akai mpd218 mainThe MPD218 is a MIDI-over-USB pad controller perfect for producers, programmers, musicians and DJ's alike. Its intuitive blend of MPC controls and technologies mesh with easy USB connectivity to bring the feel of classic beat making into the world of computer music production. This guide walks through downloading, installing and using the included Sample Content. 

Guide Contents

Getting Started

Before diving into the sample content, you will first want to make sure that your MPD218 is registered to your Akai Pro account and you have the MPC Essentials software unlocked. For a complete walkthrough, please make sure to go through the guides below before continuing:

Mapping Out The Pads

Before opening the software plug your MPD218 into your computer. This will automatically power it on.

1. Now press and hold the PROG SELECT button and hit PAD 5 to select the MPC preset. This will ensure that the MPD 218 pads line up with the pads in MPC Essentials.

2. To make sure the MPD218 Note Repeat stays in time with MPC Essentials, set the MPD218 clock to External by holding down the NR CONFIG button and pressing PAD 15.

Important Note: When you hold down the NR CONFIG button, you'll notice that at least three pads light up. This is because there are three different Note Repeat settings that can be adjusted: Clock, Swing, and Time Division. Each pad will be labeled with its settings option.

  • To adjust the clock setting (External or Internal/Tap Tempo) choose either PAD 15 or 16.
  • To change the Note Repeat swing amount, choose a pad between PAD 9 and 14.
  • To choose the Note Repeat time division, choose a pad between PAD 1 and 8.

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Downloading and Installing the Content

Expansion packs are samples that are organized into drum kits. They’re formatted specifically for MPC and can be quickly loaded to trigger from the MPK’s pads. The MPD218 comes with 3 Expansion packs: 

  • Elements of UK Dance
  • Elements of House
  • Elements of Dystopia

1. To install an Expansion, log into your account at AkaiPro.com.

2. Go to the top right-hand corner of the web site and click on Sign In, you will be prompted to a new page to either Create a New Account or Sign In.

3. Click on your name at the top right-hand corner of the website and you will see a drop-down menu. Select My Account.

4. On the left-hand side of your Account page you should see My Dashboard. Go to the bottom of this section and select My Registered Products.

5. Scroll to the Software Download section. Under MPC Essentials Sound Libraries you’ll see Elements of UK Dance, Elements of House and Elements of Dystopia.

6. Click on Elements of UK Dance to download the installer packet.

7. Once the download completes, go to your Download folder. Mac users can double-click on the zip file to extract the installer. PC users, right-click on the zip file and select Extract All.

8. Once the file extracts, double-click the installer for your OS.

Mac users should select the DMG file.

PC users can run the Setup Application.

9. Follow the prompts to complete the installation. By default, The Expansion will install in the MPC content folder which will be automatically added to the MPC Essentials Browser. But, more on that to come!

10. For now, repeat this same process for Elements of House and Elements of Dystopia.

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Where to Find the Content in MPC Essentials

Once the content is installed there are a few different ways that you can access it from within the MPC Software.

The MPC File Browser

This is on the left side of your MPC software and is essentially the same as the file browser for your computer. You can use this to navigate your hard drive and find samples or files that you've stored anywhere on your computer, including your newly downloaded sound content. To find the content packs, simply click on the drop-down menu at the top and you should see them all listed there.

Once selected, you'll then see the browser fill up with the included content from that pack.

Important Note: To help you better organize and search through your content with the browser, use the filters at the top. The browser will only show files that match the filter selection. You can filter by Project files, Sequences, Programs, Samples or No Filter (shows all file types).

The Expansion Browser

This is a special browser that allows you to view MPC Expansion packs in an organized manner to more easily sort and browse through your samples. To get there select View > Expansion Browser at the top or click on the arrow icon in the bottom left corner of MPC Essentials.

From here you will see your new sample packs and their icons. Click on their icons to show the included content separated into full programs, samples (organized alphabetically) and sequences.

To load a sample or drum program, drag-and-drop the file on to the pads.

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What is included and how do I use it?

Each sample pack comes with a variety of different files:

  • Samples: These are the actual sounds and will be labeled as .WAV files. These are your kicks, snares, cowbells, synth stabs, etc. Drag this to a single pad in MPC Essentials and hit the pad to play and record the sound into your sequence. When you drag and drop multiple sounds across the pads you are creating a Program.
  • Programs: These are full collections of compatible sounds and will be labeled as .XPM files. This could otherwise be considered a drum or sample kit, or your instrument. When you load a program, you'll see multiple samples assigned across the pads. Now your samples can be played together and used to record a beat, otherwise known as a Sequence.
  • Sequences: These are the pre-recorded MIDI files that will trigger the sounds in your program when played back. To put it simply, this is your beat. These files will be labeled as .SXQ files and can be dragged over to the sequencer section (the grid area) to be added to your project. Most users will end up creating their own sequences with the sample and program content, but these can act as a good jumping-off point if you are just getting started.

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What's Next?

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.