“A monumental leap forward in sampling technology”: MPC Stems, Akai Pro’s new audio extraction technology, is now available in the MPC Desktop Software, but you'll have to wait for standalone operation

Announced earlier this year, Akai Pro’s MPC Stems technology - which enables producers to separate the bass, drum, vocal and other musical elements in mixed audio - has now arrived in the company’s MPC Desktop Software.

Said to usher in “a new era of sampling, enhancing creativity and precision for music producers and beatmakers,” and to represent “a monumental leap forward in sampling technology for producer communities around the world,” this is powered by zPlane’s stem separation engine, which Akai Pro claims delivers “superior sound quality” and minimal artifacts. 

Once separated, stems can be assigned to pads within the MPC software, and you can also assign sample slices to different pads and isolate specific parts of the original track.

The workflow is easy, too: simply select the Create Stems option and you can choose which of the layers you want to extract. The volume, pitch and pan levels for each stem can be adjusted individually or across all four layers, and your audio can be cropped on an individual or global basis, too.

Akai Pro MPC Stems

(Image credit: Akai Pro)

As we mentioned, MPC Stems currently only works in the desktop version of the MPC Software, but is fully supported when you use your MPC Live Series, MPC One, MPC One +, MPC X, MPC Xse, MPC Key 61, MPC Key 37 or MPC Studio Mk2 in Controller mode.

If you want to use your stems in standalone mode, you’ll have to create them in the desktop software and then open the project you saved them in on your standalone hardware. There's no word yet on when full standalone support will arrive.

Sadly, the MPC Stems update isn’t a free one for existing MPC Software users, but the one-off payment charge of $10 certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable. This is available exclusively through the MPC Store, and requires users to have installed the 2.14 software/firmware update. 

Akai Pro MPC Stems

(Image credit: Akai Pro)
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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