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.


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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.

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