Akai Professional has announced MPC Element, a new MPC unit which combines with the all-new MPC Essentials software at a groundbreaking price to make the iconic MPC music-making experience available to everyone.
Adding to their industry-leading MPC line, which includes the flagship MPC Renaissance and slimline MPC Studio controllers, Akai Professional has now introduced MPC Element along with its new software platform, MPC Essentials. With dimensions similar to popular tablet computers, MPC Element is Akai Professional’s most portable MPC yet, and it’s also the most affordable with a price of just $149.99 USD.
“This is professional music-making capability for everyone,” said Dan Gill, Product Manager, Akai Professional (@Akai_Pro).
An MPC for Everyone
MPC Element includes classic MPC Note Repeat, Swing, Full Level, 16 Level, and Tap Tempo technologies and, like MPC Renaissance and MPC Studio, MPC Element’s pads are multicolor as well as pressure- and velocity-sensitive. “It’s versatile. We’ve designed MPC Element to be as powerful as you need it to be. You can easily load your own samples, quickly make beats, or dive deep into the included sound library and get down into the details,” said Gill.
The MPC Element will be available to purchase in October 2013, priced at $149.99 USD.
Written for the latest MPC Software 1.4, ‘Sampling Laid Bare’ focuses entirely on teaching practical and creative sound design, sample editing and program construction within the MPC, providing 270 pages of in-depth, hands-on tutorials on a range of sample-based MPC workflow topics including:
Comprehensive coverage of all chopping features, with a speed chopping workflow guide.
Practical uses of all program parameters with including the all new envelopes in MPC Software 1.4.
Sample recording and resampling.
Creative sample editing and sound design techniques.
Advanced drum layering examples.
Looping breaks and instrument samples.
Building velocity sensitive finger drumming kits from drum multisamples .
Creating realistic instrument emulations using both DRUM and Keygroup programs.
Using insert effects as sound design tools.
Plus many tips, tricks, tweaks and essential shortcuts to help streamline your day-to-day workflow. Each tutorial takes a hands-on, step-by-step approach with clear screenshots (from both the LCD and the computer environment) and all the MPC project files you need to recreate every tutorial within your MPC as you read along.
With its intuitive structure and jargon-free approach, this book is ideal for complete newcomers to the MPC world; and if you’re a legacy MPC owner looking to make the transition to the computer/controller environment, it contains all the information you need to quickly and effortlessly adapt your existing workflow.
‘MPC Renaissance & MPC Studio: Sampling Laid Bare’ is available to purchase as an electronic book in PDF format, priced at $24.99 USD.
The DMDSB + M.D. Bundle is the result of a 3-year effort, combining over $63,000 in synthesis and engineering technology.
The goal was to create a versatile and unique electronic drum sample library, designed with “in-the-trenches” musicians and producers in mind.
Tonebuilder’s new bundle includes Driven Machine Drums MD, a collection of 2,184 samples in 4 categories: EFM (FM based enhanced feedback modulation synthesis), PI (acoustic physical drum modeling), TRX (808 style vintage analog character), and EP12 (sample based classic vintage beatbox character).
Hello Samples has launched two new compilations of previously released sample packs for Maschine and MPC, now ready for Ableton Live.
Synth, Keys & Instruments is a collection of hand-crafted samples chopped from different experimentations with synths, keyboards and FX. From sweet Rhodes chords, to multiple synth patching experimentations, glitched percussions or crazy ring modulations.
Acoustic & Analog DrumKits is a collection of kits recorded from different sources. Three different analog drum machine kits with a 808 flavour, acoustic stuff in a jazz mood and a digital 8 bit chiptune drum kit.
Both compilations are available as pay-per-share downloads.
The Drum Broker and Big Noise MPC have announced their Akai MPC2000XL Giveaway, a chance to win a custom MPC2000XL and a 16 GB MPC2000XL flash drive with all Drum Broker kits and breaks.
Your chance to win this custom Akai MPC2000XL + all Drum Broker sample packs.
We are giving away a HUGE prize package to one lucky individual June 1st, 2013 which includes the following:
Customized Akai MPC2000XL from Big Noise MPC featuring:
2-Tone Bamboo Skin.
Grey Rubber Deck Embellishment.
MC-2000XL Flash Card Reader (new SATA to ATAPI version).
32MB Internal Memory.
Thick Fat Black Pads, Pad Corx.
Custom Pad Damping System.
Upgraded Knobs & Slider.
Large Rubber Feet.
16GB Akai MPC 2000XL Flash Drive Packed with the ENTIRE Drum Library (All Kits & Breaks) from The Drum Broker.
To enter, either leave your email address at the contest page, follow the tweet to win procedure, or purchase any products on the Big Noise MPC & Drum Broker sites from February 15, 2013 until May 31, 2013. The winner will be announced on June 1st, 2013.
First there was the Maschine, then came Maschine Mikro, and now Native Instruments has updated both to mk2 with new software features, an improved controller, and additional hardware accessories.
For those who have never heard of Maschine before, it is basically a combination of music production software with a dedicated hardware controller. A tightly integrated system that can be used standalone – including hosting of 3rd party plugins, or as a plugin in another host. The groovebox-like hardware controller can also be used to control external hardware and software via MIDI with Maschine’s MIDI mode.
Now, I realize I am a bit late to the party with this review, and to be honest after checking some earlier reviews I found pretty much everything I would like to say has already been written at Oh Drat. So I’ll try my best not to ruminate and list everything you can already find at the Native Instruments website anyway, and instead just mention a few things I found particularly interesting when using the new Maschine.
Multi-colored pads and group buttons on the Maschine mk2 controller.
While the rainbow colored, toy-like appearance did not appeal to me a whole lot at first, I found myself using color coding on sounds and groups pretty much from day one. I already did the same thing in other music production software to indicate groups of instruments, sounds, effects, etc. and having the same kind of thing in Maschine is a definite workflow improvement for me.
Besides having multi-color LEDs, the pads also have a much improved sensitivity. I thought the pads on the original Maschine were really good, but to me the Mk2 is an order of magnitude better still. The sensitivity is just amazing, even at really low velocities. I can now confidently tap away the night without worrying about waking up my kids in the next room.
I also enjoy the new screens a lot better, easier on the eyes and improved readability. It has helped me to do more from the hardware controller where before I would jump to the computer screen. The fact that you can now audition samples from the hardware before committing helps a lot too.
The new screens on the mk2 are very good in places where you have very little light.
On the whole many of these changes are seemingly minimal improvements, but in fact they are most useful. Like the little click response on buttons, something I didn’t even know I wanted until the mk2 came along, what a lovely improvement.
On the software part I feel that Native Instruments has an extremely difficult job. Besides implementing some of the new features to go with the hardware, there are tons of feature requests from existing and potential customers. It is not likely you’re ever going to be able to please everyone with any update, much less a point update.
Time stretch/pitch shift is a much requested feature that was implemented, but… for some reason it is not a real-time process. While the results of processed audio is impressive, it kind of stumps me why can’t just have a preview and commit function?
The additions of the Transient Master module, some new tape and tube saturation models for the Saturator module, and a free copy of the Massive software synthesizer are nice bonus.
With MASCHINE 1.8, all MASCHINE users get the full version of the modern legend MASSIVE – the synth that gave birth to the earth-shuddering bass tones and speaker-troubling leads that have defined the bass music genre. This monster synth contains 1,300 ready-to-go sounds, all instantly browseable via the MASCHINE hardware. MASCHINE’s eight control knobs offer direct access to MASSIVE’s eight Macro controls, for perfect synergy between hardware and synthesizer, and a lightning-fast workflow.
It is my guess that over time, Native Instruments is going to be integrating more and more of its sounds & effects into the Maschine package.
There are a bunch more improvements, of which I want to mention one that may seem minor but it certainly made my day. You can now use both your hands for recording automation of parameters by pinning down the “Auto Write”. I record automation a whole lot so this little feature is a godsend to me.
What didn’t get much attention is MIDI. I work pretty much completely in the box so it’s no big deal to me, but if you use a lot of external gear and need full MIDI implementation with MIDI CC and multiple outputs, version 1.8 does not yet bring what you’re looking for. Native Instruments never said they would implement this in the update so can’t blame them really, but it would be good to see full MIDI support nonetheless. I haven’t a clue how much work it is to get it implemented, perhaps it will take version 2.0 to get it…
The custom kits are available in a variety of colors.
Some companies were already offering custom stickers and modifications for the original Maschine, so Native Instruments cleverly pulled the market towards themselves by offering a custom kit with faceplate and knobs in various colors. Granted, the pricing of these kits is a bit steep, but I have to say they look really good. Great quality and replacing the magnetic faceplate and knobs is really easy.
The stand is also something you could probably do yourself for less money, but again, great quality piece of hardware and it looks sleek. It can be mounted on standard drum hardware with the included Mounting Adapter.
Alright, to finish I want to show the obligatory Jeremy Ellis video. It should be said that this makes me want to sit down with my Maschine all day, but realize that it is not likely you will ever get anywhere near the amazing stuff he does. At least, this is truth in my case.
Also, for a great overview of everything new in Maschine mk2 and the 1.8 software, check out this excellent video by Dubspot’s Matt Cellitti.
So what do I think?
Product: Native Instruments Maschine mk2 Format: VST/AU/RTAS/Standalone Price: 599 EUR / $669 USD Like: Amazing pads, great screens, many workflow improvements, fun! Don’t like: No real-time time stretch, No full MIDI implementation Verdict: 9/10
Improved pads, screens & workflow, new effects and the Massive synth included. No earth shaking features perhaps, but with mk2 the Maschine platform is moving along rather nicely.
At the same retail price of the first model, Native Instruments is definitely offering a superior package with Maschine mk2. For those who already have the original Maschine, the software update is free. Personally, I enjoy the pads and colored LEDs so much to justify getting the mk2, but whether the controller improvements are worth the upgrade or not is up to you.
There is still a lot of room for Maschine to grow, and I am pretty confident that Native Instruments is going to tackle some of the top feature requests in future upgrades, but as is, Maschine mk2 remains an amazing piece of gear. Native Instruments calls it fast, intuitive, powerful and flexible. I call it a joy to work with.
Akai Professional has announced the release of MPC Studio, a slimline MPC for portable music production.
Akai’s MPC Studio offers the most streamlined MPC experience yet.
Following on the heels of MPC Renaissance, which became available in stores in September and sold out immediately, MPC Studio is Akai Professional’s most streamlined MPC experience yet. At less than one inch thin with low-profile controls and a brushed aluminum body, MPC Studio is made to move, merging real MPC pads, iconic MPC workflow, and the same MPC Software used by MPC Renaissance to give producers a fully integrated portable music-making solution.
“Since MPC Renaissance hit stores, we’ve already updated, expanded, and enhanced the MPC Software three times—we’re committed to making it one of the most advanced and powerful DAWs available,” said Dan Gill, Akai Professional Product Manager. “The bonus of The Bank and other free MPC Expansions make MPC Studio and MPC Renaissance instantly powerful production instruments right out of the box.”
In addition to MPC Software, with purchase of MPC Studio, customers will get The Bank—a 7-gigabyte 300-instrument virtual workstation exploding with all the essential sounds of modern production, including basses, leads, effects, keyboards, and more—plus The 809, an MPC Expansion full of classic and punchy analog drums.
MPC Studio features
Now with MPC Software version 1.3.
Fuses MPC production capability with your Mac or PC.
16 MPC pads, 4 touch-sensitive Q-Link knobs.
Brushed aluminum body less than 1” thin.
USB-powered with low-profile controls.
MPC Note Repeat and MPC Swing.
Includes MPC Software, The Bank and 1 MPC Expansion.
MPC Studio is now available from music instrument retailers with an MSRP of $999 USD and an estimated street price of $599 USD. All three of Akai Professional’s new MPCs will be on display at Booth 6700 at the 2013 NAMM show, January 24-27 in Anaheim, California.