How to Connect an Akai MPC Drumpad with FL Studio

This tutorial will cover using an Akai MPD18 (which typically costs around $100) to sync with FL Studio version 10, though the specifics of these should not be too important. This is a classic piece of equipment that can be useful for drum patterns and sampling. Most of these have 16 pads that can hold drums, sounds, or samples that can all be used at the same time. This version also includes a note repeat button, a fader (which doesn’t seem to do much), and banks A, B, and C, which can be used to change the internal presets while playing. To ensure maximum volume and sound input, keep the full level button turned on.


1. Get it connected. Your drum pad should have come with a basic printer cable that allows you to connect it to your computer’s USB port. Open FL Studio and press F10 once this is connected.

2. Rescan. It will say rescan midi devices at the bottom of this menu. Your drum pad should now appear in the bottom screen of this drop down menu after you click on it.

(Note that this step is required each time you plug in your drum pad for the first time.) Check that the enable button is turned on.

3. In a blank pattern, insert the FPC application. To do so, press Shift, F4, and enter to make a new pattern. Then, right-click on a track and select Insert, then FPC.

4. Once in the FPC application, sync the external drum pad with FL Studio so that when you hit a pad, the software hits the same corresponding pad. To do so, first click on a square and then tap it on the external drum pad.

5. While in FPC, look for a tab next to a midi note labelled “C” or “F#” in the upper right corner (something of this nature.) Select last hit after clicking this option.

6. FL Studio will now sync with your external device. Steps 5 and on are optional if you only want to use the presets that came with your drum pad.


Part 1 Presets

1. MPD18 includes hundreds of preset patterns from 18 different genres. The preset drums are easily swappable, and you can add your own by deleting each drum layer until the pad is empty, then dragging your own drum sounds or samples into the desired pad. These can then be individually panned, layered, and volume controlled.

Part 2 Effects and editing

1. After you’ve added your FPC drum pattern to the playlist, you can change it in the piano roll by removing, adding, or rearranging drums. You can also change the velocity of a drum note in the piano roll by double clicking on it and then turning the velocity switch up or down. Because the pads are velocity sensitive, the velocity varies when you hit them. If you prefer to adjust the velocity manually, you can disable the velocity sensitive pads in the midi options by changing where it says velocity to none. ‘

Unfortunately, it appears that sending individual drums from the FPC to their own mixers is not possible. To add effects, the entire FPC must be sent to its own mixer. Many people prefer to add reverb to just the snare, so in this case, I would recommend using the fruity loops reverb 2 and then adjusting the high and low cut so that it does not affect the kick drum.

Part 3 Troubleshooting

If no sound is coming through, return to the F10 drop down menu’s midi options. Disable the controller, then re-enable it.

If there is latency (a delay between when you hit a pad and when you hear the sound in the computer), increase the sample rate slightly until there is no longer any latency.

Part 4 History

Roger Linn designed the first Akai MPC, which was manufactured by the Japanese company Akai from 1988 to the present. They were designed to be a powerful drum machine that allowed users to sample their own sounds.

There have been numerous models that differ in their ability to sample sounds as well as the various inputs and outputs that they provide.

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