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Akai Professional has unveiled the APC20, the second control surface created by Akai for performance with Ableton Live software. Like the APC40, the APC20 promises to transform the user’s experience from one of constructing tracks with a keyboard and mouse to composing and performing with a seamless, fully integrated hardware/software musical system.

The APC20 retains many of the APC40’s most popular features and capabilities, while shrinking the physical footprint and adding interesting new capabilities. The smaller size enables musicians to perform in less space and makes setting up multiple controllers and devices easier. Power users can use the APC20 in conjunction with an APC40 to expand their track and clip controls.

Like the APC40, the APC20 centers on its five-by-eight Clip Launch grid. This bank of multicolor triggers not only start and stop clips playing in Live, they also show cells’ status in the software – whether a clip is loaded or not, whether it is playing or not, record-armed status and more. Clip Stop triggers, transport controls and faders round out the control surface. Users can switch the APC20’s faders between volume control, pan, sends and three different user-mapped modes. A new Note Mode enables musicians to use the Clip Launch buttons to control virtual instruments and Ableton Live’s Drum Rack.

Because Akai Professional and Ableton designed the APC20 for use with Ableton Live software, the system is truly plug and play, although advanced Live users will appreciate that the APC20 enables them to remap every one of its controls to suit their own style.

“The APC20 is perfect for performers who like to customize their setup with multiple controllers, or just want a more compact setup,” said Adam Cohen, Director of Business Development, Akai Professional. “You’ll spend less time looking at the computer screen, using a mouse and keyboard with the APC20

Mac system requirements include a G4 CPU or higher, OS X 10.3.9 or later, 512 MB RAM, QuickTime 6.5 or later, a DVD-ROM drive, and a USB port. An Intel CPU and 1 GB RAM are recommended.

The APC20 will be available from pro audio and musical instrument retailers in January 2010. It has a U.S. Retail Price of $299.00 and an estimated street price of $199.00

www.akaipro.com/apc20

Discuss the APC20 in our Live forum.