Akai MPC X Special Edition Review

In his latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz takes a very in-depth look at the new Akai Pro MPC X Special Edition, which was introduced earlier today.

Eliraz shares his thoughts on how the MPC X SE compares to the MPC One, Live II, MPC X, MPC Studio 2 and Force; looks at the features and capabilities of the new MPC X SE; and then offers his take on the new MPC’s pros and cons.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:00 Similarities
2:40 MPC X vs SE
3:40 Q-Links knobs
7:30 Connectivity
10:05 Battery/speaker
10:30 More buttons
12:25 Screen
13:45 Pads
14:15 Touch strip
14:45 Keys
15:20 Storage
15:50 Pros & cons
18:25 Outro

Check it out and share your thoughts on the new Akai Pro MPC X SE in the comments!

27 thoughts on “Akai MPC X Special Edition Review

  1. I’ve thought of of upgrading to one of these newer models, but there’s just too much crammed into these. I wouldn’t even scratch the surface of its functions. So, yeah… Never going to part with the old and trusty MPC1000. Terrific MIDI specs, lovely lo-fi-ish sampler. Now I just need MPC Stuff to produce new white casings so I can make it pretty again.

    1. MPC lost it’s way big time

      Went from one of the coolest most reliable MIDI workstations you could sync your gear to

      To one of the gaudiest everything crammed into one box jack of all trades workstations

      1. What would you say was the latest greatest MPC? It’s as being said below, that they keep on releasing new versions all the time. I can hardly make any sense out of it.

          1. Thanks!

            Funny line by Linn on the MPC wiki: After Akai went out of business in 2006, Linn left the company and its assets were purchased by Numark. Akai has continued to produce MPC models without Linn. Linn was critical, saying: “Akai seems to be making slight changes to my old 1986 designs for the original MPC, basically rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

            1. Like comparing apples to oranges. The current lineup of MPCs is very powerful and is several generations beyond the classic Linn products. Features like USB Host, cv, comprehensive the ability to connect audio interfaces and a very mature sequencing platform make them powerful hubs for DAWless performance and recording. The downside is a very steep learning curve, which causes many casual users to declare that they’re no good.

              1. Apples to oranges doesn’t quite seem like a fit for this considering that modern MPCs are just the result of a linear (somewhat predictable) progression from Linn’s original design.

      2. AKAI went bankrupt in 2000; five years later, the branched-out music gear division AKAI Professional did, too, and was bought by InMusic. I don’t know how much the modern MPC has in common with the vintage instruments besides branding and looks. It’s a new product by a different company that somewhat builds on the MPC legacy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be considered.

  2. All this plastic and materials for a 2GB memory increase?! Hard pass. This is basically a mini computer like a Raspberry Pi inside a midi controller. Too big to be carried around and destined to get slow and chuggy after a few years of MPC updates just like a regular computer or smartphone, something I would not like out of such a big and expensive unit if it is expected to be used for a long time.

    The correct way to do this is to build a top quality unit with easily repairable knobs and buttons, screen and everything but above all, having the computer inside easily swappable just like you change GPUs inside a computer. .

    1. You know that Akai makes a line of affordable MPC Studio control surfaces that you use with a computer, right? If that’s the way you want to go, nothing is stopping you. That said, a device like MPC Live can act as the heart of a complete rig without needing a computer in the building — USB hosting, MIDI and CV as well as samples and synthesis all in one box.

  3. They are going to release Special edition and MK upgrades for the next decade. Its like Roland’s Aria line if every device was a rebuilt TR-8. Next thing I forsee is something small, portable, lightweight with the mpc software minus a few plugins. MPC Mini. Calling it now.

  4. there are many versions of this they should come out with 1 every 10 years make it great and as the randy man says make a mini one every 5 years . too many , its luster is no more

  5. My MPC LIVE II is my favorite tool I’ve ever owned. It doesn’t make samples sound instantly perfect like my MPC3000 did or nudge and swing quite the same,but it entices me to make music like none other

  6. Most people posting hater comments here have probably never tested an MPCX. Never felt the knob/pad/button/screen quality of these units. It’s lot like the government is taxing you additionally. You don’t have to buy one if you don’t want to. But if you do, you will find that no other gear in the market is half as powerful as the recent MPC range (one, live, x). But as always, haters gonna hate.

  7. I have a love/hate relationship with my MPC Live. On the one hand, it’s an incredibly powerful standalone device. I spent a lot of time learning it…and upgrading it. On the other hand, I always get bogged down by something about it, it just doesn’t do easily what I want to do. I think it’s at its best when one uses it as their main device for hip hop or similar simple loop-based music.

    1. That’s why I sold my MPC One, despite some amazing creative tools I would always get bigged down in some seemingly basic function, that and no live functionality where I could mix and mute tracks on the fly.
      I am currently using a Novation Circuit Tracks and couldn’t be happier. Yes it’s can do less but the workflow is so simple and intuitive it more than fills the sampler gap in my setup.

  8. There are two guaranteed moments with almost any piece of high-end technology: the one where you scream upon seeing it and go “AAAHH!! THAT’S *THE ONE*!!” and the one where you eventually throw it from a balcony, screaming “AAAHH!! DIE YOU $#@!, DIE!!”

  9. I have a pair of OG Lives and a Force. I really like the Akai workflow, sampling, and ease of file export. They get me thinking and working differently and coming up with things I otherwise would not have. These are deep and fun machines, but remember that you only need to go as deep as you need to go. If you have a few synths and want to only use your MPC for sequencing and dropping a few samples in like back in the day, you don’t need to worry about the built in synths, etc. I’ve used my Kronoses since they came out but I’ve never gotten too deep into Karma or the sequencer, or the STR-1 engine. I use it for what I need and ignore what I don’t.

  10. I was thinking of buying one – transferring songs that I made years ago and making new style versions of them. But memory is a problem. As far as the originals some people say you have 20 minutes of recording (X, One, etc). The same problem is with the sampler on the Roland Fantom. If anyone has a legitimate solution – besides purchasing a $2500 unit, it would great to hear suggestions.

  11. These underpowered machines are so far away from the fast workflow and killer stability of the original MPCs, they should be called something else. Fiddly OS with far too much reliance on screen touches, second rate sounds and specs. With an ipad you can sit comfortably and use more than one source for sounds and a controller of choice. With pc you can do great songs in the box. This all-in-one solution falls between two chairs for me, even my phone has better specs and selection of synths and fx. Paired with a dongle and a Zoom recorder it can run in circles around these plastic boxes that will become abandoned in a couple of years anyways. Only use case i would consider this for is a big hw studio just running midi/cv. Even then id take a 1000 with JJOS come to think about it.

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