Following Akai’s announcement of the new standalone MPC models – MPC X and MPC Live – they’ve also released some videos.

Sound on Sound has a walkthrough:

And there’s the requisite promo film from Akai:

It’s important to note that adding standalone mode here doesn’t mean taking away anything from the computer/hardware combo. The software on the standalone MPCs is identical to what was previously available via the controller — even besting it, thanks to the MPC 2.0 software launch. Plugged into your computer, you get all the advantages you’re used to. You can add plug-ins, control MIDI on the device over USB, and drag and drop materials back to your DAW. But untethered, you can work without a computer – which also means less complexity and stability hassles in live setups.

People evidently thought I was suggesting tossing your laptop in a bin. Far from it: I think the real story here is that your computer does what it’s best at (like hosting plug-ins, handling arrangement duties, and showing things on a big display), while avoiding the situation where it can become awkward (certain live setups, or on the go, or when you want to focus on a music workflow without distractions).

The other interesting story here is the new approach to clip launching in the MPC 2.0 software. Despite the comparisons to Ableton Live, it’d be a stretch to imagine this as a real Ableton alternative – Ableton Live’s software is a complete DAW built around the clip model.

That said, I can imagine a big use case of people who have gotten used to pattern launching because Ableton is their main DAW, finding this comfortable when they’re playing onstage.

Frankly, there are also plenty of producers and DJs I know who avoid live sets because they haven’t had a rig they felt comfortable with. Setting up Ableton as their live gig tool might be daunting.

Reaching another use case, there are MPC users who are comfortable with that tool for production, and even are happy to use it for end-to-end track creation. Those folks are likely to be excited about the ability to use Audio Tracks. Now, if you do all your vocals and arrangement in Cubase, I don’t know that this is really for you. But for the drum machine-focused workflow, where someone just wants to add some vocals and do all the rest of their song writing on the MPC, this could fit.

For their part, Native Instruments are also adjusting their approach to arrangement workflows on Maschine; I’ll cover that in a separate story.

Akai are also meeting artists in a series called “standalone challenge” – one clearly geared at the US market, with some Grammy-winning legends:

  • wetterberg

    I gotta say, this is getting really clever! It’s a full on micro-computer now, and it puts you in such a nice little production environment. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about how its “DAW” setup works in that separate story.

    • A ‘micro computer’ is far smaller and more flexible than this. There are many Windows 10 computers that fit in ones pocket, a few with touch screens etc. and several cost less than $200us The MPC-X is far larger and heavier than modern laptop computers that run complete DAW softwares.

      • Dopamine Addict

        Raspberry Pi v3 is a $35 micro computer that provides a shocking amount of performance, especially for the money.

  • yeah yeah

    The Push, the Circuit, and the Machine mkI are all gonna hit Craigslist now. Just waiting on one good real-world review…

    I’ve been moving toward real instruments processed via stompbox fx and ignoring my AUs & VSTs. This will complete the switch.

    • c0wfunk

      the circuit is $300. totally different market.

    • Personally i will stick with the Circuit.

      • Vaihe

        You are completely clueless what MPC is and it’s legacy. Many ppl prefer MPC over computer. iPad is really not an option.

        • Clueless? no need to lower the tone to personal insults.

          i am well aware of the MPC’s history and legacy. It is Akai whom destroyed that legacy when they abandoned the hardware MPC and went on to produce poor software and controllers and badged them with the Akai MPC brand.

          This new line of MPC’s are touch screen Windows 10 computers running imbedded software with some added I/O and pads, once again branded with Akai MPC logos.

          Please enlighten me as to how this is a superior option to a non Windows touch screen device?

          i personally do not use a ‘computer’ (PC, Mac or iPad) to create music.

          • Spankous

            This comment is not against Mpc, Mpc users or anyone at all. Just a thought. A musician with fantasy with a 300 + Circuit will always sound better than a musician without inspiration on a Mpc for 2000+ dollars. Also I can`t take “legacy of a machine..” comments seriously. I mean we are talking about a machine. It`s not like the machine lived an exciting life, created something and we shall call it “Legacy”. Musicians that produced gold using machines like Mpc`s and 1210`s, 303`s and countless other devices , made people come up with the expression “legacy” when talking about a machine in the first place. But they are a bit confused. It will always be the creative and brave mind`s that create legacy using any machine . Like many musicians did in history with good and bad machines. I will always be thankfull to these musicians that show the way. but come on… not to a machine… Give me a break….

          • Legacy – “denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.”

            ive never owned an MPC nor do i wish to, however i am interested in the history and evolution of drum machines.

            My current favorite piece of equipment is the Novation Circuit.

          • Spankous

            Actually the word Legacy means something else but i know what you mean. I am just basically saying that i will never use this word when referirng to a machine-software-things in general. Thats all. To me legacy is a word best suited to use when referring to what humans leave behind. machines are machines. when something doesn`t think for itself it can`t create legacy 🙂 Oh and my favorite peace is a minilogue. The Circuit sounds good to my ears

  • itchy

    this seems like the direction of ableon as well. push 3 will be more integrated with live . im more interested in that. but this is a step in the right direction and if your an “mpc person” then looks like youl love this.

    • Spankous

      i use ableton many years now and love it. Push never made it on my list though. If i would buy a controller i would want bigger pads for better drumming freedom (or at least an Mpc style 6-8 pads section like on many Keyboard controller). I simply find the Push pads too small

  • Tyler Matteson

    For what I do, 8 measures of clip length isn’t nearly enough. How is this not a serious flaw?

    • itchy

      im sure this will be able to be adjusted in firmware updates. i think is is exciting for the mpc user and if akai were smart they would invest most of there time into this product.

      • Will

        I’m excited about this machine, R. Linn disrespect aside, but they don’t get my money until I actually see them invest time in things like firmware updates. I’m not rich and their track record isn’t hot. I hope they turn it around. If you buy this, I think you probably want to go into it with a clear expectation that there may not ever be any updates (or there will not be enough updates to address whatever issues someone might have with it at launch).

  • Spankous

    Well if you make beat based music then yes it can replace your laptop. If you make heavy editing and sounddesign i believe a computer is still irreplaceable through a machine like this. It`s too much “build music like Tetris-Sequence ” Cool that you have good drumpads but you still need an external keyboard if you wanna play synth (at least i still do need a normal keyboard). Still a very cool device. The Mpc Live is relatively affordable. Maybe a used one in 1-2 years

    • Toby

      But you can add synths via Midi and civi, or add a midi controller via USB

      • Spankous

        yes i know that. Thats my point. If you need to add controllers then it is not that different than using a computer. The Mpc is a computer after all. Thats why i speak only for me. There is something special in the process of meticulously “painting” envelopes and imaginery lines when working on my laptop. It is like a microscopic view inside a sound sample or sound itself. The Mpc is more Umts! umts! philosophy. in the way it`s build it is primarily a beat machine. Like a super pimped Drumcomputer. Only now in 2017 it`s back with the Computer side of it more present than before. Cause basically this is a Mpc like the old ones hardwarewise (hope that it is as durable as the old ones) not much happened there. Only the Computer section grew in capabilities.

        • Toby

          I totally agree when it comes to finishing a track or sound designing. However, these MPC’s are far beyond what a computer and Push/Machine can do in terms of live performance/jams. The connectivity is insane. You can sequence modular gear and multiple synths, with god knows what else whilst clip launching samples and adding FX all in realtime. This is NOT a laptop replacement, just another work flow you should respect.

          • Spankous

            agreed. even though i am more of the “locked alone in basement producer” kind and less a live performer. for live performance i imagine this to be way more practical. you got what i meant. exactly thats what i mean. mastering-sounddesign in computer. Performance,…. those who do it will know better than me. Btw i never said i don`t respect this. i was referring to some adds about it that claim “it might replace your laptop”. Which is only right to a point . Thats all. If it was more affordable i would buy the MPC live right now just to try it out. but can`t afford it. will have to wait. imagine having his on atrip. must be really nice to work with

  • iPad and a decent controller seems a more flexible option at a lower price to do this sort of thing.

    • Dubby Labby

      It is.

      • Donny the Cheetah

        not even close… stop lying, you’re only proving that you don’t know what the mpc sequencer is capable of. There is no iPad app that does what this software does. stop spreading misinformation.

        • Dubby Labby
        • Dubby Labby

          There is no iPad app…. right! There are tons that could achieve the same or better, maybe not all the workflows but sure most and others that this machine can’t.
          Could you do videosampling? Export a beat and scratch it in the sane “box”?

          Granular sampling? AU? Adapt your io to a project just plugging the right audio interface?
          All cheap than mpc live and curated by Apple (core audiomidi, AUv3…)
          We are talking about flexibility more than dedicated workflow. Period.

          About sequencer, let’s see if it is right (hardware) implemented first and then you can argue “truth”, as far as I know it ships in March, right?

          Akai hasn’t labeled as a return (for their luck) but people try to convice itself that these are the legacy of the olds but forget about jjOS developed by ex-employee and this one running over windows. How could it go wrong? Just check the Roger linn video about numark ceo…

  • Nice for what it does but can’t see this replacing a laptop!

    • And it doesn’t even intend to do so. It’s the MPC software in a box. And if you want, you can run it as controller for the same MPC software on your laptop.

  • Derp Nerpson

    So sad that they dropped SCSI. 🙂 Just kidding, as I was resurrecting an old 1990’s sampler earlier in 2016 and had walk down SCSI memory lane; what a nightmare that was.

  • Dubby Labby

    Roger Linn on Numark.
    https://youtu.be/goKoUQSlNAE

  • Ryan Collings

    Part of the title is “including how those clips work”… And yet, I see no explanation. Is it in one of the videos? Is it in that slow moving video with SoS? IMHO, you can do better than this with your writing. Just be clearer about addressing what’s in your title, unless you don’t mind being click bait.

    • guest

      +1
      You expected responsible writing from peter? I only check this blog when I need a good laugh.

      • Will

        Really? As “Guest”? Dickhead.

        • guesty mc guest

          On Disqus? Absolutely. Have fun with them selling your personal info, will.

  • Markus Girrulat

    Amazing thing! This years Namm winner!!!

  • ja

    This all looks incredible when looking at pictures and specs. In SOS video there’s a huge lag when the AKAI specialsts demonstrate changing a parameter on screen. Is it because it’s just so new or will it remain that way?
    Honestly if they’d like me to buy one, they should have more inspiring demo videos out there with crazy genius musians demonstrating it.
    Showing how to launch clips, play chords and chaning cutoff parameters don’t really do the job well.
    I would think it would do the job better than Maschine, because it doesn’t need a dedicated computer but if Machine had its system running on ie. some iOS device iPod, iPad whatever it would be more useful. Or why can’t NI make their own small raspberry kind of device to accompany Maschine. Anyway it’s all about not bringing your computer around everywhere…