Home MIDI Controllers Akai MPD 18 Compact Pad Controller | BETTER ALTERNATIVE?
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Hi there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we talk about the Akai MPD18 Compact Pad Controller, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Who this pad benefits?
  8. What you will need?
  9. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  10. Consensus/Conclusion
  11. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

Akai MPD 18


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  • Presets: 16
  • MIDI: 16 Channels Over USB
  • Trigger Pads: 16 (Velocity & Pressure-Sensitive)
  • Faders: 1
  • Switches: 1
  • Connectivity: 1 USB Port
  • Compatibility: Mac and Windows Compatible
  • Power: < 100mA, 5V DC via USB
  • Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 1.65″ (255 x 205 x 42 mm)
  • Weight: 1.76 lbs (0.8 kg)


The MPD 18 midi controller is a pretty convenient and affordable solution to your beat-making cravings. What is MIDI? It’s about as bare-bones as it gets, and there’s nothing too spectacular about using it. While I liked the convenience, I didn’t care much for its pads. They are kind of hard and not quite sensitive enough for my liking. I felt like I really had to pound them hard to get any sort of reaction.


  • Convenient.
  • Easy to use with FL Studio.
  • Affordable.
  • Heavy duty. Not likely to break.


  • Pads aren’t soft enough.
  • Pads aren’t sensitive enough.

Video Review

Who this pad benefits?

Works well with:

  • FL Studio
  • Logic
  • Reason

What you will need?

Nothing much besides a DAW of some sort. I use FL Studio.

Setting it Up

It’s pretty simple to set up.

  1. Plug it into your computer via USB.
  2. Your PC should recognize it as the MPD18.
  3. Open FL Studio.
  4. Go to Options > MIDI settings. This should be roughly the same for each, whether you’re using Pro Tools, Reason, etc. You just need to find the MIDI settings.
  5. Your device should show up. If it doesn’t, find where it says “Controller Type” and look for your device. If it still doesn’t show up, click where it says “Re-scan for MIDI device.”
  6. Click the yellow button that says “Enable.”

Assigning sounds in FL Studio:

  1. Go to Channels > Add One > FPC
  2. Drag a sample from your folder onto one of the pads. If you have sound packs, they will be under your browser on the left-hand side in FL Studio. If you’re dragging samples, refer to this guide on how to sample in FL Studio. The basic concept is the same whether you are using the MPD 18, The KORG padKONTROL, or something similar.
  3. Click the pad that you assigned the sound or sample to.
  4. Press the same pad on your MPD.
  5. Click next to Midi Note in the upper right-hand corner. Whatever note you played will appear (C3 for example).
  6. A big rectangular box will appear. Go all the way to the right where it says “last hit.”
  7. Click the pad to make sure it’s assigned!

Check out this helpful video (saved my butt!)

The Cut by feature:

The Cut By feature.

A really powerful tool inside FL Studio is the Cut by. After you’ve assigned sounds to your pad, they may overlap when you trigger them with your finger, leaving you in a heap of frustration. All you want to do is bang out those samples but if every time you hit a pad, the same note plays, then you’re in for a headache! The cut by allows for extreme flexibility and control. The solution is to change each of those values to 1. Voila! Now make some magic happen baby!

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • The trigger responsiveness is just so so. You may experience delays in the trigger hits as well as ones that simply don’t register.
  • This is a bare-bones unit. There’s not much in the way of knobs or faders.
  • Without the full level button on, the pads don’t respond well. Even with it on you will still have to bang them pretty hard.
  • If the pads are slow to respond, you can adjust the buffer length or sample rate (Hz) inside of the audio settings. I personally did not know about this but others have tried it with good results.


Affordable pad with a durable feel. Pads themselves aren’t the greatest.

Final Word

This is a decent pad, but not decent enough for me to make it a recommendation. I’ve had the KORG padKONTROL since 2007, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s been a staple in my studio for years. In fact, after the main knob broke on a flight to Europe, I had it replaced because I love it that much. It’s an all-around better unit than the MPD18 because of a few marked differences. The pads are more sensitive and they light up (a cool bonus), it’s got more features, and it just looks cooler. Lol. Interested in learning more? Check out:


Interested in a how-to guide on sampling in FL Studio?


Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion of the Akai MPD18 Compact Pad Controller.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please Contact me!!

What do you think about the MPD18? What about the padKONTROL? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,





Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!


Akai MPD18


Build Quality


Ease of Use





  • Durable
  • Easy to Use


  • Pads aren't sensitive
  • Pads are too hard

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