What’s going on family?

I recently picked up another Akai MPC 4000 for my studio after years of wanting to replace the one I sold back in 2007. The MPC 4000 by far is my favorite standalone MPC ever. The depth of the feature set and the sampling options surpasses all of the other MPCs that I’ve owned in the past (MPC 2000xl, MPC 1000, MPC 2500). This past weekend I began a series of comparison tests on some of the most well known drum machine/samplers ever developed, namely the Akai MPC 2000XL, the Akai MPC 4000 and Native Instruments Maschine.

I was inspired to perform a set of qualitative tests on these machines since this was the first that time I had all three in my setup at the same time. It’s easy to lump all of the modern samplers together in to the same category sound wise given their similar feature sets, however I think this may be a mistake. During my first test this weekend, I set out to test the sound quality of these 3 samplers to get a better perspective of how they may differ. Many of my expectations were shattered during this test and I discovered some stark differences between each sampler. I wanted to share the results of my tests from this weekend with the community for reference.

I recorded an 8 bar loop using the same drum samples loaded directly into each of the samplers. I used full velocity on all of the patterns in order to make sure there were no differences in volume and dynamics. The drum loop contains layered kick drums and layered snare drums along with a single hihat sample. I recorded the stereo outputs of the MPC 2000XL and the MPC 4000 through the UAD Neve 1073 with 10db of gain switched on. The Maschine versions were bounced through the master output with the UAD 1073 on the master bus with 10db of gain. All of the sounds were level matched using RMS levels and there is no additional panning or processing on any of the samples.

Have a listen to the results below and let me know your thoughts. Which one sounds better to you and why? Leave your comments below.

Track Order:
MPC 2KXL-8Bars
MPC 4k-8Bars
Maschine with Group Level Matching-8Bars
Maschine with Master Level Matching-8Bars