Akai Intros APC20 Compact Ableton Controller – Novation Launchpad Killer

akai-apc202010 NAMM Show: Akai Professional has introduced the APC20 Ableton Performance Controller.

With the APC20, Akai appears to be going for Novation’s jugular, offering a larger array controllers at the Launchpads $200 street price.

“The APC20 is perfect for performers who like to customize their setup with multiple controllers, or just want a more compact setup,” said Adam Cohen, Director of Business Development, Akai Professional. “You’ll spend less time looking at the computer screen, using a mouse and keyboard with the APC20”

The APC20 will be available from pro audio and musical instrument retailers in January 2010. It has a U.S. Retail Price of $299.00 and an estimated street price of $199.00

Description:

Akai worked with software developer Ableton to create the APC20, the second control surface created by Akai Professional for performance with Ableton Live software. Like the APC40, adding the APC20 transforms the user’s experience from one of constructing tracks with a keyboard and mouse to composing and performing with a seamless, fully integrated hardware/software musical system.

The APC20 retains many of the APC40’s most popular features and capabilities, while shrinking the physical footprint and adding interesting new capabilities. The smaller size enables musicians to perform in less space and makes setting up multiple controllers and devices easier. Power users can use the APC20 in conjunction with an APC40 to expand their track and clip controls.

Like the APC40, the APC20 centers on its five-by-eight Clip Launch grid. This bank of multicolor triggers not only start and stop clips playing in Live, they also show cells’ status in the software – whether a clip is loaded or not, whether it is playing or not, record-armed status and more. Clip Stop triggers, transport controls and faders round out the control surface. Users can switch the APC20’s faders between volume control, pan, sends and three different user-mapped modes. A new Note Mode enables musicians to use the Clip Launch buttons to control virtual instruments and Ableton Live’s Drum Rack.

Because Akai Professional and Ableton designed the APC20 for use with Ableton Live software, the system is truly plug and play, although advanced Live users will appreciate that the APC20 enables them to remap every one of its controls to suit their own style.

14 thoughts on “Akai Intros APC20 Compact Ableton Controller – Novation Launchpad Killer

  1. As long as that grid is 9×7 if you squint, rather than 8×8, the Launchpad will have a long happy life. I hope I don't have to say why…

  2. As long as that grid is 9×7 if you squint, rather than 8×8, the Launchpad will have a long happy life. I hope I don't have to say why…

  3. Well, I predicted it in the MPD24 article 😉

    Still, this is kinda lame IMO. NO way is this a "Novation Launchpad killer", by far even. That role is up to the APC40. I'll admit; I am biased here owning and loving one. But still; the APC40 offers what you really would need with Live; a quick and responsive control /and/ overview of what you're doing without needs to push or tab stuff to switch screens or something. THAT is the advantage which APC40 has to offer (IMO).

    So; I'm jamming on my Casio keyboard while looking for a good sound in, say, Operator. THAT is where APC40 starts pushing its weight around; a mere turn on the knobs (or after quick selecting another knob bank) is enough to do that. I don't have to look on the controller to see where I am; I simply turn and continue to play or tune.

    But this bizarre contraption ?

    If they'd announce it as an extension for the APC40 then I could be milder. But this isn't something one should try to use as a mere stand alone launchpad or controller IMO. You can't even scroll through tracks or scene's! At least Novation has controller buttons on the side allowing you some flexibility to at least scroll through your workspace.

    This thing is IMO ridiculous. If you want a good Akai controller for Live you get the APC40. If you want a good controller in this specific price range (I suspect this to cheaper than the APC40) then get a Novation launchpad.

  4. Well, I predicted it in the MPD24 article 😉

    Still, this is kinda lame IMO. NO way is this a "Novation Launchpad killer", by far even. That role is up to the APC40. I'll admit; I am biased here owning and loving one. But still; the APC40 offers what you really would need with Live; a quick and responsive control /and/ overview of what you're doing without needs to push or tab stuff to switch screens or something. THAT is the advantage which APC40 has to offer (IMO).

    So; I'm jamming on my Casio keyboard while looking for a good sound in, say, Operator. THAT is where APC40 starts pushing its weight around; a mere turn on the knobs (or after quick selecting another knob bank) is enough to do that. I don't have to look on the controller to see where I am; I simply turn and continue to play or tune.

    But this bizarre contraption ?

    If they'd announce it as an extension for the APC40 then I could be milder. But this isn't something one should try to use as a mere stand alone launchpad or controller IMO. You can't even scroll through tracks or scene's! At least Novation has controller buttons on the side allowing you some flexibility to at least scroll through your workspace.

    This thing is IMO ridiculous. If you want a good Akai controller for Live you get the APC40. If you want a good controller in this specific price range (I suspect this to cheaper than the APC40) then get a Novation launchpad.

  5. OK; for the record; it turns out my previous comments about not being able to move around your workspace were a bit too hasty. Don't want to spout wrong info around so lets go on the record; that was blatantly wrong!

    In my defense though.. I looked at this thing as being a "half" APC40. On the APC40 the button "layout" is basically the same. To the right of the "color grid" you have your scene launch buttons, and below it the clip stop buttons (and in the lower right corner the "all clips stop" button.

    And here is where things get a little dodgy; below the clip stop buttons the APC 40 has the "track selection" buttons (the button row above the 24 smaller buttons at the bottom). I assumed that the APC20 was setup like this as well, thats a mistake on my part.

    That row of buttons turn out to be the cursor buttons. So despite of what I said earlier you /can/ move around in your workspace.

    Still, this does not change my opinion on the APC20. Not an Novation launchpad killer by far IMO, and not very useful as a stand-alone controller. Its probably best used in addition to an APC20. IMVHO.

  6. OK; for the record; it turns out my previous comments about not being able to move around your workspace were a bit too hasty. Don't want to spout wrong info around so lets go on the record; that was blatantly wrong!

    In my defense though.. I looked at this thing as being a "half" APC40. On the APC40 the button "layout" is basically the same. To the right of the "color grid" you have your scene launch buttons, and below it the clip stop buttons (and in the lower right corner the "all clips stop" button.

    And here is where things get a little dodgy; below the clip stop buttons the APC 40 has the "track selection" buttons (the button row above the 24 smaller buttons at the bottom). I assumed that the APC20 was setup like this as well, thats a mistake on my part.

    That row of buttons turn out to be the cursor buttons. So despite of what I said earlier you /can/ move around in your workspace.

    Still, this does not change my opinion on the APC20. Not an Novation launchpad killer by far IMO, and not very useful as a stand-alone controller. Its probably best used in addition to an APC20. IMVHO.

  7. i love the launchpad as everything has to be done without knobs / with memory + memoric switching per set . the apc20 is cool but can it fit in a gig bag? no. it is rugged? no. can it be dropped from 4.5 feet without breaking knobs? i doubt it. its like comparing the lambo sharpie to a 1985 vw golf – both will get you there but there are definitely preferences on either end. i choose the vw as old as i as im but operates perfectly with more miles than anyone elses vehicle with zer0 maintenance. say what you want but i know what works after 6ix hours demo testing and almost 6ix months live use.

    the only thing that can kill the launchpad is a 16 by 16 monome controlled by the mind. oh yeas – fruity loops is still stupid.

  8. You could totally use it as a stand-alone. Sure the launchpad has some cool things like mixer mode and whatnot, but the APC20 can do this as well. Maybe the way the APC20 handles it isn't as flashy, but I would much rather have actual faders. As for the APC40 vs. the APC20, they made up for the loss of knobs with the two user banks for the faders. If anything, you can just get a BCR2000, it's super cheap and there's more than enough knobs. I don't think you need to be so harsh on this controller.

  9. You could totally use it as a stand-alone. Sure the launchpad has some cool things like mixer mode and whatnot, but the APC20 can do this as well. Maybe the way the APC20 handles it isn't as flashy, but I would much rather have actual faders. As for the APC40 vs. the APC20, they made up for the loss of knobs with the two user banks for the faders. If anything, you can just get a BCR2000, it's super cheap and there's more than enough knobs. I don't think you need to be so harsh on this controller.

  10. The APC20 has one knob. The cue volume. If it broke, I'm sure no one would really miss it. As for dropping it, be careful. It's not that hard. I have had an MPD24 for years, and none of the faders or knobs have ever broken. And these do fit in gig bags quite nicely. I do it all the time.

  11. The APC20 has one knob. The cue volume. If it broke, I'm sure no one would really miss it. As for dropping it, be careful. It's not that hard. I have had an MPD24 for years, and none of the faders or knobs have ever broken. And these do fit in gig bags quite nicely. I do it all the time.

  12. Do you really expect to be taken seriously when you include numbers in words for numbers? That doesn't make you look cool or edgy, you just look like a total prat.

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