Now that software increasingly comes with hardware, why not have it also run standalone? That has seemed inevitable for some time. Yet, for years, MPC fans have been without a standalone hardware option from Akai. Pioneer, Elektron, and others will sell you drum machine hardware that runs on its own, but not Akai. That seems set to change.

Now, multiple leaks from employees of dealers selling Akai hardware suggest standalone hardware is imminent. (Dealers have increasingly become a weak point in keeping upcoming hardware confidential – recent Roland announcements have demonstrated.) You might not even have to wait for January’s NAMM show, as sources say some of the gear is coming later this year.

Leaks report two new pieces of gear, MPC Live and MPC Eclipse.

This also appears to finally be the payoff for something Akai had said they were working on years ago. Akai publicly presented their cooperation with Microsoft on shipping embedded Windows-based machines. That’s mainly a development change; there seems to be no indication you’ll be able to substitute your own software. But it could mean more rapid development, and crucially, a seamless transition between desktop and standalone function.

Sure enough, leaked manuals suggest you’ll be able to use these boxes both in standalone and controller modes. That seems ideal. When you’re in the studio or working on a production with a computer, you’ll be able to use all your software arsenal for effects, mixing, arrangement, and mastering. But if you want to go live and ditch the computer, you can do that, too. Running on embedded Windows ought to then both cut development costs and make standalone and computer modes possible on a single product.

The obvious next question is, why haven’t Native Instruments done this with Maschine, Traktor, and other products? After all, NI was one of the first major developers to foresee the coming software revolution as being more convenient and more economical. I was just listening to founder Stephen Schmitt talk about how that came about. I wonder if a second revolution with hybrid hardware is about to happen – and if the company will miss the boat.

Leaked sources suggest a flagship at the $2000 price point, but a new version of what was the MPC Touch at just US$899. If that’s just a revised MPC Touch, it’s not news, but if these sources are to be believed, you’ll get standalone operation on that, too. And that’s a game changer, given that there’s currently nothing with computer-style workflows under a grand.

Meanwhile, also suggesting they’re trying to get rid of inventory of the original MPC Touch, Akai has slashed its prices to US$599, adding credence to the possibility you’ll get something soon.

You can read the full thread on German forum sequencer.de, with a somewhat astonishing amount of leaks coming from multiple sources. (Mixture of German and English. Some of this information is older, as it came from the original Microsoft announcement.)

Neue MPCs kommen (alles) [sequencer.de]

Anyway, I will now likely shut up as Akai have told me nothing (the only reason I can write this article), and hopefully bring you more information once it’s actually intentionally public.

  • Teetons Friar

    HARD nippies.

  • Dubby Labby

    Suited for those who don’t understand that’s an embed computer less capable than iPad with less coders, no IAA, no Audiobus, etc etc etc.

    Pay more for less… it makes no sense in 2017. NI could update their apps and continue the great working done or be “dumb” and make the same with Thud Rumble xD but why to do this if you can take apart an old laptop and craft by yourself? Atom or similar vs Arm or true x86?

    Optimization? I don’t think so and instead of you will get never updated machine as usual from them… big deal for sure lol

    • ggnore

      On one hand it’s going to be limited compared to software but so is my octatrack and it just does what it’s designed to do and it does it very very well and often blows me away. I mean look at DJ Rashad’s (RIP) last record.. all on an MPC 2000 and it is still fucking incredible, because he wasn’t worried about cutting edge tech he was using the MPC as an instrument with all of the limitations that come with it and made a genre with those limitations. It’s not ALL about cutting edge shit 24/7… My fav record of the year was made with a bunch of shit casios a microkorg and fl studio.. (Huerco S’ latest)

      • Dubby Labby

        Yes but all these stuff was really dedicated hardware and I’m not talking about dedicated OS version… assembler or c coded pics, texas instruments and so not Arm (or Atom) cpus with high level OS over it sold as optimized machines like mpc60, 2000 or 1000/2500 with jjOS.
        Regular mpc users shitting about impc pro or reinassence but clapping for this? XD
        For 2K is better choice ToRaiz or oktatrack by far. Almost these come from standalone devs. The actual Numarkai devs aren’t the ones who crafted 1000 or early and when it doesn’t means shit per se, are the same of impc for iPad so it seems “possing” more than “improvement”.

        Standalone units are ok and were ok when Akai decided drop them at Reinassence leaving users without true update. Now they have to recover the lost faith so they should craft zero bug machines to gain traction again.

        Edit: from the linked forum (and previous cdm article and deep knowledge on embedding systems)

        Zur Erinnerung: Der MPC Eclipse wird unter Windows Embedded laufen. Andy Avgousti alias “MPC-Tutor” erklärt, was es damit auf sich hat:

        “Windows Embedded is simply an OS created with the sole purpose of allowing manufacturers to integrate a ready-made functioning OS to any hardware. It just saves them the hassle of creating their own propriatory OS. Once Windows Embedded is integrated into the hardware, the hardware developers develop an application to run seamlessly within it (the MPC application) and then it is CLOSED to any further software installations. It becomes a self contained system. At this point, it does not matter one bit that the underlying OS is Windows, as basically as far as the end user is concerned, they only ever see the MPC application installed in it. This is no different to any EPOS or ATM machine you might use – most of them run Windows, but you are completely unaware of it as you only ever interact with the ATM software installed on top of it. So it does not matter if you run Mac OS, Linux or Windows on your own computer. It’s no different to using an MPC1000 with your computer – the MPC will communicate with your computer via the universal methods (e.g USB, MIDI etc). As an end user, it’s unlikely that this MPC will allow you to install any additional software. The Windows OS is simply a ready-made host that allows the developers a quick way to roll out hardware. So mac users are not screwed, in the same way that they are not screwed that an MPC1000 uses ‘Akai OS’, not Mac OS.”
        http://de-bug.de/musiktechnik/kommt-die … -embedded/

        Pete Brown von Microsoft über seine Erfahrungen mit dem Ur-Eclipse:
        “The prototype was running an Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) with a core i5. It did not require any external PC. TBD what the final device runs, nut I’d expect something similar. Performance was excellent because the device is optimized to so one thing, not to also serve as email device, etc. You can even hook a keyboard, mouse, and external display to the MPC if you want. That said, I was able to do all the sample loading just using the touch screen and a thumb drive.”
        http://de-bug.de/musiktechnik/kommt-die … -embedded/

        Let’s see if it’s like they say but it’s a windows machine more or less. Not a old kind mpc…

        • Yanakyl

          Embedded windows mean they can run someof the code they developed for windows for their mpc soft as it will be similar. Also it can be set up as a proper real time OS, computers and tablet do not have real time OS.
          Octatrack is a lovely weird machine, not comparable to an mpc, the pioneer is not a sequencer. People might be happy if they make a good product as many people have not found replacement for the mpc’s other than a computer.
          About the ipad if it suits you that’s good, I really wanted to like it and use it but it just does not feal rigth for me, I even prefer banging on the table.
          I definitly agree on the fact they will need to craft class product to be really back. Do mpc renaissance and touch are happy of the products?

          • Dubby Labby

            Mostly agreed and even when tablets aren’t realtime OSes iOS is the nearest experience to that nowadays in mobile platform. Also I prefer rubber buttons over touchscreen for music but the iPad, being near in price, can do more things and do impc pro quite well.
            Okta is weird but powerful, ToRaiz is loop machine with some tr yes… the old mpc where lengengary for sequencer timming so let’s expect the “theory” behind win10 embed become the “practice” and how well are the new against the old.
            I’m not trying to convice anybody to go for iPad route (even when is a reality now, not a hyped “how it will be”) I was trying to point this solution is nearest to an iPad than old mpc architecture and warning about lie oneself with high expectations (or crappy marketing and buggy OS as Numark had been release over the years).
            As I said, let’s see how it goes but I feel some users will get decieved by their own hype. The same users who think iPad is not for music and so…

          • Yanakyl

            Yeah I get you. This akai as yet to prove they can be trusted as they’re now way too marketing driven for my taste, though I’ve read good stuff about the mpc touch, most comments have seen before replying now are of happy people.
            I think the times are mature to get a similar workflow from a controller on a computer and a standalone machine, you might not get all the new plugins or weird apps of this world but personally, I don’t use them. That’s something I found out with time. So if I could replace Live for a sampler/sequencer with pads that I can use without ever stopping it I’d be reaally happy.

          • Dubby Labby

            Try launchpad app, modstep or Group the Loop. IOS has lots of potential apps for those searching for portable and reliable device on stage. That’s why I point them. Standalone machines? For sure but usually handcrafted (raspi and bend cheap things like volcas or so)
            Great talk mate!

          • Yanakyl

            Hey thanks I’ll check the group the loop one, it seems it could fit me as I love loopers.
            I tried the modstep, didn’t like it, to many options nested and it was buggy at the time so I got a refund. To be fair I bought many apps for iPad and used them 2-3 times and that’s it. If I didn’t accumulate some gear in 10 years I would be all over ipad stuff, but I refined my workflow with specific gear and a mixer in the middle and now I rather spend time making music than testing new stuff.
            Also every time I want to pick up the ipad the battery is dead….So I use something else.
            But the great use I found for the iPad is I got all the manuals of my synth and machines in it, and that is amazing!

            Workflow is the most important stuff, some like to do heavy editing to create, others want to jam and others want to build weird algorithms.

            So yeah I totally get your point of vue and share a good chunk, though it doesn’t make much sense to say to people they don’t get it as their perception might come from a total different perspective. What is important to you might be worthless to others and vice versa.
            Cheers!

          • Dubby Labby

            I understand you very well mate (lemur app and bunch more I never use really) and modstep have evolved well (and expect even more) but now the true shit is blocs wave. If you can try it I hope matches your workflow (and now is half proce due black friday)

            😉

          • Yanakyl

            I just got it the other day for 2€ but didn’t had any time to use it. The idea is recording stuff through a zed mixer via usb. And maybe mess around in train recording people and noises 🙂

          • Dubby Labby

            Love it!

          • Yanakyl

            And also thinking about it, having a touch screen to edit samples and perform some tweaks like compression or routing, then do the rest with knobs and pads would be the coolest thing. There will always be limitations but I wellcome those as long as they don’t make the device unreliable.
            So you are right saying this is near to the ipad as it takes inspiration from it, I don’t necessarily agree that it is nearer to that than an old mpc though. And about that we just have to wait and see to check if we’re happy, I’d say yes because more samplers is more choices!

    • Ashley Scott

      in terms of programming talent – if it’s based upon one of the Windows embedded family then there’s at least the same amount of code running in industrial & consumer machine on the planet (ATMS are a prime example) as on iPads. After all, we don’t need a complex set of APIs or even excessive CPU power to create a sampler/sequencer than can also do MIDI with a reasonable screen & blinken lights interface.

      • Dubby Labby

        Agreed but this is not an standalone mpc in the old terms. It’s near to iPad with pros and cons, nothing else. Think this is a “return” meanwhile impc is a toy is lie oneself and when the hype had gone then deception will come. Expend 2K on this avoiding other cheaper solutions including the mpc touch (if it has been class compliant) is an authentic madness. Gluing the same and revamping is not innovation and akai/windows must show stability and so… meanwhile the iPad version has been working doing more or less what’s going to be this (with some desktop additions let’s hope… but without vst or nothing related) so in the better scenario it will be better than iPad for twice the price¿?
        It seems Akai lost in between Maschine and ToRaiz/okta.
        That’s my point.

        • Koyuki

          I work in the R&D department of a multinational company which makes wind turbines amongst other things, and the device controlling those turbines runs on Windows CE. Actually, most of the devices from the competition in this market do (others run on embedded Linux), and I can assure that stability and security are a HUGE requirement here.

          MPC’s ‘in the old terms’ were dedicated hardware non-dependant on a computer. That’s all, and if the leaks are confirmed, these devices match them. If the engineers at AKAI have decided that an embedded version of Windows will ease the development of the machine, I don’t think any of us here is in position of questioning that decision. I mean, that’s not at all incompatible with using as many DSP chips as they need for real-time tasks. It just makes programming, mantaining and updating control and interfacing layers A LOT easier. If they hadn’t gone for a ‘generic’ OS like Windows, they would have had to develop their own.

          • Dubby Labby

            Different things are “it’s cappable” from “it’s the return of”. ITOH realtime audio is not windwill sorry…
            So about windows and something similar to core Audio macOs/iOS cappabilities let’s see what happens about the other major brand (which even has AI drones and so)…

            http://superpowered.com/androidaudiopathlatency

            Let’s see what brings windows and akai before give them credit. As x86 platform windows istill has some lacks (asio4all sorry?) so embed it without the proper APIs will be nothing near to dedicated c code and no high lever in between like olds. By far better than impc over iPad and dedicated APIs (even whe this not perfect and also has drawbacks against old ones)

            I don’t think any of us here is in position of questioning that decision. I mean, that’s not at all incompatible with using as many DSP chips as they need for real-time tasks.

            Excuse me Sir but talk by yourself. Next time you make an ad hominem fallacy (R&D in windwills makes you an expert in audio embed development?) at the same time argue about others knowledge bring facts (like my link above) and no opinions. Period.

            Of course it could be suitable but the problem here is about user expectation and biased opinions. Numark decision could be right and motivated by different needs but I’m arguing against “old user demands” and “new marketing at last”. So return to read my comments and try to understand what I’m questioning. Said that I’m also question Numark could bring a proper product too and it’s based in slow adaptation technology (intel drop embed system development making this a middle step development with hard future*) and old experience like Numark cdx (which is what the same you described but it wasn’t bugfree) or Akai mpc itself without jjOS (mpc5000 was Alesis fusion inabox full of bugs once again) a It’s not only about engineers, it’s about business plan and revenue streams people making decisions over engineers (as usual). 😉

            * https://mobile.slashdot.org/story/16/04/29/2125215/intel-cuts-atom-chips-basically-giving-up-on-smartphone-and-tablet-market

          • Koyuki

            Mentioning my area of work wasn’t an statement of what I’m an expert on, so no fallacy commited. I pointed it out to have another example of a market where realtime processing and reliability are critical, and in which generic customizable embedded OS’s are used intensively.
            On the other hand, if you can’t see the similarity of electrical signal treatment on wind power control and audio signal treatment, I won’t lecture you or anybody about it, there is plenty of information on the web.

            Maybe I missed some unquestionable ‘facts’, but what I’ve read in this post so far is that you and others are trying to underestimate a machine that hasn’t even been officially announced just because it uses embedded Windows, as if that was a negative thing on its own. That is in my humble view, Sir, a great mistake. And again, questioning the decisions of a whole department of engineers in one of the biggest audio companies in the world two hours after a leak appears seems unwise to me. They have probably devoted more than two hours in analizing if the project was feasible, but hey, this is just me again, maybe they aren’t experts either.

          • Dubby Labby

            Once again you make assumptions… my first “rant” was towards users expecting an old machine kind and Numark maybe, just maybe, “returning to” as marketing strategy. Let’s see when they hit the market hiw they market it (hint: Reinassence as name was a fail and numbers talk by themselves).

            If you wasn’t trying to expose your autority with these biased statement, simply don’t drop it next time. If you feel so confident to think windmilling and audio realtime processing is so close don’t waste time with me, just release a sound windmill windows embed based and show us. Meanwhile I will trust on audio developers who craft real apps and hardware and who point that facts. (Period again and sorry to become so personal but you started trying to limit others by your ego)

            So I’m more focused on how this could be a great machine (agreed with you on that) but I don’t trust on Numark or Akai and it’s based in facts (past experience in their develops) not in possible potential because the technology they had been using over years should be enough (maybe) but they (as brand, not focusing on engineers which seems hurting to you) seemed uncappable to dealing with bugs even when they craft its own OS. Let’s see how deal with other’s OS.
            At this moment their impc pro app is great and if they manage to port it into windows embed platform (cutting iOS dependencies and adding the missing parts like core audio/midi and real multitouch layer etc etc) maybe they will craft a similar experience (not better or worse since it will have pros and cons against iOS experience) but without doubt nothing similar to pure c coding and thight timming like the olds… instead they code some chips directly and could make it transparent to user. That’s why I warning about “this is not like olds” so, you old moc user, be carefull about expectations.

            Finally,
            I can continue all over the day and I post this for those who really want to understand and learn from the links. I will not waste more time with people making assumptions without arguments (more than “as a engineer” degree or so) and zero? experience in audio developing. I don’t need to show my “belt” to talk about facts and how potential never is enough to materialize a good product. I just need to sit and wait. I love be proved wrong but until today Numark has proved me right.

            The intel link about drop embed platform for mobile phones and tablets is recent than the start of this development (and the windows conference where they show the initial prototype) so if Numark doesn’t hit the rght numbers it’s probably next iteration will be on other platform or directly bury the mpc concept itself.

            Let’s see.

          • Koyuki

            I really don’t know what ‘windwill’ is, dude. If I did, I would release that ‘sound windwill windows embed’ for sure.

            But you’re right at least in one thing, I’m wasting time with you and I have too much ego for that.

            Cheers.

          • Dubby Labby
          • Laurence Cousins

            Wait until the product comes out before judging or criticizing it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Have a nice day.😉

          • Dubby Labby

            It’s not necessary to have doubts about Numark promises or remember actual or future users that they have other path similar working since few years ago called impc pro on iPad.
            Have a nice day too. 😉

    • Will

      I get where you’re coming from but I think the part you’re missing is that the ‘old’ MPCs were the exact same: a hardware controller built to control an embedded software application built atop an operating system. It’s not like the MPCs were analog and this is somehow a deviation. It was _always_ software. As long as it works, what does it matter what the OS is?

      • Dubby Labby

        Nooo it’s not Analog vs Digital mate!
        Old ones where dedicated chip based with c coding and dedicated OS, not multipurposed OS revamped to fit inside a development. It doesn’t means worst but neither “too” better than iPad impc pro and obviously not “analog” as mostly old users should think as you try to point (not my case). The problem is about selling this as the return of the old meanwhile the same people you target shits over “laptops and iPads” when they aren’t the same but being close at last. It’s complete no sense!
        In the other hand it’s close but let’s hope Akai do their homework since they are the same who fired jjOS developer (ex Akai employee) who kept alive the mpc itself… maybe this time all the developing chain will work better? From top to engineer? Let’s see but windows embed (as I stated in my other comments with facts) isn’t better platform than iOS per se. It could be even worse if Akai works as they did in the past.

        Selling this as “return of” or being unclear about what it really is this machine could work against the brand as Reinassence did (which motivated this movement). It could be a nightmare for users and Akai/numark itself.

    • Aiki

      Workflow > Features

      • Dubby Labby

        Explain further.

        • Aiki

          daws will always have the edge for production features, standalone kit for ease of use live (this is caled the “live” after all) and learning like an instrument.

          I may however be somewhat prejudiced as I see myself as a live musician and not a “producer”.

          • Dubby Labby

            Well in iOS you can get booth keeping yourself with few (or just one) apps and keep simple workflow (like blocs wave) but also keeping the chance to go full DAW with apps like Auria, full live with apps like Aum mixer, full djing with apps like djay/traktor (or cross/djplayer if you want dvs), full looping (loopyHD, GTL…) on and on. Or just use one of these as standalone machine and it’s still will be cheaper and more scalable (use your own controller akai or not, use your own class compliant soundcard with the io you need…) and build your own solution suited to your needs.
            But all of this was possible and is possible now. Then we have a promise from Numark with self-contained machine and probably a common workflow… like iMpc pro? Well, let’s hope it’s a mix between iMpc pro and desktop akai soft or even something better crafted to this machine.
            Said that we should take in consideration the background in Arm realm and their devs have been working on this since iPad release.

            The point of my “rant” is pointed to these who expect a similar workflow like old ones but hate iPads due they feel toyish. Well maybe some of them will found a surprise since it’s more or less which they are going to recieve. It’s not bad but it’s a bit dumb IMO.
            Whatever other approach seems legit to me but this is standalone but not computerless, sorry. This means maybe not thight midi secuencing due software running over windows… or maybe it feels transparent.
            Let’s hope it works well and numark could continue improving it. Other question will be if there is room for improvement from hardware platform standpoint (due Arm or Atom basis and due to win10 dependency) to have continuity or it will supose the total waste of the legend.
            We will see.

  • Grant Allen

    Don’t forget the akai rhythm wolf/tomcat!
    Unless you’re deliberately trying to,
    In which case forget i said anything.

  • Pop

    From the company that brought you the Rhythm Wolf! What could go wrong?!

  • Guest

    The MPC Live info is from a publicly available FCC database. It’s not a ‘leak’ – they HAVE to make a public filing on their EM radiation. But hey, let’s buzzfeed all our article titles, because nothing bad could possibly happen from throwing journalistic integrity out the window.

  • itchy

    some people def like this work flow, and if it made properly and they don’t cheap out in any area’s im sure people will like it.
    not I, but i get it.
    again if its done right.

    • itchy

      then again judging by that picture im sure that foamy wrist rest will age nicely

  • chaircrusher

    I want to subscribe to the RSS feed of “Things from CDM that aren’t going to cost me $, preferably free. 😉

  • R__W

    I’m not sure if the Akai box runs ‘Embedded Windows’ or if the article means some form of desktop Windows is ’embedded’ into the system. If it’s the former, it doesn’t really gain an audio hardware developer much, if anything. You can’t just drop a VST onto Embedded Windows. Neither can one run JUCE or any other VST host on embedded windows.

  • Will

    Being based on embedded Windows allows this box to allow for a rarely seen feature in standalone hardware: two USB host ports. In 2016, I’ll add this to the ‘big deal’ column. So many MIDI controllers are USB only these days. Plus, the idea of getting a used Korg NanoKontrol or similar for cheap cheap and being able to immediately control your sample levels via physical controls is just sweet.

    Wonder what the differences are in terms of external sequencing power as compared to the MPC-1000.

    • Will

      Just occurred to me that Windows under-the-hood also means this stand alone box could support something like a Novation Launchpad with fully bi-directional interactions.

      And they could add very nice soft synths.

      Something tells me ol’ bastard Jack wont go there but damn, I see a lot of potential in a box like this if it actually worked. I might be inclined to buy it and send an extra $50 to Mr. Linn.