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.
Gallery: Akai MPC headphones hands-on
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.