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We recently reviewed the previous entry-point into the MPC ecosphere, the MPC One. Coming in well under $1000, it offered most of the functionality that MPC users craved, while stripping out some of the flagship features that artists just getting started with sampling might not need yet.
After we published that, Akai surprised us by introducing the new MPC Studio (not to be confused with the old MPC Studio), an MPC controller unit that pairs with their killer MPC software.▼ Article continues below ▼
To be clear, this is not a standalone sampler and sequencer. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, move up the ladder to the MPC One, like we previously mentioned, to get your feet wet. No, what we have here is an ultra-affordable controller that gives you tactile control over your MPC session on your Mac or PC. And while you might think that would be crippling at first, it’s actually a pretty ingenious way to lure artists into the MPC world by getting them used to the grid/pad layout and workflow and empowering them with an insane number of sounds at their fingertips (this comes with more than enough to get you started).
We definitely thought that not having any audio inputs sort of defeated the purpose of an MPC, but after using it for a few sessions, we got who this is intended for. Are you a singer/songwriter who wants to add programmed drums to their track? Load up the MPC software, get grooving on the pads and tweak the virtual drum sets until you get that killer backing track locked in. you might even find you don’t need to look at your computer while doing so.
There is a whole world out there who can benefit from a simple pad controller, without the need to record samples or sequence entire tracks in a standalone unit. In fact, having done both workflows recently (standalone sampler/sequencer and “in the box” using a PC with the controller) I can now see that a lot of today’s artists may actually prefer the “in the box” style that they’re potentially already be used to. And the MPC Studio is easy enough to use that it can slide right into your existing workflow with a minimal learning curve.
What’s cool is that you can even use the MPC Studio as VI in whatever DAW you’re currently using, so if you’re already used to a software setup for recording, this can plug right into your current session, no problem.
So, bottom line: if you’re looking to add a fresh ingredient to your recording setup, this is a super-affordable way to get the MPC experience into your tracks, without the need for a costlier stand-alone unit that you might not actually need.
I think even non-electronic artists owe it to themselves to give this a fair look the next time they’re seeking new studio gear.
great feeling pads, perfect software integration, easy to use, retains MPC “feel”
will make you want a standalone unit down the road 🙂