Akai has created a monster. The new MPC5000 ($3,499; www.akaipro.com) features big improvements to the MPC line, such as 8-track streaming hard-disk recording and a powerful 20-note synthesizer with three oscillators, an arpeggiator and a multimode filter. You now have the ability to create whole songs inside an MPC, mix them down and burn audio or data CDs to the optional optical drive. The all-new 990 PPQ (parts per quarter note) sequencing engine offers tighter MIDI timing but still keeps the option for that famous MPC swing. Built-in 64 MB of RAM is expandable to 192 MB, and there's a built-in 80 GB hard drive. In addition to the 40 new effects and modular 4-bus effects processor, Akai includes a new Master EQ and Compressor with an Old School mode for vintage sampling sound. A CompactFlash card slot accepting as high as 2 GB cards and USB 2.0 offer modern connectivity, along with two MIDI inputs, four MIDI outputs, RIAA turntable inputs, 10 analog TRS inputs, eight ADAT optical output channels and stereo S/PDIF connections. Chop Shop 2.0 slices loops into individual samples and auto-assigns them to pads, while new technologies such as Patched Phrases and Continuous Sample Track allow Ableton-style warping and sample-syncing. The screen is twice the size as on the MPC2500, and there are 12 Q-link controllers for writing automation (eight knobs and four faders). Beat-heads rejoice!