How to hook up an mpd18 with ableton

Written by seamus islwyn
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How to hook up an mpd18 with ableton
The MPD18 uses a USB cable to connect to the computer. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Hooking your Akai MPD18 up to Ableton Live allows you to control the digital audio workstation using this USB MIDI drum controller. Manually configuring a hardware device to control Ableton is a tedious and complicated process; fortunately, Ableton Live includes built-in configuration maps for many hardware controllers, including the MPD18. Once the MPD18 is hooked up to Ableton Live, you can use its MPC-style drum pads to control a Drum Rack instrument.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Plug one end of the MPD18's included USB cable into the USB port on the controller. Plug the other end into a free USB port on your computer. Double-click the "Live 8" desktop icon to launch Ableton. Click "Options," then "Preferences."

  2. 2

    Click the drop-down menu immediately underneath "Control Surface." Select the MPD18 from the list.

  3. 3

    Click the drop-down box under "Input" and select the MPD18 from the list. Do the same in the "Output" drop-down box. Close the "Preferences" window.

  4. 4

    Click the "Live Devices" icon on the left-hand side of the program window. Click the arrows next to "Instruments," "Drum Rack" and "Kit." Drag and drop a kit onto the channel labelled "2 MIDI." Ableton automatically maps the MPD18's pads to the samples in the Drum Rack.

Tips and warnings

  • To manually change the MIDI mapping, enable "Remote" for the MPD18 in the "Preferences" window, then click the "MIDI" button in the main program window and map the controls as desired.

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