Want to start a fight? Just ask a room full of old-school beat makers what the all-time best MPC is. Go ahead — we dare you. There's no way to even know which one was the most popular. There's the sheer warmth that makes the original '60 a classic collector's piece that's still pumping out the grooves today, but there's also the amazing flexibility of the '2000/XL and the insane all-in-one features of the '5000. The fact is, each classic MPC is the "best" one in the eyes of one producer or another, but one thing's for sure, Akai's MPC X is the modern MPC all the diehards have been waiting for.
With one foot in the future and one in the past, this sweet, standalone sampling powerhouse combines everything you miss about traditional beat production with flexibility that goes beyond the most cutting-edge modern music workstation. Here are the highlights:
One of the biggest "love it or hate it" factors between MPC models is the balance of user-friendliness versus feature depth. From the moment we met the MPC X, the producers here at Music Experience realized that this argument was over. This music-production monster delivers more music-production horsepower than any MPC before, but with a hands-on user interface that is so intuitive you can probably pick one up and put it to work without so much as touching the manual.
This is entirely based on the integration of its onboard MPC 2.0 software and full set of hands-on controls. The sheer surface-level access the MPC X delivers means you don't have to go deep to find the features you want. Just take a look at the control layout, and you'll get the idea.
To put it simply, if it's something you'd access with a mouse on a computer DAW, then you can grab it on the multi-touch screen. If it's something you want to be able to push a real button or twist a knob to control, then there's a button you can press or an OLED-labeled Q-Link encoder you can reach out and twist. It's amazing how effortlessly the MPC X keeps up with your workflow!
Yes. More to the point, MPCs have combined software and hardware from the very beginning. The only thing new is the software running on your MPC X is the same software you can run on your computer. That means you can stay hooked up to your computer if you'd like, taking full advantage of both your computer's software and the MPC X's I/O and controls, but you don't have to. Think about it — there are workflow options here you've never had before.
For instance, you can head out with nothing more than your MPC X, a mic or two, and a big smile on your face. You can take that rig wherever you feel inspired, lay down some beats, create new samples, even record vocals right alongside your grooves, thanks to MPC 2.0's new audio track recording feature. At the end of the day, you can come back home with a fresh, more or less complete track in your pocket that's ready for any finishing touches you want to add in the studio. Talk about the best of both worlds!
With the MPC1000, Akai's sampling workstations started to gain a reputation as exceptional sequencers, with music producers from a wide range of genres adopting them for their MIDI rigs. When the MPC5000 arrived, you had 64 MIDI channels at your command, and there was no contest who ruled the hardware sequencer world.
For a minute there, hardware sequencing took a back seat to all-software production, but in the past few years, not only has MIDI sequencing picked up again, the rise of Eurorack gear and other inexpensive analog synths have brought back CV/Gate control in a big way — and the MPC X is ready for it all.
Not to be outdone by the '5000, the MPC X includes four MIDI output ports, but it also includes eight 3.5mm CV/Gate outputs. That means you can sequence your all-analog synth gear right along with your MIDI sound modules, creating impressive hybrid production systems all controlled from your MPC X and totally locked in with the rest of your tracks. Dual USB ports support MIDI over USB as well, allowing you to integrate your virtual instrument collection or lock to another DAW.
Next, consider the MPC X's analog I/O. Whether you want to sample and slice vinyl breaks, lay down vocals, or send tracks out to any other gear you have lying around, all the connections are right there.
First off, if you want any specific sounds in your MPC X, then go nuts. You can load up just about any samples you like or record new ones on the fly. That's classic MPC power right there. However, if you're looking for inspiration, then all you need to do is dive into the massive 10GB Vault 2.0 sound library. We're talking about the best Capsun Audio, MVP Loops, and CR2 Records has to offer, as well as a ton of unique content from the sampling gurus at Akai.
But what about your sample library? If you're like some of us over here at Music Experience, you may have a sample library some would call over the top, but you can't live without it. That's cool — just load it all up on an external hard drive (HDDs and SSDs supported) and plug it into the 2.5" SATA drive connector.
A simpler option is to toss what you want on an SD card or USB flash drive, but it's all up to you. Any way you look at it, the MPC X makes it easy.
When Akai announced a software DAW that thought like an MPC back in 2012, the electronic-music-production world went nuts. The immediate success of the MPC Studio and the MPC Renaissance paved the way for the MPC X and laid the foundation for MPC 2.0. It's no minor update — MPC 2.0 adds many user-requested features that complement the overall design philosophy of the MPC X.
The one feature many of us at Music Experience are stoked about is the ability to record linear tracks. This feature alone pushes the MPC software DAW out of the realm of beat production into the big leagues with other loop-based DAWs. While they were at it, Akai also updated their time-warp algorithm, making sample stretching and slicing smoother than ever. You'll feel the enhanced Q-Link control at work by the way your Q-Link knobs respond as though they're one step ahead of you, and drag-and-drop MIDI and audio makes the most of the MPC X's touchscreen.
The history of modern music is intrinsically linked to the Akai Professional MPC line. We’ve created machines that have spawned new genres and advanced existing ones. Countless instruments have attempted to replicate the design, workflow and celebrated swing of the Music Production Center. In short, the MPC is a legend maker.
In creating the new MPC X, we’ve learned lessons from every MPC that preceded it to engineer a production centerpiece truly fit to be the Music Production Center of the future.
The X is a standalone MPC featuring a beautiful, full color 10.1” multi-touch screen, 16 amazingly responsive, velocity- and pressure-sensitive RGB pads and 16 gigs of internal storage. To make it a truly untethered, computer-free experience, the X also features two USB slots that can be used for MIDI controller connectivity.
Powering the X is our stellar MPC 2.0 Software, which runs natively in standalone mode. For more expressive performances, there are 16 touch-sensitive 360-degree assignable pots—perfect for precisely automating individual QLink parameters. Above each of those QLink pots is a high-resolution OLED display, detailing info for the individual parameter.
Whether you prefer to go computer-free or not, it can’t be denied that there are some fantastic sounding VST instruments and effects out there. For those times when you need your favorite plug-ins, the MPC X effortlessly goes from formidable standalone to high-powered MIDI controller, explicitly designed to run the feature-rich MPC Software 2.0 in your favorite DAW. A number of new features added to 2.0 include: Audio track recording, improved time warp, enhanced Q-Link control, audio and MIDI drag and drop—all appearing on a new graphical interface.
The MPC has a well-earned reputation for sounds that hit hard and sound great, right out of the box. The X builds on that reputation. Pre-installed with 10 gigs of world-class sounds, The Vault 2.0 features samples and kits from top-notch sound design companies including CAPSUN ProAudio, MVP Loops, CR2 Records, as well as our own. Want to incorporate your own samples without tethering to a computer? The X features a 2.5” SATA drive connector providing additional storage via installation of a fixed hard drive – SSD or HDD (sold separately). Additionally, sounds can be accessed and added to the library using the built-in SD Card slot or the USB thumb drive. You can also record directly to all the aforementioned storage locations.
The MPC X has a number of additional features that make it the most powerful standalone music production tool to date. Onboard CV/Gate outputs enable the analog control of modular gear such as classic synths and drum machines. For vinyl junkies, we include two RCA phono inputs with RIAA preamp to ensure the right levels are coming into the X from your turntable. The joy of sampling vinyl is at the core of what made the classic MPC workflow legendary. We’re staying true to our roots while simultaneously improving the sound and stability of the sampling process.
The MPC X is the pinnacle of lengthy research and development, detailed feedback from our passionate user base and the merging of the best technologies from across our product line.
We proudly present the Music Production Center that embodies the best of past, present and future beat-oriented production machines. The MPC X will be the centerpiece of studios worldwide—and yours— for years to come.
|Type||Standalone MPC system and MIDI controller|
|Screen||10.1" full color multi-touch|
|Sounds||10GB pre-installed sounds|
|Pads||16 x velocity/pressure-sensitive RGB pads|
|Analog Inputs||2 x XLR-1/4" combo, 2 x 1/4", 1 x stereo RCA (phono/line)|
|Analog Outputs||2 x 1/4" (main out), 6 x 1/4"|
|MIDI I/O||2 x In, 4 x Out, USB|
|Other I/O||8 x 1/8" (CV/Gate)|
|USB||2 x 3.0 Type A, 1 x 3.0 Type B|
|Additional Media Storage||2.5" SATA drive connector, SD card slot, USB port|
|Software||MPC 2.0 software|
|OS Requirements - Mac||OS X 10.10.5 or later|
|OS Requirements - PC||Windows 8.1 or later|
|Height||3.4", 8.4" (display upright)|
|Manufacturer Part Number||MPCX|