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Akai launch standalone MPC X & MPC Live 

Two new standalone touchscreen MPCs unveiled

In recent years Akai's reigning champ of hardware sampling, the MPC, has become increasingly reliant on an external computer to function. Since the MPC Rennaissance — a control surface-cum-audio interface designed to work with the MPC software running on a Mac or PC — the focus has been on computer integration, ranging from the controller-only MPC Studio and MPC Element to the no-hardware-at-all iMPC iOS apps. Now Akai have come out swinging with two new MPCs boasting knockout looks and heavy-hitting features. Best of all, while the MPC X and MPC Live are perfectly capable of controlling the new MPC 2.0 software, they are fully functional stand-alone production stations in their own right.

If the compact MPC Live looks familiar, that’s because the control layout is exactly the same as last year’s MPC Touch controller/interface, with a seven-inch full-colour multi-touch display, 16 backlit pads, four rotary encoders and a master encoder knob. The big difference is stand-alone operation, with 2GB of sampling RAM and 16GB of on-board storage. Users will be able to expand the device’s capacity by fitting a 2.5-inch SATA drive to the device, which also features its own built-in rechargeable li-ion battery, creating the potential for an incredibly powerful and portable music-making machine. Other features include RCA phono inputs and a ground peg for attaching a turntable, two pairs of MIDI inputs and outputs, an SD card slot and two USB 3.0 ports for thumb drives or MIDI controllers.

Meanwhile, the MPC X is without a doubt the new flagship of the range. With a 10.1-inch multi-touch screen, 16 pads, a host of dedicated function buttons and 16 rotary encoders with their own individual mini OLED displays, the MPC X looks fully equipped to give new meaning to the acronym ‘Music Production Centre’. Not only does it boast all the new features of the MPC Live — including 16GB on-board storage, a SATA drive bay, turntable connectors and two USB 3.0 ports — but it also provides CV/Gate outputs for controlling modular gear, plus four MIDI inputs and two MIDI outputs. Like the MPC Live, the MPC X runs the new MPC 2.0 software in stand-alone mode but can also act as a controller when tethered to a Mac or PC. The new software promises audio recording, an improved time warp algorithm and a new GUI with drag-and-drop functionality for both audio and MIDI. Both of these exciting machines are set for release in the first quarter of 2017. Retail prices are quoted at $1999£1449.99 for the MPC X and $1199£799.99 for the MPC Live.

Akai’s latest MPC 2.0 software also features audio track recording, clip launching, real-time audio warping, audio and MIDI drag-and-drop, along with enhanced QLink control.

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