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I have an Akai LPD8 pad controller. But it's not doing me any good.

Does anyone have any advice on using this neat little thing?

I have been evaluating Reaper, and I have Tracktion3 (which is less than great, especially on Windows 7 64-bit). But I can't figure out how to:

  • use the pads as triggers for sounds - especially drum sounds
  • use the knobs as controls for faders - or any parameter

Has anyone had any success using this gizmo in either of these fashions?

I have the Tracktion3 Ultimate Bundle, but most of the software is so old that I can't find support for it online. Is there anything out there I can use to make it into a drumset?

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1 Answer

I'll answer for Reaper since that is what I use.

The LPD8 sends out MIDI controller messages. The first thing you need to do is to ensure that your DAW is receiving those messages. In Reaper, go to preferences and make sure the LPD8 is enabled as a MIDI in device.

Enable MIDI in

To use it to control drums, select Track | Insert Virtual Instrument on New Track... and select your drum sampler plugin. For example, I have selected ToonTrack EZ-Drummer here:

EZDrummer in REAPER track

The important things to notice compared to simply adding an empty track are that it has set up four things for you:

  • the drum sampler has been added to the fx bin
  • the track has been armed for record
  • MIDI All devices and all channels has been set for input, so it will receive the MIDI from your LPD8
  • Record Monitoring has been turned on (so you will hear the noises made by the drum sampler)

The next step is to ensure that your LPD8 is sending appropriate messages when you hit the drum pads. It can be configured to send many different message types, so you might need to refer to the manual and use the supplied software, but I strongly suspect that there will be a factory bank that sends MIDI note on messages for the most common note numbers that drum samplers are mapped to (e.g. kick drum = 36, snare = 38, closed hats = 42 etc)

The second part of your question, to use the knobs to change parameters, you need to investigate a feature called MIDI Learn (which most DAWs support). This lets you tell the DAW which controller on your keyboard you want to use to control a specific parameter. Here's a tutorial on using MIDI learn with Reaper.

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Thank you for the detailed and clear answer! I will try this as soon as I get a chance! –  gomad Apr 29 '11 at 15:08
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