Akai APC 40 mk2

Anyone familiar with the APC 40?

I would like to use it for live performances in conjunction with ableton live.

I make complete songs in ableton and I would love to create loops out of them and perform them live by tweaking effects. Is the APC40 the best choice to do this?

I just watched a video of Löffler performing for Cercle and I am in love with the controller (https://youtu.be/V2OCXiubvr0)

What do you think?

Back in my Ableton days I used the apc40 first edition all the time. It’s great to have a device that directly integrates with Ableton that you don’t have to map. Also check out https://nativekontrol.com/. Chances are that when you someday find a limitation of the apc, this guy figured out a way around it years ago.

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Kind of relevant, but Baths used(uses?) an MPD32 live with Ableton, always thought this was kind of interesting:


I’m still loving my first generation APC40! It’s great with a Push2…

How do you play live with it? What is nagging me about the apc is that I would have to look at the screen of my laptop if I want to know which settings are being affected by the turning of the knobs…

I think it’s the older APC 40 but @madeofoak makes wonderful things with it.
Anyway, that entire set is awesome.


I own and love the APC 40 mkII. I also use a Push 2 but I think the APC is less fiddly to use in a performance scenario.

I used the APC for an hour long ambient set last year (in a remote location where I didn’t want to bring a lot of stuff) and this was more or less how I set it up:

I had my set broken down into two banks of 8 channels. The first bank of 8 channels were for stems/clips/sequences…playable elements of a track. I made sure everything could be broken down to fit into these 8 channels because I did a lot of live mixing, and this way the faders were never misrepresenting the state of the mix happening in Live’s mixer. Color coding your clips helps identify what’s what on the APC grid.

The next bank of 8 channels were for field recordings/transitions/one-shots. I left the top row of encoders in User mode, and assigned them to the levels of the 8 channels of this type. This way I could mix sounds of this type in and out using the encoders, while the grid and faders were still locked in to the tracks and mix.

As for adjusting track effects using the 8 effect encoders off to the side, careful planning and creating audio effects racks is key. I found it very helpful to set up some automation in certain clips that would reconfigure my effects racks for that particular track.

Did I glance over at my laptop? Yep, occasionally, but I probably didn’t need to. It was off to the side.


I don’t play live with it, only studio…

I do still use the old apc40 mk1. perfect for live use, not my favorite in the studio. more of an instrument than a compositional tool maybe? anyway I can’t seem to quit it, it’s just so convenient and playable - especially the inclusion of the crossfader, something I love performing with but you rarely see on a controller. the faders are extremely easy to kill with even the slightest droplet of water, which means I now own like five half-working units. can’t seem to find anything else I particularly like though and now I’m so used to the feel of the encoders that other rotaries feel weird to me.


Do you know any tutorials or videos which could be useful? I am particularly interested in creating effect racks and mapping them to the APC in a big live set.

Hmm I can’t think of anything specific that I learned from. Most of my learning about this stuff took place long ago.

I know that Sonic State did a series of videos about performing with Live a few years back. I think you would definitely benefit from understanding how to set up (and switch between) device chains in the effect and instrument racks. Here’s a video from that Sonic State series that touches on that stuff:

Sonic Bloom is another site that has some useful tutorials:


I hope that helps!

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Do you have a video for that?? I’d love to see it

I don’t, sorry! But if you can imagine a nervous guy with a MIDI controller playing ambient music beside a pond in the Canadian prairies at 2 AM, then that’s pretty much the same thing. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for all your responses guys. I’d love to see this thread growing with some useful tips and tricks for the APC40…lately I’ve been thinking about the best way to trigger samples. How do you do that?