Akai launches MPC headphone series, we go hands-on

Headphones, there's plenty to choose from these days that's for sure. But amongst the celebrity endorsed pairs, and the traditional brands there appears to be a gap in the market. Or, so thinks Akai -- the maker of the legendary MPC line of beat-machines -- as it's extending the brand to include three new sets of its own: the MPC Pro, MPC, and MPC Earbuds. Akai claims the new additions are designed for use with the kit of the same name, but looking at the design, we'd wager it's not shy of taking a slice of the more image-conscious / brand aware market either. The daddy of the bunch is the MPC pro (the lower of the two you see above. These come with 50mm drivers and an over-ear design, aimed at improving isolation. The MPC model (the other pair you see above) sport 40mm drivers and an on-ear design. Both the Pro, and regular MPC editions have a metallic red and silver finish, with foldable ear-cups. The baby of the bunch is the Earbuds edition, and these are designed for "active producers," or dare we say, sporty types too. The ear-hook design is reminiscent of other sports headphone buds to keep them in place. These, however, are Bluetooth enabled too. But, if you're worried about the latency while you're producing on the go, there's a connection for going traditionally 3.5mm-cabled too. Hear more past the break.

When we first heard that Akai was venturing into the headphone market, we can't deny we were a little excited. The idea of something specific to the MPC hardware / music production, and potential for MPC-inspired design tickled us. In reality, it's hard not to think that it's more about extending the brand onto another line of products. The samples we saw on the floor were early prototypes, and not final models, so things may change, but the design and the three tiered approach suggests this is as much about market appeal as it is dedicated producer hardware. The metal finish looked well designed and reminded us of the Beats Pro line (a little too much perhaps). They fold in, which is always handy for easy storage, and there is also a mic for when using with your phone. Wearing them was comfortable enough, but with no audio to enjoy, we're unable to sample how they actually sound. So, if that turns out to be a strong point, we can happily take these as the serious producer headphones they claim to be, until then, though, we're reserving final judgement. Price and availability to follow.

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From concept to creation, Akai Professional now offers a fully immersive production experience with headphones and earbuds that match each new MPC in
design and quality.

Cumberland, R.I. (January 24, 2013) – Akai Professional, the name synonymous with music production, announces MPC Pro Headphones, MPC Headphones, and MPC Earbuds, premium personal audio devices each designed for professional music production with Akai Professional's newest line of MPCs. Akai Professional will exhibit the MPC Pro Headphones, MPC Headphones, and MPC Earbuds at Booth 6700 at the 2013 NAMM show, January 24-27 in Anaheim, California.

Akai Professional's new MPC headphones and earbuds are designed to match each new MPC in design, quality, and purpose. Each is designed to empower producers with the ability to hear their tracks and hone their craft with unmatched clarity and precision. In addition, MPC headphones and earbuds provide an exceptional experience for simply listening on the go to a personal music library.

MPC Pro Headphones feature powerful 50mm drivers and an over-the-ear design for premium isolation and comfort in the studio, while MPC Headphones come with precise 40mm drivers and an on-the-ear design ideal for portability and music production on the move. Both feature Akai Professional's unmatched expertise in tuning and frequency response, as well as fully adjustable headbands, pivoting ear cups, and gunmetal aluminum and steel construction for a solid, comfortable fit. Overstuffed leather cushioning on the headbands and ear cups provides a luxurious listening experience for even the most demanding studio sessions. An audio cable with 1/8-inch connector and 1/4-inch adapter is included for music production, and a communication cable with a built-in microphone is also included for use with mobile phones.

"Headphones are a huge part of the production process," said Dan Gill, Akai Professional Product Manager. "With the MPC headphones and earbuds, we're simply doing what we've always done-delivering the tools musicians need to get fully immersed in their craft."

Featuring lightweight soft-touch ear clips with aluminum trim and volume control, MPC Earbuds are flexible, powerful, and designed for the active producer. They're engineered to be multi-purpose with the ability to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth® to any compatible music player for casual cable-free listening, or to connect via the included professional audio cable for latency-free performance during music production. The built-in lithium-ion battery recharges easily via USB (cable included). MPC Earbuds deliver Akai Professional's superior tuning and frequency response for any track via precise 13mm drivers. Producers can go wired or wireless by connecting or disconnecting the included 1/8-inch cable from the Akai Professional medallion that is located on the cable between the earbuds. The medallion also includes a built-in mic for using MPC Earbuds with a mobile phone.