MPC firmware 2.10 not only contains new synths, effects … but also hints that Akai Pro is working on an MPC Key 61 keyboard sampler workstation.
At the beginning of February, I already reported a leak on a possible Akai Pro MPC keyboard with the name Force 6. This picture was found in the firmware 2.9 code by an MPC & Force hacker/modifier group on Facebook. The picture gave us clues that Akai Pro is currently working on a keyboard version on which probably the MPC software runs. So a kind of keyboard workstation packed with synthesizers, drum engines, sampling, and more.
Last Tuesday, Akai Pro released the MPC 2.10 firmware. A huge update with great new features. The same FB group also found a render file in the firmware that let the keyboard sampler alarm sirens ring.
Akai MPC Key 61
The new render shows what this is about a little more clearly. The name has been changed. From Force 6 to MPC Key 61 which suggests that the keyboard is probably based on the matured MPC software. If you trust the render, it will have 61 keys, pitch & mod wheel, and probably velocity & aftertouch support.
Moving away from the keyboard to the upper part, you can see many shortcuts buttons, a touch strip (black), as well as an MPC-style 4×4 pad matrix. These will probably be of the same level as those from the rest of the MPC products.
The center of the keyboard occupies a display, probably a touch display with which you can swipe through the menus. Similar to the MPC One, MPC Live II … Right next to the display, there are four Q-Link controllers
Then there is a data encoder and other shortcuts. Classic transport buttons (record, play, pause, etc.) are on the right side. The upper labels on the interface indicate that the keyboard version of the MPC also has numerous inputs and outputs. Unfortunately, the rendering is still very unclear, which makes reading I/Os impossible.
A Keyboard MPC?
This new rendering from the firmware 2.10 code clearly shows that Akai Professional is working on a keyboard MPC. The step would be very logical. On one side, they have a sophisticated software environment that is out of its infancy. On the other, the MPC software got several exciting features and content level-ups in recent months that upgraded the devices for free. Including the new drum synth, Hype synth, Odyssey, Solina, Mellotron, new effects (granulator…), and more.
It will be interesting to see if Akai Pro will incorporate the MPC software into a fully-featured keyboard sampler workstation in the near future. The clues are there.
More information here: Akai Pro