Akai LPD8 or Korg NanoPad2 for OP-Z?... Got a Nanokey Studio


I’m interested in some velocity sensitive pads for playing in drums and samples into the OP-Z.

Has anyone experience with both/either Akai LPD8 or Korg NanoPad2 for playing in drums? I guess you can access all 24 sounds in a drum track by changing banks on either of these?

I’m interested in what you can do with the extra controls on each too…

I’ve read you can use the Korg x/y pad to control multiple midi channels (could be nice with filter or something on multiple synth channels). But the Akai has 2x4 knobs which I guess could be mapped to the two of the four parameter banks/pages of OP-Z so with the OP-Z’s own 4 dials have a lot of hands on control of a synth/drum track.


i also have same gear that you have described. but almost never use them with op-z. because even if i have a crazy midi remapping, i still only have 2 hands :face_with_monocle:, better put them on the z
i think those controllers are beset used with a DAW.

… but its fun to remap lpd8 pads as mute-group toggles cc55 0-9 or to use korgs touchpad to modify arpeggiator style/tampo and korgs pads as pattern switcher cc103 0-15

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Thanks, I guess I just miss my MPC2000XL!

But I do want velocity sensitive input. And I dislike shuttling between parameter pages using the shift button. Maybe I just need to practice more.

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Like @FunkyJunky, I have an LPD8 but I don’t connect it to the OP-Z because I feel more efficient without it. You should also keep in mind that changing banks for more sounds seems pretty simple, but it will probably annoy you more than you think given the OP-Z workflow. It isn’t easy to drag and drop the right sample/drum sound to the place you want like you can in a DAW. Like say you chopped up a sample or you loaded in a kit or whatever, and one sound you like is on note 8, another on 9, and another on 17. You can scrub through the sample on the OP-Z to get those to match pads 1, 2, 3, but again, it will slow you down. If you know exactly what you want (2-second clip, snare, kick, tom, hi-hat, crash) and plan ahead this can totally work with 8 pads, just keep it in mind if you like to be a bit more improvisational with your sampling.

The LPD8 is $60 new, the Launchpad Mini MK3 is $80 refurbished from Novation. Big difference in the number of pads and tech. Launchpad

If you do decide to go with the 8, I will say that I have always liked the pads (they are on the softer/squishy side) and it has lasted me many years.

Another option is the K-Board ($99) or the more expensive QuNexus which are popular partners for the OP-Z. I don’t have one myself, but to my understanding, they pull off the trick of being both velocity-sensitive drum pads and expressive (I don’t think true MPE?) keyboards well. The OP-Z can be MIDI mapped to something like finger pressure=pitch bend to make the synth engines a lot more fun.

One more thing, OP-Z batteries can be different (mine recently started failing for no reason) and USB controllers can have different power draws. You might need a USB-C adapter with power through (cable or battery pack) in order to not have the OP-Z battery drain super fast when attaching other controllers. Kingston Nucleus is reliable but way overpriced. Maybe someone else can chime in if there is a newer, cheaper adapter that is confirmed to work with the OP-Z?

*** I will throw this in too because I’ve always wanted to try one with the OP-Z. Very pricey, but they look so fun to play MIDI Fighter Demo Video


Thanks for the in depth response.

I get what you are saying about limited pad numbers to total samples. I’m not a finger drummer and guess that changing a bank is only a button press away, but can see that would be annoying.

That k-board/qunexus looks great, but it doesn’t have any rotary controllers for sound parameters. Hmmmm.

Now I’m going down a rabbithole of other controllers with more knobs…

(Maybe an Arturia beatstep is a good compromise?)

Edit: or nanokey studio…

So I got a Korg Nanokey Studio, mainly for expanding the interface for performance. Let’s see how it gets on with velocity sensitive pads/keys.

Really impressed with the software, you can easily customise how you use it to control the OP-Z, and this is my first time using midi CCs.

I now have pads for punch in effects, a trackpad for master filter/resonance, knobs for each track filter, and the keys and arp can be used for fills/improv on any track. Suddenly the OP-Z is less fiddly. Changing scene is super quick where I have another one setup to break out the tape track interface with punch in effects.

Some have described build quality as “toy-like”, which is pretty fair, but it makes it very lightweight so a good match for OP-Z portability. Plus it runs straight off the USB output, so they are friendly with each other; no apps or hubs required.

After a couple days of use I would recommend it.

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