So Akai Pro — first comes a pictorial leak of a new/old controller/synth/hybrid – umm something, then a mysterious triple threat warning that your new product will allow me to Produce, something, Perform….
That thing is Force* (note: there are so many Star Wars directions this article has gone down in its draft forms that I’ll just leave it there) a standalone production instrument which will apparently smash “previous limitations of musical production”.
*NOTE TO ALL — it’s just Force. Not the Force, thus rendering all Star Wars jokes irrelevant. And that’s probably what the lawyers advised too. Ed.
I could just rehash the Press Release but it’s always better to let it be published as intended:
AKAI PROFESSIONAL INTRODUCES FORCE STANDALONE PRODUCTION INSTRUMENT, SMASHING PREVIOUS LIMITATIONS OF MUSICAL PRODUCTION
Standalone music production/DJ performance device has clip launching, step sequencing, sampling, synths and a 7-in touch display and captures the modern clip-based workflow.
Cumberland, RI USA (January 17, 2019) — Akai Professional, a leading manufacturer of music equipment for performers and producers, today announced the release of its new standalone Force music production/DJ performance device, with clip launching, step sequencing, sampling, synths and a 7-inch multi-touch display. Force is designed for the user who wants a standalone product with the latest in modern workflow techniques, free from being connected to the computer. Force is the first standalone music production device that truly captures the modern clip-based workflow.
Force features an 8×8 RGB clip launch matrix, a 7-inch full-color touch-capacitive multitouch display, 8 touch-sensitive knobs with graphical OLED displays, two audio inputs, four audio outputs, MIDI and CV I/O. Together, this comprehensive versatility affords the user an unprecedented degree of creative freedom and expression, while remaining totally free of the constraints of being tethered to a computer.
Additional features include time stretching/pitch-shifting in real time, a comprehensive set of on-board effects by AIR Music Technology, plus the TubeSynth, Bassline and Electric synth engines. It also boasts an additional synth called Hype, a preset and macro-based synth combining several different synth engines into a single easy-to-use package. Force also has the ability to record eight stereo tracks.
- Standalone – no computer required
- 8×8 clip launch matrix with RGB LEDs
- 7″ color capacitive multitouch display
- Mic/Instrument/Line Inputs, 4 outputs
- MIDI In/Out/Thru via 1/8″ TRS inputs (5-pin DIN adapters included)
- (4) configurable CV/Gate Outputs to integrate your modular setup
- (8) touch-sensitive knobs with graphical OLED displays
- Time stretch/pitch shift in real time
- Comprehensive set of AIR effects and Hype, TubeSynth, Bassline and Electric synth engines
- Ability to record 8 stereo tracks
- 16GB of on-board storage (over 10 gigs of sound content included)
- 2 GB of RAM
- Full-Size SD card Slot
- User-expandable 2.5″ SATA drive connector (SATA or HDD)
- (2) USB 3.0 slots for thumb drives or MIDI controllers
“Force is aptly named, since this unit truly delivers a new level of creative force and energy to the music production/DJ performance world,” said Dan Gill, Akai Professional Product Manager. “With its Ableton Live-style workflow, 8×8 clip launch matrix, touch-sensitive knobs with graphical OLED displays and 7-in multi-touch display and total freedom from the computer, users will experience a degree of creative expression and spontaneity they simply can’t find anywhere else.”
In March 2019, Force’s development program includes in-depth Ableton Live integration. This functionality will include total visibility and command of Ableton’s clip matrix, tactile control of core mixer parameters including crossfader assignments, and control of device parameters instantiated in Ableton Live’s workspace via the touch user interface and Force’s rotary encoders / OLED displays.
Additionally, March 2019 will also see Splice integration within Force. Splice Sounds fuels the creativity of producers around the world with millions of high-quality, royalty-free samples, sounds, presets and loops, covering nearly ever musical style. With Splice integration in Force, users will have immediate wi-fi access to their own Splice library directly from the touch user interface – perfect for ultra-fast auditioning of sounds for implementation within their Force project. For further information and updates on this update, visit akaipro.com/force.
In the U.S. Force has a coordinated availability date of the 5th February 2019. In International markets Force is slated for availability in February 2019.
U.S. retail will be $1499.00.
For more information, visit akaipro.com.
OPINION – FIRST GUESSES
So it’s seemingly got pretty much everything that you could amass separately to create a performance or production machine — it just does it in one chassis.
It’s showing hereditary cues from the APC40 with its assignable Crossfader and the Push, with its low resolution screens showing data for the dials beneath. There’s also no mistaking the MPC Live and its touchscreen. Plus it’s got an inbuilt soundcard and what’s labelled as CV/Gate. So will it control other gear as well to give the Novation SL MK3 a run for its money?
On first glance, Force seems to be a beast in both size and capability. There aren’t any dimensions on the press release but I’m sure Mark can get out his micrometer as there’s a USB B socket on the rear image for scale (roughly 342mm x 370mm — TBC. Ed). My best guess is that the depth (even with the bump for the screen) is no more than a Mashine JAM with it’s feet on and it looks to be about 10% longer than it is wide so possibly narrower than the Push 2 but definitely more square than wide.
As the DJWORX resident Ableton enthusiast the first thing I do with any press release is scan for the magic words “Control Surface” to see if I’d be interested. With it being listed as part of the development programme, I’m not expecting to see it at launch but more a “coming soon” kind of thing.
Since my last review of the APC40 MKII I’ve been rotating using the Push 2 with Live, the Novation Circuit and the Maschine em kay three alongside Serato for when I play, I haven’t yet settled on my preferred line up so the Force still has a chance of being incorporated within that set up, at $1499.00 though it far outprices itself against individual parts of my current set up and will take me another 101 days of not smoking to save up the money for…
Is this the Push 2 that Akai Pro and Ableton could’ve built?
How much are Ableton involved with the Control Surface Script?
Will it have all of what the Push 2 does?
How good are the inbuilt synths?
Do I really need standalone?
I so want one. Do you? I know I’ve put a date on the calendar to aim for, counting down to the 24th April…
LOTS OF VIDEOS