AKAI has released MPC Beats, a freeware beginner-friendly software for beat making with VST and AU plugin support.
I haven’t been outside in a while, is it Christmas already? It’s not every day that a new free DAW is released, let alone one by a company mostly associated with hardware, as is the case with AKAI.
AKAI has, of course, previously released its MPC software, which is steadily nearing its third version. The thing is, that was always a bit of a puzzling product, as it seemed more like a direct emulation of the OS running on their hardware devices.
If ever there was a way to throw your hat in the DAW ring, however, this is it.
MPC Beats is a pretty compelling offering. It features eight MIDI tracks, a fully-featured sequencer, 80 effect plugins designed by Air, MPC-style time-stretching, and preconfigured hardware integration with both AKAI and third-party products. You also get VST and AU plugin compatibility, and a massive 2 GB sound library to boot. It’s genuinely impressive what AKAI is giving away for the fair price of nothing.
Presenting MPC Beats, the fully-featured, beat-making software based on the legendary MPC workflow to quickly make great-sounding beats. From the moment you install MPC Beats, you’re ready to start creating. Remix one of the included songs, or start off with a genre template like Trap, Dance, Pop and more.
To double down on their approach, AKAI has also launched a series of videos introducing the software to would-be beatmakers and going through it in detail.
Oh, and MPC Beats can not only load third-party VST plugins but can be used as a plugin itself, which opens up a whole entire new world of possibilities when combined with your other DAW. Use it as a drum sequencer? Add 80 brand new plugins to your toolkit? None of these answers are wrong.
It’s an overall very refreshing and forward-thinking approach and AKAI really should be commended for pulling the trigger on this. If you’re just starting out or are mostly focused on producing hip-hop or EDM and don’t mind the track count, it’s really hard to, well, beat MPC Beats.
The platform provides plenty of functionality for beat making and music production in general. You get the classic MPC workflow which is simply perfect for making beats, along with some of the advantages of modern-day digital audio workstations. MPC Beats features a virtual mixer, effects, sample editing, and much more. If you’re a beginner, AKAI’s freeware DAW is a great place to start. And if you’re already an experienced beatmaker, this is the perfect app to convert your laptop into a portable music studio.
It’s worth noting that AKAI is also offering a range of sound expansions for the MPC Beats software. There’s a variety of sample packs to choose from, including releases by premier sound designers like F9 Instruments, Araab Muzik, and others. The starting price for the Beats Expansions is $9.99 per product.
To grab your free copy of the MPC Beats software, visit the product page on AKAI’s website and hit the download button. You will be asked to fill out your name, location, email address, and a couple of gear-related questions. The download link will be delivered to your email inbox. There seems to be a slight delay with emails at the moment.
MPC Beats is a 942 MB download, with two additional expansion kits available free of charge. The free expansion by F9 Instruments is a 1 GB download and the Producer Kits pack is 2 GB in size. That’s a ton of high-quality sounds to get you started. The free expansion kits cover a range of vintage and modern drum sounds, bass samples, vocals, instrument samples, and more.
UPDATE: There is a delay with some download requests. If you signed up for MPC Beats and the download link didn’t arrive, try signing up again. It worked for me on the second try (using the same email address).
More info: MPC Beats (942 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, available as a VSTi/AU plugin, as well as standalone, for Windows & macOS)