Akai has announced a new entry to its iconic MPC (Music Production Center) line called the MPC One. The standalone music-making workstation has a more compact form factor and borrows bits from other Akai products to offer an MPC at a more affordable price point.
There are a lot of similarities between the MPC One and its recent(ish) predecessors, the MPC Live and MPC X. They all have the signature square of 16 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads, a multitouch display, network connectivity, MIDI input and output, and are integrated with sample platform Splice, among other things.
When it comes to what sets the MPC One apart, it’s impossible to ignore the price. The MPC One is $699, which is a bargain when you consider the MPC Live is around $1,000 and the MPC X costs about $2,000. For those unaware of the history of Akai’s MPC, the Japanese electronics company’s signature item first debuted over 30 years ago and changed music-making forever with its intuitive interface and all-in-one approach. It’s been a staple tool for tons of artists like Dr. Dre and Om’Mas Keith (Frank Ocean’s producer), and there’s even one in the Smithsonian.
In order to get to that $699 number, Akai had to trim its latest device down to the essential features. MPC Live fans will likely be bummed that the MPC One has no rechargeable battery. That means it’s losing the portable, “play anywhere” appeal. It also cuts down on storage and ports. For example, the MPC One drops aux outputs in favor of CV, and it has 4GB of online storage, versus the 16GB found in both the Live and X.
But of course this model will have less stuff — it’s significantly cheaper. So, let’s look at what it does have, since Akai says it packed a “remarkably comprehensive feature set” into the MPC One.
Along with the standard 16 pads, it sports a seven-inch multitouch display and four touch-sensitive rotaries for manipulating sounds. On the back is a single set of MIDI I/O ports, four CV / Gate jacks (for controlling connected gear), and eight outputs total. There are 2GB of RAM, and USB flash and SD card storage can expand the unit’s 4GB capacity (which could easily top out since it’s preloaded with 2GB of drum samples and loops).
The MPC One also ships with several soft synths and Air FX plug-ins for mixing and mastering. Akai tells The Verge that it focused on smaller size, added CV functionality, and a cheaper price to make the MPC One “the center of a ‘DAW-less jam’ style studio.”
The MPC One won’t be a tempting option for those who already own an MPC Live or MPC X. It’s an alternative to what Akai has already put out, not a replacement. So, the MPC One could be a good solution for those just getting into standalone workstations, or have been on the fence for price reasons.
The MPC One will be available in February for $699. Visit Akai’s website for more details.