Teenage Engineering "Ruined" my (technological) life! / Also, MPC Talk

edited September 11 in General

Over some years I've owned various entry level synths and drum machines (among them some P.O.'s) and of course the OP-1 (my first 'serious' synth).

Now after some thinking and getting a pretty good deal I finally bought an Akai MPC 500. And I think thanks to Teenage Engineering I kind of hate the MPC... T.E. got me used to immediately get creative and make music after turning on a device. That I can't do with the MPC. I know it's a very useful machine but the learning curve is getting boring.

Maybe that device is not for me, maybe I need to tinker more... But I think TE's awesome design and User Experience / User Interface is to blame.


  • Ahaha. I've been there.
    A year later, I was running my Elektron machines smoothly and thinking the same about Elektron design !
    Damn Swedish designers !!

  • not a great surprise you don't like the mpc500. but what an earth lead you to buy what has to be one of the worst samplers ever made?

  • @squiddly Is it? I guess I've always wanted an MPC but don't have that kind of money for any of the good ones.

  • I personally love the 500, but I love MPC's. Def not as creative as the Op-1, but it has a solid sequencer & sampler. It's an MPC the size of an ipad, which I think is amazing. Try using the Op-1 WITH the 500. Combine the strengths. I love using the Op-1 by itself, but also love using it with an MPC or sp........ you can use the Op-1 to get creative, do all your creative stuff, then just sample it into the 500. That way you'll have 48 tracks instead of 4 & you still get the Op-1 awesomeness. So much you can do with an Op-1 & 500. Especially for the size of the 2, it's insane. & remember, the Op-1 costs A LOT more then the 500. A LOT more. Plus they're completely different, not really comparable.

  • ^ yea i was gunna say the same. i really dig my 500 for what it is.
    there are a lot of menus to scroll thru when doing certain things
    and def not as immediate, but like u say not really comparable either.

    & the combo 500 + OP1 is awesome.

  • yeah, i love mpcs...but the 500 and 1000 were a sad end to akai's storied history of making beautiful samplers (and sequencers).

    a good hardware sequencer is a great thing to have. lucky jjos came along because what akai put out was appalling. but you need a host to connect midi to the OP1, right? so not direct, and more gear, cables power supplies etc. needed. also, you only get to use one track of the 500 sequencing the OP1. not sure how that is better than using the OP1's sequencers. seems the more interesting thing is to use the OP1 to sequence other machines, not have other machines sequence the OP1.

    but if you've got an mpc500 hanging around, be stupid not to use it. just seems an odd choice to purchase a 500 in this day.

  • Thanks for the comments guys. Really my comparison was about UX and UI, but in that realm one can compare basically any electronic product (remote control, car stereos, computers, etc.)

    One thing to mention is that I found the 500 for around 120 USD, so it was really hard not to pull the trigger.

  • ah...that's a great price. for $120 it's certainly worth seeing if the machine works for you.

  • edited September 6

    yea thats a steal. i don't even hook them up via midi. i just sample back and forth.
    i like it b/c its compact and i grew up on the mpc2000xl so the mpc way of doing things makes sense to me

    and u right about the JJ, the akai OS was really wack when they first came out.
    u couldn't even chop on it i remember! the JJ added so many features to the 1000

    i asked the JJOS guy if he had any interest in doing a JJ for the 500 awhile back
    he said no b/c of the small screen.

  • Exactly @docshermsticks, well I started with a sp404, but have a MPC 500/1000/2500 (sounds odd but there was a good reason for it & I'm letting one go soon), I love the MPC workflow. & I'm used to chopping on an sp, which is similar to the 500 (except the 500 chops tighter), so I don't mind it. It's def limited, but I like limited gear. Makes me feel like I'm actually doing something :o)

    & @squiddly the trick is to not midi it. I love to sample tho (I don't have an issue with midi, but all you sampling lovers out there know what I mean!) Like I said, you get 48 tracks on the MPC 500 compared to 4. That's a big difference. You can play unquantized, but if you feel like quantizing? can quantize after the fact..... I'm not a fan of step sequencers, so to be honest I don't really use the Op-1 sequencers. Sometimes there fun for something different tho.

    I love the Op-1 for it's portability, sound & fun factor, I get really creative with it. It's my fav piece of gear actually. But sometimes I like using it with a workhorse. A solid sequencer/sampler......MPC might not have a lot of creativity but they're great tools.

  • & I paid $400 for my 500! I don't care tho, I kno it's a lot for a 500, but it's mint, fat pads, extended memory, no bugs & I had a 60 day return period. I love the MPC workflow & it's an MPC as small as an ipad. I know I already said that but for some reason that's amazing to me.

  • So...I put a smiley face next to my statement "makes me feel like I'm actually doing something"....... but instead somehow a face that looks like it's giving a blow job is there. I didn't mean to put that face there. Just thought I would make that clear.

  • bj face was just fate

  • @Sharris LOL at the bj face. Also, are the fat pads really that different? My fingers hurt as we speak because of the MPC's hard pads.

  • The 500 is a good sampler; every bit as good as the SP-404 which holds a revered place in the Lo-fi scene. We’re spoiled by a visual representation of the waveform, for the purposes of chopping and editing. But it’s a good machine.

    Save your dough up and get an MPC Live. I’ve pretty much mastered the OP-1, in terms of what it can do for my style of music, but I have to admit that there are limitations w/ regard to the ease of structuring more complex rhythms, and being able to apply specific filters and effects to the tracks. Once you get your head around the MPC workflow, you’ll find it incredibly fast and flexible. For me, the OP1 + The Live = compete, mobile workstation.

  • @pianobar said:
    @Sharris LOL at the bj face. Also, are the fat pads really that different? My fingers hurt as we speak because of the MPC's hard pads.

    Replace those pads, and you’ll find the 500 to be a completely different beast. Just be sure it’s the second gen unit. They changed the sensor array in the second iteration of the 500. Replacement pads won’t work w/ the first gen. That’s my understanding.

  • ^i think u are thinking of the 1000 as far as two different pad sensors...?

    500 has always been the pad sensor sheet

    original 1000's had individual pad sensors that were prone to stop working
    then later on they changed it to the sheet style that all the other mpcs have

    yea after chopping heavy on the 404 i could care less about waveform display and all that fancy shit.
    use yours ears!

  • @docshermsticks said:
    ^i think u are thinking of the 1000 as far as two different pad sensors...?

    500 has always been the pad sensor sheet

    original 1000's had individual pad sensors that were prone to stop working
    then later on they changed it to the sheet style that all the other mpcs have

    yea after chopping heavy on the 404 i could care less about waveform display and all that fancy shit.
    use yours ears!

    Ahhh, OK. I guess I’m misremembering, b/c I had the 500, but was in the market for a 1000 when the Live was announced. I was researching.

  • edited September 7

    i just can't jive w/ the idea of the Live for some reason.
    touchscreen? meh
    portable? questionable. thing is monstrous.
    its bigger than an elektron box, definitely way bigger than a laptop.
    not sure what kind of backpack one would have to carry for it to be portable.

    i'd be willing to try one eventually. i have a feeling that in a year or two or three they will be really cheap on the flip.
    (lots of ppl flipping them already)

    meanwhile my 500 fits in an iPad sleeve

  • edited September 7

    @pianobar, the fat pads are pretty hard...... you don't have to hit em hard tho. They're extra sensitive, so barely tap them & they go off. Also I can tell the pads are getting a little softer as I use it & wear them in. You can get the pads thru MPC stuff, but not sure if you want to throw that kind of money at it ($40):

    I agree with @Unflattered about the MPC Live. I've been thinking of selling my 2500 & 1000 to fund the Live....still researching tho........I also agree with docermsticks, I'm not sure if I would like the touchscreen.

    When using the 500 on it's own I mainly make boom bap.......it's a simple machine, but it's perfect for the "simpler" styles..... When using it with other gear, like the Op-1 &/or sp404 there's just so much you can do. But again, I'm ok with putting work in. It just depends on what you're looking for.

    & I like your way of thinking @docshermsticks! It's nice when you don't have to deal with limitations, but at the same time, limitations can be an advantage. You gain those skills!

    Chopping by ear might not seem like a big deal, but when not using 1 of your senses (like the eyes) it enhances your other senses (like the ears). All of your focus goes into what you're hearing not what you're seeing. & music is all about what you hear & how it makes you feel. Takes more time to chop by ear, but there are advantages to it.

  • I enjoyed reading through this thread... I bought an SP808ex a few months back, as I wanted to try the vinyl sim... I'll still be on the lookout for a cheap 303 or 404OG, but the 808 was too deep... I mostly just wanted the FX, which admittedly, besides the vinyl sim not having that nice compression, some of the other fx sounded great! There was some really characterful chorus fx etc... Anyways, I flipped it for twice what I paid (and kept the hard case it came in, mwahahahahaa)... But for me, portable studio is macbook + RME babyface pro w/ ableton... It's a pretty tiny footprint... But it depends on your genre and needs. I do live vocals + instrumental stuff, so for me ableton works great... I've never learned the MPC workflow, but respect it on account of the great results... Maybe one day I'll find a pal to do a knowledge swap, and I can teach guitar in exchange for MPC or something, haha. Closest I've come is the korg microSAMPLER which was prior to my first op1... So clunky and stupid is that korg thing, but then upon reflection, it's great at what it can do, and my wife plays it all the time mostly for live stuff... Just the same old story of the wisdom of accepting what a device is and is not, if what it is does not serve you, then move on. Saying this for my own benefit.

  • edited September 8

    my homie scooped an 808 awhile back and brought it over.
    couldn't believe how heavily it relies on the zip drive.
    like constantly streaming everything! it was crazy to think that someone thought that was a good idea.

    i recently got the 606 which was the last SP that i hadn't tried.
    its the most mpc like of all of them. i like it in some ways others not so much.
    its cool u can use 2 fx at once, and the dbeam filter also. has mute groups and a lil 4 track sequencer.
    in general the SP's are my favorite. immediate, no fuss, no screen, no bullshit, extreme vibe and flavor.
    so having a screen on the 606/505/808 is like kinda weird for me. takes some getting used to

    @Sharris yea! its like those kung fu movies where the guy loses his eyesight or has only one arm or some crazy shit happens to him and he has to relearn everything from scratch but then he finds out how to turn his handicap into his greatest strength and kicks major butt.

  • when the mpc500 and 1000 were released it looked like they were going to be the last hardware samplers ever made. it even looked doubtful that m/any hardware synths would ever be made again.
    it was a little scary at the time. but 15 (?) years later...and there has been a renaissance in standalone hardware units. a new golden age is upon us!

  • Totally agreed with @squiddly. We live a wonderful hardware time! <3

    My first sampler was the MPC 500 - horrible. I respect a lot the cats that mastered it, but, frankly, found it boring, full of anti-musical menus and the sound isn´t very inspired. Just save your money for the AWESOME MPC Live :)

  • I turn out a TON of stuff on the Live. And editing samples w/ the touch screen is a joy. Believe me.

    Please peep.



  • I had a 500 few years ago. It was also my first sampler, and really had fun playing it. But I found library was not very practical... then I sold it.
    Sometimes I’m thinking about getting another one to complete the Op, mainly for beats btw :smiley:.

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