Akai MPC Live II Retro sampler and sequencer

Written by

Will Brook-Jones

The Akai MPC revolutionised how music was created, recorded and performed. This cutting-edge instrument provided producers and beatmakers with new and unparalleled sequencing and sampling functions. It’s regarded as one of the most influential electronic instruments ever produced, leaving an indelible mark on not just the hip-hop genre, but recorded music itself.

Each iteration (from the MPC 60, to the MPC 3000) had an instantly recognisable look that matched it's iconic sound and workflow; grey pads, complimented by a simple cream finish. Now, thanks to the MPC Live II Retro, you can experience the same legendary visuals, with modern engineering, updates and enhancements across the board! 

MPC Feature Update 2.10 for MPC One, MPC Live, MPC Live 2, MPC X, and MPC 2 Desktop

Standalone Beat Making

The MPC Live II Retro functions as a standalone piece of equipment; you can get creative without the need for a laptop or computer. Thanks to a rechargeable onboard lithium-ion battery - with 5 hours of battery life - you can even craft your beats anywhere, anytime. 

A durable, compact design ensures that it'll withstand the trials and tribulations of the road with absolute ease too. 

Tools of the Trade 

You'll be using the very same 16 velocity sensitive pad layout that's since become synonymous with Akai's MPC to build your tracks. They're complimented by a 7-inch touch screen which is used to chop, edit and then sequence your desired samples. 

Ideas can be moulded and tweaked even further with the range of hands-on capacitive-touch knobs and buttons - incorporated in a way that directly benefits your workflow.  

Audio Engineering  

With a meticulously designed onboard stereo monitoring system, every single sound is generated in astounding clarity. The dual tweeter woofer lets you hear the smallest nuances of your creations - from pounding bass and powerful kicks, to the crack of a snare and wash of your hi-hats. 

You can connect the MPC to external speakers too if you want another way to reference your productions too!  

Flexible Connectivity 

Thanks to a whole suite of versatile connectivity options (listed below), you'll be able to hook up the MPC Live II Retro to your external studio equipment, making it the centre piece of your production and/or performance setup! 

Superb Storage 

There's 16GB of internal Micro SD storage available, giving you plenty of room to store your creations. If you require even more options though, a user-expandable 2.5-inch SATA drive bay - used to connect HDD/SSD drives - and an in-built SD card slot, plus a USB thumb input offer effortless integration of your custom sample library. 

Software Synergy  

Your MPC Live II Retro seamlessly integrates with both Ableton Live and Splice. With Ableton, you'll be able to take control of instrument, mixer and launching systems via the MPC, opening up exciting new options for performance and production. 

Onboard Splice functionality makes previewing and browsing samples incredibly straightforward. Speaking of samples, Splice Sounds provides you with millions of sounds, presets and of course, samples from a wide variety of genres. Each is royalty-free, and high-quality in nature - giving you the building blocks needed for great sounding beats from the outset.  

Add to this MPC Software 2 - a production system that can be used in controller or standalone modes - and you'll have access to real-time time stretching, DAW integration, clip-launch functionality and more! 

New in MPC Firmware 2.10 - Incredible new features and Sounds

AKAI just launched version 2.10 of the MPC firmware, their biggest update ever, with loads of new features and improvements! Let’s go through some of the amazing novelties you can enjoy with version 2.10.

USB class audio support

You can connect your standalone MPC with your USB audio interface by navigating through the preferences menu and finding your sound card. You can also up to 32 inputs/outputs (but beware of the CPU usage!)

New plugin Instruments

Version 2.10 includes loads of new instruments that you can easily download by selecting ‘Get Synth Content’ from the MPC Menu/Help Menu. Explore the new AIR collection including AIR Hype, covering everything from hard-hitting plucks to sultry melodic leads, AIR Solina, recreating the classic string machine and AIR Mellotron, a recreation of the famous tape keyboard. You can also experience a faithful reproduction of the WayOutWare Odyssey.

New AIR Vocal Audio Effects

A new suite of AIR vocal effects: Tuner to make your vocals sound perfect, Vocal Harmonizer, a four-part vocal-harmonizer effect and Doubler, to add presence to your vocal line or create realistic double effects.

New AIR insert effects

Enjoy new effects to spice up your tracks! Just to name a few, AIR Half Speed is the ultimate tool to create half-speed versions of any sound source, for supercool transitions: Air Stutter will make your sounds glitch changing in volume, pan and pitch! Discover all of them & get crazy experimenting.

New Akai insert effects

With the 2.10 firmware update, you’ll gain access to new Akai insert effects. Enjoy the power of a granulator to slice and manipulate your tracks and sample delay to add a cool stereo effect. 

Drum and Keygroup program improvements

Akai have reworked drums and keygroups to ensure a smoother workflow. Now you can add tail to any audio file to avoid abrupt and unnatural endings. There’s a new randomisation section as well, to add subtle variations to your drum samples. If that wasn’t enough, Version 2.10 adds eight effects slots for your drum pads, including bitcrush, decimator, soft clipper and many more!

Key Detection

Your MPC can now automatically calculate the key of a sample. Add any audio file with melodic content and let it do the work!

These are just some of the amazing new features you can enjoy with Version 2.10. What are you waiting for? Go download it now on AKAI Professional's website!


  • Standalone MPC - operate without a computer/laptop. 
  • 16 RGB pads (velocity sensitive). 
  • Hi-res multi-touch screen. 
  • In-built monitors. 
  • 3 months of Splice access. 
  • Ableton Link. 
  • Bluetooth/Wi-fi enabled. 
  • x4 TRS CV/Gate jacks (8 outputs). 
  • x2 USB-A 3.0 slots (for your MIDI controllers/thumb drives). 
  • 2.5-inch SATA drive connector (HDD or SSD), user-expandable. 
  • SD card slot (full-size).
  • 16GB of integrated storage. 
  • 2GB RAM. 
  • x2 5-pin MIDI out/x2 5-pin MIDI in. 
  • x3 stereo outputs (6 mono). 
  • Line level and phono inputs. 
  • Can be used as a control surface for MPC 2 software. 
  • Rechargeable onboard lithium-ion battery. 



  • Pads: (16) velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads, RGB-backlit
  • (8) banks accessible via Pad Bank buttons
  • Knobs: (4) 360° touch-sensitive Q-Link Knobs, (4) Q-Link Knob columns accessible via Q-Link button, (1) 360° encoder for display navigation and selection via push
  • Buttons: (27) dedicated function buttons; red-, amber-, or green-backlit
  • Display: 6.9” / 176mm (diagonal), 5.9” x 3.7” / 150 x 93mm (width x height),
  • Full-colour LED-backlit display with touch interface
  • Power: via power adapter: 19 V, 3.42 A, centre-positive, included. Via battery: lithium-ion, rechargeable, up to 5 hours of battery life


  • Processor: Quad-core ARM® processor 
  • RAM: 2GB, Storage: 16GB, expandable via SATA connections


  • (2) ¼” (6.35mm) TRS inputs (1 stereo pair)
  • (6) ¼” (6.35mm) TRS outputs (3 stereo pairs)
  • (1) ¼” (6.35mm) stereo headphone output
  • (2) RCA inputs (1 stereo pair)
  • (2) 5-pin MIDI inputs
  • (2) 5-pin MIDI outputs
  • (4) Stereo CV/Gate outputs
  • (1) Ethernet link port
  • (2) USB Type-A ports
  • (1) USB Type-B port
  • (1) SD card slot
  • (1) power adapter input
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