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Akai teases APC40 at NAMM 2009

Musical instrument manufacturer Akai reveals plans at NAMM 2009 to create the APC40 MIDI controller for the popular Ableton Live music software.

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell

Photo of Akai APC40.
The Akai MPC40 looks like the love child of a DJ mixer and a disco dance floor. Akai

Hot on the heels of CES and Macworld, the 2009 NAMM showcase (National Association of Music Merchants) kicks off Thursday, offering musicians and audio professionals heaps of new gear to drool over.

The first eyebrow-raising announcement comes from Akai, manufacturer of the MPC series of audio samplers and sequencers that have become a cornerstone of hip-hop music. As reported on the Create Digital Music blog, Akai has unveiled its design for the APC40, a stunning live-performance MIDI control surface designed specifically for use with Ableton Live's popular music software.

The APC40 is designed as a plug-and-play device that connects to your computer over USB with no drivers required. Once connected, you can set up the APC40's multiple buttons, knobs, and faders to control whatever virtual buttons, knobs, and faders appear in your software.

While USB MIDI controllers are nothing new, the Akai APC40 differs from most by including an 8x5 grid of buttons (upper left corner) that correspond with Ableton Live's unique grid sequencing software and support multiple on/off states reflected by different colors. In other words, if you or someone you know is way into making music with Ableton Live, but is tired of creating music by pointing and clicking through the software on their laptop, news of the APC40 should elicit squeals of joy.

Unfortunately, Akai's APC40 announcement doesn't include details on pricing or availability. But that won't stop me from dreaming.

For the full specs on the Akai APC40, check out Create Digital Music.