AKAI Professional MPC X: 10.1" touch screen, 16 encoders and pads  ·  Source: Sweetwater.com

AKAI MPC X workstation rear panel: A lot of I/O available here  ·  Source: Sweetwater

AKAI Professional MPC Live: 16 pads, MPC 2.0 software and 7" screen  ·  Source: Sweetwater.com

AKAI Professional MPC Live: 16 pads, MPC 2.0 software and 7" screen  ·  Source: Sweetwater.com

AKAI Professional's new MPC Live can run on batteries  ·  Source: Sweetwater,com

The cat’s out of the bag! First, US retailer Sweetwater went live with its product pages for two big new AKAI Professional units: MPC X and MPC Live. We picked up rumours of both products in mid-December, but now it looks the info we had was pretty much spot on. Update: AKAI’s official webpage is now also accessible with more details and images.

MPC X

Wow! It’s great to see this unit on a hi-res ‘official’ photo, rather than the grainy phone snap we previously had. The heart of the MPC X is a 10.1” touch screen, accompanied by 16 touch-sensitive pads and 16 endless rotary encoders, each with its own OLED display.

And we’re just getting started. The I/O includes eight CV/Gate outputs, 4 MIDI outputs and 2 MIDI inputs, 2 USB connectors, 8 line outs and 4 inputs. Inputs 1 and 2 are XLR/jack combos, while 3 and 4 are either Line or RCA/cinch, with selectable phono mode.

The MPC 2.0 software will, it seems, follow Live and Bitwig Studio in allowing users to launch quantised loops or clips. That’s a huge functional leap, seeing as this function wasn’t available at all before now on this platform.

The price on the Sweetwater site is given as $2199 plus taxes, which is decent. If you compare what you’d need to invest in a PC setup to get the same functionality, you’re probably saving money. And if the software is stable, this might become a very popular tool.

UPDATE: We’re seeing €1799 quoted as a street price, that’s definitely in the affordable bracket.

When the official product page for the MPC X goes live, we’ll update you with links for more detailed information. There’s no mention yet at the AKAI site on the new gear, as they are probably gearing up for an announcement to coincide with the upcoming NAMM show.

MPC Live

Although there had been a rumour about this, there was hardly any firm information to go on. Looking at the hi-res shots on the Sweetwater site, it looks like it’s design follows the MPC X, and is also a standalone unit. The touch screen is a more compact 7”, and accompanies 16 touch-sensitive pads. A 16GB internal RAM offers space for storing your audio, but you can add your own SD cards and external drives. And it will also run off batteries, although a power connection is, of course, also available.

On the rear panel, there are two MIDI inputs and outputs, three USB ports and a stereo input with jack or RCA as connector options. A switch toggles between Line and Phono modes. On the output side, the MPC Live has 6 mono jacks, with one as a Master L/R pair. It also runs the MPC 2.0 software.

The pricing as featured on Sweetwater’s site is $1199 plus taxes. The battery option might be very attractive for people needing complete mobility.

UPDATE: We understand the street price is likely to be around €999.

MPC 2.0

This is the new version of AKAI’s production software, which runs on both these units when they’re operating on standalone mode, but apparently can also run on your computer – both as a standalone application and also – and this is pretty neat – as an AU or VST plug-in within your DAW. That opens up all sorts of sound-shaping options, and lets you use all your DAW tools an plug-ins on your MPC 2.0 sounds. That’s pretty flexible. This version has also seen other upgrades, such as audio track recording and an improved time warp. Nice.

More Information

The official pages are now live:

MPC X Official Site

MPC Live Official Site