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Akai MPC 60


Akai sampler

"Cult sampler designed by Roger Linn, famous producer of the drum machine Linn drum. After decades and new technologies, the MP60 is still considered of one of the best designed and sounding desktop beatmaker ever made  NOTE: this review is mainly based on lasted OS 3.10, previous versions may have different characteristics."


OVERVIEW main panel features a 240 x 64 pixels LCD backlit display (with contrast trimmer) which can be tilt, 16 velocity sensitive pads, a volume knob, a data encoder, a slider, 56 buttons and a 720 kB DD disk drive (Data can be saved to both720Kb drive or special 793 Kb format)
Optional SCSI is available, typicalstorage media are Iomega zip or Hard disk (external)

- stereo main analog outs+ 8 separate outs + 2 send returns
- balanced signal input (switch between HI/MED/LOW gain)
- 2 Midi inputs (with merge option) + 4 Midi ouputs
- Metronome out
- 2 assignable foot switches
- Sync I/O with level trimmer.
- RS-232C connector (factory not activated, can it be removed to install optional Marion SCSI board) 


Os and sampling

OS Latest OS: 3.10 OS Originally early OS cannot handle samples longer than 5 seconds, but this limit has been removed with latest OS 3.10, as well as mono sampling adding a special "pseudo stereo mode" albeit the  hardware is of course still monophonic. 
ALTERNATIVE OS the VIMANA 3.15 is a special OS developped by third-part with different functions. It can be changed swapping 4 EPROMS

SAMPLER  the main core based is an Intel 8-bits 80186 which manages 16 channels polyphony; DAC is a Burr Brown PCM54HP and ADC is a PCM77P.  Internal sampling engine is based on a 12 bits which recording frequency range is fixed to 40 kHz. 
RAM: 750kB sampling memory, doubled if optional memory board EXM00 (Companded mod doubles sample time with quality loss only for 3.10)
also 8 programs (each contains 16 sounds per bank / up to 4 banks)  + 
 128 sounds (only 34 for OS lower than 3.1)

Sample Structure

volume gain set

up to + 6db gain

Sample tuning 

range from -12 to +6 semitones


 a mini EG for amplitude with Attack + Decay segments
- mono / poly / gated sample play modes

Sample trim process

with coarse of fine search

Pad Assign

Assign 2 or 3 samples to a single pad with possible velocity switch threshold.


PERFORMANCE handy features for lives:
- FULL LEVEL switch: plays all pads at full gain velocity 
- NOTE VARIATION slider: a real-time controller changes the decay, tuning, attack of a sample  
- 16 LEVELS: assign a sound to all pads with 16 variation of a single parameter (volume / tuning for chromatic play / decay / attack)  
- NOTE REPEAT synched rolls or fills for recording (can be changed using quantisize level)  
- TRIGGER set allows to play a single set from external source (special standalone mode)  
- DRUM MIX special screen with overview mix, analog ouputs assigned as well as management of send/return to hook external FX unit. 

SEQUENCER Each track can be assigned to internal sounds or external Midi channel (it also handles exclusive systems). A special TOOL (FREE) for 3.1 allows to convert MPC sequences to standard SMF Midi files, Famous Akai swing mode from 50 to 75% add special Mojo to your beats.
- FUNCTIONS: change signature, loopmode, solo mode, overdub, punch IN, shift offset, tempo change, erase and copy. Each pad can be assigned to a different MIDI note for external triggering and some basic Control changes.
- Correction tempo can be set to 1/8, 1/8T, 1/16, 1/16T,1/32 , 1/32)
- Memory - 20 songs / 99 sequences  / 99 tracks /  max 60000 events

 SYNC internal tempo range from 30 to 300 BPM can slave-synched to:
- external Midi clock   / SMPTE  / external trigger   / tape FSK24


Disk Upgrade

internal 720kb disk can be replace by more modern USB disk, still slow but more reliable and can contains a lot more of information.

Related and gallery

AKAI MPC60 technical data 

Company: Akai / LINN
Country: USA / JAPAN

Class: sampler  
Pads: 16 dynamic
Dates: 1988
Display: LCD 240 x 64
Resolution: 12 bits
Sampling rate: 40 kHz
Polyphony: 16 voices
Filter: none
LFO: none
Envelope: 1 EG A-D
Sequencer: 16 tracks
Sync: Midi, SMPTE, trigger
Swing: 50-75%
Memory: 750 Kb
Storage: 720Kb FD
CPU: intel 80186

Weight: 10,5 Kg
Dimensions: 495 (w) x 127 (h) x 471 (d) mm
trend price : 1200€

MPC60 demo

Are you a MPC60  fan? how do you use it? You do not agree with our review?  Let us know in the comment field just below