Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3689 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:01 am

Damn I am glad I have very specific demands for the time being what gear concerns such as trigger conditions and randomization a la Elektron boxes and Beat Step pro. Otherwise my GAS may have gotten me so far that I would have bought the MPC X even though it is quite expensive for what it does. But it looks cool to me, it has several midi output and indputs, cv control and what not, and seems to be a perfect base for a hardware studio. Add to this its zoomable touch screen, auto-mapping of controls and upgradeable plugins, including softsynths, loads of ram and rom and you, alternatively to a hardware base, got yourself a wonderful selfcontained unit. See this talented lady for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx2QNmkM3aY

Fortunately none of its features would add anything significant to my present studio but I would surely understand why it may trigger other’s GAS too now that the MPC concept appeals to many more than just the sample people. This makes me curious:

So what are your thoughts and experience with it? Would it be/is it worth the price to you? What are the features you like or miss most?

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Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
4936 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:42 am

I sometimes find it ironic that a device as complex as these is considered a computerless setup ;-)
- dysamoria.com
my music @ SoundCloud

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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3689 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:18 am

You can use it for a computerless set up, surely, but in fact it has several cool features to interact with your daw to, e.g. It can load vsti templates that enables you to control and save all parameters of your VSTi running in your DAW, which us further automapped and autoupdated to your controls.

I am more like “Hey cool, wow, it can do everything! Me want! Me want! But hey, wait a minute, I do not need to do everything....actually there are nothing it can do that I cannot do already.” And what I really need, randomization features, seems to be the one thing it cannot do.

I am prone to falling in GAS traps, however in this case, the price made me think twice.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
41792 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:22 am

i think he meant "isn't that just a computer disguised as not a computer so you look cool on stage" :hihi:

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bmanic
KVRAF
8300 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:45 am

I have an MPC Live (identical to MPC X software wise) and if anything it is NOT complicated at all. The exact opposite is true. It is frustratingly simplistic and can not do the most basic stuff.

Example: You can NOT change the phase of anything anywhere. No 180 degree phase flip to be found. This is absurd and kind of underlines the philosophy of Akai and what audience this product was made for.

Another example: The filter cutoff can only be modulated unidirectionally (positive direction) by the envelope. Same with many other modulation destinations.. only one direction possible. So in terms of "synthesis" capabilities, they are _extremely_ limited.

One more example: If you loop a sample you can not force it to infinitely loop, even if you have an amp envelope setup and put the release to maximum. It only loops endlessly if you keep the pad depressed. Yet this infinite looping capability exists in the actual sample editing part of the software. Infinite triggerable/latchable looping would be extremely useful in a live situation but for some weird reason they decided to only allow it in the sample editing screen to help set loop points.

User experience and workflow is stupidly simplistic and not at all using the touchscreen to it's full extent. Same with the physical buttons on the device. There is one called ERASE and one called DELETE (using the shift button) and none of these are used in the various sequencing or synthesis screens. You can not delete selected notes with these buttons or numerical value fields. Similar non-use of physical buttons is all over the place.

There are no parameter locks of any kind and to create such an effect or just very specific modulation for exact ranges and values you'll need to edit a midi events list. This was okay and acceptable in the late 80's and early 90's but here we are in 2019 with a standalone "computer" that has a touch screen.

These examples highlight the mindset at Akai. People who go "Wow! Amazing!!!!" when they hear a drumloop or synth loop triggered by touching a magic little pad will like this thing. Anybody else who wants to do even slightly more complex stuff are in for an extremely frustrating ride.

The potential of this product line is HUGE but as always it is not realized by the company. It's a very similar story with Ableton and their Push/Push 2. There was supreme potential for making a truly great hands-off-mouse experience but then the company completely botched it and gave up. At least Ableton Live itself is a relatively comprehensive piece of software.. something that isn't true for the Akai MPC software/plugin thing. That one's simplistic as f**k.

Yeah, I haven't sold my MPC Live just yet but it's the first item on the chopping block.
Last edited by bmanic on Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

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bmanic
KVRAF
8300 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:47 am

vurt wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:22 am
i think he meant "isn't that just a computer disguised as not a computer so you look cool on stage" :hihi:
It is exactly that. A computer running shitty software in a good hardware package. The latency is amazingly tight for instance. It's a joy to drum on the pads.. but the software/user workflow experience is ridiculously stupid.
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

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egbert101
KVRAF
2289 posts since 13 Jun, 2014

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:49 am

I get the impression that it's more about making money than having an affordable and creative out of the box solution.

I think my preferred out of the box solution would be to get some kind of digital recorder and use overdubbing, and just skip the entire ridiculous process of trying to program tracks.
<list all your stupid gear here>

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bmanic
KVRAF
8300 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:01 pm

For instance, OP's video link shows what most people use the MPC Live for.. just triggering a few drums and recording a few simple midi loops. That's it. You could equally well use an ipad, a mobile phone or even something very basic like a few looper pedals.. or old Roland SP202 or the more modern SP404.

I was really hoping the Live/X would be a proper workstation concept which would be the main composition workhorse/sequencer for my entire hardware setup. Alas this simplistic "I can trigger a few notes!! Yeah!!" piece of garbage is not capable.

.. do I sound a bit salty? :hihi:

You damn right I do! This is 1000+ €€€ I could have spent way better.. well luckily I didn't pay nearly that much but still. It pisses me off.
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

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vurt
addled muppet weed
41792 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:05 pm

:hug:


:hihi:

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bmanic
KVRAF
8300 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:08 pm

Thanks man.. that reminds me, I need to hug my Neutron. Now that baby was worth every euro and I almost do not regret that it went to another evil big corporation. :hihi:
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

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vurt
addled muppet weed
41792 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:16 pm

neutron is still on my future purchase list :)
few other bits to grab before then, but its coming!

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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3689 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Any opinions on/experience with MPC X?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:25 pm

vurt wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:22 am
i think he meant "isn't that just a computer disguised as not a computer so you look cool on stage" :hihi:
Yeah, I know. I just twisted the point so I could tell that it is made for DAW interaction as well.

Interesting objections around. Seems like it promises at little more than it really got under the surface.

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