Akai Announce New Touch Screen Music Production Controller

Akai Professional have announced their latest instrument in it’s MPC series, a controller with a built in touch screen.

With the MPC Touch you get a professional piece of production gear combined with the ease and intuition of using a smartphone or tablet. According to Akai the MPC Touch will “(forever change) how producers interact with all aspects of their sound.”

The result of “painstaking engineering development, detailed customer research and user feedback.” The main feature is of course the 7″ colour, multi-touch display that allows you to grab and pinch waveforms, draw midi events, adjust envelopes, chop samples, add effects and set controls with precision using your fingers.

Akai Professional MPC Touch

The controller isn’t just a touch screen though and comes with the staple MPC sound, quality design and newly improved pads. A representative from Akai said: “(The pads are) far superior to existing MPC hardware They’re much more sensitive and very playable, akin to the new MPD line of MIDI controllers as they follow a similar lineage.”

The MPC Touch also comes bundled with a massive collection of over 20,000 sounds in a range of styles from elit content providers, including: Prime Loops, Sonivox, MVP Loops, Toolroom, CR2, AIR and more.

Akai Professional MPC Touch

Akai went into detail about the in-built step sequencer and their new XYFX feature, saying:

The MPC Touch has a new independent track length feature which combined with the new step sequencer is something truly special. You can set any track to a different length in realtime doing this from the step sequencer gives an MPC user the potential to work in new ways.

In the Step Sequencer you can enter or remove steps with either the pads or on the TUI via the note steps beneath the velocity sliders, you can use the TUI to adjust the velocity of any step. Dragging your finger across the screen allows you to draw in velocity patterns, you can nudge the pattern with the onscreen ‘nudge’. There’s also an overall slider for trimming the velocity of all steps and section with preset shapes.

The gestural editing and tweaking via the TUI combined with the traditional pads makes the creation of drum parts way easier than your traditional drum machine step sequencer where things like tweaking velocities is a slow process.

The XYFX are a range of realtime gestural effects. You can instantiate an XYFX on any drum or instrument program with one touch and get straight into using the XY pad to mangle the incoming audio. There is a full screen view and a smaller view which contains the preset menu and controls for the touch envelope which crossfades between the dry and wet signal from the effect. It has a wide range of tempo synchronised and manual effects e.g. beat repeat variants and LFO modulated filters.

You can have as many instances of the XYFX as you have programs! And they can be automated into the sequencer.


So here’s a breakdown of the features that come with the revolutionary new MPC Touch:

  • 7″ colour, multi-touch display
  • 16 velocity-sensitive thick, fat MPC pads with RGB backlighting
  • 2-in/2-out audio interface
  • Step Sequencer with touch interface
  • XYFX control adds effects, adjusts sound dynamics in real time
  • Phrase Looper, enables connection of any instrument to create loops
  • Pad Mixer for setting levels, stereo panning and adding VST effects
  • Sample Edit control for trimming, chopping and processing your samples
  • 4 new, performance-ready touch-sensitive controls
  • Data Encoder knob for push-and-twist control of display paramaters
  • Includes MPC software and over 20,000 sounds

Unfortunately the MPC Touch still requires a PC or Mac to use but the touch screen still adds loads more functionality using just your fingers and controller.

You can read more about the MPC Touch on the Akai website. It will be available in November for £499.

You can see the MPC Touch in use with Grammy-award winning, multi-platinum producer Needlz below.

Fender Launch Striking Acoustic Pro and Acoustic SFX Amps

Fender’s gorgeous new Acoustic SFX (left) and Acoustic Pro (right) amps.


Fender are releasing a beautiful new range of amps for acoustic guitar.

The Acoustic Pro and Acoustic SFX feature a smooth curved design with bent plywood that has been designed specifically to enhance the projection of acoustic tone. The two new amps may look similar but they both have their own niche which they perform incredibly well at for “superior live sound.”

The Acoustic Pro is a 200-watt monster described by Fender as an “audiophile amp.” It features two channels for Guitars and Microphones with 1/4″ XLR jacks and an auxiliary input. The Acoustic Pro also features hall reverb, 12″ neodymium woofer, high performance tweeter with crossover network, feedback-reducing phase switches, balanced line output and effects loop.

The performance and quality from the amp is top notch but the stunning build also comes with an integrated handle and tilt back kickstand.

The Acoustic SFX has been designed for smaller venues but retains the crisp sound and state-of-the-art technology of the Pro. The SFX has a lightweight design for easy portability, perfect for coffee shop and small venue acoustic players.

The SFX isn’t titled without reason and comes with onboards hall reverb, echo, delay, chorus and vibratone effects for a variety of luscious soundscapes from your acoustic guitar. The amp uses Fender’s Stereo Field Expansion technology to create a “multi-dimensional” sound that can move the effects around for a dynamic sound.

Other than a footswitch jack the SFX comes with most of the same features as the Acoustic Pro beyond that. Both models include switchable voltage between 100 to 240 volts and a fitted cover.

Both amps are available now in the US with a UK release next month. You can pick the Acoustic Pro up for $999/£709 and the Acoustic SFX for $899/£589.

YouTube iOS App Redesign Brings Upload Editing Tools

Yesterday YouTube updated their iOS app, bringing to it the new YouTube mobile design.

The new look YouTube mobile app, introduced to Android earlier this year, features three columns at the top. These three columns, entirely replacing the sidebar “hamburger” menu, from left to right are:

YouTube Homepage: Where you can see recommended videos and channels, what’s popular, watch again etc.

Subscriptions: A feed of uploads from your subscribed channels. The channels you’ve subscribed to will appear near the top in small circles.

Account: Here you can access your history, my videos, notifications, watch later and playlists.

The new app also features Google’s new material design aesthetic, using bold colours with a simplistic appearance. Another introduction is ‘swipe’ gesture controls allowing you to move between menus with the swipe of a finger.

A note with the update said:

The redesigned YouTube app makes it easier to find what you love. Now your recommended videos, favourite channels, and subscriptions can be accessed by tapping each icon or swiping your screen. You can also create fun videos on the fly with the new in-app editing tools.

Possibly the most exciting new tool however is YouTube’s new video editing tools that are included in-app. Users will have access to these new tools when they upload a video directly to the app.

YouTube Apps edit tools

With the new editing tools you can cut and trim videos, add visual filters and also add a soundtrack.

The update should now be available to all iOS users for the free YouTube app.

Google Chromecast Audio Transforms Your Speakers Into a Streaming Device

Google’s massively popular Chromecast, a device that plugs into your TV allowing you to stream media from your phone, tablet or laptop,  this week announced an update as well as a new device. The update adds some nice features but what’s really catching peoples attention is the new Google Chromecast Audio.

Using Google’s Chromecast Audio you can now transform useless speakers and old, unused audio equipment into a catalyst for all your favourite streaming services, playlists and more without a wired connection from your device.

With new Google Chromecast Audio you’ll be able to plug into a stereo or speakers using a 3.5mm auxiliary cable (RCA and Optical cables available seperately) and wirelessly play music from your device or computer. Google’s Chromecast devices connect via wi-fi enabling any other device connected to that wi-fi to sync up with it.

Amongst the music player apps available to use on Google Chromecast Audio are Google Play Music (of course), Spotify, Deezer and more. Google say they are “constantly adding new apps, so there’s no end to the music, radio stations and podcasts that you can enjoy.”

One of the major appeals to Google Chromecast since it’s launch has been it’s reasonable price especially compared to rival products or alternative means of accessing the content, such as Smart TVs.

For just $35/£30 you can get Chromecast Audio or it’s visual predecessor from Google’s website here: google.com/chromecast

Hybrid Drumming – Using Acoustic Kits For Electric Sounds

The convergence of technology in music is something that some will protest madly and others embrace with open arms but no-one can deny the incredible presence technology has on music today. With innovations every week creating new ways to play and create technology is opening doors to new realms of possibility all the time.

The piece of equipment we’re looking at today has been around for a few years but it’s potential has only increased since then. Roland V-Drums are drum triggers that sense the vibrations on your acoustic kit and send them to a drum module or percussion pad to create electronic sounds.

The triggers work by just clipping on to the rim of your drum and a small mesh/rubber pad picks up the vibrations to sense when the drum is being hit. Depending on what you connect your drum triggers to you can create a massive host of new sounds from samples, custom noises, alternate instruments and more.  The triggers will also detect how hard you’re playing, allowing for even more extensive customisability with your soundscape.

You can find out more from the Roland website here:  http://www.rolandus.com/categories/v-drums/.

Famous UK session player Craig Blundell shows you just some of the thousands of possibilities using drum triggers in the video below.