The New MPC From Akai Has A Touchscreen--But Is It Worth Your Money?
The Akai MPC Touch is the latest step in the evolution of the MPC, a celebrated staple in the game for practitioners and connoisseurs of hip-hop. Whether it’s witnessing araabMUZIK demolishing the device in front of thousands to doing the Diddy Bop in the club to Diplomat’s “Salute,” the Akai is an endlessly variable drum machine that has put it’s mark on the culture we know and love.
And now, the company is planning on revitalizing it for the 21st century.
Akai Professional is upping the levels with its latest product in its MPC (music production center) series. Students of J Dilla will understand how important it is to have a variety of drums in the pocket, but for those that aren’t hip, the MPC is a combination drum machine and sampler that enables users to upload a variety of sounds manipulate them.
The MPC Touch is being billed as an essential tool for producers. How so, you might wonder? Well, the Touch features a 7″ multi-touch display to the music production tool. This allows you to do anything from dragging waveforms to chopping up crisp soul samples to adding your own effects — all at your fingertips, literally and figuratively.
Akai Professional’s Dan Gill and Pete Goodlife sat down with tech blog zZounds to discuss just how serious this MPC Touch will be for the music masses. With the former involved in the design and the latter serving as the head of the MPC software development team, these two musicians got down to the nitty-gritty when it came to championing the potential of this new device for beat makers.
“The first thing that’s absolutely fabulous to do on a touchscreen is sample editing. You can pinch to zoom and swipe to scroll through your waveforms. Editing the start and end points on samples is an absolute joy — I can’t believe I ever lived without it. We have a pencil tool that, with one touch, can slice up your waveforms and assign them to a pad. We have a grid view where you can draw notes on the screen — you can highlight a bunch of notes, and nudge them by timing division using the data wheel, or set it so they don’t snap to grid just by holding a button down.”
With 16 velocity-sensitive MPC pads, a step sequencer with touch interface and an instrument-connecting phrase looper — what Dan says above is not the only feature worth shouting to the moon about. It has a built-in audio interface, which means you can plug it directly into speakers as well as sample audio using the hardware itself. Add to the mix the step sequencer and an XY effects controller and fans familiar with Korg’s Kaoss Pad might find their dream device. Packed with 20GB available to the user, producers and would-be beatsmiths won’t be short of audio options with this new plaything. Akai Professional is saying that this device will “forever change how producers interact with all aspects of their sound.”
Through painstaking work and “detailed customer research and user feedback,” Akai has achieved quite a coup in the MPC Touch. If Pharrell Williams and Kanye West see sounds in colors, just imagine how the game will change if it develops a sense of touch?
Those interested in getting their hands on the MPC Touch will have to wait until November when it’ll be available for $765.99 USD. Is it worth the cost in your opinion? For now, sit back and watch hip-hop producers Needlz and Metro Boomin’ get busy with the new age device in the videos below.