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With all the fuss surrounding Ableton's Push, Akai's APC40 has become a slightly forgotten man among 'official' Live controllers, However, you might recall that, when it was released in 2009, it was actually the first product of its kind.
And now it's back: announced at Musikmesse 2014 and now available, the APC40 mkII is the result of five years' worth of user feedback and promises "extended functionality, countless musical capabilities, and improved workflow". It's certainly a leaner, more attractive-looking beast than its predecessor; it features a 5x8 RGB LED clip-launching matrix, an assignable A/B crossfader, eight rotary knobs, eight channel faders, and a send button for quick access to send busses.
This isn't the end of the APC relaunch story, however, as Akai has also released the all-new APC Key 25 - an Ableton Live-compatible 25-note mini keyboard with a clip matrix and assignable knobs - and the APC mini. The latter product features an 8x8 clip launching grid, eight channel faders and a master fader.
All the new APC controllers are designed to integrate seamlessly with Ableton Live and come with a copy of Live Lite in the box. They're class-compliant and can be powered over USB.
Commenting on the launches, Akai Professional Product Manager Dan Gill said: "The APC40 was the original performance controller designed for Ableton Live and has become an essential instrument for Ableton Live users. Now we are able to deliver three new APC instruments for musicians, composers, and mobile performers that allow comprehensive, hands-on control of Ableton Live in any performance or production environment."
You can find out more about each new APC model by clicking through the gallery and on the Akai Pro website. They're available now, and we'll have reviews very soon.