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Is that a beat box in your pocket or...
Is that a beat box in your pocket or...
Posted by Gizmo on January 17, 2008 :

Akai Pro xr20 beat production center

Click for hi res

Many years ago, when I had pretensions of making music, I invested in a 4 track. Quite literally weeks later, I sold it when I realised that while I could knock out a beat (I had a SpecDrum and a Korg KPR-77), layering audio to create actual music was just out of my sphere of skill. But I got me a hankering to knock out some beats again and this new XR20 Beat Production Centre (why wasn't called a BPC?) looks to be right up my street.


Portable Beat Machine Integrates Drums, Percussion, FX and Instrument Samples

Cumberland, R.I. (Jan. 16, 2008 ) Akai Professional, the name synonymous with innovation in electronic musical instruments, announces a new tool for creating beats on-the-go the XR20 Beat Production Station.

The XR20 is a portable beat production station loaded with a sound set that is geared towards making Hip-Hop and R&B beats wherever and whenever inspiration strikes.

More than 700 pre-loaded sounds cover a range of drums, percussion, effects and instrument samples, while an integrated effects engine includes Reverb, EQ and Compression, enabling musicians to make complete backing tracks. A microphone input is included for mixing vocals over patterns. Bright, backlit pads provide visual cues for added beat precision.

The XR20 features sounds of standard and electronic drums, single (one-shot) hits, bass and synth sounds to easily create the maximum mix in minimal time. Key features of the XR20 include:

  • More than 700 sounds produced by Chronic Music
  • 99 Preset Patterns and 99 User Patterns.
  • Backlit LCD
  • Bright, glowing, backlit pads that follow the beat
  • Microphone input and Headphone output
  • Pattern Play Mode different patterns can be triggered from individual pads
  • Drum Roll/Note Repeat feature
  • Battery Power capability and AC Adapter

The Akai XR20 is coming Q2 - 2008 to musical instrument retailers with an MSRP of $499.

Now I'm no expert but this seems to be a stripped out MPC with no sampling facilities, aimed fairly and squarely at RZA/Primo wannabes concerned primarily at making beats. Coming with 700 sounds, you get 99 preset patterns and 99 user patterns. And it runs on batteries, ensuring that every aspiring DJ will be rocking one on the tube. But I don't think Apple need worry about a decline in the sale of iPods just yet.

NOTE: No further comments are being accepted.
6 comments to this story

On January 17, 2008, Cutloose said this:
Outputs ???

eg: As a stand alone Drum Machine within Dj sets. Without the necessity for a sampler.

On January 18, 2008, Dat Gangsta Kid said this:
Any noise on the Boss-front, about a new "Dr. Rhythm"? I enjoyed using the DR-880, but it would've been *GREAT* if it came with a lithium-ion battery.

On January 18, 2008, johnbeez said this:
$500 is stupidly overpriced for a drum machine with no sampler or midi in/out.

Just how portable is it?

On January 26, 2008, Moyphee said this:
It's the exact same machine as the Alesis SR-18. $50 diference in price for lit buttons.

This unit is an upgrade from the SR-16 drum machine tha was out for years. There is no MPC technology in this machine whatsoever. suspicious.gif

On January 26, 2008, justin said this:
the price is going to be around 299$

On April 15, 2008, bubba_turbo said this:
I picked on up last week. It is nice. 4 1/4" outs, midi in and out/thru, 99 user patterns with four patterns built into each one. 99 slots to make your own kits with 12 drums, 12 one-shot hits, and a bass synth.

The main attraction is the sounds. They are all pre-eq'ed and knock right out of the box. This is a great box if you already have an MPC. I sample my loops from records into the MPC and use the XR20 for drums on top of the MPC. The XR is stuffed with a bunch of hard hitting bread and butter drums for hip-hop and dance.

It isn't the coolest box ever made, but it is a grand slam for somebody just getting into making beats or somebody that wants a solid drum library without paying Motif or Fantom prices. This is a great little brother for an MPC.

This is a solid tool. The biggest limitation is the talent of the user. It isn't an Mv8800 but there is no reason why you couldn't get a lot of mileage out of this box.

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