Akai MPC Renaissance Announced at NAMM 2012
So the MPC Renaissance was definitely a hot topic this year. I know many were skeptical about the MPC being turned to a glorified MPD. Well, the unit seems to be in some final stages of development still. AKAI seem very keen to take user input right now, and were very receptive to suggestions for the unit just from people milling around the booth. That’s pretty good news. Here’s a quick vid for you on the MPC line.
The other good news is that the unit is not a glorified controller and is very much a serious piece of hardware built with some serious MPC power under the hood. Made to model great MPC’s through the years was not simply a software promise, but the function of serious mpc hardware that is built with the idea that an MPC could benefit working intuitively with a laptop based software package to bring in VST/RTAS plugins and the advantages of computer based editing interfaces.
This, to me, is a product with far greater promise than the feared alternative of a simple controller reliant on a software package from a company with no real history of making such things. However, that doesn’t mean the software required isn’t going to need to be amazing. To this end, AKAI say they have really focused on developing this with a team they believe in and a long term support plan for the product. According to Dan Gill at the AKAI booth, the software isn’t so much influenced by JJOS, but actually the features from JJOS that users liked the most. There was a 2 year period of research in which AKAI were touring with artists reliant on MPC hardware for performance during the development of the product; so it is to be hoped that all those MPC users can’t be wrong and the product should be a great turn for the MPC line.
The MPC Renaissance is being developed with the intent of wooing MPC users across the board just as much as it is being targeted at new users, and another bonus of the package is that it is backward compatible. Allowing projects from older units to easily import to the Renaissance will eliminate a lot of grumbling from the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” quarter. The power of how the unit works with the laptop isalso a serious bargaining chip, with the RAM resources of a laptop being the power that MPC users can use to drive the never before present 8 banks of available pads. While built to model a number of units, the analog circuitry on the MPC unit is built after the MPC 3000.
A minor caveat for the serious hardware driving the renaissance is that the unit isn’t going to be cheap necessarily, and the price looks to be over $1000.00 US. At the same time, I feel like AKAI are taking a smart cue from high end DJ controllers and bringing their established A game to a product market that, while they might not be established in it, isn’t so old that there isn’t room for them. Truthfully, the device isn’t like anything on the market, despite previous assumptions in some quarters that AKAI were just trying to compete with Maschine.
Slated for Q3, the MPC looks to be an interesting piece of hardware that should be of interest to new users as much as experienced MPC veterans. Here are the (very impressive) full specs as of NAMM:
- Display: 360 x 96 dot graphic LCD w/back light
- Dimensions:19.75″ x 12.9″ x 2.75″
- (4.9″ at max display angle)
- Weight: 10.5 lbs
- Power Supply: External, 12v, 3A
- Power Requirement: 24W Max
- Footswitches: 2
- USB Hub: 3 Port
- MIDI I/O interface: 2 IN / 4 Out
- Maximum events: unlimited (based on CPU)
- Resolution: 960 pulses per 1/4-note
- Sequences: 128
- Tracks per sequence: 64
- Drum pad: 16 (velocity and pressure sensitive)
- Drum pad banks: 8
- Sync mode: MIDI clock, MIDI Time Code
- Transport Controls: MIDI Machine Control
- Polyphony: 64
- Dynamic filtering: 1 State Variable Filter per voice
- (up to 8 pole, depending on type)
- Filter types: Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass, Band Boost, Band Stop, Analog Modeling, Vocal Formant
- Number of programs: 128
- Memory capacity: System Dependent.
- 2gb Minimum / 8gb Recommended
- Plugin Supported as Host: VST (Mac / PC), AU (Mac)
- Plugin Formats Available to other DAWs: VST, AU (Mac Only), RTAS
- Program Effects: 4 Insert Slots per Pad, 4 Sends to Track Effects per Pad
- Track Effects: 4 Inserts and 4 stereo Sends per Track
- Master effect: 4 Master Effect Slots
- Over 50 high-quality effects Included
- Instrument Plugin Formats supported: VST (Mac / PC), AU (Mac)
- Audio files supported: WAV, MP3, REX, AIFF, SND
AUDIO AND MIDI I/O
- Sample Rates Up to 24 bit / 96 kHz
- Zero-latency hardware monitoring via adjustment knob
- Record input (L and R): XLR/ 1/4-inch Combo x 2 balanced -40dBu, input impedance 11k ohms; RCA with PHONO preamp
- Max. Input level: +10dBu
- Digital Input: 24-bit RCA-pin x 1 S/PDIF
- 4 Audio Outputs: 1/4-inch phone x 4 balanced +11dBu, output impedance 1k Ohms
- Max. output level: +18dBu
- Phones output: 1/4-inch stereo phone x 1, 200mW / 100 ohms; 1/8-inch stereo phone x 1, 200mW / 100 ohms
- Digital output: 24-bit RCA-pin x 1 S/PDIF
- MIDI inputs: 5-pin DIN x 2
- MIDI outputs: 5-pin DIN x 4
- USB: 2 port USB Hub
- Footswitches: 1/4-inch x 2
- Standard accessories: Power cable, Operator’s manual
MINIMUM COMPUTER SPECS:
- Mac: 1.8 GHz G4/G5 or faster (Intel® Mac recommended), 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended, if supported by your computer), Mac OS X 10.4.11 (10.5 or later recommended), DVD-ROM drive
- Windows: 2 GHz Pentium® 4 or Celeron® compatible CPU or faster (multicore CPU recommended), 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended on Windows Vista and Windows 7), Windows XP (home or Pro), Windows Vista or Windows 7, DVD-ROM drive
TranscriptScott: Party people in the house, this is Scott Magno DJ MadFlip here with uniquesquared.com. Andy, what’s going on my man? Andy: Hey how’s it going man, you good? Scott: I’m great, I’m great. Exciting news, we’re talking about the super duper killer launch of the MPC range from Akai, talk to me about it my man. Andy: Right, well as you know this is a legacy product. We have so many people around the world who have been waiting for the crossover of the hardware MPCs, integrated into the computer world. And here it is, the MPC Renaissance. This is our new flagship. Now this is not a hardware, this is a controller, so it’s running the MPC software which has been built up from the ground up. So it gives you everything you MPC guys have dreamed about, all inside the box. Alright so some of the things, you know everybody probably has a million questions about this so I’m going to try and sum it up as quick as I can. So yeah, it looks like a 3000, same color coordination as back in the eighty-nine, nineties. We wanted to give you the same fill that everybody is familiar with where you can walk up to it, make your beat, and it will all be integrated inside here. So everything that is represented here, is represented inside the box. So some of the features that you will see, we’ll go into program edit, you see this layout in 4000. So you can now layer four samples, which was also brought over to the 2,500, but you can also use the old simultaneous mode that was on the 3 and the 60, and the XL. So we can then actually simultaneously trigger another four samples. Now the beauty of this is each pad, you can assign it if you want it to be an MPC pad, a MIDI pad, because this has four MIDI outs so all the guys that are driving external modules can still use it the old fashion way. Or you can run it as a plug-in, so if you’ve got some virtual instruments, gladiator, stuff like that, you can drive those modules as well. Now some of the killer features as well. I’ve got my kick drum, I’ve got four kicks running, I’m grilling up sound, I can now run up to four plug-ins on to that one pad. So I might have my UAD with some SSL stuff, you can craft your sound. Or you can do it, if you work in a BUS mode, you can make your beat and then you can slap a BUS compressor onto the whole program. So there’s some of the key features that are going to make people crazy. You know, it’s got the swing, it’s got the groove, it’s got all those things, you know everyone could get into the whole argument of which one does this, but at the end of the day remember one thing, every producer out there has made hits on different MPCs, that’s all I have to say on that. Legacy mode here, well vintage mode, we emulated the MPC3000 sound, so we’ve got the same circuitry as the original 300 so it will give you the lower end, it will give you the punch at about 120, and it will give you a little bit more grit on your snares and claps. And then you can take it down to the MP60 for your 12bit mode to crush it up even more. You know, we’ve really gone to work on this to make sure that we give every MPC user the experience that they’re all familiar with but in today’s generation. Scott: So man, MPC Renaissance, super dope. Maintaining the legacy and the legend of the MPC series. But we’ve got some more products too. Andy: So, if this one is a little bit too heavy for you, we’ve got the MPC studio. Now again, it’s not hardware control service, so it gives you the same layout as all your MPCs but it runs the same software. So everything it will do exactly the same. The only thing it doesn’t have on here is the four MIDI outs, so it has one MIDI in and one MIDI out, and you don’t have the legacy mode because it doesn’t have any analog outputs okay? The Renaissance gives you a built in analog in and out, this one doesn’t. So you can do everything the same, it’s very slim, it’s USB powered as well. So physically, you can take it in the front room, go to the nightclub, go to someone else’s studio, load up your Mac, run your software, make your beat. You’ve got everything here, note repeat, banks, 16 levels, step sequence, tap tempo, transport control, it is absolutely fantastic. So they are two very different pieces. You know the Renaissance for me is probably the studio piece, and this is the guy who’s got one in his studio and is on the road, which pretty much everyone is nowadays. But it doesn’t stop there, we’ve got one more. So most of the key guys out there right now are flying around the world, they’re making songs everywhere and they’re all running iPads. You know the iPad is basically a computer in a box, and there’s a lot of software companies that are making emulations of a drum machine. And it’s more of a game for my liking. Now what we’ve done is we’ve created something that professionals can make music on. So it’s called the MPC Fly, it’s cascaded in an iPad case which has actually got a built in lithium battery that charges your iPad. So it gives you power to the iPad and it runs our own software version of the 2000XL. So you’re probably asking how do I get my sounds into this? Simple, via iTunes. You sync up your samples, load them straight into the 2000 emulations, you make your sound, you can make your beat and once you’re finished with that you can import it back into iTunes, and get it into your studio in Renaissance and finish grilling up your sound in the studio. So we’ve got three completely, seeminglessly, integrated machines that will change music for the next fifteen years. Scott: Andy thank you so much my man. MPC, you’ve got your choice, Renaissance, Studio, the Fly. Good gravy, it is so silky here at MPC, and Akai and Numark. Thanks once again, alright there it is. Much more to come. This is Scott Magno DJ MadFlip, be you, be unique, at uniquesquared.com.