Akai Pro MPD218 - How to Download, Install, And Unlock the Included Software

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The MPD218 is a MIDI-over-USB pad controller perfect for producers, programmers, musicians and DJ's 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 downloading, installing and authorizing the included MPC Essentials, Big Bang Drums and Big Bang Cinematic Percussion.




  1. Plugging in the MPD218
  2. Registering the MPD218
  3. MPC Essentials Software Download and Installation
  4. Big Bang Drums & Big Bang Cinematic Percussion Installation Walkthrough
  5. Authorizing Your Big Bang Plugins
  6. What's Next?
  7. Further Technical Support.



Plugging in the MPD218

The MPD218 is a class-compliant MIDI device. A class-compliant device is one that doesn't require extra drivers to connect your Windows or Macintosh computer. Class compliant devices use drivers which are built into the host (i.e. the computer) operating system. 

  1. Begin by connecting the MPD218 to a free USB port on your computer. We recommend going into the back of your computer, as this is closest to the power supply. This will provide the most power necessary to the controller for optimum performance. 

  2. After connecting the controller to your computer, Windows will install the driver necessary for the MPD218 to communicate with your computer.



Registering the MPD218

  1. Launch your web browser, and go to akaipro.com.

  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and underneath My Account, select login or create to login to or create your account.

    MPK Mini MKII account

  3. After your account has been accessed, you will be presented with a page that says My Products and My Product Registrations. Your registered products and related software downloads will be listed below.

    My Product Registrations

  4. We will want to select Register a product now to register.

    Register a product now

  5. Next, you will be presented with a screen to enter your information and register your controller.

    Product registration

  6. Select the MPD218 from the dropdown menu

  7. Make sure you enter the serial number exactly as it appears on the bottom of your controller.

    Important: Neglecting the "(21)" and failing to capitalize the "A" will result in a rejected serial number.

  8. There is no software version for this controller, so this field can be left blank.

  9. Include your purchase date and place of purchase, then select Register Product to complete the registration.



MPC Essentials Software Download and Authorization

After successfully registering the controller, you will be presented with the serial numbers and download links for the following software:

  • MPC Essentials - This is the main software that will allow you to put together sounds and samples to build drum programs and beats, or to play the provided plugins.

  • Big Bang Drums & Big Bang Cinematic Percussion - These are your VST plugin instruments. These are drum plugins that can be run and played with your MPD218 in MPC Essentials. Follow the instructions later in this guide for information on how to install and use these plugins.

  • MPC Essentials Sound Content -The Elements of UK DanceElements of House and Elements of Dystopia are packs of samples, sequences and programs that can be used to create your own beats. Each pack comes with it's own installer. Once installed, you will see the content available from your browser on the left side of the MPC Essentials software.


Start by downloading and installing MPC Essentials:

  1. To install MPC Essentials, scroll down and find the latest version of the software available on your account page. Select the download for Mac or PC depending on your operating system. In this example, the latest version is "MPC Essentials 1.8.2 Update." Even though the download is labeled as "Update" this will still install the full version.

    MPD218 reg

  2. After the download is complete, we will need to extract the files before installation. To do this, make sure you have an unzipping program installed on your computer and right-click in the white space of the folder in which the download is stored. After doing this, select Extract All... to extract the files. Make sure you remember this location so we can retrieve it afterwards.

    MPKMiniMKII extract

  3. After the files are extracted, double-click on the installer to run the setup. If you downloaded the latest version as described above this should be labeled Update MPC Essentials.

    MPKminiMKII Installer

  4. Follow all of the prompts to proceed with the installation. If you receive an error stating "Update Error: You do not have MPC software installed on your computer," click OK and the software will proceed as normal.

  5. Before the software installation begins, a window will appear and ask what software you would like to install. You will only need to click Install to the right of MPC Software to install MPC Essentials for your MPD218. Follow the prompts to install the software.

    MPKminiMKII software

  6. After the installation is completed, you will be prompted to unlock your software. Select Unlock Now to continue.

    Welcome to MPC

  7. To unlock the software, make sure you're entering the serial number for MPC Essentials found within your Akai Professional account. This will be a 15-digit code containing a mixture of capital letters and numbers, preceded with a "(21)".

    mpd218 MPC essentails dnld

  8. You will want to make sure you're entering this number exactly as it appears in your account. To make the process easier, we recommend copy/pasting the code from your account into the software. Fill in the rest of the information and select Unlock Now.

    Unlock Your MPC 5

  9. After this, you will see a box saying you've successfully unlocked your MPC!

    Your MPC is unlocked

Congratulations, you have successfully installed the latest version of MPC Essentials!


Big Bang Drums and Big Bang Cinematic Percussion Installation Walkthrough

  1. Return to your Akai Professional account, and select SONiVOX Big Bang Cinematic Percussion 2.5 and SONiVOX Big Bang Drums to download the plugins.

    big bang

  2. After the download is complete, we will need to extract the files before installation. To do this, right-click in the white space of the folder in which the download is stored. After doing this, select Extract All... to extract the files. Make sure you remember this location so we can retrieve it afterwards.

    big bang extract

  3. After the files are extracted, select Install Big Bang Cinematic Percussion to run the setup file. Note, the .bin files are a part of the installation and do not need to be run separately. Repeat this for Big Bang Drums.

    big bang inst 1

  4. Follow all of the prompts to proceed with the installation.

    *Please take note of this file path, as you will need to access it when you are scanning for your plugins in MPC Essentials.

    big bang loc




Authorizing Your Big Bang Plugins

Before scanning the plugins into MPC Essentials, make sure that they are fully authorized and ready to go. The plugins will install a software called the iLok License Manager that will help keep track of your plugins and allow you to move the authorizations later on if necessary. Here's a quick and easy way to Authorize your plugins by using the ilok License Manager.

  1. Open the iLok License Manager. You can find this in your Applications folder on your Mac and under All Programs on Windows.

    MPKminimkii ilokicon

  2. In the top left corner, click on Sign-in to sign into your account. If you do not already have one, click on Sign-in and the select Create New Account in the window that appears to create your new account.

    MPKMini iLoksign

  3. Once you have signed in, click on Licenses > Redeem Activation Code.

    MPKMini Redeem

  4. In the window that appears, enter the authorization code for the first Big Bang. You will find your authorization code in your Alesis user account, directly above the download links for the plugins. You can copy and paste this if you like. Click, Next once the code has been entered completely.

    MPKminimkii code

  5. In the following window, choose the location where you would like iLok to store your license. For most users, we recommend to store this directly onto your computer. To do so, select the icon that represents your Mac or PC, and click Activate.

    MPKminimkii activate

  6. The iLok software will scan the license and will ask you to confirm one last time. Click OK and your license should be fully activated to your computer. Repeat steps 3-5 to authorize the second Big Bang plugin before proceeding.



What's Next?

Now that all of your software is installed and authorized, check out the guides below to get started using the software and making some music!



Further Technical Support

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an M-Audio product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the M-Audio 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.  




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