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By begals Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:27 am
Hello! This is my first post here, great forum. I’m looking for some advice as I consider my next Akai purchase. Despite my best efforts, I’m a wordy m-fer, so please excuse the length. For those without an hour to kill, I’ll put a TLDR down low. Thanks in advance.

Warning: Seriously, incoming wall of text. Unless you’re really bored, go to the TLDR so I don’t just get responses that it was too much info, lol.

For business reasons I got into simple music production, for video intros, hold music, that sort of thing. If anything that need is expanding, however all my business related stuff can undoubtedly be done with just a DAW, and certainly with a DAW and my MPK225.

I liked everything about music production though , to the point where I’m going to take some classes and seek official certification in ableton and pro tools, and see if I can get any studio experience. I’m definitely a tech geek, and enjoy looking at different equipment and all the cool stuff they do, so I’d be like a kid in a candy store in a real high-dollar recording studio. Unlikely to get there, but all it really takes is cash and some balls, along with experience, to open one, so who knows. Anyway, as I continue learning, I definitely want an MPC product .

I love the MPK, and have lately started using the drum pads more than the keys as I’m more likely to work on a lead in a DAW and finger drum some drum tracks until I find something that works, then record and clean it up if necessary. I know Akai comes with software for the pads, but I just use omni sampler in mixcraft and set the notes I want on the MPK, and that works fine for me.

Having onboard sounds would be nice I guess, but it’s not key.

So, using the pads so much, I think it’s time , or am just impatient, to get an MPC.

The MPCD is obviously the budget option, though I think I’d find the MPK225’s pads more useful despite having half as many

On the other hand, things like the X or a used Ren are on the other end of the scale. It’s hard to imagine justifying a $2k purchase, even if I’m making some simple stuff for work, since that seems pretty pro-level (Though I guess pro level is having a console and studio, so I guess just pro-at-home-studio level?). However, I wouldn’t rule it out, the X certainly is cool as hell and seems like it can do anything, and as I continue perhaps the other MPC options would be limiting, or not a step up enough from the MPK225.. I don’t want to spend $600 and end up with a very limited gain or find it doesn’t do all that I need (and, since I’m learning, it’s hard to guess. I suppose for home studios little hardware is “needed”, but I really like having hardware to work with, and find trying to develop drum loops especially is hard creatively just using a mouse, keyboard and piano roll. Also, being able to record loops and build on top before recording in a DAW definitely seems useful, which any of the MPCs I’m considering seems to do.

Between the Studio and the Touch - I don’t care all that much about the touchscreen, I can’t imagine it’d change my workflow that much (though if I’m wrong please let me know). What I can tell for sure is a lot of control buttons are lost for the touchscreen - does the studio actually allow more control of your pads and samples, with the Touch being able to alter the way a sample is processed? That part seems odd too.. I don’t anticipate I’d do much with onboard sounds, as it’ll almost always be tethered to a PC. If I did care, the benefit there of the touch seems limited since it’s still not stabdalone, it seems like the Live’s library makes the most sense. I suppose for the touch to actually edit a sample, as is shown in many promo photos, you’d need it onboard, but then you’d be outputting audio, not MIDI, which seems less desirable to me, since then it’s a lot harder to change. I’m quite happy outputting MIDI that the DAW interprets based off whatever is armed.

So that being the case, is there any benefit beyond the 2x2 interface that I’d likely find useful? Or if you never use onboard sounds is the Studio actually a better choice?

In between is the Live, which is cool but seems like a Touch with standalone capabilities. I don’t care about moving around, I won’t be making beats in a coffee shop, so it seems like a lot of it would be wasted, since also it’s highly unlikely I’ll have any live applications necessary as well.

Then of course is the Ren or now it seems the X. Quite a price jump but it feels like there’s nothing it can’t do. I can afford it though it’s not like 2k is peanuts to me, however if it’s the sort of thing where anyone with a studio or touch ends up wanting to and eventually upgrading anyway, perhaps I’d just save 4-600 by not getting one that would then just be a redundant backup. I will be, as mentioned, taking classes (online to start, from Berklee if it matters, and unless I start hating it I’m seriously considering putting in the 1-2 years to get a production degree), so I expect my level of usage and degree of knowledge and project complexity to only go up.

So to sum it up.. if I don’t care about the touchscreen and would just get an audio interface if I wanted one, is the studio a better choice? The price difference doesn’t concern me as much as getting the more appropriate piece of hardware. I don’t really use the MPC software, though that’s because I have an MPK partly, maybe I would find it useful.. but I’m fine being DAW dependent. I keep bouncin between the two, thinking the Touch must be better but then considering all the buttons on the Studio, and wondering if you get as much control over the pads. I also read a claim the pads were significantly better on the touch - is that true? That’s definitely a significant consideration.

Second past that is, in my shoes would you even consider the Live or X? What are the chances, assuming I’m taking the classes and through work doing some stuff so really learning audio production every day, that I decide I need an upgrade to something like the X relatively quickly? Is it more like, nobody needs it and only the best will make full use of it, some pros need it but many can benefit, or anybody could need it and anybody would benefit because it just makes everything easier/better/whatever?

I know to compare the studio and X is kinda like apples and oranges, so it’s not so much one versus the other, but at what point does the X become an uograde you wish you had? If a month of owning the Touch left me wishing I’d gotten the X, I’d rather save that $600 and just get the X. Put another way, is it silly to think someone in their first year learning serious audio production could benefit from it, or is it so useful that even compared to its little brothers, it can make anybody’s workflow better and therefore their work better?

Assuming the consensus isn’t that one should jump straight for the X (Well not straight, I did have the MPK mini before the 225, I know I LOVE Akai products), which I think my wallet is hoping for while my heart is hoping for any excuse to call it reasonable.. Then I’m back to studio, touch, live. I don’t think the Live makes sense as mentioned, so really then studio or touch.

I know it’s been asked before, though the focus on answers I found was different than the questions I have, so sorry for asking what I’m sure is a common question.

As I said, I’m wordy even when I’m trying not to be.


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Here’s that TLDR:
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New to music prod but really into it, plan to take classes and seek real-world experience, would love to open a studio and/or be making beats within 5-10 years from now (I’m 31). Obvs practice is part of learning, so I do a lot of just-for-fun and practice work atm.

Have an MPK225, love it, but I use the drumpads more than the keys. For that and other reasons. I definitely want an MPC. IMO, the MPCD would just be a step down, except for having extra pads, they are less customizable.

So, I’m looking at the Studio and the Touch mainly.

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Questions
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- Are there features of the X, Ren or Live that, in a home studio always connected to the same PC, a noob like me can benefit from, that aren’t in the Touch or Studio? If you bought either, how long did it take before you wanted (with any reason) a Ren or X?

- If I think I’m unlikely to load up an SD card, and don’t care much for onboard sounds, or the 2x2 interface, is there any other benefit to the touch? Does it lack any features the Studio has?

- In general if you had to pick one, which would it be? (Studio/Touch). Or would you advocate getting the most versatile and capable hardware possible?

Also, I doubt anyone here on MPC forums will recommend something else, but should I be considering anything else? IMO no, every drum pad I’ve tried besides those on the MPK suck, and can only be better on the MPC. I don’t like Novation. But if there’s something I should consider, I’d be happy to hear.

Finally, have people had success with the L series? There are situations where a wireless, cheap controller would be good, they seem like a good bet. In particular I’m thinking of a way to trigger samples while live recording video. Just curious if anyone can say if they’re any good, they are quite cheap afterall.

Okay, well I’ve really yammered. I appreciate it of you’ve gotten this far, but even if you just skim the TLDR and give an opinion (or not), I appreciate your time.

Thanks! :worthy:
User avatar
By Lampdog Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:57 am
Holy ****.

X and Live can use the software or/standalone (no computer) Some differences in features when you do standalone though (some people don't like it).

I would never buy a touch or studio, they are just controllers. Me, I prefer standalone. I don't like or want to be force-tethered.

The more you need outputs/inputs you need th bigger the audio interface you will need or mixer/interface. They make hybrids ya know.

Did I read all of it, nope.
By begals Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:51 am
Heh yeah, holy ****. I did give fair warning. I think I just think out loud when I’m over my head and then it becomes too much to try to edit. Helps me so if nobody reads it that’s fine, quick responses are great.

Would you say it’s pretty normal to like standalone more the more experienced you are, as certainly it seems important to plenty of people? I’m sure it’s always subjective but you must have developed a reason for the preference.

I’ve looked, or else I wouldn’t bother someone asking, but can’t tell, when working with a standalone, does that mean when you eventually send to a PC, it’s as audio rather than MIDI? In my narrow experience it seems like to have actual sound it needs to be audio, which then can’t be so easily edited. Perhaps that’s the point and you just don’t need a DAW, perhaps the software allows you to edit it if need be.

Between that and VSTs like Serum, I kinda rely on my PC link for what I do so I’m guessing I may just fall in the non-standalone category.

If one goes stand alone, I’m guessing that means the Live pretty much? For me, I doubt that’s the right machine, but I appreciate the insight.

In general, if I know I don’t care about standalone now, would people say that a) I’m pretty likely to change that view or b) to pick on that basis, which means the Live certainly wouldn’t be worth the cash. The X has such a long list I know there’s stuff I don’t even fully get yet, though whether it’s something to grow into or the cheaper ones are something to grow out of is kind of part of it.

Anyway thanks, and for allowing me to make a smaller question.

I think without extra input I’ll go for the touch, though I’m still all over the place.
User avatar
By Lampdog Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:42 am
I like and want to sequence using my hardware.

I don't want to use a mouse. I view computer monitors and use keyboards all day long at work.
I don't want to do that when I come home and make music.

I can only speak for myself, some like it, some don't, some use both. I track audio into Reaper DAW whenever I need.

Past few years been using ipad A LOT and I love it. Easy to sit anywhere and make beats. Ipad traveled across the world with me and kept me sane.
User avatar
By Menco Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:58 am
For one, get a MPC, it does so much more than just being 16 expensive drumpads. It’s workflow for chopping, programming and sequencing is it’s true power.

If you don’t need your MPC to be standalone and want it to work in tandem with your PC then a second hands Ren or even a Studio might suit you. I had the studio and it has a lot of dedicated buttons to enter functions. Get your head around the software, and from there it’s just an easy upgrade if you do decide to go standalone in the near future.