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Best Pad MIDI Controller

Pad-style MIDI controllers are popular for drum sequencing rather than producing melodies and bass lines. The way they work is simple: once the controller is hooked up to your audio interface or directly to your PC workstation, you send MIDI inputs to your DAW software by tapping the pads (also called trigger pads). The pads are easily programmable so you can set them up as anything from a traditional drum set to any random assortment of sounds.

If you don’t already have a MIDI controller in your home studio, it’s usually best to start with an all-in-one controller that includes both a keyboard and trigger pads (We cover all-in-one controllers in the Keyboard Controller section). But if you already have a keyboard controller, or you don’t mind spending a little extra to have a dedicated pad controller there are a couple advantages:

  • The quality and response of the trigger pads are typically much better on pad controllers than with all-in-one controllers.
  • Pad controllers are usually smaller and more portable.
  • They’re usually cheaper than keyboard controllers.

So if you’re thinking about adding a pad controller to your dubstep studio, DJTechTools.com featured a comprehensive 3-way match up of three of the most popular pad controllers on the market, to find out which is truly the best pad midi controller.

The three controllers are:

  • M-Audio Trigger Finger
  • Korg padKontrol
  • Akai MPD24

The match-up compares the controllers over 8 different categories, here is a clip from the article:


M-Audio Trigger FingerM-Audio Trigger Finger

In the blue corner we have the rather lightweight M-Audio Trigger Finger. This is the cheapest of the three, and to be frank, it looks and feels it. It offers nearly the same features as the Akai MPD 24 but is around 26 EUR (40 USD) cheaper.

Akai MPD24Akai MPD 24

In the red corner we have the heavyweight Akai MPD 24. This thing is built like a tank, has a solid metal base, the knobs and faders are well spaced and feel really pro.

Korg PadKontrolKorg PadKontrol

In the flashing lightship hovering above the ring we have the featherweight Korg padKontrol. Whilst all these contenders have 16 drum pads the Korg ditches the knobs and faders and gives you the famous Korg X-Y control! Plus It’s yours for the same price as the Akai.

Round One: Features

M-Audio Trigger Finger


  • 16 pads
  • 4 faders
  • 8 knobs


  • MIDI out
  • USB
  • 9V DC


  • Kensington cable lock


  • Screw thread in base to attach to drum rack (or stick over a turntable).

Akai MPD 24


  • 16 pads (4 bank memory)

  • 6 faders

  • 8 360 degree knobs

  • Transit controls


  • MIDI in & out

  • USB

  • 6V DC


  • Kensington cable lock


  • Durable metal base

Korg padKontrol


  • 16 LED illuminated pads (16 bank memory)

  • X-Y pad

  • 2 knobs

  • Flam and roll buttons


  • Pedal jack

  • MIDI in & out

  • USB

  • 9V DC


  • None


  • Flashing pads, make patterns when you hit them

Winner: Akai MPD24

This is a tough call between the Akai and the Korg. If you discount the Korgs flashing lights (does this add value?) then it’s a toss up between the X-Y pad or the extra faders and knobs you get on the Akai. I’m gonna give this to the Akai on the basis that the Korg does not have a security slot. I know Japan is a no crime zone but the rest of the world is not and I’d hate have my pad controller get lifted.

You can read the full article here – the Akai MPD 24 ends up taking 6 out of the 8 rounds.

Check out the 3 controllers on Amazon.com

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