When Native Instruments launched its Maschine+ standalone groovebox, we quickly started to wonder if its next move might be to release a keyboard version that could run its Komplete instruments. That hasn’t happened - not yet, at least - but it looks like Akai Pro could be about to take a lead in this area and release a keyboard/groovebox hybrid in the shape of the MPC Key 61.
Synth Anatomy has been following what is a fairly lengthy trail of leaks pretty closely, the latest of which focuses on what appears to be the packaging for this “standalone MPC synthesizer keyboard”. Presumably, this will run the same software as the pad-based MPCs, and could be useful for both studio-based beatmaking and live performance.
As well as the 61 keys, this new member of the MPC family looks set to include the familiar bank of pads, a screen and various other controls. It’s also appeared in Instagram posts from producer Scott Storch, who we assumed has a pre-release unit for beta testing.
The question, of course, is when we might get an official announcement. Superbooth and NAMM have now passed - one of these shows would have been an obvious place to launch - so perhaps we’ll have to wait until September, when the gear industry tends to fire up once again after what’s often a quiet summer.
The big reveal might happen sooner, though, so watch this space and the Akai Pro website.