Akai Pro MPC Live: No Laptop (Or Power Source) Required


Small and light (under 3kg), the powerful Akai Pro MPC Live can also run on batteries, and have a turntable attached to it - is it the ultimate composition tool for DJ/producers to both compose and perform on?

Just ahead of next week's NAMM Show, Akai Pro has outed two new MPC-branded music production devices, the MPC Live and the bigger MPC X. Both eschew the need for a computer by running Akai Pro's MPC software natively, and offer the flexibility of a large touchscreen plus the tactile fun of real controls.

We're focusing on the MPC Live here as we feel it offers the most interest to our audience of DJs and DJ/producers. It is a relatively small unit, yet very flexible and powerful, with lots of RAM (2GB) and disk storage (16GB) plus an SD slot; two inputs for recording anything from a mic to a turntable (the twin RCAs have an earth pole) plus six configurable jack outputs; and full use being made of the touchscreen, which - for instance - can be used to drag and drop Midi for quickly filling out compositions.

The controls include proper pads plus a big encoder knob, and it has two Midi sockets for adding drum machines, keyboard and so on. As it can be battery powered via the built in rechargeable lithium power pack, it's going to be just at home hiked into a DJ box with you or for composing on the go as it is as the centrepiece of a small home studio.

All that said, the unit can also be used as a control surface for the MPC 2.0 software when you run the software on your Mac or PC, too, so really you've got the best of both worlds here. And with Ableton Link and WiFi "coming soon", it offers a thoroughly modern instrument, which ironically returns the MPC brand to its standalone roots.

"In creating the concept for the MPC X we wanted to preserve the classic MPC feel and workflow that people love. But we turned the idea on its head and incorporated the best of what a modern touchscreen interface can offer. What we have now is the most powerful MPC production experience ever." said Dan Gill, Product Manager for Akai Professional.

If you've always eyed Native Instruments' Maschine models but resisted because of the need to hike a laptop everywhere with you, then this (and possibly the bigger £1450 MPC X) should be on your list to check out.

• The MPC Live will cost $800, and is due Q1 2017.

Do you like the look of this? Can you see yourself using such a device as the heart of your mini DJ/production studio, and taking the same gear into the DJ box with you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. This is kind of misleading, you don't need a computer to use it, but you'll need some way of loading content into a memory card, and that's usually done with a computer.

    While it's nice to be able to use devices without computers, these units are essentially devices with embedded computers... and not very good ones at that. Please note, there is a very big difference between a Cirrus Logic chip and the one that drives your computer. As long as your computer is not tasked too hard it will be leaps and bounds better than the integrated computer inside these devices.

    The "no computer required" moniker is a sucker's game. If a device you're using is playing a digital file, it's using some kind of computer, and if the device generates sound (another type of computer), it needs to be a good one.

    If you're eyeing Maschine and you're put off by the computer, you're really picking at nits. Maschine has a huge library of top-notch sounds (most of which can be altered by the user, in real-time BECAUSE it's running off your laptop or desktop computer).

    In the end, what you really want is a great sound getting to your audience, and that sound is done best when it's part of (read as aggregated with) your whole system, and that's done best on a real computer.

    Ditch the laptop if you want, but don't play like you're making things better or easier by doing so.

  2. Thanos Dimitriou says:

    I believe that the mpc live can change the game,for people in studio and for live dj's set,i have maschine and mpc touch and i prefere mpc touch,now i wait for the mpc live,i make music with hardware and record my ideas,mpc live is not one maschine!wake up people,is external sampler workstation hardware and no need pc,mpc live is like octatrack or pioneer toraiz.

  3. Cusp is right. 800 bucks can buy a great laptop.

    • You don't even need to buy a laptop now-a-days. Have you seen how powerful the Mac Mini or Intel NUC have become? We're talking core i5 or even i7 processors here with a solid state drive inside, USB ports for keyboard, mouse, what-have-you... and they're actually pretty rugged.

      I haven't tried one out for DJing yet, but I want to, especially with an 8" touch screen. Heck you can even fit one of these inside a lot of DJ controllers. Shop around and you can buy a bare-bones NUC or HP HUB for around $250. It's something to think about for sure. I'll write up an article when I try this.

      I'd certainly rather have these power my Controller than some lesser chip.

  4. Is the $800 price correct? I've only seen it listed at $1200 including on Sweetwater's site.

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