When it was first released in late 2012, iMPC made serious
waves, thanks to Retronyms’ (the co-developer of the app) slavish
attention to detail in recreating the feel of the original. Since then,
iMPC has grown into a full-featured production environment that, like
its hardware brethren, is tailor-made for making hip-hop and R&B
Much like the current crop of MPC hardware, iMPC features
four 16-pad “tracks” for creating your grooves. The most common approach
is to use one track for drums and the other three for sample-based
instrumentation. Akai clearly knows this, since many of its massive
collection of factory drum kits also include related bass and instrument
Feature-wise, iMPC includes many of the same tools that
make the hardware version so useful. You can tap any pad and then assign
it to all 16 pads for playing precise variations in tuning, velocity,
length/duration, and filtering. There’s also a slider for users who
prefer a more tactile approach.
The MPCs’ legendary swing is in full effect here and to my
ears, it has an identical feel to that of the original hardware. As for
the other quantization options, they range from eighth-notes to
32nd-notes, with triplet versions for each. This is more than enough for
most pop applications.
Sampling with iMPC is a breeze. You can use the iPad’s
built-in mic or access any of the tracks stored in your iPad’s music
collection via a clever turntable interface that actually allows you to scratch
your audio as you record it. I honestly had a blast with this and it’s a
fantastic inclusion. From there you can adjust start and end points to
get your sample just right.
Also on board are three basic effects: Bit-crushing,
delay, and compression. The first two can be applied globally to any of
the four tracks, while compression/limiting is tied to the master outs.
As for iOS amenities, the iMPC is packed with them,
including Korg’s WIST wireless sync tools, AudioCopy, AudioPaste,
Retronyms’ Tabletop interface, and iOS 7’s new Inter-App audio protocol.
There are also a ton of social media tools including in-app publishing
to SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. As iPad amenities go, this
app is fully compliant. Finally, there’s an iPhone version as well, for
those who haven’t yet snagged a tablet.
For five bucks, iMPC is a must-have iPad app for musicians of all types—if only for bragging rights. This is a total Key Buy.