Decisions: Can’t keep them all (Part 4)(MPC Live)

Feeling the odd man out

I don’t know what it is about the MPC, but I always have one in my studio.  I’ve owned the 2000, 1000, 2500, 5000 and now the Live (never had the 4000…hmm.).   In the gaps between when I haven’t had one….I’ve always found myself lusting for one.  I even have the MPCPro iOS app on my iPad (for when I need a fix on the train).   I guess that makes me an addict.

So here we have the Live, which I’ve had for a good 6 months now.   I hate to say that this is the hardest review to write so far because…well….despite having it for 6 months, it hasn’t seen much action.   I poked it a bit the first days I had it.  Then Reason 10 was released and I became suddenly obsessed with software workflows based around that and Kong.  While I’ve been doing that, this lovely box has largely been gathering dust.

And that is a damn shame!  By all accounts, it’s the MPC I’ve been waiting for.   Battery power, HUGE RAM, better FX, touch screen interface…why haven’t I been using this?  Why has it not become the center of my rig as MPC’s have in the past?

Part of it is definitely the UI.  I don’t know why, but despite a touch interface, I often find myself getting lost trying to find what I’m looking for.   While the touch screen promises a simpler interface, this is one case where the old way was better.   I could *fly* around the older MPCs since their operation had changed little since the 80s.   The live upsets that rhythm (as I imagine the X does as well).

I feel like I haven’t really given this box enough of a fair shake to pass judgement on it, though…which is making me second guess this entire exercise.   I think I need to really force myself to use this deep beast and build something with it.  Or maybe I should take the last 6 months of non-use as a sign that I’m never going to use it?

Let me know in the comments what you think I should do.

Previous entries in this series:

Decisions: Can’t keep them all (Part 1) (Elektron Octatrack MkI)

Decisions: Can’t keep them all (Part 2) (Synthstrom Audio Deluge)

Decisions: Can’t Keep them all (Part 3) (Elektron Digitakt)


2 thoughts on “Decisions: Can’t keep them all (Part 4)(MPC Live)”

  1. I’m sort of with you on the MPC Live, thought maybe I was the only one who felt that way. Instead of Reason 10, it was the Deluge’s arrival that kept me from using the MPC. It’s literally just been sitting here for about a month and I don’t know why. The Deluge is great but, in theory, the MPC is everything I’ve ever wanted: A DAW that isn’t a DAW and runs on batteries. Deep, lots of effects blocks (too few effects was my main fault of the Toraiz SP16), sounds good, lots of ram and onboard storage for all the samples I’ve accumulated over the years.

    But it sits. And I’m starting to thing it’s not just the Deluge. I know that now that I’ve pretty much mastered what the Deluge can do, the next step is start tracking stuff out, adding some effects where needed and arrange some songs. Cue: the MPC Live (of course, right? RIGHT??) But no. I don’t even feel any inclination to turn it on. Editing a kit was hard. It seemed straightforward enough, tell it to apply changes to all sounds but… it didn’t do it. I can’t tell if that’s a bug or if there’s some arcane setting I missed. Just, the whole logic of sequences, programs, tracks, I’m just finding it unintuitive and, hence, not fun.

    I don’t know, is the MPC Live just over complicated? Or is it me that’s overcomplicating it? This really should be The One I’ve been waiting for in theory.

    (P.S. The Deluge is massively awesome on every level, I’m finding. As of this comment, 1.4 beta has added probabilities and things are only looking up from here!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One fun trick: Connect the Deluge to the MIDI host port on the MPC. Not only will the MPC power the Deluge, but it will receive MIDI from it, so you can use it sort of like an expansion module. MUCH easier to sequence the Live from the Deluge.


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