Akai MPC Renaissance: Exclusive In-depth Look

We’ve been following the Akai MPC Renaissance since its announcement, and NAMM gave us the perfect opportunity to get some hands on. Rather than get the same old sales pitch, I decided it would be a whole lot more interesting to get some cool background information from someone who worked (and is still working) closely on the development of the product, so I roped in Dan Gill, Product Manager at Akai Pro.

Here’s a quick lowdown of some of the key points in the video:
  • How the choices for the visual design were made, and some of the big names that were consulted
  • How coloured pads help work flow
  • The nitty gritty on the emulation modes, including the plans for SP1200 mode
  • The audio interface and its features (did you know that the signal path is a replica of the MPC3000? Interesting…)
  • The decision to use rotary pots and drop the sliders
  • Software capabilities
  • How the JJOS has influenced the design of the Renaissance

Whilst the hardware is finalised – except for the fine tuning of the feel of the pads – the software’s still in early beta and there are a lot of bugs still to iron out. We were told we’re to expect things to be finished up in around six months, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it develop; the reason we’ve not included much footage of the software in action is because it’s not particularly stable and in many aspects not fully functional so there’s very little point in showing you something that’s just not going to represent the final (or close to final) product.

It seems apt, on that note, to bring the Studio and Fly into the conversation. Neither products are as close to being final as Renaissance, and whilst MPC Studio was out for a hands on it was still very much in prototype; MPC Fly was in a plastic cage to keep it away from prying hands. Because of this we’ve not focused on them, but that’s not to say we’re not interested because we most certainly are – I’ll write up some of my thoughts in our wrap up coverage.

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