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If you like the idea of controlling your DAW using a miniature Akai MPC padset, the MPD range of USB MIDI controllers clearly deserves your utmost attention.
For the purposes of this round-up we’ll focus on the Akai MPC Element, which has been billed as "the most affordable MPC ever."
The Element has16 backlit, multicolour pads with pressure and velocity sensitivity, laid out in a traditional 4x4 pattern, that can be switched between eight banks.
It comes free with a download of MPC Essentials software, which works standalone or as a plugin and on both 32- and 64-bit systems. It comes with a 1GB sound library, and enables you to import samples and assign them to any pad. You can create up to eight pad banks, and each pad can be assigned four samples and four insert effects.
Featuring a compact design with anintegrated cover to protect control surface, the MPC Element is a USB-powered and affordable pad controller - and because it operates via standard MIDI, you can also use it to control MIDI music software you already own.