Akai MPK Controllers - FAQ

AD61 topWe know - you love your MPK.  We do too!  We also know that there are a lot of questions on how to utilize the MPK to its fullest extent.  So we put our heads together and created a list of often-asked questions and answers about the Akai MPK series controllers and here is what we came up with!

You've got questions?  We've got answers!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I update my firmware?

The feature set of the MPD and MPK products generally will not change over time via Firmware updates, and reinstalling the firmware is not recommended as a troubleshooting method for any specific difficulty. Do not attempt to erase or install firmware if your controller is not fully recognized by your computer.

If your MPK is displaying an error message that refers to the firmware, please contact Akai Professional Technical Support to connect with a tech support specialist who can help you get back up and running.

Also see: Akai MPD and MPK Series - Updating the Firmware

 

How do I reset the MPK to its factory settings?

If you need to restore the default presets on the MPK49, MPK61, MPK88, MPD26 or MPD32, perform the following:

  1. Press the PRESET button.
  2. Scroll to the first preset, LiveLite, and press Enter.
  3. Then repeatedly press the > key until the screen reads FACTORY DEFAULTS.
  4. Next press Value Knob down (like a button) to confirm your preset selection.
    Your presets will now be restored to their factory defaults.

 

Why do the keys and pads on my MPK send out MIDI signal but the transport controls do not?

When using your MPK as MIDI controller to trigger sounds from an external sound module or from a program on a computer, the MPK can send various different types of MIDI signals.  By pressing the Edit button on the MPK and then pressing a Transport Control button, such as the Stop button, you can access the type of MIDI signal the MPK sends out in reference to its Transport Controls.  With everything else set up as it should be, be sure to choose the correct Transport settings for your gear.

  • MIDI - Some applications and devices respond only to MMC messages, while some respond to transport control functions via MIDI SysEx or MIDI CC messages.  Often this choice is used when controlling software and not hardware.
     
  • MMC - An acronym for MIDI Machine Control, this is most often used to send transport control messages to other hardware machines.  For example, pressing Play on the MPK controller sends an MMCPLAY message to a connected multi-track recorder - which would then begin playing.  When Stop is pressed on the MPK, the multi-track would also stop.
     
  • MMC/MIDI - This choice sends out both MIDI and MMC messages.  If you are connecting and/or syncing multiple applications and devices which accept and respond to different types of transport control messages and you need them to work simultaneously, this is the choice to use.  For example, if you are trying to sync an MPK with an MPC and Reason at the same time, you want the MPC and Reason both to Start and Stop when you use the transport controls on the MPK.  Reason responds to MIDI messages and the MPC responds to MMC messages.
     
  • CTRL - This choice sends out a Continuous Controller Message.  Pressing PLAY will begin transmitting MIDI Beat clock (Timing Clock). Pressing STOP, while playback is engaged will cause the MIDI Beat Clock messages to stop transmitting.

 

Why would I need an external power adapter?

When the controller is powered via the optional MP6-1 power adapter alone (and is not connected via USB), the MIDI Out jack functions like it would on a stand-alone (non-USB) keyboard or MIDI controller. Any MIDI generated from the keys, pads, or controls will be sent out the MIDI Out jack.

However, when the controller is connected to the computer via USB, the MIDI In and MIDI Out jacks on the controller become inputs and outputs for the computer. The advantage of this is that in this situation, its like you have a USB MIDI controller, and a separate 1-in, 1-out USB MIDI interface.

So, when the controller is connected via USB, and you want to get MIDI from it's keys, pads or controls to an external MIDI device connected to it's MIDI Out jack, the signal needs to go into the computer and get routed (by your software) back out USB Audio Device (2) (or AKAI controller (2) on the Macintosh) to the controller's MIDI Out jack, and on to your external MIDI device.

 

How do I sync the MPK to my DAW?

There are so many DAW's out there in the world today that are changing at such a rapid pace, that it is near impossible to create a single guide that will take you through every sync setting needed for every program.  However, there are some basic steps that can be outlined in order to set your MPK to be synced to nearly any DAW that allows it.

The settings listed below for the MPK are nearly universal.  As for the settings within your specific program, we have included the steps necessary in order to sync an MPK in Propellerhead's Reason 5 so you can see an example of the sorts of steps necessary to sync the MPK with a DAW.

MPK Hardware Setup
  1. Connect the MPK USB connection to a rear USB port on the compatible computer. This will power the MPK as well as allow MIDI information to pass to the computer.

    Note: It is not recommended to use a USB port located on a keyboard or a computer screen as these ports often do not provide enough power to run the MPK. It is also not recommended to use a USB hub. However, if you choose to try using a USB hub, we recommend using a powered USB hub with its own dedicated power cable.
     
  2. Next, set up the MPK to be able to send MIDI clock information to Reason so they will sync correctly.
     
  3. Press the PRESET button to access the MPK preset options. Turn the knob labeled “PUSH TO ENTER” until the Reason preset is available in the MPK LED window. Press the “PUSH TO ENTER” knob to choose the Reason MPK preset.
     
  4. Press the Global button on the MPK. Now press the > button until the MIDI CLK screen appears. Turn the knob labeled “PUSH TO ENTER” to set the MIDI clock to INTERNAL.

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  5. Press the Edit button on the MPK. Next, press a transport control (such as the STOP button). This brings you to the Set TRNS screen.
     
  6. Press the knob labeled “PUSH TO ENTER”. This brings you to the Setting screen.
     
  7. Turn the “PUSH TO ENTER” knob until the Settings screen is set to MMC/MIDI. Now press the “PUSH TO ENTER” knob again.

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  8. Finally, press the PRESET button to get back to the main menu and allow tempo control.
    The MPK is now set up to send Master clock information as well as MIDI and MIDI transport control messages to your DAW software.
     
Software Settings

Installing the Reason Remote Files (Controller Preset Files)

Both PC and Mac must have Reason version 3.04 or later installed in order to use the included Akai Reason Remote Files and for the playback controls to work with Reason.

The latest version of Reason will have most or all Akai MIDI Controller preset files pre-installed. If you have the latest Reason version installed, or can update to it, the installation of the Reason Remote Files may not be necessary.

Windows XP
  1. Download the AkaiReason Remote Files from the Akai product page at www.akaipro.com. Find the updated Reason Remote File download under Downloads and Documents and download it. Follow the steps suggested in the Installation and Setup Instructions included with the download to install the update (see below).
     
  2. The Akai Reason Remote Files folder contains two folders: Lua Codecs and Maps. Open the Lua Codecs folder.
     
  3. Copy the folder titled Akai into the following directory on your computer: C:\Documents and settings\All Users\Application Data\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs.
     
  4. Next, in the Akai Reason Remote Files folder, open the folder titled Maps.
     
  5. Copy the Akai folder to the following directory on your computer: C:\Documents and settings\All Users\Application Data\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps.

 

Windows 7 / Vista
  1. Double-click the Computer icon on the desktop, then double-click Local Disk (C:).
     
  2. Towards the upper-left of the window, select the Organize menu, and choose Folder and Search Options.
     
  3. At the top of the window that opens, select the View tab.
     
  4. In the list titled Advanced settings double-click the Show hidden files and folders option.
     
  5. Click Apply and then click OK. The Folder Options window will close.
     
  6. Download the AkaiReason Remote Files from the Akai product page at www.akaipro.com. Find the updated Reason Remote File download under Downloads and Documents and download it. Follow the steps suggested in the Installation and Setup Instructions included with the download to install the update (see below).
     
  7. The Akai Reason Remote Files folder contains two folders: Lua Codecs and Maps. Open the Lua Codecs folder.
     
  8. Copy the folder titled Akai into the following directory on your computer: C:\Program Data\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Codecs\Lua Codecs.
     
  9. Next, in the Akai Reason Remote Files folder, open the folder titled Maps.
     
  10. Copy the Akai folder to the following directory on your computer: C:\Program Data\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps.

 

Macintosh
  1. Download the AkaiReason Remote Files from the Akai product page at www.akaipro.com. Find the updated Reason Remote File download under Downloads and Documents and download it. Follow the steps suggested in the Installation and Setup Instructions included with the download to install the update (see below).
     
  2. The Akai Reason Remote Files folder (the same folder where you found this guide) contains two folders: Lua Codecs and Maps. Open the Lua Codecs folder.
     
  3. Copy the folder titled Akai into the following directory on your computer: Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\CODECS\LUA CODECS.
     
  4. Next, in the Akai Reason Remote Files folder, open the folder titled Maps.
     
  5. Copy the Akai folder to the following directory on your computer: Macintosh HD\Library\Application Support\Propellerhead Software\Remote\Maps.

 

Reason Settings

Lastly, set up the Reason software to receive Master clock, MIDI and transport control information from the MPK.

  1. Start Reason and choose the Edit option from the top toolbar. In the drop-down window that opens, choose Preferences.

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  2. Once the Preferences window opens, choose the Keyboards and Control Surfaces page from the top drop-down menu.

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  3. Within the Keyboards and Control Surfaces window, choose the Add button to create a new control surface.

    In the Control Surface window that opens up, choose Akai as the Manufacturer and the MPKcontrol surface that you have as the Model.

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    In the same window, ensure that you choose your MPK in the menus labelled In Port and Out Port. You will likely see multiple choices within the drop-down menu, some which may refer to MIDI ports as the picture below shows.

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    Choose the first option – the MPK – and not any of the other MIDI ports. In this example, we have chosen the Akai MPK61 because that is the MPK we have connected to the computer via USB. Then press OK.

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  4. Back in the Preferences window, choose the Advanced page from the top drop-down menu.

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  5. In the MIDI Clock Sync section, change the Port to your MPK device. You will likely see multiple choices within the drop-down menu, some which may refer to MIDI ports as the picture below shows.

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    Choose the first option – the MPK – and not any of the other MIDI ports. In this example, we have chosen the Akai MPK61 because that is the MPK we have connected to the computer via USB.

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  6. Close the Preferences window.
     
  7. In the main Reason toolbar, choose Options from the top of the Reason window. Scroll the mouse cursor over the Sync option and then choose MIDI Clock from the window that appears.

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    Reason is now set up to receive MIDI clock information as well as Transport and other MIDI information from the MPK! Your Akai MPK and Reason are now Sync’d!

 

Further Product Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Pro technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.

www.akaipro.com/support