Akai has launched the MPC Touch, a new, modern take on the famed Music Production Center platform. Akai is touting it as “Return of the King: Our newest addition to the legendary MPC series re-writes the rules with an intuitive controller featuring multi-touch functionality, creating a truly immersive production experience.” The saber-rattling, seems to have an air of desperation to it, and rightly so, as the MPC seems to be more House Stark these days, than House Lannister. (Notice the Rhythm Wolf and Grey Dire Wolf connection…coincidence? You be the judge!). Competition for the multi pad pad throne these days is certainly in flux with Native Instruments, Ableton, Novation Keith McMillen an others all vying for a piece of the pie.
You certainly can’t fault Akai, which still holds a significant foothold in the hip-hop market, for trying. MPC Fly, MPC Element, MPC Studio, MPC Renaissance, iOS MPC’s and now the Touch. They’re clearing doing whatever they can to control Westeros – Okay, I’ll stop – but they are no longer the go-to brand name for the current generation of young beatmasters, even if they play Buzzword Bingo in their marketing materials: “In creating the MPC Touch, we have once again established the iconic MPC series as the thought leader in music production technology.” Really? Thought. Leader. …wow.
» 7″ color multi-touch Display
» 16 velocity-sensitive thick, fat MPC pads with RGB backlighting
» 2-in / 2-out audio interface
» Step Sequencer with touch interface
» XYFX control adds effects, adjusts sound dynamics in real time
» Phrase Looper, enables connection of any instrument to create loops
» Pad Mixer for setting levels, stereo panning and adding VST effects
» Sample Edit control, for trimming, chopping and processing your samples
» 4 new, performance-ready touch-sensitive controls
» Data Encoder knob, for push-and-twist control of display parameters
» Includes MPC software and over 20,000 sounds
The Touch is centered around a 7″ color, multi-touch display, which allows the user to grab and pinch waveforms, draw MIDI events, adjust envelopes, chop samples, add effects and more. Akai claims that it has vastly improved the pads, to catch-up to some of their competitors, even adding the disco-light action that is currently the rage. There’s no MIDI I/O (DIN connectors), which is a miss, since they could have attracted the resurrected MIDI hardware sequencer market (Social Entropy, Arturia, Squarp, FutureRetro, etc.).
Ultimately, the Akai Touch’s success is going to depend on workflow, processing speed, the quality of the multitouch experience and the MPC software.
Akai’s MPC Touch is available now for $799.