Producer Q&A mpcversusmpk

Published on November 8th, 2012 | by MPC Tutorials


Akai MPK61 vs. an MPC

We were recently asked a question on our Facebook page regarding the Akai MPK 61. Here is the question and response in case you missed it on Facebook:

Question: Akai MPK61 vs. an MPC (any MPC, you pick which one you’d like to use for the purpose of comparison)?


MPC Tutorials: The Akai MPK61 would probably best be compared to an MPD (MPD 18,24 or 32) as it is a controller meant to be used with software – such as Ableton, reason, logic, or DAW of choice to control vsts, parameters, etc. The MPK or MPD usage would be similar (basically so you have pads or keys to tweak and play vsts/software) – Although you could also use them with other outboard gear such as a rack sampler or Rompler. The reason you’d pick one or the other would be based on your individual needs, like if you needed keys or liked more sliders or knobs and which would best control the current software you are using.

It might not be fair to compare the MPK to legacy MPCs or the new line of MPCs (MPC Ren/Studio). Legacy MPCs are meant to be standalone, and although many times
used in conjunction with software, the reason you would buy a legacy MPC would NOT be solely to control software – that would be expensive. You’d buy a legacy MPC for its sequencer/sampler/hardware with the bonus of being able to use it to control/sequence software such as reason or similar.

The new Line of MPCs (Ren/Studio) are controller/audio interfaces designed to be paired up with Akai MPC software. Although they are controllers, they are hybrid controller/software meant to replicate a traditional MPC use and be used with the paired software- much like how the APC20/40 is meant to be used with Ableton. So although they could be used in similar way an MPD or MPK might be used, really they are most powerful paired with the software they were designed to control. Again, like a traditional MPC, if you purchased the new MPCs to act solely as a controller for Ableton, reason, or similar, that would be an expensive controller.

WITH ALL THAT SAID…if you wanted to compare them all to help decide whether you wanted an MPK, MPD, new MPC (MPC Ren/Studio), or legacy MPC (MPC2500, MPC1000,etc.) would boil down to a few questions:

What is your current production setup? Are you trying to integrate MPC pads into your current setup or starting from scratch? Are you using all hardware, or all software, or both?


-MPD/MPK: With an MPD or MPK you would have to pair them up with software such as reason, Ableton, logic, or DAW. So if you currently are using a software setup, an MPK would be great addition if you needed keys or pads to play your VSTs and control your DAW and give you those MPC pads.

-MPC REN: With a new MPC (Ren/Studio) you could use it without any other software or gear, but could also work nicely if you currently use software or outboard gear (sequencing hardware synths, or routed/running with a DAW). This would be a good choice if you want to manage all your projects/sounds on your computer, but really want that hardware feel OR if you want to transition to software from hardware OR are an existing MPC user and want to get into software. The Ren/studio combines both hardware and software, and gives you the ability to use your old MPC workflow/projects in a software environment. It also allows you to keep that a hardware feel, but gain the advantages of using software to manage files, sounds, and projects, as well as use VSTs for powerful effects/sounds, and all the advantages a DAW has such as exporting tracks, and controlling software.

-LEGACY MPC: With a legacy MPC, you could use standalone but could also team it up with hardware (sequencing synths or samplers), or software (sequencing VSTs in reason, or DAW) – this would be a good choice if you really want that classic MPC workflow or aren’t into software, or really want that MPC groove/sequencing, etc and plan to use your software as a sound module, or don’t mind syncing the MPC with your software/DAW. The MPC workflow is awesome, and is exactly why MPC users are so loyal to their legacy MPCs. Even with the new MPC Renaissance, Ableton, or power of DAWs – the choice of a legacy MPC still makes sense because of its feel, workflow, and power for chopping and making those MPC beats.

-APC: With an APC 20/40 you would use with Ableton. Great if you are a hardcore Ableton user and need something to tweak, press, and get that hardware feel.

SO THE BIG QUESTION IS - Do you want to go hardware, software, or both? Do you want that classic MPC workflow and feel…or really just need those pads? Is hardware holding you back and need to get up-to-date without loosing your hardware workflow? I hope this helps and answers your question. Definitely let us know what you think and we can keep this debate/comparison going. Thanks!!!

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