At £800, the MPC Live was already a costly investment for any musician looking to take advantage of the legendary workflow, and chunky pads. Add in the fact that a couple of weeks before it was finally released, the price was quietly ramped up by a whopping £160 for those who hadn’t pre-ordered, and a fair few people were left feeling bemused and angry.
This made for a shaky start for the MPC Live, launching on something of a wave of resentment, with some users reporting bugs, crashes and missing features. But what’s the truth? After owning and using the instrument for three months, we reveal all in this review…
Three Months With the MPC Live
As a newcomer to the MPC world, I didn’t find the transition particularly taxing, and it’s rewarding to discover the little shortcuts that are hidden everywhere. The machine’s somewhat idiosyncratic menu is fairly easy to get your head around, and the pads are thick, chunky and responsive. The touchscreen may put some people off, but it is an undeniably effective way to control the device, and manipulate samples.
It comes with a hefty library of samples and content to play with, and there are some very usable sounds inside. The screen is also ideally suited to controlling effects as an XY pad – although for some reason, you can’t then edit the automation curves on the actual device – to do that you have to use the software that comes with the product.
Speaking of the software MPC 2.0, it’s effective at what it does, although it doesn’t add much functionality to using the actual device. I love how easy it is to simply save a project from the machine to an SD card and carry on working on it on the computer, though. You can then add in your favourite plug ins to the mix and keep working on your track without disrupting your flow.
It’s not all good, though. For this price it should be an impressive piece of kit, and somehow it was released without the bluetooth or WiFi capabilities that even the box promise. Certain time stretching functionality that was promised also seems to be mysteriously missing, hopefully these updates will be coming soon.
Another issue is largely unavoidable, but the design of the device means it can be a little uncomfortable, as you have to stoop over to look at the screen. Using a cheap tablet stand solves this issue in the main, however (and you could always buy its bigger brother the MPC X, which has an angled screen).
Rumours suggest a major update to address these issues is coming imminently, and we hope that this update pushes this unit to be the great bit of kit it clearly has the potential to be.