The 2017 edition of the National Association of Music Merchants is approaching fast. For those of you unaware, NAMM is essentially the WMC of music gear. A weekend gathering of every music related gear brand you can imagine, showcasing their latest and upcoming products for the year. Last year we saw some incredible products, and this year is already shaping up to be even better. Previews have just started to roll in, and legendary beat making company Akai Professional is already setting the pace.
MPC Live: The second iteration of last year's MPC Touch. Building on the Touch's form and software, the Live adds standalone functionality, as well as an immersive 7in screen. Multiple USB 3 ports allow one to plug in other midi controllers, as well as USB sticks to load more samples. Akai says this is their most powerful MPC to date, and the portability of machine definitely makes for a convincing argument.
MPC X: Taking notes from every MPC before it, the X sees the company return to where it all started. The X is a standalone machine, with a full-color 10in display, Akai's classic pressure sensitive RGB pads, and assignable pots, which are perfect for dialing in precise automation. A couple other really interesting features are the 2 in, 4 out full sized midi ports, and even more impressive 8 assignable CV/Gate outputs for controlling modular and classic synth setups. And for those using Ableton, it comes preloaded with the Link software.
MPC Software 2.0: At the heart of their new gear lies version 2.0 of the MPC Software. The new update allows for even more functionality than the first version, such as a completely new GUI, studio grade audio recording, real-time time stretching, and advanced signal routing. Hardware such as the Live and X are only as good as their software, and it seems Akai has taken this very seriously.
Overall, I'd say Akai is ready for a comeback. The MPC Live and X are extremely impressive, and quite a return to form for the company, who once dominated the production game. Personally, I'm most excited to test out the X, as the form and function of the MPCs before it shaped electronic music to what it is today.
Will we be seeing you at NAMM? Let us know!