If you want it all and you want it now, take a look at this Drum Machine, sampler, workstation, space station of a DAW all in one unit.
MPC Legacy Continues
First let’s give the history of the MPC, virtually all of the hip hop production over the past decades has involved the Akai MPC (Midi Production Center) the meaning has morphed over the years in to (Music Production Controller) this is more or less because of he technological changes that have occurred with computer power and memory, somehow the MPC has maintained it’s basic form and function over decades and remained a relevant, even central piece of equipment in studios all over the world from bedroom producers to the top major label establishments.
There are still people out there using the MPC 60 with it’s extremely limited sample memory to this very day. The MPC 2000, 3000 dominated hip hop production all through the 1990s and many of them are still on the road creating beats. As time moved on and technology has improved, Akai created newer and newer MPC Drum Machines and the MPC X is the latest and created manifestation keeping true to MPC format while introducing new, exciting production features that we’ll explore in the rest of this article.
16GB of Internal Storage
The MPC X provides you with sixteen gigabytes of storage giving you hours and hours of audio time for your samples, audio tracks, masters and draft mix downs. When that is not enough you can easily connect to an external drive and keep going. The external drive connection is also useful for backing up your projects which is a must in the world of electronic music production, the AKAI MPC X makes that extremely easy to accomplish.
10GB Vault 2.0 Sample Library
Making a whole sampled sequence from scratch can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be a time consuming challenge with the MPC X they’ve included a robust ten Gigabyte sample library to get your beats up and running. The sample library is called the Vault 2.0 which gives you a production ready set of sounds from today’s top sound designers as well as as AKAI’s signature sounds they created.
Analog I/O Connections
Anything and everything on the AKAI MPC X in terms of tracks and sends has a corresponding I/O output so while this beast of a drum machine can certainly be used in a stand alone fashion, it can integrate in any way possible with a studio setup as simple as a guitar effects pedal or as complex as a giant studio bus with hundreds of inputs and outputs routing to your twenty rack effects and giant soundboard. The MPC X handles it all in a clean, straight forward manner.
10.1″ Multi-Touch Screen
You really don’t need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) expensive computer software setup if you have an MPC X, it more or less is a dedicated computer for making beats and recording audio tracks in a stand alone manner. The built in ten inch screen is enough to see all the track parameters and audio waveform editing, menu browsing, sample searching that you’ll ever need. The screen is also multi touch sensitive so you can use it in the manner you’re used too if you own an Ipad or other high end Android tablet.
Samples and recorded audio are often just a little out of sync from each other even if you recorded them at the same BPM speed, this is especially true when using audio loops and re mixing a track using segments or portions of the track you’re remixing and trying to sync the audio can be a challenge to say the least. The Akai MPC X’s Time-Warp Algorithm does the job of analyzing the audio and stretching and bending the audio in the best way possible to match the timing while preserving the audio as best as possible, nothing is perfect with this kind of operation but it will beat the typical temp change stretching or bending of audio that most samplers and DAWs do.
MPC 2.0 Software
The MPC 2.0 Software gives you the ability to control the MPC X from your computer and record, Akai will even let you download the MPC software for a free seven day trial if you don’t yet own an MPC to see the software by itself. The software features real time warping of audio to match BPM, Audio and Midi Drag and Drop functionality and more features.
Audio Track Recording
Most drum machines do not have the capability to record audio tracks next to your drum tracks, this really puts the MPC outside of just being a drum machine but also a genuine professional studio in and of itself, you can get a great beat going and record the vocals, and or instrument tracks, sound effect tracks right next to the beat and the MPC will do it without a hiccup.
Supported Audio Formats
Pretty much any type of audio file you have in your existing sound library can be imported or converted easily into something the MPC X can handle.
Supported Audio Types:
- WAV – typical windows and DAW based high quality audio
- MP3 – the well known compressed audio format
- AIFF – MAC based DAW high quality audio
- REX – Propeller head loop based audio used in Recycle and Reason
- SND – AKAI sample format.
The MPC X is not just a studio power house, it can also be the center of your live setup with the ability to control loops, clips, and beats one could also imagine the MPC X being at the center of theatrical or other types or radio performance setups.
Who is this for?
To start the price tag is not all that cheap, it takes a lot of work to create this box and it sells for the price of a cheap used car, but it is worth it if you have the money and want a type of beat making workstation that can work with any existing studio or computer setup but doesn’t need either to make professional tracks, beats, songs. This is not exactly an entry level drum machine, when you have this many features and capabilities packed into one unit you can expect a steep learning curve, you’ll need to spend some time getting to know it. If you own another MPC you’ll be familiar with some of the concepts integrated into the OS but there is so much to this machine it can really take a while to understand it all. That said just be cause it has features you don’t yet understand that does not mean you can’t use it in ways you do, then gradually over time get used to the other features. The producer who number one has the money and number two is serious about having a real studio even if it just starts with the MPC itself. If not, don’t worry, there are other MPCs too so if you like the MPC concept and can’t afford it there are other options available.