Synth Site: Akai: MPC4000: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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No doubt that this piece of grear has some of the most incredible features and specs to date. The problem I have is getting at them in short order. The user interface (UI) is horrible and the User Guide is no more than a Functional giude. The Reference Guide (which did not come with my 4K) is not much better and is basically a regergitation of the Users Guide with a few more functional notes to it.

I've been programming synths, drum computers, and sequencers for over 20 years now. I'm a long time programmer of the vintage Yamaha DX-7. So, for those of you who don't know, the DX-7 was/is not the easiest synth to get a sound out of. The MPC4K is not difficult to configure -- but it's the amount of configuration you have to do to get anything going. The mark of a great professional instrument is not directly proportional to the number of parameters you have to mess with and the effort required to be productive.

This week alone I've lost 3 ideas due the hassle of setting up a Multi, routing effects, and setting levels. Heck, all I wanted to do was lay down a simple drum track and the idea I had up and vaporized like a fart in the wind before I finished.

Back to my point about the UI. A particular example that illustrates my point. To copy all parms of one pad to another pad is in no way obvious to the user. In fact, you aren't even aware that you can do it until you either read the user guide or you just happen to press the orange Window button while the cursor is resting on the note number of the Mix page. Most UI's these days have either dedicated soft or hard buttons that can be used in a "context-sensitive" know, like they did with the Save button. That's another point; The UI is not very consistent at all. Functions like the Velocity setting on the Pad Assignment page can only be adjusted from 100% - 200% and not 0%-200%, that is, until you mess with the master recording velocity on the Main page.

I know there are some die-hard MPC fans out there who've been gradually "brought along" as the MPC line has matured over the years. For those folks I'm sure this piece of gear is a God send -- but honestly, folks, the UI ain't really all that smokin' and could use a good UI software specialist.

The 4K is spectacular where the specs are so I can't knock it on that end. And Akai scores a very high mark for finally getting it right and putting it all together rather than nickel and dime you in having to buy a CD-R and reliable secondary storage to save your stuff off. They now save that for the digital i/o and 8 outputs board, etc. But knowing the industry, these will standard in the MPC4000 XL wich will probably be introduced at the next winter NAMM.

Overall, I give it a 2 having worked with lots of high-end professional gear over the years. In some aspects, I think New England Digital's Synclavier II or the Fairlight CMI III might be a tad easier to use :)

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Monday-Sep-09-2002 at 01:05
Roxstar a hobbyist user from Detroit writes:
Being a proud owner of the 2000XL, I had to try out the latest MPC. I heard so many bad reviews that I needed to know for myself. I played with it for about 10 minutes, and it seems like there is a lot to learn. The XL seems so much easier to use, but when I was on the 4000, it took FOREVER to lead up a program. Hopefully, this is the fault of the operation system. Sound wise, it didn't sound any better to me than my XL, but maybe that was just me. It's got a ton of options that I doubt 99% of you will ever use. All in all, If I had the cash, I would probably get one, but 4 grand is a downpayment on a house! I like my xl with it's limited features because it makes me work harder, but the fact that the 4000 can take samples straight form a computers hard-drive, and the time-stretching is faster (it's only slow for people that don't know how to sample) makes me want one. Drop the price to under 2 grang, and it will get a 4.. maybe a 5 if I can figure it out.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-06-2002 at 18:15
g a professional user from usa writes:
i give the mpc 4000 a five cause its the best sampler sequencer i've ever owned. actually i use it with my rm1x and they work perfect together. i slave the rm1x to the mpc and send the midi out of the rm1x back into the mpc. the mpc has two midi inputs so i use midi input two for this. oh yeah you can bypass the sequencer and go straight to the sampler, so now i have the best of both worlds.incase you dont know this you have up to 128 tracks on the mpc 4g pluse it intergrates perfectly to and external sequencer. with 512megs of ram you dont have to worry not enough sample memory and 60 gigs of hard drive you dont worry about lugging around an external storage device. you may ask yourself why the hell would i want two sequencers running mpc. when i walk on stage i want the most flexable, stable, and portable setup possible. i love my computer but i'll won't use it on stage anytime soon. price wise i say it is worth every penny.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-03-2002 at 14:05
monkien a part-time user from Japan writes:
All I have to say is when I saw this advertised I said oh sh*t this is the machine of my dreams... unfortunately, when I first got it back in March it turned out to be a nightmare (early OS).. BUT NOW, with AK.SYS 2.53, OS 1.20 THE MPC4000 ROCKS!!! AK.SYS IS A UNBELIVABLE, I LOAD SAMPLES IN literally seconds... I go back and forth between ACID,SOUNDFORGE + RECYCLE to mangle up my samples and then I dump back into the MPC4000 without incident... I put it to you like this: I had a MFC42 rack filter, an ASRX, and a YAMAHA RM1x, and a MPC2000xl --- I sold all that stuff

the RM1x is cool for realtime knobs and some sequencer tricks - all that and more on the MPC4K (with the q-link knobs, problem is you can't record to the sequencer in realtime though)

ASRX - dope effects and excellent resampling-- MPC4K has nice Quick FX and you can resample your entire sequence with or w/o effects (one thing is that the effects are better on the ASRX, but it doesn't matter cuz i have 100s of plugins from SoundForge that I can use on my samples via Ak.sys)

MFC42 - nice analog filter module... don't need it now, everything is done internally on the MPC4000.

MPC2000xl - everything I loved about the MPC line... funky swing, easy step-editing, intuitive feel, and rock-solid design is all there AND MORE!!! THE LARGE SCREEN AND SEQ EDIT (grid editing) alone is incredible.

ONE MORE THING, the MPC4000 can also be a PSUEDO- MULTITRACK RECORDER... WHY?? BECUZ, I CAN PLAY THE SEQUENCER AND RECORD NEW SAMPLES AT THE SAME TIME!!! SO, go to RECORD, set up your SAMPLE SOURCE (ex. ANALOG IN), HIT PLAY on the sequencer and then play your guitar or scratch on the turntables in realtime with the sequence playing. when you're finished, edit it add some effects and assign that to a track.

How do you like them apples? Though, I was p*ssed orginally, after the bug fixes I have to beleive that AKAI HAS DEFINITELY OUT DONE THEMSELVES!!!


BTW this would get a 5 out of 5 if it had ALL the promised features implemented and didn't have any bugs.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-03-2002 at 05:41
nannaki a professional user from france writes:
All users of MPc 4000 say this is the real deal. Those who don't have this gear say it's to expensive, or sound cheap compared to the 3000. But in fact, the 4000 is better than all the others groove boxes ever made. Furthermore, you can plug it to a computer and transfer directly sounds to the internal harddrive. This gear is the future of musical creation, not a computer, but not only a hardware gear, in fact the 4000 is between all of that.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-28-2002 at 19:02
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