1988 was a memorable year for partnerships. Sherwood Stewart and Zina Garrison won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon, Leon M Lederman, Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger won the Nobel Prize for their demonstration of the doublet structure of leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino. And Roger Linn (he of drum machine fame) and Akai (they of mass-market sampling fame) launched the MPC60, a sampling drum machine-cum-sequencer concept which immediately inspired fervent devotion among anyone lucky enough to be able to afford one. This was not so much a product as a way of life, claimed users, a view that was only reinforced by subsequent versions of the product — namely the MPC60 MkII, the MPC3000, the MPC2000 and the MPC2000XL.

MPC stands for MIDI Production Centre, and if you've ever thought that these machines are just an Akai sampler in a different-shaped box with some rubber pads on top, then it's helpful to keep this in mind. The Akai manual encourages the lucky purchaser to think of the latest carrier of the MPC gene, the MPC4000, as three separate modules — a sampler, a sequencer and a set of pads/controllers. This is not just a shorthand way of explaining the main areas of the MPC4000's operation — it summarises why the MPC concept adds up to more than a sampling drum machine. So yes, the pads and other real-time controls can be used to trigger and manipulate the onboard samples, but they can also be routed to a MIDI Out and simply used to play an external module or interact with an external sequencer. Similarly, the MPC4000's sequencer is equally at home recording your tappings on the pads or information arriving at one of the two MIDI ports. And when it comes to the opposite direction of travel, the MPC4000's four, separately addressable MIDI outs, give you 64 channels of information with which to control external modules alongside the internal sampler. The sum of the parts, then, is a machine that can act both as a self-contained music-production station and as the hub of a more complex MIDI sequencing setup. Rather as you might use a typical computer-based system, you could say. And you'd be right — this is the kind of ballpark in which the MPC is designed to swing its bat. Except that devotees have always argued that their MPCs have offered at least three major advantages over computer-based solutions. One: they provide dedicated features that make light work of manipulating drum sounds and loop-based material. Two: they give you the reliable MIDI timing that is usually associated with hardware sequencers. Three: as a standalone piece of hardware, they are much more suited to the rigours of live work.

Akai MPC4000 £2299
pros
The full functionality of a Z-series sampler.
Hard disk as standard.
The ability to lift sections of sequences to create new phrases.
The elegant user interface — particularly for the sequencing section.
Four MIDI outs.
cons
Digital connections really should be standard.
OS still slightly flaky when a machine like this demands it should be bombproof.
summary
Undoubtedly the most evolved and accomplished version of Akai's four-by-four pads concept by far. The question is whether musicians believe an evolved MPC concept is still a convincing proposition in an increasingly soft and virtual world.

However, while those arguments were certainly valid a few years back, the MPC4000 enters a world where such claims are somewhat harder to sustain, Software solutions are not only more powerful, more flexible and much cheaper than their hardware equivalents, but significantly they are now regarded as just as reliable. And thanks to powerful, affordable laptops, the challenge from software has even been extended to the live domain — an area where traditionally where hardware has always had the advantage.

Let's Get Physical

With these issues in mind, let's get to down to business. The MPC4000 follows hot on the heels of the Z8 and Z4, Akai's latest generation of rackmounted samplers (see SOS July 2002, or http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul0...es/akaiz8.asp), and as on the Z series, the major news on the MPC4000 is its ability to sample at 24-bit resolution, with sample rates of up to 96kHz. Significantly too, the MPC4000 also possesses 99 percent of the Z-series' sound-manipulation capabilities, making it much more of an all-round sampler than its forerunners. For example, where previous MPCs only dealt in Drum programs (ie. with one sound assigned to one key), the MPC4000 can also load and create keygroup programs, which is essential if you want to work with melodic sounds. Other headline features include a 20GB hard drive (pre-filled with over 4GB of sounds) a four-buss stereo effects card as standard, the six 'Q-link' real-time performance controls, and remote-control and file-management features accessed (ahem) via the bundled AKsys PC/Mac software (there's more on AKsys in a box on the next page). Like the Z series, the MPC4000 can be upgraded with off-the-shelf 168-pin DIMMs, and the 'from factory' memory allocation, as on the Z series, is a rather measly 16MB on UK units. Owners of previous MPCs will also see that the sequencer section has also benefited from a course of steroids, with grid-style editing, both of sequences and continuous controller data, plus an increase in the maximum resolution to 960ppqn and the ability to create phrase libraries from sequence data.

The Japanese law of hi-tech design normally means that increases in power and features are accompanied by an exponential decrease in the physical size of the instrument concerned. But in this case, quite the opposite is true. Weighing in at 10.5kg and measuring 526mm by 453mm (that's 20 inches by 16 in old money), this is not so much a tabletop machine as the whole table! The positive side of this transformation from middleweight to Sumo-size is that the MPC4000 feels like it would happily survive life on the open stage... and come home with the lousy T-shirt to give to its Mum. Certainly, any negative thoughts I expressed on the flimsy feel of the Z8 don't apply here.

Of course, we boys know that size isn't everything, though where it usually does count is in the LCD department. The MPC4000 sports a generous 320 x 240-pixel backlit affair which betters even the Z series in terms of viewability. As well as having its own contrast control directly to hand, it is also tiltable (if that's the proper word for it), which is a tremendous boon to anyone working under stage lighting conditions.

As with previous MPCs, the 16 soft rubber velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads are arranged in the traditional MPC four-by-four formation. Each measuring an inch square, they are comfortable to play, with adjustable sensitivity to suit any tap style. A series of buttons above the pads enable you to switch between six banks of pad assignments, thereby giving you fast access to 96 sounds. The pads can also be used to trigger sequences and as mute buttons for tracks within a sequence.

The rest of the knobs and buttons are arranged logically enough, with dedicated buttons for all of the unit's main functions and 'soft-function keys' immediately under the LCD to guide you through their various screens and submenus. Bottom right are the transport style controls for the sequencer. Along with the expected Play, Stop, and Record, these controls include fast locate buttons enabling you to advance quickly through steps, bars, events and to the beginning and end of sequences and songs. My only problem here was that I kept inadvertently pressing the Play Start button with the heel of my hand while working on other sections of the front panel — potentially embarrassing on stage if you set off the sequencer when you're not supposed to!

On the left of the front panel are the six 'Q-link controls' in the form of four knobs and two sliders. If you read the Z8 review or are familiar with Akai's digital multitrackers, then you'll remember that these are 'soft' controls that can be programmed to give you real-time control of a whole host of parameters, including volume, pan, filter cutoff, resonance and more, either of the individual programs or of all the sounds at once. You might also remember that the ability to manipulate sounds in real time was one area where I thought the Z8 scored rather highly, but the MPC4000 has a couple of extra Q-tricks up its sleeve, which I'll reveal later.

Sampled Delights
The full details of what the MPC4000 sample-and-synthesis engine has to offer is best grasped by reading my review of the Z8. However, here are some edited highlights of what MPC4000 owners can look forward to:

Effects: The EB4J effects board is standard issue for the MPC4000. It offers just over 50 excellent, though somewhat 'safe' (96kHz/24-bit) effects, including high-quality reverbs, delays, chorus, flanger and auto-panner, in an easily configurable four-buss format. You can sample and resample with effects.
Filters: Akai have clearly been feeding their filter section added fibre. The new generation of six-pole filters is much grittier than anything heard before, and given that you can control resonance and cutoff in real time via the Q-Link controls, there's a lot of fun to be had here.
A new modulation matrix: This now works much more like an olde-worlde synth matrix patch panel, with more than 30 modulation items freely assignable as either a source or destination. Furthemore, one source can be assigned to multiple destinations.
Sample editing: The MPC4000 shares all the sample-manipulation functionality of the Z series, including looping, stretching, shifting, slicing and dicing. However, considering that the MPC4000 will be used primarily with drum samples and rhythm loops, certain operations could benefit from more intuitive implementation. For example, the beat-slicing function, while powerful, is unnecessarily convoluted. Most users would find it easier to export their samples into Recycle, and then re-import the bits back into the MPC — which pretty much defeats the object of the built-in feature.


The Sampler

As I've already said, the sampling and synthesis element of the MPC4000 is driven by the same engine that powers the Z4 and Z8. As they share 99 percent of their functionality, the machines also have a common method of operation, give or take certain details in the graphical layout of some of the display screens. Although it might seem entirely logical for Akai to use a common platform for several products, this is a comparatively recent innovation — in fact, the development of the MPCs and Akai's S-series samplers did not follow a convergent path. That policy seems to have changed. So just as the MPC4000 has acquired the ability to work in Keygroup mode (see below), so the Z machines have acquired the ability to work in Drum mode. The few significant areas where the MPC4000 differs operationally tend to reflect the specific nature of the beast. For example, the MPC400 defaults to Drum Program mode by default and sound-to-pad assignments are saved as part of Programs (see above). The order of functions and the way certain pages are laid out on screen also reflects the 4000's drum bias. Curiously though, one function that the MPC4000 doesn't seem to have inherited from the Z-series samplers is the automated sampling mode, specifically designed for speedy assimilation of one-shot sounds on sample CDs.



MPC4000 Specifications
The review model represented the bog-standard UK-spec model with one notable exception. It was fitted with the maximum of 512MB of RAM instead of 16MB (the standard on UK models, which is rather less-than-generous considering their price). The good news is that the new Akai models all use 168-pin DIMMs, so at least memory expansion is relatively cheap these days.

SAMPLER
Sampling formats: 24- or 16-bit at 44.1kHz, 48kHz and 96kHz.
Polyphony: 64 voices (32 voices at 96KHz).
Envelope generators: Three digital envelope generators.
Filters: Two-pole filter (x3) with resonance (32 filter types).
LFOs: Two multi-wave LFOs.

SEQUENCER
Maximum events: 300,000.
Resolution: 960 parts per quarter note.
Sequences: 128.
Tracks per sequence: 128.
MIDI output channels: 64, via four separately addressable MIDI ports.
Song mode: 128 songs, 250 steps per song.
Drum pads: 16 (velocity and pressure sensitive) in six banks.
Sync modes: MTC, MIDI Clock, SMPTE.
Effects: Four-channel 24-bit/96kHz effects board as standard.

EXAMPLE SAMPLING TIMES

WITH 16MB OF RAM
Mono/44.1kHz/16-bit: Three minutes.
Mono/44.1kHz/24-bit: Two minutes.
Mono/96kHz/16-bit: One minute, 30 seconds.
Mono/96kHz/24-bit: 55 seconds.

WITH 512MB OF RAM
Mono/44.1kHz/16-bit: One hour, 34 minutes, 42 seconds.
Mono/44.1kHz/24-bit: One hour, four minutes, 28 seconds.
Mono/96kHz/16-bit: 44 minutes, 25 seconds.
Mono/96kHz/24-bit: 29 minutes, 37 seconds.


The Sequencer

The sequencer section is powerful and detailed, yet also extremely easy to use, whether in real or step time. Its two main currencies are, not unreasonably, Sequences and Songs. A Sequence can consist of between 1 and 999 measures and up to 128 tracks, while a Song can consist of up to 250 steps, each step representing an instruction to play a particular sequence and the number of repeats for that sequence.

Setting up a sequence to record involves the usual procedure of first specifying some core values such as numbers of bars, the time signature (where you can choose from a wide range of options including odd time signatures) and tempo (in a 30-300bpm range). Tap tempo is also an option.



Other programmable fields include auto-correct (quantisation), swing factor, metronome, sync and so on. However, all values can be altered post-recording — you can even change time signature mid-way through a sequence.

Each of a sequence's 128 tracks can be set to record MIDI data generated either from the pads/Q-link controllers or from one of the MIDI Ins. In either case, there two flavours of track to work with: drum or instrument. Editing a drum track brings up the kind of grid-style interface you'll find on software sequencers, while instrument tracks (intended for melodic parts) are edited on a piano-roll interface. The sequencer offers further screens for advanced graphical editing of MIDI controller data, with dedicated pages for pitch-bend, channel pressure and poly pressure. Step editing is carried out through a MIDI event-list type layout, which may be less graphically rich, but enables detailed editing of sequenced events including the kind of micro-timing shifts that you need to execute to impart human feel to sequences.

One of the most powerful new aspects of the Copy and Paste function is the ability to highlight groups of notes then use them to build up a phrase library which can then be imported into other patterns. Songs, too, can be converted into sequences, which is not only convenient when you've finished a song, so that you can create a single MIDI file, but is necessary if you want to apply the more detailed editing functions available within the sequence screens (for example, when adding or editing MIDI controller data).

AKsys For MPC


The new pad editor for the MPC4000 version of AKsys is still under development, but here's an early look at what it's going to be like.
I'm getting a distinct sense of déjà vû here. I covered AKsys v1.7 in SOS November 2001 (see http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Nov0...akaiaksys.asp), and also briefly covered its v2.1 incarnation in the Z8 review. Now we're up to v2.3 (or v2.36 for Mac users). In a nutshell, AKsys enables you to hook up your Akai sampler (be it a Z8, Z4, S5000, S6000 or MPC4000) to a USB-equipped PC or Mac via the USB slave port on the MPC's back panel to give you remote control of file management, plus the ability to drag and drop samples to edit and create Multis and Programs. You can also use AKsys to turn your computer into a hub for up to 32 samplers, enabling you to transfer data back and forth between them and/or the computer and generally manage your files with all the benefits of a 'big-screen' user interface.

However, while MPC4000 owners will no doubt welcome the opportunity to join the AKsys users club, there are a few points to note. First, unlike on the rackmounted samplers, no virtual control panel is yet available to allow you to control the unit from the computer desktop, although Akai claim one is "in development". Mind you, this does defeat the object of having such a big piece of hardware to play with in the first place.

Second, AKsys doesn't offer any specialist support for editing sequences, aside from top-level file-management activities. Nor does the Program editor currently support MPC4000-specific activities such as assigning samples to pads. Once again, Akai say this is coming shortly, and that when it does it will make light work of putting kits together (they sent me the screenshot above as proof).

Finally, there's no integral sample editor (though this goes for AKsys as a whole, not just on the MPC4000). Akai's (not-unreasonable) take on this is that there are already enough third-party sample-editing packages out there. In spite of these restrictions, to my mind MPC owners are not likely to feel too cheated, given that they will probably prefer working directly with their hardware anyway. Even if you just call upon it for basic file-management and transfer duties, AKsys is an excellent utility.


Live-ing It Large

The MPC4000's pads can be used not only to trigger sounds but also to trigger sequences and to determine what the next sequence will be while the sequencer is playing, which is great for DJ-style improvisation. The MPC4000's Q-link controls add further real-time tweakability, thanks to their comprehensive parameter mapping options. Knob twiddling and slider, er, sliding can also be programmed within the sequence. This is achievable in one of two ways: either you set the Q-link control to Track, in which case it transmits MIDI controller data which can then be recorded directly into a track, or you can use the Q-link Sequence function which involves a dedicated screen that enables you to record knob and slider positions in 16 steps (quantisable as 64th, 32nd, 16th, eighth or quarter notes) and play them back in sync with a sequence or song. This enables you to set up some pretty wild effects which would be impossible to do manually. In Mixer mode, the Q-link controls again change their identity; the set on the left then becomes a channel strip controlling volume, pan and effects send for each part within a Multi.

While all this knobbery is great for putting some real-time pizzazz into samples and sequences, I couldn't help feeling that six controls is still not enough — give me more and I'll find the extra hands to make use of them!

Upgrades & OS Revisions
The first thing I did after signing Postman Pat's chitty for delivery of the review MPC4000 was to note the OS on the machine (v1.16) then search Akai's web site for evidence of any recent updates (check out www.akaipro.com/jp/global/ download/dloadfs.html). As it happened, they had just posted v1.20, which I duly downloaded. Uploading it to the MPC4000's Flash ROM was simplicity in itself thanks to the OS Loader utility that is part of AKsys — a small matter of making a USB connection between my iMac and the MPC4000, then dragging and dropping the unstuffed OS file onto the utility icon. Hey presto, on repowering the MPC4000, the new OS was in place.

The new OS brings a number of new features (a full list is available at the Akai web site), including support for more USB storage devices, such as MO drives, HD drives and USB Flash. Support for more sample formats has also been added. Thanks to these upgrades, the MPC4000 is now compatible with the formats written by the following machines: Akai Z4, Z8, S1000, S2000, S3000, S5000, S6000, MPC2000, MPC2000XL, MPC3000, and Emu EIII. Emu E4 and Roland formats are to follow.

Most significantly, the OS update also fixes a number of bugs that were proving particularly irksome to a number of MPC users, including slow disk save speeds and problems with the Solo, Track Mute and Mute functions.

As explained in the release notes, the new functions added in v1.20 mean that any programs saved or created with the latest OS are incompatible with an MPC4000 (or for that matter a Z8 or Z4) equipped with earlier versions.

While on the subject of OS updates, I should point out that although Akai's software team are clearly on a mission to make sure that bugs get fixed as soon as possible, there's evidence that early MPC4000s were being released to shops with an OS that was not fully up to scratch. For example, there are claims on the SOS forums that certain screens automatically caused the machines to crash. While we have all come to accept as a way of life that software is often released before every wrinkle is ironed out, it seems astonishing that Akai in particular would risk compromising their reputation in this way, considering the damage this suffered after the launch of the bug-ridden S5000 and S6000 series. On the other hand, my review machine did behave properly for 99 percent of the time. The copybook was blotted, however, by one system crash which forced me to reboot the machine. Even the most minor glitch is one glitch too many if you're expecting to rely on this machine for live work.


Verdict

For anyone who is already an avid fan of the MPC concept, the list of MPC4000 features is likely to set them seriously pondering the practicalities of auctioning off vital organs or selling family members into slavery to make the upgrade. And undoubtedly, there's a lot on offer here. First, the MPC4000's sampling and sound-manipulation capabilities are streets ahead of what's been on offer before (and all at 24-bit/96kHz resolution to boot). Whereas previous machines have always fallen slightly short of offering the full capabilities of Akai's rackmount samplers — for example it wasn't until the arrival of the MPC2000 that the designers saw fit to include looping — there's nothing significant you can't do with the MPC4000 that you wouldn't be able to do with a Z-series machine. Second, the sequencer is much more powerful than its forebears, and thanks to its graphical interface, it has the ease of use usually associated with software-based sequencers. A particularly creative function is the aforementioned Phrase facility, which allows you to grab sections of a sequence and turn it into a standalone phrase. Third, there are the six Q-link controls which, like those on Akai's Z-series samples, take live manipulation of sounds and samples — and indeed external devices — to a new creative level. And last, but in practical terms probably one of the most desirable additions, the presence of an internal hard disk is generally all round much more convenient, particularly if you're using the unit live.

Having said all this, there's no getting away from the fact that these professional features weigh in at a professional price. And while you can see how that price is arrived at — a Z-series sampler plus a hardware sequencer, plus pads, plus a case big enough to house a family of six — I think that Akai may have a hard job convincing anyone who isn't already sold on the MPC as a way of life to part with this amount of cash at one blow, given that these facilities are now available in the form of software for much less outlay (assuming you've already bought your computer, of course).

Even the traditional argument that a piece of dedicated, all-in-one hardware like this is so much more reliable and convenient for live performance is beginning to lose ground, evidenced by the fact that musicians are taking to the stage armed with nothing more than a laptop and doing everything an MPC4000 can do, apart from physically triggering sounds and sequences by hitting rubber squares.

So after seriously looking forward to getting my hands on the 2002 version of this classic machine, I was left with mixed feelings. One can't deny that, as with the Z4 and Z8, Akai have done the business in terms of building on what went before, with a bigger, better, more powerful package. But I can't help feeling that the MPC4000 package, at its high price, now looks a little 'out of time' (no pun intended). As they say at the end of those 'previously unreleased tracks and alternative takes' compilation CDs, this is one for enthusiasts only.

Connections & Options
A quick shufti round the back of the 4000 reveals another MPC first — a dedicated input for a turntable with RIAA preamp and ground terminal. A switch toggles between this and the other method of feeding audio into the MPC4000: a pair of balanced line/mic inputs. These are combo jack sockets capable of taking either XLRs or quarter-inch jacks. Input levels are controlled by a split rotary control on the main panel with a gain switch to switch between mic and line sources.

The MPC's no-nonsense rear panel (note the RIAA-preamped phono input for direct turntable connection on the left). Shame there's only one stereo output as standard, though.

Disappointingly, the MPC4000 in its standard guise offers just a single stereo main output, although the sockets themselves are doubled up, with one main out available on balanced XLR jacks and another on quarter-inch jacks (again balanced). I guess such an arrangement is useful in a live situation, where you might want to simultaneously feed signals to the PA as well as your own monitoring system. Nevertheless, many prospective MPC buyers will have preferred the extra socketry to have been addressable as an alternative output. Otherwise, audio output expansion has to come in the form of one of Akai's optional cards, with a choice from the IB48P (which offers eight separate analogue outs) or the IB4ADT digital interface board (which gives you eight outs plus two ins on ADAT connections). Further digital I/O expandability can also be added via the IB4D board, which offers S/PDIF I/O plus a word-clock input and terminator switch. I have to say that in this day and age, it's surprising that this basic digital connectability isn't offered as standard, particularly when SCSI is.

The CD-ROM/second hard drive expansion bay.
MIDI is rather better represented, with two MIDI Ins and four independent MIDI outs. External storage devices can be hooked up via the built-in SCSI, but like the Z4 and Z8, the MPC4000 also offers external connectivity via USB, with the USB port found on the front edge of the unit next to the headphone sockets and its associated volume control. As mentioned in the Z8 review, the move to USB is a welcome one, given the cheapness and wide availability of USB peripherals, even though when compared to SCSI, what you gain in plug-and-play convenience, you lose in data-transfer speeds. And with large, 24-bit/96kHz multisamples (like the included 'Splendid Piano') you do tend to notice that lack of speed. Like the Z8 and Z4, the USB socket will also take a QWERTY keyboard, which proves a much more convenient way of naming files than any other means.

To complete the physical check up, the front-edge panel also provides the means to access one of two internal drive bays. The first of these — of the 3.5 inch variety — is occupied by the 20GB factory disk, though it will also take a Zip drive. Next to this is a five-inch drive bay primarily intended for installation of an ATAPI-type CD-ROM drive (see below), though if you prefer, you can also use this space to fit a second 3.5-inch hard disk.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

On average, people rated:

Features: 9.25
Sound: 9.625
Usability: 8.5
Quality: 9.75
*LOVE*: 8.75



Music Gear:
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Akai mpc 4000 auctions

Prices on Akai mpc 4000




Posted by: colmone (February 24, 2006)
Price paid

$2,700
Features (8 / 10)

Haven't played with this machine yet, but if the features do all they say they do, than this is a beast of a machine. I have the Roland MV8000 and the features on this machine are sick. I hoping the features on this MPC4000 are just as tight or tighter because I tell everyone right now. Roland has come up with the answer to all of mpc users problems with this machine. I haven't used the sequencer on it because I build my tracks using the vga monitor so if anyone on this board has both machines like I do let me know which one they feel is the best.(MV8000 is cheaper in price and I have not heard of any defaults like I have on the 4000)
Sound Quality ( 10 / 10)

I heard a few samples out of this thing from my friends Mpc4000 and they sound clear. If you want grime time samples then sample them grimey.
Usability (4 / 10)

Don't know yet. Except I played with a friend of mines and it got me fustrated because I banged out beats on the 2000xl without even reading the manual. I'm a little sadden that they changed the way you can just hop on it and make a track, but if it's because of all the new features than it's a learning curve I'll deal with and I may find it to be nothing at all in the future. I say Just Blaze make a track in less than five minutes on Smack DVD, so it may not be hard at all.
Quality / Durability( 8 / 10)

I love the way its built minus the front look. Sturdy is always a plus in my book. After playing with my friends and the local Guitar Center's Mpc4000, it helped my make my choice on whether or not to buy one. I always felt like my 2000xl would bust wide open because of the cheezy hard plastic/metal frame. This 4000 looks like it can take some punishment. But I wont test it by dropping it or anything. (this thing cost too much for that)
Love Factor (1 / 10)

Don't know if I love it yet. Somebody call me so I can get started on this thing and I'll know if I'll love it or not. Right now I love my Roland MV8000 I just got my mpc today and I haven't even opened the box yet. Before I do, I wanna know if anyone can tell me the first thing I should do if I wanna get a sequence going. I come from the mpc2000 and 2000xl days. I played around with a friend of mines mpc4000 and it through me for a big loop. (pun intended)I've read a few reviews on this board and it seems like a few of y'all really know your 4000's. I just wanna make a few sequences to get my juices flowing and then I'll get into the real strong points of the machine. I feel like Akai makes the best sequencers. I'm old school, but not too old school to know that it never hurts to update your machines. Now if you have some machine and you've mastered it then, keep it. But if you have a machine mastered and they come out with another machine that does the same thing, but gives you more options that you may use and you can afford it, than there's nothing wrong with updating. You gotta know what you want your machines to do before you get them. Either you will do everything the machine is capable of or half of the things. Put your money into what these machines do. Don't by a sampler sequencer if all you wanna do is sequence and vice versa. I say milk these machines for everything because they're not cheap. You have to be a tech head/beat making lover to by this hardware especially with computers costing the same price if not cheaper. Me, I like sitting there bangin' beats with my fingers instead of tapping with a mouse. But it's nice to have the option to swich if needed. No ratings yet because I haven't used it. If anyone wants to give me tips on the easiest way to get started hit me up at 671-820-3660 I could read the book, but I find it easier to talk to people first and then go back to the book. Plus akai always made things harder than they needed to when reading their manuals. (Roland always had it on point)





Posted by: Kid Captain Coolout (December 10, 2005)
Price paid

$2,700 USD
Features (10 / 10)

After being an MPC 2000 user for so long, i'm wondering how i ever worked that way. The features on this machine will definitely open any producer's mind to a new way of thinking. It's not like any other MPC and the way that it works clearly proves it. The "AkSys" program that links your computer to your MPC via USB is incredible. This program comes with the 4000 and it opens your MPC's hard drive in a really cool but simple interface... on your computer. You can choose to edit samples with a Sample Editor, create Programs, organize Keygroups and set effects parameters. It's not like the 1000 or the 2500 where your hard drive shows up like a digital camera or smart media card on your desktop... this is immediate interaction with your MPC on your computer. That's just ONE cool feature...
Sound Quality ( 10 / 10)

Sound quaility is perfect. The machine doesn't color the sound you put into it and using the internal EQ can definitely improve what sound you put out of it.
Usability (10 / 10)

As anything that would cost this much, there's definitely a learning curve. But you've got all the forum resources in the world to get you up and running in no time... it's no excuse to not own this. Oh, and you can transfer all of your previous MPC songs and sounds to this machine effortlessly... your hard work will continue and excel to new heights.
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

Never had to get it repaired, i've added the expansions and extra memory as well. This machine has functioned perfectly ever since i got it last year. It's built like a tank and it's not something you'd wanna lug around with you everywhere. Leave it in your studio and get busy...
Love Factor (10 / 10)

If something ever happened to my 4000, i'd bust my ass to save the money and buy it again twice. I can't even look at another MPC after using this one. Everytime i sit down in front of it, i feel like all of my years in equipment training are finally being challenged. I come from the days of the Akai s950... seeing the MPC technology come this far is the greatest experience i've felt next to recording good songs. The most experienced 2000/XL user who claims to know everything there is about an MPC, doesn't know anything until they've worked on one of these. People who've made the switch KNOW what i'm talking about. The 2500 is an update, this is an UPGRADE.





Posted by: KCizzle (September 07, 2005)
Price paid

$3000.00
Features (9 / 10)

I love this machine, the only thing thats missing is the grammy.
Sound Quality ( 9 / 10)

This machine is a monster. The only thing I hated was that the manual made you dumb! After the first few pages after the contents, it seemed impossible to put what it said into action. Akai over complicated the manual! I love my mpc, but they may as well sell you a helmet or first class tickets on a short bus with this manual!
Usability (9 / 10)

see above statement.
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

"Like a Hummer with 16 rubber pads on the hood and 80 miles to the gallon!" -KCizzle / WizCity Music Group, L.L.C.
Love Factor (9 / 10)

WOW, I can't run my company without it...that's love.





Posted by: Djflexxer2000 (September 03, 2005)
Price paid

5490.- CHF
Features (8 / 10)

New Sequence and Step Edit, are the best. edit them exacually like you want to. Missing: Better Midi Out, so you can re-edit Sequences and songs on computer (Cubase)
Sound Quality ( 10 / 10)

Sound quality is perfect. Sounds better than a lot other hardware drummachines.
Usability (10 / 10)

After going through Manual and Refrence Manual it's as easy as driving a car : )
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

Good Quality, needs alot to get broke
Love Factor (10 / 10)

I love it, puts my ideas fast into Sequence!!!!





Posted by: Unknown (June 20, 2005)
Price paid

$3,700
Features (10 / 10)

This machine has everything I ever needed.
Sound Quality ( 10 / 10)

The sound quality is great.
Usability (9 / 10)

It is a little different from my MPC2000, but after going through the learning curve it's a breeze.
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

Solid as a rock.
Love Factor (10 / 10)

I like this machine alot for the way it sequence's





Posted by: Unknown (November 15, 2003)
Price paid

2300
Features (9 / 10)

99% satisfied...only issues is the lethargic attitude that akai is taking to fixing the bugs...the bugs themselves aren't really a big issue with me, however.
Sound Quality ( 8 / 10)

the effects need improvement..this is something akai is looking into...or at least claims they are looking into. it's also something that will probably be fixed in a future os update. otherwise I'd have given this unit a 10
Usability (9 / 10)

it's easy to use once you learn how to use it ;) the learning curve is a bit high...even if you've had a mpc prior to this one
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

top notch quality.
Love Factor (10 / 10)

I dont' know how the hell i got along without it before





Posted by: Unknown (November 27, 2002)
Price paid

3000
Features (10 / 10)

This machine leaves no room for complaints. Everything I dreamed about when I owned a 2000XL was added to the 4000, i.e. filters, higher resolution sampling, full fledged multisampling capabilities, an intel chip!....the list goes on.
Sound Quality ( 10 / 10)

The sound quality is clear and honest--what you put in is what you get out(unless you start throwing sliders, twisting knobs, resampling, etc. I primarily use this machine for several of the most danceable and club-friendly genres. But I plan on taking advantage of this powerhouse as a multisampler for the orchestral sounds i need for film scoring. Yes this thing sounds that good. The effects are more than adequate but purists and/or gear heads will always prefer stand alone effects modules to those included in a sampler/synth.
Usability (10 / 10)

The MPC continues in the tradition of being easy to use once you learn the machine and its method of speak. I had a history with the 2000XL so I sequenced almost right out of the box. Despite having several sequences I am still learning to maximize all of the machines applications. The manual is straight forward. I've had my unit since May '02 and, honestly I haven't read the whole thing--every time I refer to it I have no further issues and the manual ends back up on the shelf.
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

It's crashed on me once in 7 months and I leave the unit on almost constantly. Never a need to call customer service. I don't plan on taking it to any live gigs but I will testify--I got angry (to say the least )and I tried to throw my turntable into the wall. The deck would only go as far as the rca and ground wire would let it and the turntable, refusing to let go of the turntable inputs, crashed on my MPC. After the "storm" I cleared away the wreckage to find my MPC4000 with an all white screen and some cosmetic damage. I thought it was over but all was needed was a twist of the contrast knob and that set things straight. I need a new turntable though--screwed up the tone arm. Long live my MPC 4000.
Love Factor (10 / 10)

If my house was on fire I would make sure my wife and kids were ok and then i would risk being marred and melted to salvage my MPC. If it were stolen, I would purchase another.





Posted by: Unknown (October 19, 2002)
Price paid

$3,000
Features (10 / 10)

The feature is new and improved. I like to say at first getting use of the new features was a pain, do to the munual that is provided with the machine. But, as you get to know the mpc4000 the new features gives you unlimited ideas to create music. No more saving to floppies is a blessing. Loading sounds and samples from the 60gig hard drive and the internal cdr burner is a breeze. The easy way of loading my work from mpc2000, by usb from ak.Sys on my pc to the mpc4000 is a good planning. Adding filter to the samples and being able to tweak them, using the Four Q-Link knobs and two sliders is impressive. Filter effects 100% better than the mpc2000. Being able to sample my sequence, blows my mind. Effect is good when it comes to sampling or resampling a sample, but falls a little weak when you trying to add for the final mix. It will been better if it was setup like the mpc2000, instead having it already preset. I am excited about, even more features when the upgrade operating system is available. I hope akai don't make a mpc4000xl and give up on the 4000, like they did with mpc2000 to 2000xl.
Sound Quality ( 10 / 10)

Sound is great. What you put into it is what you get back. Like I said before, the filter is excellent and you can do crazy things when controled with the Four Q-Link knobs and two sliders. Effects fall a litlle short for my taste.
Usability (7 / 10)

A real learning curve at first, but once you get the hang of it, you really get to appreaciate the concept and features. Owning or knowing how the mpc2000 or the 2000XL work is a perk, because that way you have a little knowledge on what the manual is explaining. I going to sound two face, but the manual is dry in explaining somethings, because there is so many things to learn. But, to really master the mpc4000 you have to just find some time to sit back and read the whole manual. Once you get the feel of the mpc4000, skies is limit on what you can accomplish musically.
Quality / Durability( 10 / 10)

To be truthful the features make you want to take the mpc4000 to any gig and blow the roof off the place. But, I trust the mpc4000 more at home or at the studio, because it more like a pc, with a hard drive, cdr drive, pentium chip and memory. I had the mpc4000 crash on me twice, as if it was windows. I never had any reason to contact the customer support and hope I never have a reason to. I give the mpc4000 a rating of 10, because I never own any electronic equipment that didn't do anything odd. The quality problems begins, when it continues to do odd things.
Love Factor (10 / 10)

When I first saw the mpc4000 on the net, it was love at first site. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. I paid $3,000 for my mpc4000 and I don't regret a single penny. My friends thanks I'm crazy for spending all that money on one gear. The machine is a power house, with a whole lot of features. Once you master the control your ideas and creativity will really shine. I got to admit, it looks damn good in my little studio. I have a mpc2000 and she my love also, but I have a new love now. I won't sell my mpc2000, because we have such a musical bond. Don't let the price throw you, get a mpc4000.

Akai MPC4000 £2299
pros
The full functionality of a Z-series sampler.
Hard disk as standard.
The ability to lift sections of sequences to create new phrases.
The elegant user interface — particularly for the sequencing section.
Four MIDI outs.
cons
Digital connections really should be standard.
OS still slightly flaky when a machine like this demands it should be bombproof.
summary
Undoubtedly the most evolved and accomplished version of Akai's four-by-four pads concept by far. The question is whether musicians believe an evolved MPC concept is still a convincing proposition in an increasingly soft and virtual world.

Alankara a professional user from Holland writes:
Emu has made the best sounding Sampler!

Akai has the best midi seq. ever build!

Roland is always a step forward with new technics!

I'm a emu E5000 and a Mpc4000 owner. The mpc is a very nice tool. There is only one thing i mis on it! The realtime timmmmestrechinggggg. The Roland MV 8000 comes with 8 audioparts with this features. I use my mpc for live performance (house) and want the best possible control there is. Vocals need realtime timestreching, thats why I also want to buy a mv8000. Sync them and take the best of both worlds. I also like the vga and mouse function on the mv. The MPC got much better live control for mute and sequences. But thats something I have to find out!

I also got the 2 behringer controllers to use with the mpc. The mpc got enough controlfunctions, but I want to get it right away without menu's. But if you route the midi in to the intern sampler you are not recieving any parameter feedback and that really sucks!

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Nov-22-05 at 04:28
Neal Helton(Daysun) a hobbyist user from Baltimore writes:
Your Comments are biased and back by what facts marty mkfly. You need to come back to the future with that comment. The MPC 4000 has a lot of features. Plus, if you want the MPC 60 sound, that roger linn sound, then sample those sounds because this mpc has the best sampler out of all the machine out there. Since when can I sample a sound at 25 bits? You cant do that. Plus what you put in this beast is what you get out. You want grimy beats use grimy sounds. Tell me Just blaze's samples don't thump. He use old records and the mpc4000. Some of his stuff sounds like he used the sp12. I have a Smack DVD snippet on my computer of him making a track. The drums on there would snap the needle off Pete Rocks turntable

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-09-05 at 08:35
marty mkfly a professional user from cleveland writes:
hahahah, dats wuts rong wit yall & dis hiphop shit! da 4000 just has more features, but da best feature it dont got is dat wick'it 60 roger linn sound! LONG LIVE DA MIGHTY MPC60

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Oct-31-05 at 21:51
Neal Helton (Daysun) a hobbyist user from Maryland writes:
I love this machine. The sounds are great. I love to create and resample my sounds. I create tracks with ease. I am begining to learn how to use the Q-link option. This is a great machine. I only wish they would hurry up with their updates because the MV8000 is on a slow come up. Especially with J. Dupree producing all those hits on it. But for those who love just blaze, he uses the 4000.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-25-05 at 10:34
Bridge a professional user from Miami,Fla. writes:
I have either owned or worked with all the Mpc's from the 60I, still own the 60II , 2000,still own the 2000xl and still owned the 3000, This mpc 4000 is by far the most incredible and more awesome than all of it's prevouis predecessors.I do own the Mpc 4000. I purchase this one in March of 2004.I have the latest Os(1.60)version. So to all you that are reading my comments I am not a commentor without the goods. I plan to sell my other's through E-bay. This beast of a machine sounds supberb, drum tracks very punchy with authority and clean ,clean in any studio set up professionally or at home. Midi and Sync timing the best. Also the beats are stellar as ever. If you are a new cummer in the buisness , This machine is a hit maker especially for dance music, hip hop,and really if you program correctly all genre of music.For those of you in doubt ,this is the future of music. Cut the quantize off and you can play and sound like a live drummer also with you project.. It can create samples from 24 bit super clean) to 12 bit(old school dirty sound).You can Create FX effects before or after you sample a sound.You can create samples from a sample with new sample(with new names). You can change tempo in a song or extend a sequence and change tempo's very easy now. You can sample a sound and edited it louder or softer to get whatever power you want from the outputs . Beleive it or not the 4 FX sounds are as good as you make it to be for your creating style If you don't like it you can use an external effect for your mix in your music.You now have 16 tunning ablities and 16 velocity levels. Burning your sequences and programs they way in set them(icluding drum lay out seq. order , names of all your sounds seq.,project and etc.) in tact to later recall it in the same format to Cd is excellent The learning curve ,I will tell you will take practice and time. But for those of you contiplating getting one don't think about it just get it one quickly, the mpc 4000 is quickly becoming the industry standard. For those complaining Once you really understand this is not a 2000xl or 3000 , they had their turns, This is designed for the future muscians. You will understand. It's user friendly with your computor(usb), wave file import, export and you can use a monitor or keyboard. in other words 'If I go into details this will not be a comment , this easily would be a book about the amazing abilties of this machine. What I would like to see in future upgrades OS's is the abilty to create audio cd. Maybe? possible , 'I hope!!. Akai good job