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Akai Professional MPC Live
4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

A modern take on a classic machine.

21st October 2017

Akai Professional MPC Live by Deleted 60622ed

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Akai Professional MPC Live

As it stands this is on firmware 2.0.5, which has addressed earlier ommissions and bugs, so Ill stick to the hardware and not bugs which will likely be addressed in future updates. (They better be lol)

Bit of a downer to start a positive review. Are there bugs, yes, there are a few small bugs. Are there features still missing? Yes, the sample offset needs to be global, there needs to be more editing tools for audio, etc etc. Is the hardware really only 600mb of Ram not 2gigs as advertised? Yes more about that later. So is this another half baked, rushed out, concept for ipad loving wanna be DJ melinials? No, unequivocally no, for me this is a game changer and quite possibly the best bit of gear I own. And Ill explain why...

After searching, neverendingly, for a workstation/groovebox/instrument to take me away from my rig, is completely portable, but quality enough to use with my rig my search is finally over...and thats going through MPCs, hybrids with laptops, hybrids with tablets, ipad and dedicated controllers, Electribe 2, hacked electribe 2, korg kross, roland fa, casio xyzpd something, MC 808...finally no more ebay fees!

The unit is solid, it has enough inputs and outputs for its size. The battery is great, Ive had it on for near 6 hrs and recharged in under an hour (take that apple) the pads are great the screen responsive, no lag. The screen worried me, it looked fiddly...but its not neant to take place of the controllers, the way the q links work with it are great. Your finger just takes the place of a mouse click. For instance on sample edit touch sample start, then the q links adjust the start starting in incriments of x1000 for the top knob down to x1 for the bottom knob, its a cool idea and rather than being a 7" hindrance speeds up workflow immensly. So does having all that information in front if you. Most screens on older instruments get crowded and it can be easy to lose your place, not so here.

Is it hard to learn a new workflow for an MPC n00b? Well it might seem a bit clunky at first...MPCs work in a certain flow sequence>track>drum/keygroup/midi and now also audio. These sequences can run as large as you like (128 bars I think) and can be chained in any order in a song mode. But you can also just use one sequence for the whole tune, or you can bounce your song made from different parts back into one large sequence. Kinda pointless on a small regular screen but on the Lives screen its another bit of genius...its almost like working on a regular DAW when its all on the one sequence! Audio tracks, of which there can be eight on the hardware, can play the expanse of this sequence, or can be played in a song length.theres loads more...but this isnt a tutorial lol the warping/realtime timestretching works well. The trick is to set the loops original bpm first. It works better on some material than others and its range is limited of course...but it works (ya hear that NI?)

Sound wise the amps are clear and punchy, recording samples is a breeze, but theres no xlr or phantom power for vocalists can power midi keybords from the two usb slots, and take sd cards and an internal HD...I stuck a 1TB in immediately. The onboard HD should just be left as is imho, too much hassle getting projects off it. It has around 600mb of usable RAM, something that upset many expecting 2gb...but lets put that into perspective, the very latest electribe has 24mb, maxed out mpcs have 128mb, and my maxed out MC808, although it took 516mb, took four hours to load wave alchemies synth drums sample set, yes you read right, four hours! Unless you plan to load full song wave files as some kinda backing band this should never really be a problem. I havent got over 20% on a regular project yet.

It has bluetooth which Ive yet to try my bluetooth controllers on and wifi for Ableton link, which works exactly as it should.

The software is there, Ive installed it, Ive opened it, Ive closed it...who needs computers

Clips mode...why? Ive no idea why this was included, but my four year old loves it, so thank you akai I guess

Word of warning, those looking to use this as a synth module as well as a sampler may have to think again. Whereas loading up a waveform and making an oscillator out of it is simple enough, and the modeled filters do their job adequately, there is only a basic LFO and little to no modulation...this could be, should be, addressed in an update, but who knows...I didnt buy it for this use, but it may be a factor for others (one star knocked off)

So all in all this has surpassed my expectations, it has bugs, niggles, faults even...but they are all small or fixable. I havent touched another bit of gear since I bought it two weeks ago except to record into it. I havent fired my main rig up at all except to get some samples from it. Ive even had it out in my car lol. They got this right, and Ill be first in line for an MPC Live 2 when it comes out as this will be worn out.

Edit: Tried the bletooth with the Korg Nanokey Studio...worked flawlessly, could use the chord scale and easy scale, arps, x/y pad all as Id expect. If the ever get around to adding midi cc control to the Live Ill map out my nanokontrol studio...please?

Last edited by Deleted 60622ed; 28th October 2017 at 01:35 AM..

  • 4
1 week ago

Akai Professional MPC Live by KikeRivera

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Akai Professional MPC Live

Probably the best line of MPCs ever, and surely the best "studio in a box" out there.

I bought it in pre-launch and the evolution from the first firmware to the last one is simply spectacular, they are two totally different machines. At first it was a bad sampler and a good sequencer, today it's a Swiss army knife that includes everything you need (sampler, all kinds of synthesizers, drum machines, an amazing amount of effects, multitrack recorder, looper...). So much so that I no longer use the DAW to compose, it's the center of my entire studio and it does it really well.

People keep asking for certain features (with good reason) but there is no doubt that this machine, by itself, is good for songwriting, sound design, production and premastering, and it does it amazingly well.

This review affects all the products in the line, regardless of their form factor, which can be better or worse depending on the model (X, one, live, live 2...)


  • excellent sequencer
  • Tons of good effects
  • Several perfectly capable and usable soft synths for free (drums, bassline, traditional synth, electric piano, etc)
  • Several paid synthesizers and sound banks (piano, orchestral, FM...)
  • The MPC style of song building, which focuses you on finishing your projects
  • No distractions from email, internet, etc.
  • Firmware update and module download via Wi-Fi
  • Good quality pads with aftertouch
  • Arpeggiator, chords and progressions
  • Enough power to handle everything at once

It has taken years to be the beast it is today, at first it was terrible
  • No disk streaming
  • A key update that merges it with the Akai Force is still missing, but it hasn't quite arrived
  • Some "minor" flaws in the sampler
  • Some obvious UX bugs like not being able to "select all"


If you want to compose without being glued to a computer, any machine from the MPC or Force range is THE MACHINE, for the price you get a multitude of effects, synthesizers, sampler, looper, multi-effects, autotune... what more could you ask for?


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