Welcome to the post-PC drum machine age. After years of leaving fans of standalone MPCs in the cold, Akai have unveiled machines that promise the flexibility of computer software – minus the computer.

Specs and photos went live on the Sweetwater website this morning with complete specs, and now are also live on Akai’s site. (I’m unaware of whether or not today was the date Akai intended to lift embargo, as CDM was never under one.)s


The MPC Live is probably the one you want, in a compact form factor and with a not-insane US$1,199 street price. And it’s no slouch:


7″ touch screen
16 pads (hopefully these are these build on the quality of those on the previous MPC Renaissance flagship)
Weight: 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)
Rechargeable battery (clever, that!)
16 GB of internal storage, plus external hard drive support
MPC 2.0 software has upgraded time warp and audio track recording (also putting it ahead of Maschine for DAW-like tasks)
Audio inputs: 2x 1/4″ plus 1 stereo RCA (and GND for connecting a turntable)
Audio outputs: 2x 1/4″ master, an additional 4×1/4″, plus the minijack headphone
MIDI I/O – 2 in, 2 out (that’s surprising on a small unit)
SD card
USB: 2x type A (for expanding storage, and tantalizingly for “controllers” – it seems there’s USB host support for MIDI), 1x type B (for computer connections)
2.5″ SATA drive connector

Even the mid-range MPC Live has a surprisingly generous complement of I/O.

Even the mid-range MPC Live has a surprisingly generous complement of I/O.

The Quick Start manual is also online.

Note that you can dynamically get hands-on control of parameters via what Akai call “Q-Link,” and you can sample live right on the hardware. Both the two USB-A ports and SD card slot let you add storage, so you’ll have no lack of absence to samples – plus 10 GB of content are included.

USB connectivity means this is a computer accessory when you want it to be. USB MIDI can be transmitted in both directions, and you can use the MPCs along with desktop MPC software – which means access to your plug-ins, and drag-and-drop support with DAWs for arranging.

We’ve already seen reasonably clever MPC software in the computer-tethered products. Now, the touchscreens on previous Akai products haven’t been the best ever, in my experience – though the bar is set high when you’re used to things like Apple’s superb iPad screens. But it absolutely beats menu diving – compare, for instance, the experience of using Pioneer’s new sample hardware. And perhaps they’ve upgraded the touchscreen component; that’ll be interesting to see.

The audio track thing to me is huge, as it vastly increases the range of what you can do with just the MPC. I suspect for a lot of producers, that’s enough to finish tracks (even if they move back to the computer for mixing and mastering).

It seems that basically what you’re getting is the MPC Touch with the software running internally on an embedded system – and some significant upgrade to I/O and better software. But given the MPC Touch was already pretty darn good, this could move the MPC Live into must-buy territory.

Sound on Sound go hands-on:

Of course, if you want something bigger and more powerful / own a car to carry it around or want to leave something in the studio, there’s the US$$2,199 MPC X.

It’s got everything the MPC Live has, with a bigger form factor, a bigger screen, more dedicated controls, and more I/O.

The big'n.

The big’n.

So you get:
10.1″ multi-touch screen
CV/gate for analog connectivity – 8 of them! (seems it’s output only)
Audio inputs 3/4 are both jack and RCA a
8 outputs instead of 6
4 MIDI outputs instead of 2

Another sign that this is power over portability – there’s no mention of battery power.

A big, articulated screen, extra hands-on control, and loads of I/O are what you get on the MPC X, in exchange for being a bit less mobile and paying over two grand.

A big, articulated screen, extra hands-on control, and loads of I/O are what you get on the MPC X, in exchange for being a bit less mobile and paying over two grand.

The leaked specs don’t yet have weight, but then, you’re not really buying this one for portability.

That’s all very cool, and it should be big in the American market where larger equipment is more desirable. But worldwide, the MPC Live is already powerful enough that it seems it’ll be the winner.

Software upgrade

Also leaked – the MPC 2.0 software sounds great. And if you don’t have the cash for this new gear, and already own an MPC product, you’ve got an upgrade path.

Free download for existing owners of the Touch and Studio Black
Paid upgrade for owners of the MPC Renaissance & MPC Studio Silver (pricing not confirmed)
User interface now standardized across computer and standalone environments
Audio tracks (128 in computer mode, 8 stereo tracks in standalone mode)
Improved time-stretching with the new warping algorithm allows any audio file to adapt to the BPM of your project in real-time (works in audio tracks and in loops assigned to drum or clip programs)
Real time pitch shifting
New ‘CLIP’ programs (similar to clips in Ableton Live) can contain up to 16 loops with maximum length of 8 measures
Drag and Drop audio tracks, clips, regions, phrases and MIDI directly into DAWs
Plug-in programs will only function when attached to a computer running MPC Software.
Existing chopping functionality works with audio tracks (e.g assigning regions of an audio track to individual pads)
The Browser now moved to the right of the screen
Fully editable and configurable mapping of external instruments to Q Links
MPC X displays the parameter name and corresponding values on the OLED screen above the Q-Link dial
Improved mixer with better routing & scalable channel strips

I really like the drag-and-drop capability. That’s huge with Maschine and Ableton Live, and it could be with this device, too.

Make clips on the go, or onstage, then dump them back into your DAW to do a more final arrangement? Sounds perfect to me.

And it makes clear where this is going when I say “post-PC.” It’s not that the PC goes away; it simply becomes a more powerful studio tool, while you focus on hardware live (or when you want to improvise away from the sometimes-uninspiring computer screen).

Standalone threat

Who should be a little nervous? All the competition, clearly.

That breaks down into I think two endangered categories:

1. Computers tethered to software when a standalone solution would be more effective.

2. Hardware that makes you menu dive with awkward combinations of buttons as if you’ve never seen a computer before.

That doesn’t apply to everything. Computers still have plenty to offer – endless software choice, which means unique sound possibilities, plug-ins, big displays, and powerful arrangement features.

And not all standalone software should emulate computer software. Sometimes what makes hardware appealing is integrated sound capabilities and more limited controls.

I also don’t think the computer is going to become extinct onstage – it’s just going to make way for dedicated hardware solutions in certain use cases. And that trend is already well underway.

It’s hard not to feel Native Instruments have missed a major opportunity here. I can’t imagine anyone buying the flagship Maschine Studio when it lacks so much connectivity, let alone the need for tethering to a computer, especially with a standalone MPC Live hitting this price point. And ironically, while NI have through their history pioneered the use of native software, they could have taken that same native software and made it run standalone. They certainly could have shipped a Maschine that looked like this – and I would have been one of the first to buy it. But even as a devoted Maschine fan, I’m going to wonder about whether I really want to play live with a laptop when I could ditch it for an MPC with similar capabilities. (They’re safer at the low end – four hundred bucks for Maschine Jam gives you some insanely powerful software with tricks the MPC lacks, and hardware.) The same is true of the Traktor line – there really is some truth to the resistance to DJs showing up with computers.

(Of course, that said, it’s a shame the new MPCs don’t support Ableton Link – at least not that I can see.)

Pioneer have their own market niche because their Toraiz sampler has sync capabilities with the CDJ. But since DJ/producers often differentiate between live acts and DJ sets, I expect a lot will choose to do a live set with an MPC and just use CDJs when DJing. That’s already the case with the Elektron machines you see so often in live sets.

Elektron probably have the least concern. Their user base is pretty loyal, and the Analog line sounds absolutely terrific. But even some would-be Elektron customers may decide a sample-based workflow and more DAW-style flexibility is desirable – without all the menu diving.

Even Ableton ought to have a look at this and wonder if the Push is going to stay as desirable as a performance solution.

Roland also missed a chance to get an entry here, though I suspect they would need added software capabilities.

Don’t get me wrong – there are still advantages to computer software. When it comes to more complex arrangements, I’m all about a big screen. And past leaks suggest the new Akai hardware won’t support plug-ins. So these machines for many producers will be about live performance. Then again, there’s nothing stopping you from using the MPCs with a computer for those contexts. The category this will clearly damage is the computer-plus-machine area — meaning things like Push and Maschine look less desirable.

I’ll definitely be keen to test this. It’s still down to software – despite the embedded context, that’s what you’re testing. And I’m curious to see how you would integrate this with studio workflows on the computer.

But long before NAMM, it seems we have the big NAMM story for producers.

Just remember – drum machines have no soul. 😉

  • Foosnark

    “I can’t imagine anyone buying the flagship Maschine Studio when it lacks so much connectivity, let alone the need for tethering to a computer, especially with a standalone MPC Live hitting this price point.”

    You already said it above: plugins. Integrating with a computer is EXACTLY why I prefer Maschine over a standalone device.

    My workflow right now is Eurorack and VST voices, through VST effects, sequenced in Maschine. I don’t see a standalone MPC as any kind of alternative to that; I see going back to FLStudio or getting my head around Bitwig as the alternative.

    • In the studio, yes. For sure.

      But even then most I imagine would opt for Maschine Jam or the Maschine mk2 hardware, not Studio. Plus if you’re using the computer display, do you really need Maschine Studio’s bigger display?

      And to me that’s the divide – live versus studio. For studio workflows, of course, you don’t care about standalone mode and you *do* want plug-ins, etc.

      For live, though, do you really need to load plug-ins?

      • Dubby Labby

        You can have both with an iPad setup but it seems no love for iPads…

        • Well, the software isn’t as capable on the iPad. And then I/O is a pain. Neither of those factors is likely to change. Since people demand $5 prices for apps, would you rather be in that business, or this one? (Also, you’re going to have less competition in hardware, either way, simply because of barriers to entry.)

          On the I/O side, Apple has is pretty committed to just one port.

          • Dubby Labby

            Software could be more than cappable if it’s well coded since most of the things that this done it’s possible with Beathawk and/or launchpad app. Then you have more possibilities (like AU or flexible selection of controller/audio interface) and cheap (an Apple product combination cheaper than dedicated hardware is mind blowing).
            One could buy a Reinassence and get more for less and these have hub incorporated.
            iOS ecosystem has infinity workflow possibilities over this (videosampling?) and price is not the problem (taketevj, lemur, Auria…) but you can find apps around 8-20 euros which make iPad as perfect embed device (with core audio, core midi… until developers start look to Atv due there is midi implementation by third party)

            Apple could do more but the problem is niche and sampler is a niche product like vinyl djing so the money is in games directly. I just expect to see this new year with AB3, update for modstep and so on. If I look into dedicated sampler I will look to Pioneer for trust and focus, Akai has a lot to do right to recover the lost trust, sincerely.

      • heinrich

        The MK2 and Jam for performance, both together provide excellent Ableton controller as well. Yes i like to tweak plugin synths live, rather than just working with pre recorded audio and effects. Using macros focusing on a few key parameters at a time to keep it simple.

    • Vaihe

      Do remember that many have worked and still work with stand-alone MPC’s.
      MPC X has one HUGE advantage over Maschine: 16 knobs. I have been using Maschine for years now and having only 8 knobs to edit sounds is a bitch in a long run.

      MPC’s were used for production and then all tracks were recorded to multitrack for mixing with console. You can use X like that still today.

  • Foosnark

    “I can’t imagine anyone buying the flagship Maschine Studio when it lacks so much connectivity, let alone the need for tethering to a computer, especially with a standalone MPC Live hitting this price point.”

    You already said it above: plugins. Integrating with a computer is EXACTLY why I prefer Maschine over a standalone device.

    My workflow right now is Eurorack and VST voices, through VST effects, sequenced in Maschine. I don’t see a standalone MPC as any kind of alternative to that; I see going back to FLStudio or getting my head around Bitwig as the alternative.

  • Andy

    Spot on with your analysis. I have an MPC2000 which is great for sampling and beats but becomes annoying for anything more complicated (plus saving to a floppy is a ballache beyond beleif). The idea then drops into Live and Push is used to craft a song from the loops. Interested in seeing some live reviews of the features etc, and see how cumbersome (or not) the touch screen is.

  • Krafttwerk

    I feel like Akai are playing to their strengths and NI wouldn’t really be too concerned about this. Akai is good at hardware and NI is good at software. inMusic even shut down one of their software divisions Sonivox last year, which to me indicates that inMusic are conceding the plugin market to NI and focusing on hardware. These new MPCs look like great products and while I don’t think they’ll replace computers at all, they’ll provide an interesting alternative to those that don’t already own a laptop looking to get into making music.

    • Well, except technically this *is* a computer. And I would question whether NI lacks hardware strength. There’s no reason they couldn’t put an embedded computer system inside things like the S8 and Maschine Studio.

      As said elsewhere in this thread, of course, there are still advantages to a computer. But when you’re onstage, having to plug in a general purposecomputer, worry about the OS and usability and so on, is just a pain.

      • Krafttwerk

        No, you’re right, I don’t think NI lacks hardware strength, but I think Akai is stronger at it or at least has a much longer history with producing it. Personally the way I think of the brands is that Akai/inMusic dabble with software and have strong hardware and NI is the exact opposite. Might not be entirely true, but that’s just my perception of their businesses.

        These MPCs will be GREAT for live use I think and that’s where they’ll really shine as a computer alternative, and like you said it technically is a computer at heart shelled inside an MPC form. That opens up a lot of interesting questions as to how expandable or mod-able it will be, which is pretty exciting.

        • Really? Akai did have some catching up to do on the software side, but I wouldn’t make the comparison on hardware that you do. I think NI’s hardware today is exceptionally high quality. And I know some of the teams working on it. There’s a deep skill set now that they’ve built over years of working in hardware development.

          And not only that, but talking embedded operating systems, this is really a software problem, not hardware, anyway. The hardware on Maschine and these MPCs, for instance, is more or less the same, fundamentally. The difference is, these MPCs now pack a little Windows computer on the inside, rather than making you tether to your computer.

          It’s really down to strategy. Akai chose to invest in embedded for the MPC; NI (apparently) didn’t.

          I think there’s tons of potential remaining in making products for computers. But for use cases like live performance, my sense is that embedded solutions deliver superior reliability and ease of setup/use than the computer/hardware combo does at the moment.

          In the studio, you might not care, but five minutes before your set time when you’re plugging in, you do.

          • Just on the basis of engineering/hardware quality, I’ve opened my Mikro and can agree it is one of the most solid and high quality pieces of gear that I have ever seen inside (I’ve opened a lot of stuff). Triple the number of screws holding the PCB to the chassis than most hardware for starters. Definitely engineered for the rigours of live music performance.

            I’m not sure embedded is really where I want my computer when it comes down to it.

          • I should quantify that last statement — in terms of investment in dollar terms, and having to think very carefully about how a limited budget can get the most bang for buck (i.e. not being able to double up on gear). But I do agree with you on the live setup scenario, computers can be a pain.

    • Heinrich Zwahlen

      Yes more software please! NI just needs to update it’s Maschine software already with better Midi and Arrange functionality, timestretching maybe and audiotracks would be nice but not even in the first place, since we do use that evil computer. Making iMaschine capable of connecting to the hardware would be another winner imo.

      • Better sampler too please! Considering they make Kontact/Reaktor etc. the sampler in Maschine is frustratingly basic. Otherwise the interface is very finicky (if doing stuff via the GUI as a Mikro user) — flipping between the sound/group/master plugins and in-out panel, setting up sends, etc. — a lot of tabbing about/menu diving that takes some fun out of an otherwise very fun and direct way of composing/performing. I guess with Maschine studio that’s not so much an issue but I’m only on Mikro and leaning more towards Push (than Studio) because of the aforementioned Maschine sampler limitations.

        Still reminisce about owning an MPC though, but then maybe this is so much of a departure (from my MPC2000 c. 2000) that the beauty of the sheer simplicity that made it work would be missing … Hang on I just said I want a more sophisticated sampler?

        • heinrich zwahlen

          The Mikro is indeed frustrating for the reasons you mentioned, Studio is awesome in that category but really from a price point and deskspace point of view the MK2 is the best choice at this point. You will not have the same navigation issues as you have with the Mikro there.

          • Pretty much why I am torn between the MK2/studio and Push. Push is a third more expensive of course (than mk2), but I’ve already got Mikro and therefore the application and can run it inside Live alongside Push. There is no doubt though that Machine is fun and even with Mikro I often end up jamming (once I’ve loaded all of my sounds/instruments) after my screen has gone to sleep — but Live has so much more depth and Push looks like it would be the same screen free scenario. I haven’t played live for years but I could imagine putting the laptop behind me (with Push/Maschine) somewhere where it’s not part of the show.

            In that context I’m excited to see the MPC, and based on previously owning one have nostalgia but don’t think it justifies itself otherwise: if I was starting from scratch I’d be all over it.

  • excuse my ignorance, are there any syntheziser parts on this machine or is it simply a super charged drum machine & sampler? a modern standalone groovebox would nice. like Maschine but without a computer. a spiritual successor to the Yamaha RS7000.

    • Yeah, not to my knowledge.

    • Vaihe

      It’s a sampler. No idea how deeply you can edit and modulate the samples yet.

  • Billy

    Not better than Push 2 and a lot more expensive. So why do I need this again?

    • Use case. Push/Live is an amazing combo, but some people will prefer dedicated hardware for live use. And the ability to use the MPC Live on battery power without the distractions of a computer is also clearly going to appeal.

      Also, I’d question “more expensive” – since Push doesn’t include a full license for Ableton Live.

      • Billy

        This is a computer. The difference being that this computer only runs the MPC software, right? That’s a BIG limitation when I can have complex, multi-instrument compositions in Live I can play live from Push. This MPC LIMITS YOU to what the MPC can do. And all that for a portability which in the MPC X version is really no different to laptop plus Push. So the question for me is why would anyone limit themselves to the MPC which, ever since Maschine came along in 2009, has been following and not leading?

        • The Fantastix

          I think limiting yourself can bring creativity. Back i the day I would have killed for a battery powered MPC-1000, I loved the workflow. Now I have Ableton and a Push, so not really inclined to go the MPC way again…

          • heinrich

            same here man, been there done that;)

        • Toby

          A push isn’t as complex as an MPC with all the hardware hook up and sequencing you can do with this thing. It has built in FX, parameter modulation and so on.. and you can do all this live, with a live set up. It’s basically a hub and so much more than a sampler/drum machine. I would be excited to see whether you can clip launch on the MPC X just as you can on the MPC Live. Oh and it comes with Ableton Link in the future update.

        • Dubby Labby

          Limit as workflow. The fail is not allowing third party addons or so.
          This machine is out of time but it will be a success if it’s bugfree (or curated) since there are lots of old Akai brand fans as Technics. In this case almost the gear is focused toward the right target.

        • Again: use case. You are describing a different application. The whole point of a machine like MPC Live or Pioneer Toraiz, Octatrack, Electribe is – focus through limitation.

          • Billy

            You focus through limitation and I’ll be happy with my much greater features and user possibilities. For less money.

    • Vaihe

      You most obviously have no idea what MPC is.
      I have used Ableton Live for 10 years and i think Push 2 is overpriced piece of plastic. 250€ would be proper as it can’t do anything without computer and it can’t control Arrangement in Live. Without access to arrangement you can’t really sequence songs with it. MPC has one of the best sequencers out there. To make complete tracks. Not that i have one, but MPC Live might be my first one.

      • Dubby Labby

        The idea behind Push is not sequence in arrangement mode. The live mode of the new mpcs is taken from session view of Ableton so I see you are talking to different approaches and compairing them (wrong in my opinion).
        Said that Ableton has become the de-facto standard for live sequencing/mangling and Akai gone down only maintained by third party (jjOS developed by an ex-employee of the old Akai) so waiting an improvement over old (mpc1000 and olders) is missing how the history was.
        This new mpc are upgrade from reinnasence upgrade from mpd series and maybe an upgrade over mpc5000 since jjOS is from third party and Akai has zero r&d involved in it.

        Now all of us need to see how it works and how Akai manage them in the long term (I hope better than mpc5000) to be sure about this worth the effort of trusting in Akai again.

      • Billy

        That’s right. And owning the 1000, 5000 and 3000 doesn’t count, right?

  • Billy

    Not better than Push 2 and a lot more expensive. So why do I need this again?

  • Nice machine/concept!

  • Mark Lentczner

    I wonder if it has support for USB based MIDI and support for mapping controllers (say, a MIDI Fighter Twister and/or a Launchpad of some sort). I doubt it, but a guy can dream….

    • Tony Scharf

      Check out the ‘quick start guide’ on Akai’s website. Says it has two USB3.0 ports for ‘Thumb drives and Controllers’. I’d say that’s pretty promising…

      • Yep, that also suggests to me MIDI support via USB host.

        • Dubby Labby

          Ok. xD

  • Tony Scharf

    *this* was what I was looking for. I’ve had every version of the MPC hardware that’s ever existed and loved them all for different reasons. The problem is, the tech had gotten stale and I’d moved to using Maschine more for convenience than anything.. but I was still left in the cold when working live.

    I’d really like to see the manual for this thing to see what it can do with sound. What’s its FX and voice architecture like? What kind of sample mangling can it do? I’m not sure if this will go next to my Octatrack or replace it. I’d like replace.

  • Tony Scharf

    Also….it’s not a leak. Both are on the AkiaPro website.

    • Yeah, not sure if that was intended or not, as I wasn’t under NDA/embargo. It did appear the Sweetwater site went live first, so I don’t know if that hastened the site going live.

      Either way, Sweetwater did have a couple of specs missing on the Akai site – but I’ve updated the story so it no longer describes this as a leak.

  • c0wfunk

    dang was hoping those USB-a ports were midi hosts.

    • Actually – it appears they are.

      • c0wfunk

        ahh that’s great.

      • Dubby Labby

        Did you ask it, Peter?

  • Heinrich Zwahlen

    The Live version looks the best but on 2nd though i don’t see its practicality at this price point in particular.
    I don’t see why people other than permanent travelers would put something in a box like Akai Live. For composition the lack of virtual instruments is damning and generally for audio/sampling recording applications,16gb is not exactly lavish.
    For live it’s only good for finger drumming and does nothing for hands-on sound control of multiple parameters like for instance Maschine Jam could do with the touch strips and the lock function..and that’s really where i see most people wanting to go in performances. The omission of Link takes it out of DJ collaboration world, another area where i see most performance going. So overall, this thing does not look so useful to me.
    As far the big Akai machine it’s simply a pig and I’m generally skeptical about big all in one solutions with electronic music instruments (as history has tought me: It’s always better to have the option to upgrade indivdual components as the years go by than to be stuck with a big box. In particular when it comes to touch screens, storage and cpu performance. Computers or Tablets are generally utilities that will always be up to date technically, and that at a lower price. In addition i also prefer to use my external converter over some generic Akai whatever it is at this moment.

    • Right – ‘permanent travelers,’ like gigging musicians?

      That’s a pretty huge use case as I see it. And then you don’t necessarily want *every single instrument* loaded into a rig for live playing. You tend to simplify – and this could be a solution. Not for everyone, but I don’t think there ever is a one-size-fits-all live solution for everyone. 😉

      • Tom

        Yeah, I think a lot of the software dudes are just not wrapping their heads around the idea of bouncing an instrument track. They’re putting this up against a full PC with a maschine or push, then yeah it’s not really going to stack up. But put the Push alone next to this thing, then look at the price point and throw in the fact that you don’t need the laptop. It’s going to be a part of the studio, just like the old MPC’s or a great gigging device. Not a studio-in-a-box.

      • Heinrich Zwahlen

        Agreed if your just gigging for a day in your local club or nearby town, but otherwise you will mostly likely carry a laptop anyway. Of course you want to simplify, but i would you not like to have good hands-on physical controls for a few virtual instruments or effects to play with.. i do, i’m not interested in showing or seeing finger drumming. Beyond that i think you really can’t do all that much blindly using your muscle memory with this box as you’ll be more often looking a a touch screen. I’ve been performing with dedicated hardware for 20+ years and can’t say that i miss much of it..other than the many tactile elements.

  • Conan

    Roland could have killed this stone dead with a pro level SP-404. Still could if they’ve got one up their sleeve for Namm

    • Kiritan Flux

      also crossing my fingers for that one…

    • Dubby Labby

      They had sp555 with similar clip launching approach and live looping but lacking in other features like small screen. Roland has also the sp606/mv8800 line which could bloat out of water this but again no “live” mode. So yes, make a new sp/mv (aira) sampler and under 999€…

    • Will

      MV9000 as a successor to the MV8800 maybe. The 8800 had audio tracks, a color screen and time stretching 10 years ago! 🙂 http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/roland-mv8800

  • phillip washington

    For me to even consider buying this thing, it has to have midi FX. I’m talking about velocity, randomisation, transpose, arpeggiator, chord, scale, note length, and CC LFO. limited versions of these are available in older versions of the MPC via JJOS and have been available for over a decade. the PyraOS which is on Squarp’s sequencer features all of these to a great extent. software platforms such as ableton have had them for over a decade. If the MPC Live/X do not feature basic midi effects functionality for sequencing internal tracks or external equipment they are alienating people like me who want to exploit the device as a sequencer. I should be able to add in whatever Midi FX I want and be able to tweak their parameters via the Q-Link knobs, and if I can’t, I don’t know why I’m buying the thing. Even Elektron added midi effects like randomisation to their sequencers on the Rytm and Analog4. Chance/Randomisation is a great feature, so is chord, scale, arpeggiator, note length, midi note delay and more, and I feel like I deserve to have it if I’m paying 1200 bucks for a sequencer/sampler.

    • Toby

      It does have FX, yes! If you check out the soundonsound website they have a demo of MPC X using FX.

    • Ashley Scott

      I imagine (hope that at least) it includes pad-cycling, like on MPC4000/5000, & desktop MPC software but wouldn’t surprise me if that’s all.

  • Mark Lyon

    “(Of course, that said, it’s a shame the new MPCs don’t support Ableton Link – at least not that I can see.)”

    Just wanted to let you know that Akai website, under Features, says that Link (and WiFi) will be coming in future updates. So long as you can wait for it, one more in the plus column.

  • FS

    I’m really proud of Akai for doing this. after all Roger Linn and them started this whole revolution, not forgetting of course Mr. Rossum’s glorious SP 1200. but Maschine and Push are an evolution of the MPC so it’s cool to see that Akai gave us a stand alone unit worthy of 2017. and just like any other product release it doesn’t render any of the other options useless, Maschine and Push users will still crush on those machines but we’re lucky this new option is there. i say bravo Akai!

  • Danny Webbox

    The hardware does look nice (the Live version at least) with a good selection of ins and outs and undoubtedly it will fun and convenient to use live. but cant help thinking this is all a bit…old hat. So we finally got back to hardware samplers after about 20 years. The hardware sampler comeback. The big headline feature is clip playback. even this concept is now old. Maybe next they will reintroduce multi-timbrality to hardware synths like we also had in abundance in the 90s.

    • Polite Society

      Cycles. each one is better than the last.

  • R__W

    how does touchscreen get one out of menu diving? doesn’t one just end up diving via the screen, rather than buttons and knobs? One of the past MPC’s strong points was that they have perfected their ‘menu dive’ UX.

  • Sasha Kozak

    This looks amazing

  • Elekb

    Holy crap, this… this is actually pretty amazing.

    Also, I agree with your analysis of Native Instruments vs Akai. It’s easy for us to play Captain hindsight, at this point, but I can just feel a collective headshake going on around the internets right now – why didn’t NI explore this direction further?

    Personally, I’m too attached to my current modus operandi (PC, Ableton Live, MIDI hardware). The thing with electronic music and hardware/software solutions is, once you’ve settled on a workflow, there’s little incentive to change it unless the change is not very time-consuming. But if I was a youngster starting out and beginning to explore electronic music, I would totally see the appeal. Streamlined and effective. Also 2000 bucks. Way to go, Akai.

    • joseph guisti

      add a zero to that number

      • Elekb

        Yep. Edited. Thank you.

  • joseph guisti

    I’m excited for this. I’ve been wanting all of these features in a single device for a few years now. Like other have mentioned, though: all of this hinges on whether or not that touch screen / operating system is smooth or finnicky. I hate dragging piano roll stuff around on a touch screen: give me a mouse/trackpad and key combos any day. BUT if the workflow feels quick and intuitive, this might be awesome.

    Now if only the MPC Live had CV outs…

  • This does look amazing and I was super excited when I saw this today! I use Live/Push and Maschine Studio plus a metric shit-ton of VST’s. I love hardware and tactile control as much as anyone but I’ve become so accustomed to my hard-ware+software workflow that I feel like this would be a step backward.
    I love the browsing and easy tweaking of synths in Maschine. Also, use machine for drums. I can browse and play spontaneously to get ideas, then drop it all into Ableton to arrange. The lack of plug-ins in the new MPC is a deal-breaker. I realize the MPC is a sampler/drum machine but I do my sample mangling in Live and play it on Push.

    As much as I’d Love to play with one of these I don’t see myself dropping 2k on it!
    I’d rather buy a new laptop and audio interface to go with my existing hard/soft ware and controllers.

  • James Unlimited

    I can’t believe this whole article didn’t mention the mammoth synth control potential here… 8 CV Gate / 2 MIDI I/O and USB Midi… Plug in a keyboard controller and you’ve got the ultimate way to control and sequence of a studio full of synths.

    • Jyoti Mishra

      A standalone way to sequence a monster modular…. no extra MIDI/CV converters, all from one box! *drool*

  • James Unlimited

    I can’t believe this whole article didn’t mention the mammoth synth control potential here… 8 CV Gate / 2 MIDI I/O and USB Midi… Plug in a keyboard controller and you’ve got the ultimate way to control and sequence of a studio full of synths.

  • Jyoti Mishra

    All I want to know: how good is the MIDI timing? If this is, as Peter rightly reminds us, a computer in a nice box running an MPC program, will it be as terrible with its MIDI as all the existing DAWs (‘cept maybe Reaper) are?

    Will it be as tight as my Atari or my Linn 9000? Or a Cirklon:

    “The 32-bit, 72MHz ARM Cortex CPU runs a proprietary sequencer engine to ensure optimum timing accuracy. All MIDI ports are provided by hardware serial ports in the CPU core itself.” (Source: http://www.sequentix.com/cirklon.htm)

    Those four MIDI outs sure are tempting but if all they serve is jittery slop… I’ll pass.

    • Dubby Labby


  • Matt

    For recording samples into the MPC Live during a live gig, is there any audio input other than line level analog input?
    Can it use a class compliant USB audio interface or mic? Or support digital audio input some other way?
    Otherwise, looks like you’d need a separate preamp/mixer between a mic and the MPC.

    Looks great though!

  • Looks quite interesting..
    But as a long time MPC user, I’ve completely fallen for Maschine (and since then much of the other NI’s stuff).
    After inMusic bought Akai the quality (software and/or hardware) hasn’t been weak. I’ve had the original MPC 1k, some of its pads started dying on me. Then bought the MPC 2.5k which was much better hardware -wise, but it had issues with function buttons dying, and needles to say its software was a disaster..
    At least for me personally, this is too little too late.
    Maschine & Komplete is such a killer setup ✌️

  • Will

    Those OLED scribble strips on the MPCX are what I want to see on every MIDI controller from 2018 forward. You have one year to get it together, Earth.

  • Will

    The USB port means that Akai could one day sell MPCX parts to MPC LIVE users. Maybe someone only has enough for the LIVE today but in 6 months could part with another $400 for a stand alone 16 pot Q-Link controller. Or CV breakout box or… And it (w/c/sh)ould all ‘just work’ as if it were integrated into the MPCX.

  • Joe

    Finally , doubt it replaces my laptop ,nice click bait title