Akai APC40 Controller For Ableton Live

2009 NAMM ShowAkai Professional announced the APC40 Control Surface – a sexy new hardware controller designed specifically for Ableton Live. Akai Professional partnered with Ableton to make the APC40 an optimal Ableton Live control surface.

Because Akai Professional and Ableton designed the APC40 specifically for using with Live, you won’t need to map or configure its controls. If you want, though, the APC40 will let you remap every one of its controls.

The APC40 communicates bi-directionally with Live, so the controller can display information from Live on its clip matrix of 40 triggers and on LED rings surrounding each knob. The clip matrix provides you with an instant view of clip status: what is loaded, what is playing and what is being recorded.

The APC40 has two sets of eight knobs: one for Track parameters such as pans and bus sends, and the other for instrument and effect parameters. The second bank of eight knobs is dynamically re-assigned to the track selected by the user. This unique capability enables performers to control at least eight track parameters per track – a total of 72 – using the same eight knobs and the nine track-selection buttons. Channel faders, bus faders and a crossfader enable smooth control of key values.

Akai has not officially announced pricing and availability yet.

Check out the details below, and then let us know what you think!


  • Designed in partnership with Ableton
  • Unique clip matrix with multicolor lighting displays current clip status
  • No mapping required for use with Ableton Live
  • Exclusive bidirectional communication between the APC40 and Ableton Live
  • Professional feel with rugged, metal chassis and premium controls
  • Comes with Ableton Live Akai Professional APC Edition, free upgrade patch for full versions of Live
  • USB plug-and-play connection for Mac and PC
  • Premium controller with rugged, metal chassis


  • APC40 Ableton Live controller
  • USB Cable
  • Power Supply
  • Software CD
  • User Manual

Akai APC40 Resources

8 thoughts on “Akai APC40 Controller For Ableton Live

  1. It’s like Akai looked into my brain and made my dream controller.

    I tried the MPD32 recently and found it a fairly solid controller in terms of usability with Live, but I’m glad I didn’t spend the cash. I was launching clips with the finger pads, and using the sliders for track volume, and the knobs for various effect controls. It was all pretty sweet aside from requiring a fair bit of screen checking when things got complicated, to be sure what exactly was going on in terms of clip playback.

    The APC40 looks as though a user may be able to perform a solid set without having to refer to his/her screen; one of my ultimate audio fantasies realised!

  2. Nickygee – the Akai is very nice and has a great feel, too.

    There’s a lot of competition coming coming for Ableton controllers, though. If you can, you may want to wait a few months so you can compare them.

  3. Looks fabulous, although there is one style of play that it isn’t suited to, which is that of a traditional DJ playing nearly full tracks – there is no way to simultaneously control bass/mid/treble. For instance, it’s a frequent-used technique for a DJ to bring down the bass in one track while bringing it in on another. For me, I would have welcomed fewer clip slots and a dedicated per-channel set of assignable knobs (3 or 4) to allow for this type of control. As is, you’ll need to adjust two EQ params in steps, which might be a bit odd to get used to. As a progressive house DJ, it’s unfortunate that the Numark Mixmeister control might be better suited for me. All told, though, the price point is right, and should be a huge hit – if I have the cash, perhaps I’ll just get both! The Vestax VCM-600 is MY ideal controller (almost exactly like my current MIDIBOX homebrew) but it is at a ridiculous price-point.

    One other suggestion that people can try (I did, and it works great) is the inexpensive Behringer DDM4000 mixer. This mixer is also able to assign most of its controls to MIDI, allowing you to map CC Midi commands to ableton features using the learn features in AL6/7. It works suprisingly well in this capacity when used with BOME’s midi translator and MidiYoke (these allow the mapping of some ableton features that can not be assigned to MIDI but CAN be assigned to a keyboard shortcut). You send a midi command to Bomes, which outputs a series of KB commands in response.

  4. @aegis
    assign the dj eq plugin on each channel u want that eq and when u select a device it is assigned to the device knobs, or if u want to assign 2 tracks to the same knobs u could even invert one set so when u turn up the band on one track it goes down on the other.
    ur right this is not a great set up for 2deck stlye playing but I think they accomplished a hands on for their “clip view” styling of djing. if abletons new partnership w/ serato comes out that will more likely be platers. selecting clips at will for vinyl like manipulation will would be wicked sweet!

  5. This is amazing. I agree with the first poster. I was like hey, I need a ableton live controller and bam – there was one made for it. Not outrageous or hard to config, or midi map correctly. Some would argue its playsckool now – but nah its time to focus on creating not mapping. Thanks Akai ! ! 2 thumbs!

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