Akai MPD218/226/232

Before we start

  • Make sure you've checked out the Installing Everything lesson because everything you need to know is explained there in general terms. I think this will give you a better starting point than only reading the instructions below.
  • Also note that while I list the QFG pad layout in the setup instructions below, I can recommend you watching the video in which I break down my pad layout as well. This will help you understand the reasoning behind the layout which I think is good to know for anyone studying with me. I also give some handy extra tips about optional MIDI CC modifiers and Cymbal chokes, so check it out!

Register, Install, Update

– Create an account on, register the device and then download and install all the software and firmware updates that they suggest.
– If you’re planning on changing the note value of the pads (only neccessary when your Drum Software does not support MIDI learn), you want to get the MPD218 editor. I recommend just following the easy guide below and not change the note value of the pads at all.

Linking sounds to pads

– With MIDI learn and Addictive Drums, the process is very fast and easy. Exactly as exlained in the Pad Layout lesson.
– Below is an Addictive Drums 2 guide. If you want to use other drum software, like Superior Drummer or Native Instruments Abbey Road kits, check out the special lesson about other software drumkits later on in this course!

Step by step guide with Addictive Drums 2

– Make sure Addictive Drums has your audio interface enabled and your MPD controller connected and enabled as incoming controller.
– I made the screenshot below with my RME Fireface audio interface and a Presonus Atom as controller, so that’s why you see those in the screenshot. You should see the names of your controller and your audio interface.

– Also, make sure the harddisk that you installed your Addictive Drums 2 kits on is plugged in, in case you installed the samples on an external HD.
– Now Press, Top right corner menu >> Map Window

– Navigate to the sound you want to select, press “Learn” next to it and then hit the pad you want to link to the sound.

– On certain (smaller) screen resolutions Addictive drums looks a little different and the “Learn” button is only an “L”.

– Go through all the sounds that way so you end up with this pad layout:

Low Tom
Mid Tom
High Tom
Cymbal A
Hi Hat
Open HH
Hi Hat
Cymbal B
Cymbal C

– Addictive drums has a lot of different choices to pick from within the “snare” and “hihat” categories. So just to be clear, here’s a list of the exact sounds I would pick for your basic setup if you’re using AD2.

– Kick: (just a kick)
– Snare: Snare Open Hit
– Sidestick: Snare Sidestick
– Hihat: Hihat Closed 1 Tip
– Open Hihat: HH Open A
– Ride: Ride 1 Tip or Ride 1 Bell (whatever you like, I switch a lot)

Toms from left to right: Tom 3, Tom2, Tom 1.
Standard would be open hit but I regularly switch to rimshot for sound.

Cymbals I just switch based on what I need. This changes from song to song, but it does not really matter what cymbal you put where in the beginning!

– You probably want to turn “Cymbal chokes on aftertouch” off for now. When enabled you’ll end up choking your cymbal hits accidentally a lot.

– Now save the map and set it as you default map when you boot up AD2, so you can immediately start playing next time.

That’s it, check out the troubleshooting guide later on in this course when you’re having problems!