Quality: The quality of the product and how it was made is incredible. Its metal and feels very solid upon taking out of the box. The knobs and faders feel very good and have just the right amount of resistance. All of the buttons are very easy to press and not having them be touch sensitive allows the user to make less mistakes by pressing a button on accident. Everything is labeled neatly, and the lights are bright so you know when something is on/off or activated/deactivated. 10/10 Value: Honestly, when i watched the first youtube about the product the first thought that popped into my mind was "Oh fantastic, another amazing controller that i'll never be able to afford". But After looking through reviews, videos, and websites...I finally decided to get it over with and look at the price....... 300$? OMG. that is one of the most amazing deals i have ever seen on a product. The amount of features and possibilities with this controller is endless!!!! I believe this beast is worth double the price it is put at. (But shhhh lets not give them any ideas.) Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to deal with Akai yet, but I have heard from friends that they are helpful and quick. 10/10 The Wow Factor: Sex appeal, huh?.. This is like the 'sexiest' controller ever? The lights illuminate brightly, and the black makes it look very professional. The font is nice and clear, and it looks nice next to all of my other equipment!! Overall: I don't know how Akai is going to manage to upgrade this thing. It already has everything i could ever want. I think i'm going to be satisfied for a very long time with the apc40.
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"Ultimate control!" submitted June 29, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: I've been djing for 9 years and just started producing
Music Style: Trance, house, progressive, techno
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Sound: If you have the best soundcard, it will sound great with this. Feature: Comes with power acc. and copy of ableton. Ease of Use: Midi set up is easy. Quality: Made out of some tough plastic. The sliders and knobs are solid. It also has rubberized panels on the sides. Value: For this product I believe what I payed for it was completely worth it. Manufacturer Support: I have not contacted them. The Wow Factor: It looks beautiful with my whole set up. Overall: I use this product to dj. It was the best choice I ever made.
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"Akai APC40 Ableton Live Controller hooked up to Alesis QX49" submitted December 2, 2013

By Charles Tresca in Ukiah, CA
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Musical Background: I have been playing guitar for fifty years and currently perform in a duo, professionally.
Music Style: Jazz, Brazilian jazz, acoustic jazz, fusion jazz.
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Overall: I purchased the Akai APC40 with an Alesis QX49 keyboard. Both units came with Ableton Live software. Although I have to learn how to use all three (which can be complicated), I am seeing and hearing the benefits of my patience. The Akai APC40 Controller enables you to quickly operate the Ableton software. I believe the software offers an incredible capability to create, produce, and record a multitude of sounds having professional recording quality. I bought this combo to add more instrumental and tonal coloration to my music and bring additional instrumentation into my band in lieu of other musicians.
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"APC40 + Ableton = Awesomeness" submitted May 13, 2011

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Down Tempo, Trip Hop
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Feature: This product includes the usb cable as well as the power adapter. I haven't gotten down to the meat of this product but so far it's an amazing controller. If you're looking into this item, then that means you already know what it's for. This works effortlessly with Ableton. Everything you need to sequence your song is on the device. Ease of Use: Effortlessly, right out of the box i followed the quick start guide and I was working on it 5 minutes later. Quality: I haven't had the product very long but it seems stable enough. Everyone i know who has it hasn't complained once about poor quality or stability. Value: Definitely! The Wow Factor: Sexy! Overall: Overall this product is awesome. It works effortlessly with Ableton and within about 5 minutes, I was already up and running. I combined the APC with my MPK25 and it's amazing. There are a ton of tutorials out there also to help you get the most of the product. If you're serious about making music with Ableton this is one device you must have.
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"More satisfying than my last girlfriend of 5 years." submitted May 13, 2009

Daniel from zZounds
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ZZOUNDS CREW REVIEW
Sound: Its a controller, has no sounds of its own. Feature: I give it a 9 for features, because I still need one other MIDI controller in my rig to do everything I need as a DJ. Ease of Use: Its so intuitive, they dont even come with a manual. (But it would be nice if they did.) Quality: Very solid, built well. Value: RIDICULOUS!!! After seeing the Ableton Touch video, I expected this thing to be 2-3 times more than the cost! Manufacturer Support: Closed on the weekends.. they got back to me first thing Monday morning from a call on Sunday afternoon. I got the first shipping of the first generation. Out of the box, the global play, global record & global stop were mapped to their buttons, as well as to 3 of the buttons in the first column in the clip launch matrix. A 2 min phone call, and a 3 sec fix in the software. (Just delete the global midi mappings, dont remap them and save your new template.) Great support so far. The Wow Factor: I have been drooling over this piece of gear for about 4 months now. Any Ableton user might be doing very well with their current rig... this was made for Ableton. Not only that, but it replaced two pieces of MIDI gear in my own rig. More work with less gear... who dosent love that? Overall: I will probably use this until is no longer functionable, and order a new one. Unless my company really takes off and I can afford a Lemur.
15 of 16 people (93.75%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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