akai mpd218 main

The MPD218 is a MIDI-over-USB pad controller perfect for producers, programmers, musicians and DJs 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 how to setup the MPD218 with the included MPC Essentials program.



  1. MPD218 Hardware Setup
  2. MPC Essentials Software Setup
  3. Virtual Instruments and Plugins
  4. Further Technical Support


MPD218 Hardware Setup
  1. Before opening the software!  Plug your MPD218 into your computer.  This will automatically power it on.
  2. Now press the PROG SELECT  button and hit PAD 5.  This will put the MPD218 into MPC mode. akai mpd218 mpcmode
  3. This is all you need to do with the hardware to set this up to work with MPC Essentials.
MPC Essentials Software Setup
  1. Launch the MPC Essentials software.
  2. Open the Preferences window in MPC Essentials.  In the Audio tab, choose your Audio Device Type and Device, which is dependent upon your audio interface.MAC:
    Select MPC Essentials > Preferences
    or use the key command shortcut - [Command + comma]

    Select Edit > Preferences
    or use the key command shortcut - [Control + comma]


  3. Choose the MIDI tab and add a check to the box next to MPD218 in the Active Midi Inputs box as shown in the image below.

    akai mpd218 pref

  4.  Select the Sync tab from the left side of the window.  Under the heading MIDI Machine Control (MMC) click on the boxes next to Receive and Send to add a check mark to each box.  Also, to ensure synchronization for functions such as the Noterepeat, choose MIDI Clock from the Send drop-down menu and the MPD226 from the To drop-down menu.  Press OK at the bottom of the box, and you are now done setting up the software to work with the MPD218

    akai mpd218 sync

  5. Press OK at the bottom of the box, and you are now done setting up the software to work with the MPD218. 


Virtual Instruments and Plugins


Adjusting the MPC Essentials Plugin Sources

Note for Windows users only: If you have difficulty locating a plugin in your VST folder within the MPC Essentials software, be sure the MPC Essentials program is reading plugins from the correct location where your plugin is installed. To do this:

  1. Mac:
    Select MPC > Preferences...
    or use the keyboard shortcut - [Command + comma]

    Select Edit > Preferences...
    or use the keyboard shortcut - [Control + comma]

  2. Choose the Plugins tab.akai mpk2 mpcessentials preferences 
  3. Add a check to the box at the beginning of one of the rows under the heading VST Folders, then click on the browse box akai mpk2 mpcessentials browse box at the end of that row to browse to your plugin installation location.akai mpk2 mpcessentials check
  4. Click on the drop-down menu to browse and then select the correct location of your plugin.  Press Open.akai mpk2 mpcessentials browse
  5. Click on Scan New, allow the MPC Essentials software to scan all plugins in the selected location and then press OK.


Default Plugin Installation Locations

Sonivox Big Bang Cinematic Percussion Default Installation Locations:


32-bit: C:Program Files (x86)SONiVOXVstPlugins
64-bit: C:Program Filesvstplugins


(AU): Macintosh HD > Library > Audio > Plugins > Components
(VST): Macintosh HD > Library > Audio > Plugins > VST




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.