My Akai MPC Journey (or Why I Sold my MPC X)

My first MPC was the Akai MPC 1k Black. I really cut my teeth on this MPC over the years, and with JJOS it really made the MPC 1k shine. Life was pretty simple, but it had been given an amazing workflow for chopping, sampling, and writing music. I bought it back when the black model was released, and held on to it until just this year. Watching the prices of a lot of the old gear I had sky rocket, it was hard to justify keeping it around, especially since it was living mostly in it’s old box. As I’ve written about before, I really don’t want to keep old gear around for the sake of keeping it, and it was just time to part with the MPC 1k along with a lot of the other gear that has gone out the door, hopefully on to better homes that will appreciate and use the gear to the fullest.

Through all this time having the MPC 1k, I’ve also gone through three Akai MPC 500s. Honestly, the MPC 500 is a great little machine and has resulted in my being able to drop a number of tracks while traveling and doing things on the go. Sure I lugged the 1k around with me on a lot of trips over the years, but the 500 is just so much more road friendly. I still have an MPC 500, the one I’ve blogged about picking up recently, that was in dire need of repair. In all seriousness though, I am thinking about selling this repaired 500 as well, I don’t think I need even two MPCs, and while it’s nice to have something easy to toss in a backpack, I’m not sure I really need it right now.

So… I’ve been through the 1k, the 500… and roughly when it first came out I picked up the MPC Live. I really dug the machine, but I was always jealously eyeing the MPC X. For one, I’d never had a full sized MPC, and second it had CV outs. I’ve been getting into Eurorack for a while now, and the idea of being able to sequence through CV and gates was really appealing to me. Which lead me to picking up the Akai MPC X a couple of years ago. Yes, at one point I had four MPCs, but I never saw myself as a collector. Eventually I decided to part with the Akai MPC Live, because seriously who needs four MPCs. The interoperability between the Live and the X was nice, but it was a bit much.

Then this year along came the MPC One, which I was seriously considering picking up as a straight up replacement to the MPC 1k, it’s about the same size, but with a boatload of functionality. I was imagining it being my portable device, but I soured on that idea pretty quickly when I started considering needing an external power source. However, the CV was interesting to me for sure. Not much longer afterwards the Akai MPC Live mk2 was announced, and I just made the rash decision to get it. This put me back up to four MPCs again. Notice I already mentioned I am not a collector, yet here I was. With four.

For anybody who’s been sticking through all the gear I’ve been selling, and reading up on my Eurorack, you might have picked up on the fact that I am really working to reduce the amount of space my music gear takes up. Well a big unknown factor was how much space I would have, or even need, once the Eurorack case I bought back in January would take. Once I got it onto the table though, I could *clearly* tell that I don’t have enough room for all of the MPCs and other gear that I’d like to have room for. Plus, the MPC Live mk2 had the CV outs that I initially wanted, so it definitely made the choice to post the MPC X for sale much easier. Below I’ll post a picture of everything that I’ve currently got for gear setup.

What you can see here is

  • A whole mess of eurorack in the Erik Needham Woodworks case
  • Akai MPC Live mk2
  • 12 Chase Bliss guitar pedals in a pedal board
  • Access Virus TI2 Darkstar
  • Moog Voyager 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Akai MPC 500
  • Moog CV Expander and CP-251
  • Patch Bay
  • Apex Aural Exciter
  • Akai Z8
  • Akai S1000
  • Akai S950

Not shown I also have a drawer with a few more gadgets

  • Teenage Engineering PO-32, PO-33, and PO-35
  • Teenage Engineering OP-1
  • Teenage Engineering OP-Z
  • Critter & Guitari Organelle M
  • Zoom H6
  • Bastl Instruments Micro Granny
  • Korg Triton Studio

My gear collection has more or less been greatly paired down to size, but I still am trying to figure out how to get everything else into this reduced space. Now maybe I shouldn’t be digging quite so deep, but here are my thoughts at this time. Heck, I’m even considering selling off everything below the table. While I do enjoy using the S950 and S1000, they don’t nearly get the love and attention that I used to give them back in the day.

I’m also considering picking up the Waldorf Iridium. I had it on pre-order, but cancelled once I saw that there was just no way to fit it into this setup without selling something off. Since I haven’t pulled the trigger on selling off anything I figured the only fair thing to do was to cancel the pre-order, instead of putting myself in the position to agonize over what to sell off next.

I’ve clearly still got some more decisions to make, but I want to make one thing clear… reducing what I have for gear has greatly enabled me to get my music and music making far more focussed. Honestly, I think the next big step for me is deciding how much each device is bringing something unique to the table as a decision point for keeping it or selling it off. I’ve got some hard decisions to make fore sure!

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