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 Post subject: APC 40 FAQs, features and questions
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:48 pm
Posts: 260
Location: Philadelphia
Hi Guys,
I'm starting this thread to answer any questions as best I can regarding the APC40.

Important Note

As a few of you have found out, holding down global play and record while you start up will enable you to delete the APC40's firmware.

We strongly recommend you do not do this, as you will have to contact Akai, and request return authorization to replace your firmware.


To start off, here's a few answers from other threads:

When will it be released?

May 30th in the US, the rest of the world will vary but will be around the same time.

How much is it?

Update: the US MSRP will be $499 and the European MSRP will be €499. This leads to a $399 street price in the US and check with your local dealer for European street pricing.

We understand that the price differences between USD approximate street price and Euro may look confusing. However there are a few important factors to consider when comparing these prices.

SALES TAX

Sales Tax is always excluded when US approximate street price prices are quoted but usually included when Europeans street prices are quoted. Sales tax in the US varies from state to state but in some states customers will pay 10% sales tax on top of the published street price. In other states there is 0% sales tax which is why retailers always quote street prices without Sales Tax.
For an accurate comparison of prices customers must compare like for like and remove sales tax from the Euro pricing. Sales tax also varies in Europe (from 15% in the UK right now to 25% in parts of scandinavia) but the average is about 19%, the Sales Tax rate in Germany. This means German customers should be comparing 399 USD to about 377 Euros excl. Sales Tax.

SHIPPING COSTS
Because of the large size of the US market, shipments of hardware products from the far east tend to me much larger than shipments to Europe. Economies of scale apply resulting in much cheaper shipping charges on the products that go the US.

EXCHANGE RATES
If we could predict how the worldwide exchange rates would fluctuate then we wouldn’t be working in the music industry! Will exchange rates fluctuating as much as they have in the last 6 months it is very hard to achieve a lasting price parity across multiple currencies.

INFO FOR EUROPEAN CUSTOMERS THINKING ABOUT BUYING FROM THE US

Customers in Europe thinking about buying from the US should consider the following before making their purchase:
When buying on credit card customers won’t enjoy the published exchange rate. Typically credit card companies will use an exchange rate that differs by 5-10% in their favor.

Shipping costs from the US to Europe are much higher (especially on hardware) than local shipping rates.

When products from the US hit local customs customers are liable not only for the local import duty but will also pay local Sales Tax (VAT) when the product is imported.

US products shipped to Europe will not be under warranty, and vice versa.

When does it come out?

Hopefully May or June. Initial testing has looked great so far.

Can I use more than one of them at the same time?

Yes, though we haven't tested thoroughly as we don't have enough units, so this is an unsupported feature at the moment. You can use up to six, and each will show a different colored ring around the clips.

Do I need to own Max For Live to make the APC40 work?

No, unless you want to edit the standard template and do funky things like step sequencers and drum rack support.

Is it bus powered?


No, it has too many LEDs (around 380) to be bus powered.

What are the physical dimensions and weight?


Quote:
The top is 42cm wide, it is 33,5cm deep and the height is around 6,5cm aka it is pretty much backpack compatible.

It may not be exact to every millimeter as this is no spec sheet info but freshly reverse engineered the old school on the device itself way using a ruler.

/dom


In one of the NAMM videos, somebody at AKAI proudly mentions a secret handshake between Live and the APC. But other reports seem to indicate that this unit just sends out MIDI. Does the device or Live send anything other than MIDI signals?

The APC Sends simple midi messages, and most of the banking and Session View control is handled internally in Live. Connecting another controller and selecting the APC40 preset will not work, even if that controller sends the same MIDI messages.

Will this secret handshake prevent us from turning a Monome + BCR into an APC?

Yes.


First up, the triggers, I understand they are not velocity sensitive which I think is perfect for triggering clips, what is the action like though are they like pads or buttons, is there a button like up-down motion or not.

I could describe this, but you'll have to check it out for yourself. They are similar to an Akai XR20.

So is there an easy editor for the controller mappings?

No, if you want to change the default mapping you'll need to mess around under the hood with Max for Live.

Is there a possibility that there is going to be an RGB version later?


This is the first dedicated controller for Live's Session View and the one we are supporting and focusing on for the time being, though it's likely not the last. Please feel free to add controller ideas + suggestions to this thread. I would love to see controllers for all different needs, with RGB, or better clip names. But we need to balance cost and development time for these sorts of things. We are still a small company -- and so is Akai Professional (not to be confused with the Japanese Akai, from which is split many years ago).

Will it be possible to use the APC with Live 7 out of the box with default mapping intact, or will I have to purchase live 8 to use the APC.

We'll have a point release update for Live 7 with support for the APC40 in Live's preferences, Live 8 will work with the APC40 when it is released.

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

As motorized faders were not possible at this pricing, these will follow the takeover mode (see 23.1.3 Takeover Mode in the manual for more info).

So the APC and Live 8 don't come out until mid to late April. Then toss in another 3 or 4 months of bug fixing. So we're talking maybe July or August before this combo can be trusted. Not hatin', just sayin'.

It seems to be working just fine in 7 and 8 for me already, we're testing hard and will fix any problems that arise as soon as we can. The APC40 has simple firmware that sends simple MIDI messages, so we are able to quickly jump on any problems with a software update.

How many tracks/scenes can I navigate to?

With the banking buttons, you can move around a 64 track by 125 scene grid. i.e. when you press the shift button, and press the second button down in the second row, you'd be move the ring to tracks 9-16 and scenes 6-10. The scene buttons 1-5 move you to extra banks of scenes, i.e. scene 1 button lets you select 5 banks of scenes from 1-25, scene button 2 brings up 5 more banks of scenes from 26-50, and so on.

Jesse, is the APC40 dual voltage (without the need for a transformer) for playing abroad?

I believe the adaptor is dual voltage, will have to double check. You'll need an adaptor for the prongs of course.

Can you suggest some foot pedals that you know are compatible with the APC40?

Sorry, don't know the answer to this, I'm moving this week so all mine are in storage! I believe most sustain type pedals should work fine...

CAN WE MAP THE NEW APC 40 THE USUAL WAY BY CLICKING MAP IN ABLETON, OR DO WE HAVE TO USE MAX FOR LIVE.

Yes, There are 4 banks of the top encoders and 1 bank of the bottom encoders, not nine.

Why Akai did not put some LEDs to the Faders like the LED rings surrounding each knob?

A combination of space, price, electrical requirements. Good idea for the future.

Can please you confirm that the APC does not lock out the mouse.

The APC40 does not lock out the mouse.

The return tracks are included in the mixer instant mapping on the APC40 right? And presumably show up after all the regular tracks? So if I've gat 13 track and 3 sends, that'll fit nicely into two banks of faders?

No. It's on the wishlist though, we'll see if it makes it into a future update.

Hi All,
I'll answer what I can here:

How will group tracks be handled?

If a group track is closed, the fader controls that group track. If a group track is expanded, the faders next to the group fader control the sub faders.

Are the encoders "smooth"?

They are smooth, endless encoders, with no notches.

How easy is it to switch the 'hacked' functions of the APC... like the step sequencer made in Max in the video... can i change back and forth through the step sequencer and the "main" APC? what dictates the change of functionality?

You should be able to assign one of the buttons to switch between functionalities. Honestly, I haven't even gotten to try this yet!

Nice, good to hear. but how are the pads ? Button'y or pad'y ? Is there an up-down (monome'y) button motion or do they trigger when you hit them like pads ?

Soft and pad'y. Check out the Akai XR20, they're very similar. There is a tactile feel when the button is pressed, but it's not too 'up down'.

Will I be able to have the APC40 working in tandem with a Novation remote SL? Both connected to computer at same time?

Yes. Up to 6 controllers can be supported at a time in Live's preferences.

It sounds like the APC40 doesn't have any MIDI then? If so that's a shame, since it would be nice to plug in additional controllers via MIDI without having to bring a separate MIDI interface.

There are no MIDI ports for two reasons: saving cost, and the fact that there's a lot of MIDI information going on as it is. Having more go through the device could create situations we couldn't foresee, and could interfere with the APC40's functionality.

I notice it has dedicated Headphone cue controls but no headphone jack, does this mean i will still need a soundcard to DJ cue tracks ?

Yes, this is a MIDI USB Controller, not an audio interface.

Will max for live be the only way to use the apc as a stepsequencer?

Yes.

will i be able to use the knobs to control vj patches in max for live?

It sends standard, basic MIDI information. The rest is up to you.

If you copy and paste a clip into a new slot, will the APC sense this and light the appropriate pad accordingly?

Yes.

I cant even find where to download the Owners Manual on the internet!

Not finished yet ;)

First my question is this controller has more than 128 controls. I take it Akai’s not using CC messages, which is the way I know how to assign things in Ableton.

It's standard MIDI map mode if you want to custom map it. It uses CCs (there are more than 128 as you can use 16 channels of MIDI).

[edit] 8 banks of the lower encoders via parameter banking, and 4 banks of the upper 8 encoders.

110 buttons
9 faders
1 crossfader
17 endless encoders
2 footswitch jacks

>350 LEDs ;)

So now you say with a simple Ableton MIDI Mapping I can change the record enable buttons to the Repeat Button of the Beat Repeat Fx for each of my eight tracks. Can I do that?

Yes.

Can I assign the Cue Knob to the Grid knob of the Beat Repeat?

Yes.

Can I re assign the Mute buttons to switch the A/B of the crossfader?

Yes.

Which Other Buttons Can I re-assign?

[edit] All of them.

Tap Tempo, Nudge or Play and Stop and Record

Yes you can remap.

How about Rec Quantize MIDI Overdub or Metronome?


Yes.

Do the <--> buttons only work in the FX rack area? Like do it flash to your high light to the FX rack or say you high light the loop in the Clip Specifically the Transpose knob? Do the <--> button work like the computer Keyboard?

We didn't have clip control functions here when clip view is selected, because sometimes you'd like to see your clip (like when coming to a transition) and still play with your delay or reverb parameters.

I assume you cant re-assign the Pan and Sends Button either

You can.

But how about reassigning the Pans to be a Lowpass Filter

Yes.

My next question is about the 64 Fx knobs. Is that just 64 knobs per track , 8 sets of eight that can be recalled with the Shift and 1-8 Buttons. Maybe more knob than 64 if you use the <--> buttons?

[re-edit] 64 knobs total

Does the arrival of the APC mean that Ableton won't improve the unofficial feature that allows us to create our own custom MIDI Maps?

Let's put it this way: the arrival of Max for Live means you'll be able to do much, much more.

If you're remapping things with Live's midi learn, you actually have access to all 8 banks of the lower encoders? Eariler it was said that manually mapping these means you only get those 8 controls (as opposed to 64). So you're saying you could use the first 4 banks for example as your usual instant mapping of the first 32 parameters, and then have 4 banks of assignable controls?


Yes, you have access to those 8 banks. I need to check regarding mixing and matching. Sorry for confusing the matter.

Is there a MIDI command in Live 8 that causes all assigned parameter values to be outputted? Just like turning MIDI Learn On/Off?

Maybe with Max for Live ? Love this tip from Dennis in the manual though:

Tip: If you have overridden the APC40’s default mappings with manual mappings, you can easily switch back to the defaults by deactivating the Remote switch of the APC40’s input port. Activating the switch again will re-establish your manual mappings.


Will the APC 40 have a mic stand thread underneath?


No

is it possible to use ledsbuttons to get a feedback of midi note on (for instance) ??


I believe with Max for Live.

Why did you include X feature? Why didn't you include Y feature?

We debated every last button on this controller and tried to come to a consensus that would help the most users, and come in at a reasonable price -- for instance, RGB LEDs or velocity sensitive clip triggers would have driven up the price substantially. I'm happy to explain why we did or didn't include functionality below.

I'm on the road a lot but will try my best to answer any questions you have about the what, when, how and why here when I have time.
Best,
Jesse

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Last edited by Jesse on Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:29 pm, edited 16 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:29 am
Posts: 5466
Location: Berlin
Great idea. Some other ideas for FAQ that I've seen so far: the unit's physical dimensions (edit: and maybe weight?); whether it can be bus powered; whether the clip buttons are velocity sensitive.

Cheers.

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Last edited by 8O on Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:16 am
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Location: New Orleans
Thanks for this thread, Jesse!

I'd like to know the rationale behind no velocity sensitive pads.

I'd also like to know if you will include an option to not accidentally stop playing - meaning being able to to disengage the Stop button for live performances.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:48 pm
Posts: 260
Location: Philadelphia
Hi Neb,
Velocity sensitivity for 40 pads probably adds $100 to the price of the controller for the user. Akai buys the parts for much less than this, but a distributor passes this cost on to a dealer, then a dealer passes on to a user. Same goes for RBG LEDs.
Jesse

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:48 pm
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Location: Philadelphia
It is not possible for the unit to be bus powered, as there are about 380 LEDs on the unit.
Jesse

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:16 am
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^ yeah, makes sense. I wonder if there is a Max patch that can be written such that if you held the pad down for a certain length of time, that could translate to a particular velocity. I dunno, if that's viable or even a practical workaround, but just a thought.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:13 pm
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
Jesse-

How much does it weigh? That's the last spec I need at the moment. If you get a chance to read this copy, let me know if I should add or take anything out:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5 ... l#features

Nice work on the APC40. I agree that the importance of having an affordable controller for the masses outweighs the importance of velocity sensitive pads.

Best,
Sam

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 6:40 pm
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In one of the NAMM videos, somebody at AKAI proudly mentions a secret handshake between Live and the APC.
But other reports seem to indicate that this unit just sends out MIDI.
Does the device or Live send anything other than MIDI signals?

I like that we can turn the APC into a Monome, but will this secret handshake prevent us from turning a Monome + BCR into an APC?


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 Post subject: Re: APC 40 FAQs, features and questions
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:39 am
Posts: 655
Location: Galway
Jesse wrote:
Hi Guys,


How much is it?

The street prices for the APC40 should be $399 (US Map) and 449 Euro (European Street price). We'll update our website when I hear back from Akai.

When does it come out?



Hi Jesse, thanks for coming in to answer some questions.


First up, the triggers, I understand they are not velocity sensitive which I think is perfect for triggering clips, what is the action like though are they like pads or buttons, is there a button like up-down motion or not.

Secondly, how can anybody justify $399 and €449, €449 is equal to $579.
It makes no sense whatsoever ?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:13 pm 

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^ I thought the price was funny too, but I think that all depends on where the unit is manufactured, and the tariffs once the unit arrives to the destination country, etc. I'll defer to Jesse.

Also, MSRP and street are two very different things. I wouldn't be surpirsed to see a price of $350 street this year, dropping to $299 by 2010.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:19 pm 

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nebulae wrote:
^ I thought the price was funny too, but I think that all depends on where the unit is manufactured, and the tariffs once the unit arrives to the destination country, etc. I'll defer to Jesse.

Also, MSRP and street are two very different things. I wouldn't be surpirsed to see a price of $350 street this year, dropping to $299 by 2010.



I spotted that too, the Euro (Street) is quoted and the US (MSRP) so the real difference is actually greater.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:43 pm
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its "map" (minimum advertised pricing) not "msrp". So it won't drop anywhere too soon.
But the difference between 399$ and 449€ really is sick. I might even have understood something like 1:1 $ and € but even more? sick.

i guess i will get it asap it anyways :lol:

thanks for the FAQ.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:04 pm 

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x2mirko wrote:
its "map" (minimum advertised pricing) not "msrp". So it won't drop anywhere too soon.
But the difference between 399$ and 449€ really is sick. I might even have understood something like 1:1 $ and € but even more? sick.

i guess i will get it asap it anyways :lol:

thanks for the FAQ.


Ah, thanks for clearing that up.

I'll be buying it from the US, if that's the real pricing. We can probably get it for €380-€390 including shipping and taxes. I suggest everyone else do the same.

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 Post subject: Re: APC 40 FAQs, features and questions
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:29 am
Posts: 4369
Location: The Ableton Live Forum
Jesse wrote:
Why did you include X feature? Why didn't you include Y feature?

We debated every last button on this controller and tried to come to a consensus that would help the most users, and come in at a reasonable price -- for instance, RGB LEDs or velocity sensitive clip triggers would have driven up the price substantially. I'm happy to explain why we did or didn't include functionality below.


You guys made good choices to keep the price very reasonable, so thanks!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:55 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:31 pm
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Location: Ableton Headquarters
nebulae wrote:
I'd like to know the rationale behind no velocity sensitive pads.


Another reason why they are not velocity sensitve (besides the cost factor) is the size of the pads. Even though veloctiy sensitive pads would look nice on the product sheet, at this relatively small size it's not really fun to play something on them. Making them velocity sensitive would just be a waste of money IMHO.

nebulae wrote:
I'd also like to know if you will include an option to not accidentally stop playing - meaning being able to to disengage the Stop button for live performances.


You can simply remap the stop button on anything else.

Best,
Nico

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