This guide will provide you with an easy to follow introduction to setting up an Akai MPK mini with Ableton Live. Make sure to connect the MPK mini to a USB port before opening Ableton Live. The example below was performed using Windows XP and Ableton Live Lite Akai Edition, Version 8.1.3.
If you would like to install the Ableton Free Trial to follow along visit the link below.
Set MIDI Preferences in Ableton Live for the MPK mini and use the MIDI Controller with an Ableton Live Instrument.
- Navigate to the Options menu and to Preferences.
- On the left-hand side of the Preferences window that opens, select the MIDI Sync tab. The MPK mini may be seen as USB Audio Device, USB Audio Codec or MPK mini under MIDI Ports. For the Input line under MIDI Ports, turn on Track and Remote. Close the window when finished.
- Next, on the left hand side of the Session View select Live Devices, load the Impulse preset labeled, Backbeat Room. The preset will load to a MIDI Track when double-clicked.
- At the bottom of the MIDI Track labeled Backbeat Room click on the Monitor/Arm button to activate MIDI input to the track. The Monitor/Arm button will be red when activated.
- The MPK mini keyboard and pads now send MIDI note data to Ableton devices in armed MIDI tracks. Trigger samples in the Backbeat Room preset with the MPK mini. Now we will MIDI Map and utilize the MPK mini pads and knobs. In the upper right hand corner of the Ableton Live interface enter MIDI Mapping Mode by clicking on the button labeled MIDI.
- In the MIDI Track labeled Backbeat Room click and select the Pan knob.
- In the MPK Mini, rotate the knob in the upper left hand corner to map the knob function to Ableton Live’s Interface.
- Click and select the upper-most Clip in the MIDI Track labeled Backbeat Room.
- On the MPK mini, press Pad 1 once to map the pad function to Ableton Live’s Interface.
- Click and select the Stop Clip button in the MIDI Track labeled Backbeat Room.
- On the MPK mini, press Pad 2 once to map the pad function to Ableton Live’s Interface.
- In the upper right hand corner of the Ableton Live interface click on the button labeled MIDI to exit MIDI Mapping Mode.
- MPK mini’s Pad 1 will now control the recording and launching of a MIDI Clip in the preset labeled Backbeat Room. MPK mini’s Pad 2 will stop any Clip currently recording or playing in the preset labeled Backbeat Room. In the upper left hand corner MPK mini’s Knob will pan the stereo image of the MIDI Track labeled Backbeat room.
Congratulations! You are now making music with your MPK mini with Ableton Live. If you are in need of additional instruction for Ableton Live several resources exist in Ableton Live; from the Help menu, Help View will provide several lessons and tutorials, like learning how to setup your audio hardware or learning how to setup your midi hardware. A detailed overview of all Ableton Live program functions and instruments can be located from the Help menu, as well. The link titled, Read the Live Manual.