The world now: a bunch of mismatched cables, and then complicated setup. The world of the future: wireless, easy to configure. Or so we hope.
Akai has managed to deliver MPCs that function both as standalone production boxes, untethered from your computer, and computer accessories (they’re a controller/software combo when you plug them in).
But they’re also making these things work wirelessly with some new technologies.
Via Bluetooth, you can connect keyboards (making this a kind of weird computer, or letting you touch-type your musical sets), or wireless MIDI devices (so you can use a piano-style interface instead of just pads, among other solutions).
Via Ableton’s Link technology, you get the ability to jam with other software, hardware, and mobile apps over a wifi network. In fact, that makes this about the only standalone hardware to do so – though of course it’s really just a PC beneath that skin (and that’s kind of a good thing).
I suspect the stumbling block to this happening more is simply having more of a hardware ecosystem of stuff that does this.
It makes the MPC Live and MPC X still more appealing right now, as well as being a glimpse of things to come.
Now, you still have to decide whether Akai’s workflow is what you want, or whether you want to buy another piece of gear, with competitors from the likes of Elektron and Native Instruments eager to keep you on their side. But if you do, here’s what you get to enjoy, explained in video: