To some producers, especially those in hip-hop, there is no greater production experience than that on an Akai MPC. Since the launch of the original MPC in 1988, the machine has become known for its versatility and ahead-of-its-time features has now become a staple in the hip hop world. Now, in the age when MIDI devices are growing, and budgets are shrinking, Akai devised a new solution. MPC Beats is a free, brand new piece of software that producers both new and practiced can work through with ease.
Akai Professional MPC Beats can be loaded as a standalone desktop app, or as a plugin into an existing DAW. Akai themselves describe the app as a beatmaking DAW, with a full set of advanced features. Free with the app is an additional 2GB library full of beat packs, which will surely help newer users get their first beats in order. When the app launches for a project, users must first connect their input MIDI source. This can be a simple drum pad, a keyboard, or combination of both — any of these will work. After pairing, the producer enters their skill level which will then either allow the app to automatically map sounds to each pad, or map it manually. The app will likely offer templates to beginners, as a starting point for their songs.
The main feature in MPC Beats is in the drum grid. This is a sequencing interface not unlike the set-ups in Ableton, or FL Studio. Your MIDI drum pads, keyboard, or computer keyboard can all trigger sounds. Also available as an accessory are Akai‘s plugin extensions for MPC Beats, which will start at around $9.99 each. It’s clear, Akai has truly outdone itself here with a piece of software offering the massively popular MPC experience, for free. To learn more about MPC Beats software, or to start your free download, head over to its website.