September 21, 2006 Whether it's the pads, the swing, the workflow, or just the countless hours clocked up with one in a dark room, Akai's 'Music Production Center' (MPC) family holds a special place in the heart of beat makers and samplists the world over. The newest addition to the line up is the battery powered, ultra portable MPC-500. Combined with a microphone and a set of headphones it's a field recording and portable studio setup that fits in a backpack with room to spare - a dream come true for musicians on the go.

They've squeezed an awful lot in to such a small package - the 32 voice drum/phrase sampler, a 48 track MIDI sequencer, twelve of the classic MPC pads, switchable line/mic level analog I/O and MIDI I/O. We just hope that such a small LCD doesn't end up hindering the usability and workflow - nothing destroys a creative headspace like flicking through menu after menu to find the function you need.

Sick of Ads?

Join more than 500 New Atlas Plus subscribers who read our newsletter and website without ads.

It's just US$19 a year.

More Information

Transfer to and from the device is made easy with a USB port ready for an external hard drive, and the on board compact flash drive for CF cards of up to 2 GB, and owners of MPC-1000 & 2500's will be pleased to know their existing work will translate seamlessly.

It'll go for 4.5 hours on 6 AA batteries - and let's face it, a rechargable AA setup will set you back a fraction of what a spare laptop battery will, and take up a similar fraction of the space and energy to lug around.

Units are shipping now, with an MSRP of US$1,299 - but street prices of US$799 have already been spotted. For more information view the Akai Professional website.

View gallery - 2 images