Jesse Terry of Ableton has some detailed answers to questions about the upcoming APC40. It’s a good chance to clear up some confusion (even some confusion of my own). I actually have some other pretty specific questions – how Max for Live will work with the APC and how it integrates with other hardware and Live itself, and what message lights up those buttons for bi-directional communication. These sorts of things seem to be of interest to you folks, too, so I’ll keep you in the loop; more in the next couple of weeks. And I think the release of the APC means this year will be a great time to revisit all sorts of controller options for Live and other apps, like the monome, Faderfox, Korg boxes, and others – including some DIY-style options.

Price: US$499 / EUR499 / street US$399
Availability: April/May (also about the same time you’ll see Live 8 – Max for Live coming later this year)

APC 40 FAQs, features and questions [Ableton Forum]

Since they were frequently asked around these parts, I want to single out these answers:

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?


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.

So, you won’t be able to turn a monome into an APC – well, unless someone figures out a way to emulate the secret handshake. I’m guessing you curl your pinkies, then do a fist bump …

Of course, there are plenty of other interesting ways of integrating a monome with Live, some of which aren’t possible out of the box with the APC, and more should be possible with Max for Live (and other tools).