While the majority of technology execs are packing their cases for Vegas, for some it's all about Anaheim. Akai is clearly ramping up its NAMM campaign, outing the latest in its legendary MPC series: the Renaissance. While the new boy is no dumb controller -- it packs a full audio interface, USB hub and lots of I/O -- for the first time the MPC gets dedicated external software. Sound familiar? Well yes, it's no doubt a direct response to the popular Maschine hardware / software combo from Native Instruments, but Akai isn't just playing catch-up here. The new hardware includes a "vintage" mode that recreates some of that legendary MPC3000/60 crunch, and the standalone software comes with a massive sound library, instant VST mapping (so you can work with all your third-party synths) as well as the option to run in VST / AU / RTAS mode itself. If you're worried about the possible implications of a "tethered" MPC, take a peek at the promo video over the jump, which should soon allay your fears.