Review: Akai APC40 MKII Ableton Live Performance Controller


Hey what’s good fam!

Back with another review for the Ableton Live users.

This time I’m checking out the APC40 MKII

Let’s check it!

So what is the APC40 MKII? 

APC40MKII_angleIt’s the latest version of Akai’s flagship performance controller for Ableton Live.

The APC40 gives you total control over your Live session clips as well as track volume, arm, solo, mute, and even crossfader assignment.

In addition to session control you also get direct control over your device knobs and macros, as well as pan, send, and even a user mode for setting up your own controls.

Of course you also get transport control, tempo, session navigation, and a built in cross fader for performance.

Everything about the APC screams Ableton Live, the the new version is much sleeker than the previous, it also has RGB clip pads and doesn’t require an external power supply.

Quick Specs

So what’s the bottom line? 

As an Ableton user I was always interested in the APC series, I just never actually got my hands on one, one reason is I felt I didn’t have enough room!

Well the APC40 MKII is a much sleeker design that can fit in many more situations than the previous one. Beyond that, I really wanted to check it out for the direct track control/mixer layout.

Everything just works, no setup needed and more importantly there’s no manual needed, it feels like Ableton, so if you know Ableton then you know this controller.

4andhalfsubsI give the APC40 MKII 4.5 out of 5 subs, it’s a purpose made controller that feels like a seamless extension of Ableton’s session view plus added control over devices, tracks, and transport options. 

The only thing I found myself wishing for was the addition of digital scribble strips above the clips to show track names (one above the devices to show the device being controlled would be nice too, maybe even for each knob!), and a couple of extra buttons like undo/redo and a duplicate or copy button.

Since I use this in a production situation and not a performance, those extra buttons would really be useful, maybe even a delete button for quickly deleting clips from the controller.

However, even without those things, I found myself totally comfortable with this controller and it quickly became an extension of my Ableton workflow. I can totally see how beneficial it would be to a live performer, being able to quickly assign tracks to the crossfade channels is dope, and of course direct access to clips and scenes, with each clip having the same color as those in your session, really makes the workflow quick without having to stop and think about too much.

Of course, you know my wish is for them to merge the APC with the MPK and make a sexy Ableton Live workstation controller….a man can have his dreams yes?

Go on over and read more about it:

Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think about the APC or my suggestions for the next one…maybe even the controller hybrid I’m obsessed about 🙂


  1. Thanks for this review Sj, I agree with you on the thing’s that could have been added, but over all this looks like something that would fit my work flow… many controllers so little time.


  2. SJ: Thanks for the inside look. Akai continues do bring consumers wonderful products and from your review the APC40 MKII maybe a future purchase. The price is good too. I’ll give it a 4.0/5.0 rating.


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