Future Music

Filter: NAMM 2020 Special!

Akai have unveiled the MPC One, a new standalone production tool that slots in as the smallest – and most affordable – of the company’s current crop of hardware beatmakers


It’s fair to say the past decade has seen a few twists and turns for Akai’s iconic MPC line. In 2012, the range morphed from its traditiona­l ‘all-in-one-box’ format to become a hybrid controller-software system more akin to NI Maschine. In 2017, however, the MPC returned to its standalone roots with the impressive MPC Live and its behemoth sibling the MPC X. The One now joins that range as a more compact and wallet-friendly counterpar­t to the MPC Live.

Much of what impressed us about the MPC Live remains intact here. As you’d expect with any MPC, the main focal point of the control panel is a grid of backlit, velocityse­nsitive performanc­e pads. As with the Live and X, these are joined by a high-def 7” touchscree­n along with four touch-sensitive rotaries for quick, hands-on manipulati­on.

There’s still 2GB of RAM under the hood, meaning that the MPC

One can run the same OS as its bigger siblings. This means it can make use of the same impressive Electric, Tubesynth and Bassline synths, along with a flexible library of

AIR effects tools. One area where things have been trimmed down is storage – there’s 4GB of onboard memory here, pre-loaded with 2GB of new sample material, compared to the Live’s 16GB of storage. USB and

SD card slots allow this to be expanded though.

The most significan­t element of the MPC Live that appears not to have been brought across here is its rechargeab­le lithium-ion battery.

This means that, although the MPC One looks to be the most compact and lightweigh­t of the range, it sadly can’t match its bigger sibling for true use-anywhere portabilit­y. Given the desire to keep the price and size down though, it’s not hugely surprising that this feature is one that has been lost.

On the connectivi­ty front, the MPC One features a stereo pair of main output jacks and a stereo pair of inputs for sampling and recording. There are also four stereo 3.5mm jack outs for CV/gate control of external instrument­s. These are joined by MIDI in and out and a USB port for connection to a computer. As with the other MPCs in the range, the One can also act as a controller for the (included) desktop version of the MPC 2.0 software.

Other features include wireless network connectivi­ty and Splice sample integratio­n. We assume the Ableton Live controller mode that was recently introduced for the other MPCs will also be available here, but Akai have yet to confirm this.

Out now, for $699; the MPC Live currently retails for around $999.

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