Does MPC Studio work without a computer?

In recent years it seems like Akai’s boffins have been on a mission to release as many different MPC variants as possible in an effort to lure people away from rival products such as Maschine and Ableton Push.

The latest MPC to arrive on the scene is the MPC Studio Music Production Controller which comes with an impressive MPC 2 Software bundle and is, at the time of writing, the cheapest MPC in the range. But does the cheaper price mean a loss of vital features?

It’s important to understand that the MPC Studio is a controller and NOT a standalone drum machine/sampler. The MPC Studio will only work when connected to a PC or Mac. In contrast, the more expensive MPC One, MPC Live II and the MPC X can all work without any computer.

The MPC Studio explained:

The MPC Studio is a compact controller which is designed to work with the bundled MPC 2 software. The MPC Studio features 16 backlit velocity-sensitive pads, a touch strip encoder, and a full set of MPC controls including a transport section. The MPC Studio has classic MPC features including Note Repeat and MPC Swing.

MPC Studio Pads:

The MPC Studio pads are both velocity-sensitive and pressure-sensitive and of the usual Akai quality. The pads light up different colors depending on how hard you play them (from yellow at low velocity to red at the highest velocity). You can customize their colors too.

Does MPC Studio run on batteries?

The MPC Studio does not run on batteries. The MPC Studio is powered by USB when connected to your PC or Mac.

Is the MPC Studio backwards compatible?

The MPC Studio is fully backwards compatible and includes support for samples and sequences created on any older MPC models.

Can MPC Studio run as a VST?

You can create beats and track entirely within the MPC 2 DAW software or you can use MPC Studio within a third party DAW such as FL Studio or Live.

Does the MPC Studio have a color screen?

The MPC Studio has a small backlit LCD display screen for displaying basic parameter data and system messages (similar to the screens you get on Elektron devices). It’s not in the same league as the screens you get on the MPC X and MPC One but it’s functional at least.

What software comes with MPC Studio?

MPC Studio is bundled with MPC 2 software for Mac and PC, a selection of plugin instruments and effects, AIR Vocal Suite and 10GB of sound content.

Core instruments in the MPC 2 Software are:

  • DrumSynth – synthesizer drum plugin which emulates the sound of classic drum machines and features multiple synthesis types.
  • AIR Hype – The AIR Hype plugin is a dual-oscillator synthesizer that includes a wide variety of built-in effects.
  • AIR Mellotron – software recreation of the classic tape keyboard.
  • AIR Solina – classic string synthesizer.
  • AIR Bassline synth.
  • AIR Electric synth – classic electric piano keyboard sounds.
  • AIR Tubesynth – classic vintage analog polysynth sounds.
  • WayOutWare Odyssey – analog synthesizer.

What connections does the MPC Studio have?

At the rear of the MPC Studio you’ll find: 1 1/8″ (3.5 mm) MIDI input, 1 1/8″ (3.5 mm) MIDI output and 1 USB Type-B port.

Can the MPC Studio sample?

The MPC Studio does not have a built-in microphone. Use the MPC 2 DAW software to import/record/browse your one shots and loops and then use MPC Studio’s pads to create beats and tracks. MPC Studio supports WAV, MP3, AIFF, REX, SND audio file formats.

Does the MPC Studio have an internal harddrive for sample storage?

No it does not. The MPC acts as a controller for the MPC 2 software running on your computer and your sample library will be stored on the computer (and/or external drives connected to your computer).

Is the MPC Studio worth it?

The MPC Studio is now the cheapest way to access the MPC workflow. For your money you get genuine MPC-quality pads with which to bang out yor beats plus a comprehensive software and sound collection.

The MPC’s relatively cheap price means some corners have been cut so you lose out on ports and connections and internal storage and, of course, without a computer the MPC Studio is nothing but a fancy paperweight.

If you’re looking for an MPC style drum pad contoller that’s bundled with a geberous selection of useful plugins then the MPC Studio represents really good value for money.

Best Alternative to the MPC Studio?

If you’re determined to stick with the MPC range and you’re happy to shell out more cash then the MPC One offers a much better screen and can be used without a computer connection.

If you’re willing to consider an alternative to the MPC brand then the Native Instruments Maschine Mikro is roughly the same price of the MPC Studio and comes with an impressive bundle of software including the Maschine DAW software plus full versions of Massive, Monark, and Reaktor Prism.

For more information, user manuals and tutorial videos see Akai’s official MPC Studio product page.

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