A few years back I was looking for standalone music equipment to add to my production studio. I wanted to get off FL Studio and be able to take my music on the go. If you are like me you want to be able to make dope beats anywhere. So after about 2 years of owning my Akai MPC Live II I figured it was time for a honest review.
The price of Akai MPC Live II
First thing I must mention is the price. Unless you got over $1000 or good credit you should probably stick with FL Studio. There are alternatives. If you want pads you can get a Novation FLkey which I have and it has quality responsive pads. With that said, the price is definitely worth paying.
The build of Akai MPC Live II
MPCs have always been quality so I was excited when I first got mine. It's definitely well made as well as lightweight. Very compact and it's just great to hold. The pads are also very nice to touch. The rubber is a higher quality than the FLkey. There are upgrades available if you want to trick out your MPC Live II or need spare parts you can check out MPCstuff.com
The main selling point for me was it has built in speakers so you don't have to hook it up to your computer or monitors. It also has a rechargeable battery inside so I can take my MPC on the go and make beats anywhere. I did have a problem with my battery and I had to send it back to Sweetwater so they could fix it for me. But of course I got a display model so that might have played a part in the battery going out. It has a touch screen which is also revolutionary. It makes edits and chopping samples easier.
When you chop samples on this thing it's way faster and easier than on FL Studio. I'm not a big expert on previous MPCs but the way I can just go into the chop menu and bang the pads to program my chops as it's playing makes this process a breeze compared to on the computer.
It's got 16gb of internal storage but you have multiple options for extra storage. It's got an SD card slot which I recommend. But you can also plugin USB drives and thumb drives. The USB ports can also be used to plugin keyboards and other gear. MIDI support is of course available.
You're not limited to the internal speakers. If you wish you can plug your monitors or headphones into the respective jacks and listen that way. TBH I always use the internal speakers and I've never plugged in any monitors or headphones.
It also has tons of great effects. plugins and sounds. But exporting stems are a little tricky.
When I first got it it took me a day or two to get the hang of how it works so it shouldn't take you long to figure out how to make beats on the MPC Live II
The best piece of music equipment I own. The only thing preventing it from 5 stars is the battery issue