AKAI Professional

Akai MPK2 Series - Syncing to External MIDI Devices


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Article updated 06-28-2017

 

akai mpk225 mainThe Akai MPK2 series controllers combine deep software integration, enhanced workflow, and core technologies from the iconic line of MPC workstations.  The MPK225, MPK249, and MPK261 are engineered to be all-in-one controller solutions for comprehensive interfacing and manipulation of virtual instruments, effect plugins, DAWs, and more. This article walks through how to integrate the MPK2 series controller with your external MIDI hardware.

 

 

Guide Contents
Video Contents

 

The Akai Professional MPK Legacy - MIDI Out

The Akai Professioanl MPK2 series controller builds upon the legacy of the MPK series controllers - and improves on it in many ways.  

One of the major updates to the MPK2 series is the increased flexibility to send and receive individual controls to an external MIDI device via the 5-pin DIN MIDI ports - whether the controller is being powered by the USB connection or with a 6V 1A pin-positive power supply (sold separately).

While the Akai MPK25, MPK49, MPK61, and MPK88 require a power supply (sold separately) in order to activate and allow MIDI information to be sent and received through the built-in MIDI IN and MIDI OUT connection ports, the MPK225, MPK249, and MPK261 do not.  In fact, the MPK2 series allows for each individual control to be assigned to an individual MIDI output.  The user can choose whether to send a specific control message to the USB output or the 5-pin DIN MIDI output regardless of how the controller is being powered.  This adds incredible flexibility for use in nearly any hardware/software scenario.
 

 

MIDI Output - Switching Ports
Switching MIDI Output - Individual Control Adjustment

When using a power supply with the MPK225, MPK249, or MPK261, all MIDI information is automatically routed to the MIDI Out port.  However, if you have both a power supply and a USB cable connected, and you would like to send some control information to the computer and some to your external sound module, the MPK2 controller allows the ability to route the MIDI information from an individual control to the port of your choice.

Nearly all the controls, including the keybed, knobs, faders, pads, and transport control buttons can be adjusted individually. To do so:

  1. Power on the MPK2 series controller, scroll to your preferred preset and press the PUSH TO ENTER button to load it.

    akai mpk2 midi 1
     
  2. Press the EDIT button.  Move or press the control you want to adjust, such as a knob, button, slider, or wheel.  This will change the item being edited in the EDIT window accordingly.

    akai mpk2 midi 2x
     
  3. Press the Right cursor button to view Page 2 of the EDIT window.  Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the field next to MIDI to DIN:  Use the Value Dial to change the MIDI to DIN field from Off to On.  This switches the MIDI output of your chosen control from the USB port to the MIDI OUT port.

    akai mpk2 midi 3x  red arrow  akai mpk2 midi 3xx
     
  4. Press the PRESET button to get back to the main preset window.

    akai mpk2 midi 1
     

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Switching MIDI Output - Adjusting All Controls Simultaneously

While basically any control on the MPK2 series controller can be individually adjusted as suggested above, the MPK225, MPK249, and MPK261 - when connected with a USB cable only or with both a power supply and a USB cable - can also automatically route all control information to the MIDI Out port instantaneously.  To do so:

  1. Power on the MPK2 series controller and press the PRESET button to view the main preset window.
     
  2. Use the Value Dial to scroll to Preset: 24 MidiOut and press the PUSH TO ENTER knob to load it.

    akai mpk2 midi all 2
     

That's it!  All controls have now been assigned to the 5-pin DIN MIDI OUT port on the back of the MPK2 series controller.
 

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Syncing - Transport Control, Arpeggiation and Note Repeat

Syncing the MPK2 series controller to the external MIDI device clock source takes just a couple of steps.  However, the settings you choose will ultimately depend upon your individual needs and the specific hardware or software you would like to sync with.  

To sync your MPK2 series controller, follow the steps suggested below:

  1. Power on the MPK2 series controller and press the PRESET button to view the main preset window.  Use the Value Dial to scroll to your preferred preset and press the PUSH TO ENTER button to load it.

    akai mpk2 midi all 2
     
  2. Press the EDIT button to view the EDIT window.  Press a Transport control button such as the STOP, PLAY or REC button in order to adjust the Transport control functions in the EDIT window.  
     
  3. Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Type: field.  Use the Value Dial to adjust the Transport Control type in accordance with the specific type of System Exclusive (SysEx) messages, ie. MMC, that your device requires for Transport Control.

    akai mpk2 midi arp 2x
     
  4. Once you have chosen the correct message-type for Transport Control, press the GLOBAL button to view the GLOBAL options window.  

    akai mpk2 midi arp 4
     
  5. Press the Right cursor button until the Clock Source GLOBAL window appears.  Use the Value Dial to adjust the Clock Source: option between Internal and External depending on your needs. 

    Note: For the MPK2 controller to receive clock information from an external source, a power supply must be connected.

    By setting this option to Internal, functions such as the ARPEGGIATOR and NOTE REPEAT will react according to the tempo of the MPK2 series controller.  By choosing External, the ARPEGGIATOR and NOTE REPEAT functions will react according to the external MIDI device clock, assuming the settings on the external MIDI device are set correctly.

    akai mpk2 midi arp 5a  red arrow  akai mpk2 midi arp 5b

    Note:  If the Clock Source is set to External, your sound module must be set to Play or Record in order for it to send Clock information.  If your sound module is not set to Play or Record, the MPK Arpeggiator and Note Repeat functions will not trigger any sound.
     
  6. Press the PRESET button to return to the main preset window.
     

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Arpeggiator - Setting Adjustments

The MPK2 series controller allows for a number of adjustments that affect the arpeggiation of the keybed notes you choose to play when you activate the hardware Arpeggiator.  For example, the order of the notes can be changed between playing from high-to-low or low-to-high.

This section of the guide walks through how to adjust the built-in Arpeggiator and what the different options do.  Remember, if you are synced to an external hardware device clock source, that device must be playing and sending clock information for the MPK2 Arpeggiator to function.

Note: For the MPK2 controller to receive clock information from an external source, a power supply must be connected.

 

To adjust the settings associated with the Arpeggiator:

    1. Power on the MPK2 series controller and press the PRESET button to view the main preset window.  Use the Value Dial to scroll to your preferred preset and press the PUSH TO ENTER button to load it.

      akai mpk2 midi 1
       
    2. Press the EDIT button to view the EDIT window, then press the ARPEGGIATOR button in order to adjust the Arpeggiator settings.

      akai mpk2 midi arp 2
       
    3. Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Type: field and use the Value Dial to choose your preferred setting.

      akai mpk2 midi arp type

      The different Type options are as follows:
       
      • DOUBLE:  Each Note sounds twice.
      • UP:  Notes sound from lowest to highest.
      • DOWN:  Notes sound from highest to lowest.
      • INCL (Inclusive): Notes sound from lowest to highest, then back down. The lowest and highest notes sound twice at the direction change.
      • EXCL (Exclusive): Notes sound from lowest to highest, then back down. The lowest and highest notes only sound once at the direction change.
      • RAND:  Notes sound in random order.
      • CHORD:  All notes of the chord sound together.

 

  1. Once you have chosen a Type, use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Range: field.  Use the Value Dial to adjust the Range between +0 and +3 depending on your preference.

    akai mpk2 midi arp range

    Range is the octave range of the Arpeggiator.

    For example, at +0, only the note being played will sound repeatedly.  At +1, each key being played will sound the original note and then the note one octave higher.  At +2, each key that is being pressed will play the original note, then the note one octave higher, and then the note one octave higher than that.
     
  2. Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Gate: and/or the Swing: fields and use the Value Dial to adjust either field.  The default setting for both is 50%.  Gate can be adjusted between 0% and 99% of the chosen Time Division setting and Swing can be adjusted between 50% and 75%.

    akai mpk2 midi arp gate swing
    • Gate: The length of the repeated notes in the chosen Time Division.
    • Swing: The slight shifting of the position of the various notes just off the beat.

       
  3. Finally, there is another Arpeggiator function to be aware of.  From the Arpeggiator EDIT page, press the Right Cursor button to view Page 2 of the Arpeggiator EDIT window.

    akai mpk2 midi arp 6

    The settings on Page 2 of the Arpeggiator EDIT window will affect the arpeggiation of your notes in the following manner:
     
    • Pattern: Determines whether the Arpeggiator will use the pattern shown in the Pattern Indicator (On) or not use it (Off).
    • Length: The number of steps in the Arpeggiator pattern. 
    • Pattern Indicator (Pattern Step) - The pattern at the bottom of the display represents the rhythm in which the notes will sound when Pattern is set to On.  A start (*) indicates a sounding note, while an underscore (_) indicates no note will be played.
       
  4. Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Pattern: field and the Value Dial to turn Pattern to On or Off depending on your preference.  
     
  5. Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Length: field and adjust the length of the pattern between 1 and 16 depending upon your preference.
     
  6. Use the Cursor buttons to enter the Pattern Step field.  Use the Value Dial knob to scroll to various locations in the pattern.  Press the PUSH TO ENTER knob to toggle between having a note in the pattern on or off.

    akai mpk2 midi arp 9
     
  7. Once you are satisfied with your adjustments, press the PRESET button to return to the main preset window.
     

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Note Repeat - Setting Adjustments

The MPK2 series controller allows for a number of adjustments that affect the Note Repeat playback of the pads when you activate the Note Repeat function.  This section of the guide walks through how to adjust the built-in Note Repeat function and what the various options do.  

Remember, if you are synced to an external hardware device clock source, that device must be playing or recording for it to send clock information to the MPK2, and for the Note Repeat function to perform correctly.

 

To adjust the settings associated with Note Repeat:

  1. Power on the MPK2 series controller and press the PRESET button to view the main preset window.  Use the Value Dial to scroll to your preferred preset and press the PUSH TO ENTER button to load it.

    akai mpk2 midi 1
     
  2. Press the EDIT button to view the EDIT window.  Press the NOTE REPEAT button in order to adjust the Note Repeat settings.

    akai mpk2 midi nr 2
     
  3. Use the Cursor buttons to highlight the Time Division:, Mode:, Gate: or Swing field.  Once the field of your choice is highlighted, use the Value Dial to adjust the setting according to your preference.  

    The fields affect the Note Repeat pad playback as follows:
     
    • Time Division: The speed of the repetition A  division of the master tempo.
    • Mode: Choose between Momentary or Toggle mode.
      • Momentary: Activates Note Repeat only when pressed and held. Deactivates when released.
      • Toggle: Activates Note Repeat when pressed once, deactivates Note Repeat when pressed again.
    • Gate: The length of the repeated notes in the chosen Time Division.
    • Swing: The slight shifting of the position of the note to just off the beat.
       
  4. Once you are satisfied with your adjustments, press the PRESET button to return to the main preset window.
     

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Additional Resources

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Further Technical 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