New Akai MPCAkai have long been leaders in the MPC (Music Production Centre) market.  They should be, after all, they invented it back when they released the Roger Linn inspired MPC60 way back in the late 80’s, spawning a revolution in performance production tools.

Akai went on to be one of the defining sounds of the 90’s with the S1000 and S3000.  Even though Akai didn’t really produce any sounds of their own (yes i know about the CD-Roms etc), but the thing that defined Akai was that distinctive sample grain you can hear woven into countless hits of the 90’s and beyond.

Unfortunately, with the advent of more powerful computers, laptops and software DAW tools to exploit them, the days of the MPC seemed numbered during the early part of the 21st century.  Those who have used Akai MCPs know that as a stand alone unit Akai’s are fantastic tools, but the experience when using software editing and control tools was often less than satisfactory.

That is until now!

The aptly named Akai Renaissance is intended to re-crown Akai as the father of modern music production and performance tools.   Marrying the legendary MPC production interface with the processing power of your computer is Akai’s intention with the Renaissance, and it seems they may just have succeeded.

Features such as; more I/O’s than you can shake a hairy stick at (including a dedicated turntable input), USB audio interface operation and AU/VST /RTAS plugin integration.  The Renaissance promises much.  But can it deliver?

Here’s an overview of the hardware features:

  • Fuses legendary MPC production with the processing power of your computer
  • Vintage Mode changes output sound character to MPC3000, MPC60 and more
  • 16 backlit genuine MPC pads, 16 Q-Link controls, and adjustable backlit LCD screen
  • Classic MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing and MPC transport controls
  • MPC SOFTWARE for Mac or PC with 64-track sequencing capability
  • Two XLR-1/4” combo inputs and dedicated turntable input
  • Four-channel USB 2.0 audio interface and two-port USB 2.0 hub built in
  • Up to eight pad banks―more than any other MPC ever
  • Two MIDI inputs and four MIDI outputs
  • Stereo 1/4” out, stereo assignable mix 1/4” out & S/PDIF I/O
And an overview of the software features:
  • 64-track sequencing capability
  • Massive 6GB+ sound library, including all of the sounds of the classic MPC3000
  • Instant mapping and real-time adjustment of VST plug-ins
  • Record each track as an MPC drum program, Key-group program or VST plug-in
  • Works alone as your main DAW or works seamlessly with your current studio as a VST/AU/RTAS plugin
  • Supports WAV, MP3, AIFF, REX and SND
  • Supports samples and sequences from any MPC ever made
  • Mac and PC-compatible
  • Also now includes

The MPC Renaissance debuted as Akai’s current flagship product at NAMM 2012.

Here’s an edition of Akai’s MPC University featuring Young Guru demonstrating some of the cool features and operation of the MPC Renaissance:

Links and further reading

MCP Renaissance – Official Web Page | AkaiProMPC.com

MPC Renaissance – Review | Sound On Sound

MPC Renaissance – Review | Music Radar

The OFFICIAL Akai MPC Renaissance Thread | GearSlutz.com

MPC Renaissance, MPC Studio & MPC Element | MPC-Forums.com

Interesting features and other products inc the iPad app MPC Fly | TheVerge.com

Akai MPC Renaissance | Amazon Find new and used Akai MPC Renaissance | eBay

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