Akai’s new MPC Studio is causing a stir amongst music nerds. It’s a cheap-ish box of buttons and knobs that hooks up to an app on your computer, letting you rock Akai’s MPC app as if it were a series of much more expensive hardware boxes.
Musicians tend to favor the hands-on tweakability of hardware over the fiddliness of software, and controllers like Ableton’s Push (starting at $799) bring that physicality to powerful audio software suites. But Akai has upped the game by bringing what looks like a high-quality controller at a very affordable $269.
“Hardware is just ‘hands-on,’ plain and simple. There’s a level of interactivity with hardware that is impossible to replace with mouse clicks, no matter how good the technology is. Turning a knob, pushing a button, or moving a fader all have an immediate effect—not only on the music, but the user, as well,” music producer Ric Lora told Lifewire via email.