First drum pad – Akai MPD218 or MPD226?

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Hello, which drum pad would you recommend? I haven’t been using any MIDI device so far and I’d just like to start learning finger drumming. This will be my first pad and honestly I’m not sure how will it go, means I want to stay low-budget and see afterwards if it’s worth for me to buy more expensive one. I don’t have any other MIDI equipment so not sure if I should even consider the MPD226 for its MIDI in/out, illuminated keys or the display. I decided to go for one of these because they look pretty decent for the price and come with nice software included package.

What would you recommend?

Thank you very much.

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Asked on January 25, 2021 1:29 pm
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Hi draconis,
Welcome to the finger drumming community.
If you want to stay low-budget for now, and only use the device for finger drumming, I'd still recommend the AKAI MPD218. The pads are great, but people have reported that the quality / sensitivity has deteriorated over the years since it has been launched in 2015. So, if you buy one, check the pads thoroughly and consider giving the device back to the store you bought it from if the pads aren't okay. There are two main things to pay attention to:
1) Is the pad sensitivity okay for you? In other words: Can you play low-velocity hits and high-velocity hits effortlessly and is the dynamic range (between the poles "silent" and "very loud") acceptable and close to identical on all pads? There are ways to measure this with midi monitoring in your DAW or virtual drum module (e.g. in Addictive Drums 2), but you can also FEEL if there are huge differences from pad to pad.
2) Are the pads double-triggering a lot? Only very few and rather expensive devices have pads that don't double-trigger. But even on low-budget devices double-triggering shall be in an acceptable range. Sometimes you can hear double-triggered notes, but you can definitely SEE them, when recording a midi performance into a midi track of your DAW. Most of the time, those double-triggered notes are much less loud than the actually intended note played, almost like a ghost note. Double-triggered notes get particularly annoying when playing with your device set to "fixed velocity", because all notes will then be amplified to the exact same volume.
I've heard a lot of negative comments about the AKAI MPD226 in the last few years, especially about the pads themselves, so I would not recommend buying one, unless you read some recent comments on YouTube which say that AKAI has fixed the problem... because for a long time it seems they haven't.
Best regards,
Andreas

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Posted by
Answered on January 25, 2021 1:44 pm
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Thank you very much for your all-embracing answer, Andreas. I think I will give the 218 a go then and see how it goes further.

Already heard about pads being criticized after the MPD2xx series were introduced and AKAI supposedly fixed this so it shouldn't be a problem any more with brand new device. Hopefully :)

Are the MPD226s really that bad? Saw many beatmakers using them on Youtube videos and honestly that's mostly why I am even considering it over MPD218. Also I like more the illuminated pads and bank switching / indication of the MP226. But that's nothing serious I would care about much.

Over and over, price of MPD218 is so low that I won't regret anything throwing it away after few months using it and buy something better. Currently I'm just looking for an easy and cheap way to get in and see how it goes. After a while I shall see what I'm looking for, what annoys me with particular device or maybe I'll simply find out that I'm too clumsy for finger drumming and give up... :)

Thank you very much.

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Posted by
Answered on January 25, 2021 2:24 pm
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"Are the MPD226s really that bad?" --> according to many users from 4-5 years ago... a big yes. ;-)

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Posted by
Answered on January 25, 2021 5:56 pm
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Thanks, just ordered the MPD218.

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Posted by
Answered on January 25, 2021 11:46 pm