Beanz711 wrote: All in one boxes are cool. They are also easier if you wanted to bring them to a different place, all your projects would be in that one box. On the other hand, every machine has pro's and con's. The more that one machine does, the functions aren't as useful as a product specifically designed to do the one task. Having more dedicated equipment will get you exactly what you are looking for, as long as you know how to use it. Plus with an all in one box, you tend to spend more time trying to push buttons getting to where you need to be instead of making the music.
I read through this whole forum just now and I believe most of us have missed the biggest point here.
4K v MV is an apples to oranges comparison and I'll tell you why:
The 4K is a very strong sampler and sequencer. It can handle the most complex compositions and multisample synthesis with plenty of headroom. The 4K however was not designed to be used outside of professional or semi-professional studio settings. Thus, no producer would actually mix and master within the box during a 4K session. The 4K has high quality convertors and an ADAT output option to integrate higher end DACs into pro studio settings. Think of the 4K as the brains of a pro studio in the early 2000s; you'd see its ten outputs fed into a giant mixing desk. The software utilizes the MULTI/PROGRAM system of organization coupled with a huge HD, which by its own nature was designed to promote producers to amass libraries of samples organized into user-made programs (basically intended to be used to host a multi-sampled instrument or a key group of several) and assemblages of programs, multis (basically a group of multi-sampled instruments and key groups that are all involved in a particular project). In short, this means that the 4K was designed to act sort of like a user-programmable "band in a box".
For example, you can build a very convincing drum kit, save that as a program. Then build a very convincing piano program. And a convincing bass program. And then you could make those into a multi and each sound would already be assigned to specific outputs, that are always feeding into a mixing console. Then the 4K would sequence all other external MIDI gear, which would all be feeding into the same console. So the 4K was designed to be nothing more than integrated into the composition and production phases of the process, and specifically not involved in the post production phase (mixing, mastering, etc.)
It's really not until well after the takeover of Numark on Akai that we begin to see secondhand 4Ks going for under $1000 and amateurs picking them up based on their cult status of being known as the best grooves box of all time. Now, most of us who still give a **** about the 4K (outside of a few industry professionals such as E-A-Ski) are those kids grown up, still making music in our bedrooms and not tracking out into a $150,000 mixing console. This is where the MV comes in... it brings what many see as a comparable level of reliability and performance to the 4K, while offering in-house mixing and mastering capabilities, as well as much higher quality effects than the 4K.
The MV offers most of these features of the 4000, just organized with a different logic. The MV truly has a greater quantity of features, yet offers less consistency between each of their respective levels of quality than the 4K does. Let me explain...
The 4K is known largely as the best sequencer ever, surpassing the performance and reliability of even the current cult status superpower, the Cirklon. Every bar can be a different tempo, a different time signature; you can compose free jazz on this thing--a symphony even. It's also known to be the highest quality hardware sampler ever produced. The clocking is tight and the resolution of both the sampling engine and the sequencer are extremely high. There is no question that in the terms quality, the 4K's main functions of sampler and sequencer are unsurpassed by the MV. However, in order for a present-day MPC user to produce a finished product with the 4K that truly does it justice, she'd have to have access to at least a semi-professional production studio. Otherwise, she's stuck with a very professional sequencer and sampler but no way to truly take advantage of the machine's audio quality and individual output features. These are the kids we see now on YouTube who are tracking out 4K beats in stereo into their laptop with a cheap interface. Incorporating a cheap analog mixer could modestly improve the situation, but at the end of the day, the 4K deserves to be fully mixed and mastered outside the box in a pro setting.
The MV, on the other hand, offers a full range of digital effects, mixing and mastering capability built in. Let's be clear: NONE OF THE MV'S POST PRODUCTION FEATURES ARE TOP OF THE LINE by today's standards. Think of all the progress that has been made in digital signal processing software since the 2000s. There are plug-ins that sound nearly indistinguishable from real professional analog compressors in the context of a final mix, for example. You are not getting that on the MV. You are getting a high quality, well thought out sequencer and sampler, with very respectable prosumer-level digital mixing and mastering sections for its time. I would definitely invest in the monitor and mouse to get the most out of it.
The 4K was released in 2002, the same year as the DPS24 MKI. The DPS24 is a digital hardware studio by Akai. It and the 4K were clearly designed to interface with each other. I use the two together, and the DPS24 fills in where the 4K lacks with its fully featured semi-professional DAW. To me, I can afford it and it's truly preferable to being confined to the relatively compromised DAW capabilities and slightly inferior sampler and sequencer of the MV. I would not master on the DPS24, but I certainly would perform a full mix there. Also, I would not use its internal effects either. Regardless, the workflow of the Akai combo allows for the production of much more complex recordings than possible on the MV alone. Both the 4K and the DPS24 can utilize ak.Sys (I run each on a different computer with separate monitors), which is a nice expansion that competes with the MV's monitor and mouse option.
Here's my bottom line: If I didn't have recording and mixing capability at the very least equivalent to that of the DPS24, I would find little use for my 4K; all of that sonic potential and nowhere to let it roam free. This is why I believe the MV has caught fire as a cult machine: a track made 100% on the MV will sound better than a track made 100% on a 4K, given that the producer utilizes that advanced mixing and mastering functions built into the machine. However, it should be made clear that while I agree that this is true, the 4K has the potential of producing a higher quality final product when utilized in conjunction with a professional studio setup. Basically, I would rather continuing owning my 4K/DPS24 combo than be putting out final mixes on an MV or even furthering mixing the stems on a Roland VS-2480 hard disk recording studio. But if I were on a desert island and could only bring one piece of gear to make beats, I think anyone in their right mind would choose something closer to the MV. This is to say, to those hardware-based bedroom producers without access to decent mixing and mastering gear, your beats are going to sound better if you stick with the MV and mix in the box or into a cheap analog mixer and then into decent stereo interface running Pro Tools and mastering on there.