Akai MPC 60 review

An MPC60 came up for sale round the corner from where I live. One thing lead to another and it’s now sitting at Rozzer HQ. You might know that I’ve owned an MPC in the past, a 2500 to be precise. I really enjoyed having it, they’re amazing machines – lots of fun to write on, limited enough not to be daunting and with enough connections round the back to serve as a userful centre sequencer for a good amount of other gear.

I was curious to see how the older MPC60 compared. The most obvious limitation is the 1.5Mb (oh yeah!) of RAM. This allows for about 26 seconds of mono sampling. This doesn’t concern me too much but is a major point when considering which MPC to get. The other limitation is how you get the sounds into the MPC. The modern MPCs come with flash cards and USB connections so getting a file from the computer into the MPC is no big deal. The MPC60 however is a little trickier. Essentially it can’t be done, just resample the audio through the audio input (which is mono btw). There are workarounds, apps that can read and write to MPC floppy disk (if you even have a floppy disk on your computer) or you can use ZIP disks if you have the Marion SCSI board installed in your 60.

Apart from these obvious limitations, I’m amazed how little has changed in the MPC operating system over 20 years (ignoring JJ OS for a minute). The sequencer is much the same. There are some features I miss from the MPC2500 (track mute from the pads is probably the biggest) but there are also some very cool features that have been lost. I’m amazed that someone at Akai thought the Edit Loop function and the Echo mixer weren’t useful enough to keep in the new lines.

Much is made of the 12bit sound. It definitely has warmth, and samples glue together nicely, but the real winner for me is just how solid the sequencer feels. There is some evidence that the MPC60 sequencer is more robust than the 2500/1000. Check out Innerclock Systems very indepth Litmus tests on the subject. Of course numbers only go so far, these things should be judged by ear. To me the MPC60 feels like the most solid sequencer I have ever used so, despite it’s limitations, I’m going to declare it a keeper.

Oh and it’s also the damned best looking MPC ever made (we’re talking about the Mk1 here, the Mk2 looks like a cash register). Expect some MPC60 flavoured Boxed Ear freebies soon.

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