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DJ & Studio Equipment: Akai LPD8 controller review

LPD8-A correct sizeDJ & Studio Equipment: LPD8 controller (Akai)

In this section we’ll be bringing you regular tutorial and reviews on all the latest DJ & studio equipment. To kick things off, Juno’s resident technical expert Ben Daly gives the new Akai LPD8 controller the once-over.

Everyone at Juno HQ has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the LPD8 controller from Akai Professional. Based on Akai’s MPC line, the LPD8 laptop pad controller is a bus powered USB-MIDI controller for musicians, producers, DJs and other music creators.

Small enough to fit into a laptop bag, backpack or messenger bag, this stylish controller is perfect for on-the-go portability.

The 8 velocity-sensitive orange backlit drum pads will come in handy for those button bashing in dark clubs, while the 8 knobs will allow tweaking to your hearts content.

Being ‘plug and play’, the LPD8 requires no driver installation for use on both Mac & PC, but does come with editor software for assigning virtually any control to your audio software of choice.

Being similar in many ways with the Korg Nanoseries controllers, the LPD8 is best tested against its direct competitors.

At first glance the matt finish of the LPD8 looks more stylish, while the thicker plastic casing feels more robust than  Korg’s efforts.

Having only 8 pads compared with the Nanopad’s 12 may be a problem for some users, but the addition of 8 rotary knobs will definitely benefit many & possibly negate the need to buy both the Nanopad & Nanokontrol in favour of the LPD8.

The 8 rotary knobs however do feel slightly too close together and less pronunced than Korg’s, making fiddly work of knob tweaking… big handed users beware!

The addition of a white line on the LPD8’s rotaries, indicating its position, is something simple Korg missed & Akai have  picked up on nicely.

The orange backlighting on the LPD8’s pads is a welcome addition, especially in a darkened club, giving an indication of when the pad has been pressed.

The feel of the pads themselves is slightly stiffer on the LPD8 more akin to those of  Akai’s MPC range – Korg’s Nanopads need a lighter touch for triggering.

Korg’s X-Y pad on the Nanopad and the extra buttons and faders on the Nanokontrol make Korg’s controllers a more complete option – however, Akai have done well to fit so much into a simple, aesthetically pleasing product.

Review: Ben Daly

Learn more about the LPD8 controller at Juno Records.