AKAI Professional

Everything you need. Nothing you don’t.

Ableton Live software is a powerful, flexible environment for creating, performing, and producing music. This unique software demands an equally unique control instrument. Akai Professional and Ableton are proud to present the APC20 compact professional Ableton Live performance controller. The APC20 transforms your Ableton Live experience from constructing tracks on a computer to fluid, musical creation. The second model in the APC series, the APC20 offers a smaller footprint than the APC40, enabling musicians to more easily create a personalized setup with multiple APCs, effects controllers, and other devices.

The APC20 is the link between human and computer that perfectly balances analytical parameter control with creative expression. Whether you are an electronic music artist and Live is your canvas, a DJ using Live to mix or remix tracks, or a more traditional musician using Live on stage or in the studio, you will find the APC20 to be the intuitive, powerful instrument that directly links your inspiration with Ableton Live.

Instant Performance

Because Akai Professional and Ableton designed the APC20 specifically for Ableton Live, you don’t need to map its controls to talk to the software. Just connect your laptop to the APC20 via USB and you're ready to make magic. The APC20 is plug and play, so you don't need to install drivers. First-time setup is literally three steps: load the included Ableton Live software, plug in and power up your APC20, and select the APC20 as Ableton Live's controller. That's it. No mapping, no setup, no hassles.

The APC20 comes pre-mapped for instant use with Ableton Live software, so if you're new to it, you'll find using the APC20 to be easy to get around on. And if you’re an experienced Live user, you'll be happy to note that you can custom-map every single button and fader on the APC20 to completely customize the controls for the way you like to work.

Visual Feedback

The APC20 talks directly to Ableton Live, and Live talks directly to the APC20. This bidirectional communication makes the APC20 an advanced controller in that it can receive feedback from the software and display it on its Clip Launch Matrix. The Clip Launch Matrix gives you an instant view of each clip's status: what's loaded, what's playing, and what's being recorded. Each state displays in the grid in a different color so you can get a quick picture of each clip's state. You can shift your clip focus and get an overview of the clips you have loaded for your set.

Professional Construction

Ableton selected Akai Professional as its partner in developing the APC20 because of Akai Pro's leadership position in great-feeling controllers that are rock solid, rugged, and precise. From the legendary MPC series that changed the way music is made to the industry-standard MPD and MPK controllers, Akai Professional is revered by musicians, DJs, and producers everywhere for creating the feel that powers their creativity. The APC20 is built with a rugged, metal chassis and slip-proof rubber detailing. There’s no flimsy plastic here. Faders are solid and precise for pinpoint performance.

Creative Control

The APC20 comes with Ableton Live Akai Professional APC Edition software, which is fully functional for performance and production. Owners of the full edition of Ableton Live 8.1.3 or higher can also work seamlessly with the APC20. Live 8.1.3 has full support for the APC20.

The APC20 also enables special clip-status views and feedback that only the APC20's matrix can display. The matrix is not limited to only 40 clips: you can scroll and shift, enabling you to access, control, and perform with an unlimited number of cells.

The APC20 has nine faders, which you can assign to volume control, pan, sends, and a choice of three user-mapped modes. You have even more control power with special controls including Tap Tempo, Tempo Nudge, record enables, and solo/cues. A new User Mode enables you to use the Clip Launch buttons to control instruments and the Drum Rack.

Designed in partnership with Ableton, the APC20 is the ideal controller for performers who like to perform in a small amount of space for maximum portability. It’s also perfect for players who want to combine multiple controllers in their setup thanks to its small footprint. Don’t settle for cheap, plastic imitations. From the company whose name is synonymous with the word production, the APC20 is the serious choice.

Ableton and Ableton Live are trademarks of Ableton AG.


  • Designed in partnership with Ableton, mapped for Live, and fully customizable
  • Clip Launch matrix with multicolor lighting displays current clip status
  • No mapping required; every button and fader is pre-mapped
  • Bidirectional hardware/software communication for visual feedback on APC20
  • Solid, professional feel with rugged, metal chassis, and premium controls
  • Comes with Ableton Live Akai Professional APC Edition software
  • Works with full editions of Ableton Live 8.1.3 or higher
  • USB plug-and-play connection for Mac and PC


  • Power Supply: DV 12V 2.0A pin-positive, auto-switching (100-240V, 50-60Hz)
  • Communication: USB-MIDI with proprietary hardware/software handshake
  • Inputs: USB
  • Weight: 3.8 lbs


  • 29.5cm x 33.3cm x 5.7cm (WxDxH)
  • 11.61" x 13.11" x 2.24" (measured to the highest point, which is the CUE knob)


  • Mac: G4 / Intel recommended, OS X 10.3.9 / 10.4+ recommended
  • PC: 1.5GHz, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 - 10, Windows-compatible sound card / ASIO driver support recommended
  • 512MB RAM / 1GB recommended, QuickTime 6.5 or higher, DVD-ROM drive, USB port
  • Works with included Ableton Live APC Edition and the full version of Ableton Live 8.1.3 or higher
  • Akai APC20: Introduction Akai APC20: Introduction
  • Akai Pro APC20 Ableton Live Controller: Grid, Navigation, Pan/Shift, Stop Clip Tutorial Akai Pro APC20 Ableton Live Controller: Grid, Navigation, Pan/Shift, Stop Clip Tutorial
  • Akai Pro APC20 Ableton Live DJ Controller: Select Track, Activate, Solo, Pan Tutorial Akai Pro APC20 Ableton Live DJ Controller: Select Track, Activate, Solo, Pan Tutorial
  • Akai Pro APC20 Ableton Controller: Note Mode Tutorial Akai Pro APC20 Ableton Controller: Note Mode Tutorial
  • APC20 - Akai Pro Ableton Controller: Grouping, Cue Knob Scene Select Tutorial APC20 - Akai Pro Ableton Controller: Grouping, Cue Knob Scene Select Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • The faders are not motorized. How does that work if you bank through channels?

    The faders follow the takeover mode (see Takeover Mode in the Ableton Live manual for more info). If the volume on the screen is at the bottom and the fader is at the top, Live won't start responding until you move the fader up to the top position it really is at (in the software). Then the fader and Live control will sync and move together.

  • Can I use the APC40 or APC20 with other programs?

    Both the APC40 and APC20 were designed to be controllers for Ableton Live. That said, you can use it with other programs, but you will have to manually map it out in the other programs. Akai Pro will not be issuing any MIDI control templates for other DAWs and programs. If you do manually map things, a DAW with the learn feature in MIDI mapping mode will be easier to map than one without. You cannot change the MIDI note numbers and CC numbers that your APC is assigned to.

  • How long is the throw on the APC20 faders?

    The channel faders have 45mm of travel.



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