AKAI: THE KINGS OF STANDALONE UNLEASH THE FORCE
MPC60, MPC2500, MPC3000. Akai Professional are known for their iconic standalone music production systems. Since it’s introduction in the early 90s, the legendary MPC has been depended upon by so many award music producers to make legendary tracks to this day. The common thread between all of the MPCs is the authentic hands-on approach to music production, beat-making and the ease of use to chop, screw and program tracks, without having to use a computer. The more recent MPC-X and MPC Live Incorporated and internal computer to return the MPC back to ‘standalone’ status. Now they’ve added the Force.
The newly announced Akai Force draws from its heritage whilst being at the forefront of beatmaking technology, combining everything we love about laptop controllers without the need for a laptop.
It’s plain to see Akai Force takes shots at the famous Ableton Push 2 with similar buttons, pads and layout. The game-changer is the 7-inch multi-colour touch display, plenty of connectivity and.. the fact you don’t need to run Ableton Live or any other software to use it! After all, Akai has a heavy hand in the development of the original Push…
FORCE THE LAPTOP OFF THE STAGE
Akais’ Force is an all-in-one music production workstation fusing clip-launching, step sequencing, sampling, synth engines and touch screen control into a powerful standalone hardware unit. It runs on a custom built-in DAW software made by Akai with mixing capabilities, time stretching/warp, built-in AIR mix plugins and four onboard synths for sound creation.
The unit features a 8×8 pad matrix for tapping in rhythms & melodies, launching clips and step sequencing. 8 touch sensitive 360-degree rotary knobs with OLED feedback provide immediate real-time access to all core controls which are also assignable to any parameter you like.
For the sample heads, there are USB and SD slots for loading your samples and there is also a dedicated SATA drive bay for internal storage expansion. Sample on the fly with phantom powered XLR/¼-inch combo inputs. There’s also a 10GB sound library included.
There is plenty of connectivity in terms of outputs and routing. Route your audio to two stereo ¼-inch outputs, selectable per track within Force’s UI. Use the headphone out as a cue bus to audition clips / scenes.
Take control of your modular gear with four independent CV/ Gate outputs and unite your other MIDI equipment via the MIDI In/Out/Through ports.
Force also features WIFI so you can connect to your wireless next work and sync your project with any Ableton Link compatible application or hardware device.
ABLETON LIVE USERS
Akai have recently announced that there will be a pivotal update in the coming months which will bring full integration of Akai Force with Ableton Live. From total visibility and command of Ableton’s clip matrix to tactile control of core mixer and device parameters. This brings effortless integration within your existing setup if you are an Ableton user or are familiar with Push.
WHERE WOULD IT BE USEFUL?
Clip-based workflow has become more and more popular over the last few years thanks to controllers like the Push and Akai’s APC series. This hybrid workflow meant that users didn’t have to keep leaning over their laptops and do a load of mouse clicking.
Force is the next natural step in the evolution of workflow, which allows DJs, producers and musicians to streamline their setups on and off stage. It is ideal for DJs to use as a standalone clip launching device to enhance their sets and musicians can benefit from adding live sampling and backing tracks to their performances, without the worry of a laptop failing on stage.
It can also fit in your backpack which means it is the piece of gear to take with you on your travels, for music creation and sampling on the go.
FORCE SOME MONEY BACK INTO YOUR POCKET
So, is it worth the money?
Push 2 with Live is £700 plus the cost of four synths and the cost of a laptop – we’re talking big money.
For the price of £1299, you’re getting a standalone 8×8 clip launching workstation with built-in DAW software, onboard mix plugins & synths, plus integration with Ableton Live (very soon), network connectivity and more.