AKAI has relaunched the MPC range with the flagship MPC Renaissance, a production instrument that combines dedicated hardware with a cutting-edge software sampler. Music Matter reviews the new music production centre.
The AKAI MPC Renaissance is a reinvention of the famous MPC sampler into a truly hybrid hardware and software system, combining the best features of both into an unrivalled music production tool. The MPC Renaissance hardware acts as both an audio interface for capturing and playing back audio, and as a dedicated controller with high-quality MPC-style backlit pads, Q-controls and an LCD screen, while the accompanying software handles the sequencing and sampling, with full automation support inside your DAW.
The 4×4 pad section at the heart of the MPC Renaissance hardware has the same feel and response as classic MPC hardware, with backlighting providing visual feedback. Up to eight banks of samples can be accessed from the pads, providing a total of 128 samples, with 64-voice polyphony. Just to the left of the pad bank are the Q-Link rotary encoders, which can be used to control real-time parameters on the MPC, or other instruments via MIDI or even other plug-ins over USB. The features and the dedicated controls to the right of the pad bank enable the user to control the MPC Renaissance entirely from the hardware, only having to reach to the software for more advanced options. Furthermore, the audio circuitry in the MPC Renaissance includes Vintage Modes, modelling the sonic characteristics of other MPC hardware, such as the 12-bit MPC60.
The rear of the MPC Renaissance hardware houses the audio interfacing I/O options. There are two combo XLR/TRS inputs, with mic/line and Phantom Power switches, RCA inputs, switchable between phono and line, enabling you to connect up your turntable direct to the MPC Renaissance for sampling from vinyl. Analogue outputs are provided in the form of four TRS sockets, while digital I/O is handled by a pair of RCA S/PDIF ports. Considerable MIDI connectivity is included with two MIDI inputs and four MIDI outputs, and the MPC Renaissance even acts as a USB hub, with one main and two additional USB ports.
The software is more than just a bundled sampler, but is in fact the brains of the whole hybrid system, providing up to 128-track sequencing and hosting a massive 6GB sample library, including all of the samples from the classic MPC3000. Support for a wide range of audio sample formats is built-in, including support for all previous MPC hardware samples and sequences.
Is it for you?
The MPC Renaissance is ideal in helping you get more hands-on with your beat production and live sampling.
- Windows: Windows XP, Vista or 7, 2GB RAM, 2GHz CPU
- Mac OS X: OS X 10.4.11 or higher, 2GB RAM, 1.8GHz G4 or Intel CPU
Product Size & Weight
- H: 70mm W: 500mm D: 328mm
- Weight 4.76kg