11.03.2021

Review: Akai MPC One

Words by Mixdown Staff

Distributed by: Electric Factory | Expect To Pay: $1,199

Key Features: Akai’s MPC line builds upon their stellar resume of standalone samplers with this new affordable high quality unit. The staples are all here, 16 velocity sensitive pads, large navigation knob and onboard storage enabling portability and independence from the computer screen.

Featuring the iconic 16 pad design, and similar layout as previous installments people familiar with MPC units will feel right at home. The One comes with a large range of effects inbuilt, including easy to use but comprehensive compression and EQ for mixing on the sampler itself, basically making this a fully functioning DAW in a single device.

The seven-inch touchscreen adorning the top left of the device has multitouch features similar to the way you interact with a smartphone which is a breeze to use and will have you creating in no time. One of the best utilisations of this is the XY effects mode that performs like a KAOS pad in that you drag/tap the screen to trigger effects at different intensities in real time.

Sampling has never been easier, especially with the new live chopping feature. After you’ve got a sample you want to flip into the One, you can start hitting empty pads while it’s playing to chop it up, which feels very intuitive and authentic.

In addition to the classic sampler workflow, the MPC One adds three synths to its repertoire which make crafting full tracks possible within the one device. The Rhodes style electric piano synth is gorgeous and perfect for both the house and hip-hop heads, while the other two lead and pad modes are cool for getting a bit spacey and writing basslines.

CV and MIDI connectivity allows for routing to outboard gear for both studio and live setups and coming in at around two kilograms this device can definitely be with you on the road. Add in the fact you can create an Ableton Live project file on the sampler, you could export a track for mixing in a matter of minutes.

Mixdown Says: Not one to rest on a famous name, the MPC One brings a whole host of modern workflow and production techniques into the fold, serving as the perfect example of what happens when classic meets cutting edge.

The best new feature here is the inbuilt scales mode which only illuminates the pads which are in key with the one you select. You can also add chord progressions to the mix which make creating music a breeze for people who don’t have formal music training.

Also worth mentioning is the step sequencer, which is a great way for people coming from drum machine workflows to quickly adapt to this unit and combine this with the ability to edit velocities via the touchscreen your transition will be seamless.

Overall:  From both studio to live applications, the Akai MPC One is easily one of the best affordable choices for the centrepiece of your production setup. With its feature packed layout and simple navigation, it’s both one of the easiest and powerful tools going at the moment for this kind of application. Plus, with the newly released limited edition Gold model, you can match your beats with the decadent looks that they’ve always deserved.

There is a reason that the initials MPC mean so much in the world of Electronic Music Production. Safe to say, the MPC One carries the torch and then some.

Find out more about the Akai MPC range via Electric Factory.