NAMM 2020 was full of huge announcements from music equipment manufactures like Moog, Solid State Logic, Rane, Behringer, and much more. But one of the biggest and most anticipated gear release, especially for hip-hop producers and beat makers is the Akai MPC One.

The Akai MPC One is the newest generation in the long and historic line of MPCs, a classic beat production tool. The MPC One features stand alone production capabilities, numerous inputs & outputs for studio connectivity, beat programing, and editing FX all in the table top device. A tape stop effect can also be found, as well as a a note repeat feature for trilling hi-hats, making the MPC One a one stop shop for producers and beat makers from all backgrounds. The newest line of MPC devices also features a touch screen which allows you to access a wide array of audio and MIDI editing parameter.

Though these new features make the MPC One a versatile and useful tool for modern beat makers, let’s not forget the rich origins of the MPC. The MPC workflow practically pioneered how old-school beat makers produced beats and revolutionized the way music was made. Let’s go back to 1988 and take a look at the MPC60, where it all began.

Produced by Roger Linn, creator of the Linn Drum, and Akai in 1988, the MPC60 was an all-in-one sampler and sequencer that would transform pop and hip-hop music shortly after it’s release.

The MPC60 offered a first of its kind sequencer and gave users never before seen control over samples. The sequencer could hold up to 99 tracks at once which was great for artists who preferred to create their beats in real-time. The MPC60 let users add drum parts to loops allowing them to continuously create.

Next up was the MPC3000.

Released in 1993, the MPC3000 improved upon the MPC60 by adding a higher sampling rate, 22 second sample memory, and analog filter sweeping effects. Though the MPC3000 isn’t a synthesizer, because it does not contain any oscillators, it featured a range of sample editing tools that gave it the ability to function as one. Musicians could use editing tools to manipulate samples to create synth-like pads and droning loops.

Legendary hip-hop producer, J Dilla is among the MPC3000s most notable users.

Four years later, the MPC2000 would roll out in 1997.

After parting ways with Roger Linn, Akai would go on to release the MPC2000. The MPC2000 had expandable memory as well as editing tools geared towards live performances. A swing and quantize feature had also been added giving users more control over their beats. In 2000, Akai released the MPC2000XL which added even more features like the next sequence key, four bank keys, a track mute key, a hinged LCD screen, multi-track recording, time stretch, and folder file management.

Notable users of the MPC2000 are Kanye West, MF Doom, and Dr. Dre.

From 2000 to the present, Akai has release several more versions of the MPC including the MPC4000, 1000, 2500, the extremely portable MPC500, and a version of the MPC for iPads and iPhones.

Here is a clip from Reverb that highlights a brief history of the MPC:


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