Akai Professional MPC X Standalone MPC Review

Akai Professional MPC X Standalone

One of the main producer weapons are so called “drum machines”. Today we decided to honor another great hardware gem from Akai. It`s the famous AKAI Professional MPC X”. And not so long ago we did one in depth review the baby brother “MPC Touch”.  With MPC X it`s same world, but slightly different options to live by. This black (or should I say red and black) diamond, still sits at its highly rated pedestal. And for  plenty of good reasons too. We are here to find out why it is one of the best starred drum machine on the market, and also reveal some of X`s side effects.

AKAI`s Standalone History

Originally founded in Tokyo, Japan, AKAI in Hip Hop World is known for creating one of the best drum machines. From “MR16” rookie made in 1985, AKAI has come so far. And you won`t find a producer, street or Pro that won`t have immediate association to AKAI when you say the word “MPC”. They shaped the modern history of audio production with their own signature line. And they keep the tempo going, which their latest AKAI Professional MPC X can prove in so may ways. First and maybe one of the most important, distinctive characteristics is the standalone function. The standalone mode gives more options, like more portability, the ease of use and connectivity, wider options for your creative environments etc. It`s a known idiom that describes producer`s working mode with out any kind of computer unit.


So Many X`s To Consider

When first-tipping on the AKAI Pro MPC X, you get hit with the vast majority of performance features. Your Akai Professional MPC X comes equiped with 10.1″ multi-touch screen, 16 velocity and pressure-sensitive drum pads, and 16 GB of internal storage. 

  • Pads are amazingly sensitive and well made. The software standalone role is run by AKAI`s MPC 2.0. And the sixteen seems to be the winning number here. There are also 16 touch-sensitive 360-degree assignable pots for automating Q-link parameters.
  • Above each pot is a high-rez OLED display containing the info on each of the parameters. As you can see from the pic above, AKAI Pofessional MPC X wears a very similar face as its family membesr “Renaissance” and “MPC5000”The 16 performance pads are set in the middle of console and the 16 touch-sensitive knobs assigned for the left-hand integration.
  • Above them, there are two types of mode soft buttons. Pad Bank and Q-Link mode sections for control interaction with all the assignable pad and knob buttons.
  • In the middle, just above the pad buttons MPC X has 6 control soft buttons aka views for accessing Menu, picking anything from the library with Browse, lets you edit and arrange with Step Sequencer and Sampler. Two more buttons, XY FX and Looper bring out the effects and looping section to life.


The Right Side Of Play

On the right there are multiple function buttons to play with. From recording buttons to gain knobs stereo-to-mono switch and the main data wheel. Also the gain controls for the four audio inputs are nested here too, and a 48V phantom power included for condenser mics. The lead specs list will reveal the overall functionality tone including the given connection/plugin mode. 

Specs Of The Akai MPC X

  • Also acts as a control surface for MPC 2.0 Software, compatible with Mac & PC
  • 16 Touch-capacitive Q-Links controls with OLED displays
  • 66 buttons for direct, hardware access to all aspects of MPC Software 2.0
  • Standalone MPC – no computer required – natively powered by MPC Software 2.0
  • 10.1″ full-colour multi-touch display
  • 4 selectable inputs: 2 XLR / 1⁄4″ combo jacks with switchable phantom power, 2 instrument level; 1⁄4″ jacks, turntable RCA input with ground peg
  • 8 outputs: balanced 1⁄4″ jack
  • Dual 1⁄4″ and 1/8″ headphone outputs
  • 2 full-size MIDI inputs, 4 full-size MIDI Outputs
  • 8 configurable CV/Gate outputs enabling the analogue control of modular gear, such as classic synths
  • 16GB of on-board storage (over 10GB of premium sound content included from leading sound designers including CR2, TOOLROOM, Loopmasters, Capsun Pro Audio, and more
  • User-expandable 2.5″ SATA drive connector (SSD or HDD)

The MPC X’s Front Connection Points

As for connecting jacks, the front side of AKAI Professional MPC X offers SD card slot, two instrument, two footswitch inputs and two headphone outs. 3.5mm and 6.35mm jacks. The cool thing is these two can be used simultaneously, with the unified volume control. First con or not, we`ll let users decide.

Inside The MPC X`s Brain

The AKAI Professional MPC X runs on 1.8 GHZ quad-core speed thanks to ARM Cortex A17 processor. It flies on 2GB of RAM and as mentioned above a 16 GB of internal storage memory and Minimal latency is confidently confirmed. 

The MPC X’s Control Mode

This standalone buddy also can be controlled by your fav DAW compliments of Control Mode. This means, when connected to your PC or laptop, you can use the MPC 2.0 Software as your plugin. Software has some cool new features like audio track recording (24-bit @ 44kHz, in controller use up to 96kHz), audio-warping, pitch-shifting, audio and MIDI drag-and-drop and so on. The new firmware update 2.0.5 even brings some more new features like:

  • Ableton Link via Wi-Fi – Sync the MPC X with any Link-enabled apps and devices for cross-platform collaboration
  • Bluetooth 4.0 MIDI Support – You can now use controllers such as the LPK25 Wireless and LPD8 wireless to control the MPC X
  • Redesigned Real-Time Pitch-Shifting and Time-Stretching Algorithm – You can now individually time-stretch and/or pitch shift samples on each pad within a drum program
  • Improved Audio and Program Editing
  • Enhanced Support for Storage Expansion – Hard Drivers Can Now Be Formatted Using the MPC

The “Vault 2.0”

The fun starts when dropping the inside view on the latest library named the “Vault 2.0”. The user gets a sonic gift of 10GB high-quality sounds. Samples and kits from the most popular sound-design companies in sync with AKAI`s very own sounds. 64 stereo voices and 8 stereo audio tracks sounds more than ear attractive. Additional eSATA dock for extra internal storage is another big, well you would normally say plus, but in this case X. Pretty impressive!

System Requirements Using Akai MPC X

  • Controller Mode: Windows 8.1 or newer
  • Controller Mode: Mac OS X 10.10.5 or newer
  • MPC 2.0: Minimum 2GB free disk space (20GB for all content), Minimum 4GB RAM (8GB recommended), Minimum Dual-core 2.5GHz CPU

The Pricey Matter

AKAI Professional MPC X has opened the Era of future sounds. And future workflow too. And because of that matter, one big last is it`s price. Ranging somewhere from 1,300 to 2,500 US dollars, the MPC X will be physically unavailable for many budget producers. So patience should once again be your strongest character line. But as with all equip, the price drops with each new month, and soon enough maybe some of the used, good-standing models could be in your bedroom too. And if you ask is the price appropriate giving the X drum machine`s playbook, well, it kind of is. In the view of majority that did get the chance to own it. To make sure, we will post all the known downside elements that we could find. For now, one of the first cons may be the learning curve on the beginner level. 

The AKAI Professional MPC X Pros And Cons

We are at the end of this article`s line. The conclusion end-chapter will give last final thoughts from user Pros and street players so you can grab a full pre-purchase feel of it. To summarize and leave the dirt on the floor with it, here are all the Pros and Cons related to our AKAI Professional MPC X deal.

PROS:

  • stand-alone mode
  • 10-inch touch display
  • huge connectivity options
  •   fast hardware
  • audio tracks
  • mobility
  • firm build
  • battery life
  • slick workflow
  • 2.05 firmware
  • fast boot up
  • great for live sessions
  • various level adjustments of display
  • extensive drum library
  • high-quality sound samples 
  • clearer creation of multisamples
  • easy MIDI recording
  • quality pre-amps
  • minimal latency
  • recording of stereo track with two XLRs
  • extensive effects section
  • automation of effects and audio tracks
  • exchange of project between computer and MPC 

CONS:

  • touchscreen not suitable for big fingers
  • too much reflective display (no brightness adjustment button)
  • learning curve for non-MPC heads
  • no plug-inns in standalone mode
  • only 6Gb of internal user memory
  • touch prone to dust and scratches (microfibre cloth included in the package though)
  • browser lacks categories to find the desired sounds faster (although search button exists)
  • weak instrument library (in stand-alone mode)
  • unable to record to XLR inputs simultaneously in two mono tracks


Akai Pro MPC Touch Conclusion

Well, you can count on it or not, but one thing is certain. AKAI Professional MPC X IS the next big thing in the revolution of modern-day digital production work stations. Every new model holds its own curve line and it is up to the user himself to make the ultimate choice. Whether he will ride the learning curve or will he/she stay on the usual surfing paths. After all, there are no bad choices, only wrongly prepared assumption.

tanja cookbeat

Producer/Blogger/Music Critic

32-year-old self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer)…. Certified Fitness Coach. Former Ryan Leslie`s “BPBC” member. Occasionally on a Composer Agreement with LA`s “Smash Haus Music Group”. Owner of online personal label “CoCo Beatz Music Group”. Certified Fitness Coach (has 17 years in recreational bodybuilding). Living for Hip Hop Culture.

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