MPC Live – Review and demonstration

MPC Live – Review and demonstration


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My name is Brennan Galley and I was the Canadian Technical Sales Manager for inMusic Canada. I toured Canada coast to coast to show musicians how to use innovative instruments, DJ and Music production equipment.  One of the companies I represented wasz Akai Professional.  The MPC Live has just been released, and is going to change how musicians engage with their craft and their audience.

01. Introduction

The MPC Live ships with MPC 2.0.  This offers a bunch of new features but still works generally the same as the older versions of MPC Software and hardware.  Because of this the tutorial series for the MPC Touch will give you a lot of tools that you need to quickly produce music.  You can check out that series by clicking – here.

02.  Lithium ION Battery

The MPC Live has a lithium ion battery that will provide you with 4 hours of performance power and 6 hours of standing power.  This opens up the flexibility of the MPC. You can now perform anywhere.

03.  Real Time Pitch Control

The MPC Live and MPC X will be shipping with MPC 2.0.  Any users who have an MPC Touch will receive a free update to MPC 2.0.  MPC 2.0 offers a bunch of new features but works in the same vein as the original MPCs.  One huge new update is audio tracks.  This means that you can live record over your existing beat.  Once the track is recorded you can then instantly pitch or time stretch the performance.  This is all done in real time and can add a great new dimension to how you perform.

04.  Clip Performance

Another great new feature of MPC 2.0 is clip performing, which allows you to have arrangements available to play on the fly.  A huge benefit is that the clips will automatically match the bpm of your session.  This means that if you speed up or slow down the song, the clips will stay in the right time with your tracks.  This video shows how to load audio onto the clip pads and how to perform with it.

05. Key Group Perform

The MPC Live allows you to perform with Key Groups in standalone mode.  This means that you can have one sound pitch out over the notes.  You can also plug in a MIDI controller to perform with the sound.  In this video I show how to load a Key Group and how to bring in sounds.  I also show how to get into pad perform mode to access musical scales.

06.  Pad Performance Control

The MPC Live allows you to customize how the pads work for sample playback.  You can have one pad mute another, or you can have a pad simultaneously play back multiple pads.  In this video I show how to navigate the program edit section of MPC to set up your performance.

07.  Touch Screen Operation With XY Effects

The MPC Live has a touch screen that allows you to quickly navigate to every available parameter.  Another bonus is that you can use it as an XY effect processor.  This means that two parameters are changeable on the MPC.  This effect will change based upon where you touch it, giving you a new way to perform.  Combining this with the pad control that I showed in the previous video allows for some fun tricks.

08. Ins and Outs

The MPC Live has multiple ins and outs.  There are RCA or 1/4″ inputs to sample or record audio directly into it.  You also have 6 audio outputs.  There is full-size MIDI IO for connecting and MIDI Beat clocking other equipment.  There is an SD card slot for bringing in content, plus two USB ports for connecting an external hard drive or a USB MIDI controller.  The MPC Live can easily be the heart of your production center.  However, it can also be added to an existing set-up to add more creativity to your existing workflow.

09.  Using As A Controller

The MPC Live works amazingly in standalone mode and gives you everything you need to perform and create.  However, sometimes I will want to use it as a controller for my computer.  One situation where this might happen would be if I wanted to record more than 2 channels simultaneously, for example if I were recording a drum kit or any other multi-mic instrument.  Another reason that I would want to use the MPC Live as a controller would be if I wanted to utilize my existing VSTI library.  Once I have recorded down my performance, a single button push exports it as audio and allows me to bring it into the MPC in standalone mode.

10. Q link assign

The MPC Live is designed to provide quick performance parameters.  There are four Q link knobs on the live with 4 banks.  This means that you can have 16 assignments at any given time.  There are pre assignments which let you quickly change the sound.  They are also fully assignable so that you can customize for your work flow.

11. Deleting Notes

A common thing that I think about is how it is more important to reduce then it is to produce.  Having a lot going on at once makes it difficult to hear all of the parts and also makes it less enjoyable to the listener.  The MPC allows you to quickly remove elements from your music to allow your songs to breath.

12. Sequence To Clip

The MPC Live comes with multiple ways to perform.  It also allows you to quickly bounce your sequences to audio to utilize these features.  In this video I show how to take a sequence,  shorten it’s length, and import it into a clip.

13. Audio Track Time Warp

The MPC Live has 8 audio tracks available in standalone mode and 128 tracks when you use it as a controller on a computer.  The tracks in both modes can Warp.  This means that you can adjust the time without adjusting the pitch and adjust the pitch without adjusting the time.  In this video I demonstrate had to prepare your track to use this feature.

14. Quick Track Select

When you are performing on the MPC Live it is essential to quickly move from one program to another.  This is especially true if you are doing a loop based pad performance.  In this video I show how to quickly move around the tracks and in turn create new pad assignments.

The MPC has been in development for a long time and really covers what customers have been asking for.  At this price point, there is nothing else that exists on the market that is as complete a solution as the MPC Live. As always please leave comments below.  Thanks for checking out my page!  If you want to set up a SKYPE lesson send an email to