Akai have replaced their popular entry level standalone MPC, the MPC One, with the new MPC One Plus (‘MPC One+’). Let’s take a closer look at what exactly has changed.
What’s New with the MPC One Plus?
The MPC One Plus has the following new features:
- Increased internal disk storage (16GB From 4GB)
- Red casing
Beyond the above, the MPC Plus + is identical to the original MPC One, apart from one feature; the built in ethernet port from the original model has been completely removed. RRP is also the same, at $699.
Why do I need Wifi?
Network access is becoming a larger part of the MPC experience. For example, if you wish to use any of Akai’s premium plugins you’ll have to initially log into your inMusic account from within your MPC to then activate the plugins over the internet (note: according to Akai, once logged in and activated, there’s no requirement to remain online).
Firmware updates can also be performed entirely online from the MPC ‘preferences’ screen. Most firmware updates can also be performed via USB stick or by connecting your MPC to a computer via USB connection to your computer, but a recent hotfix was actually only released ‘over the air’ (OTA), so perhaps this will eventually be the only way to update?
Internet connection is also needed to sync with Splice (if you use it). Maybe in the future there will be other content services, or even the ability to synth with cloud storage solutions like Dropbox.
A network connection can also be used for Ableton Link, allowing you to sync your MPC over wifi.
Now, you don’t specifically need wifi for any of this, the original MPC One had an ethernet port for these network related tasks, but wifi is certainly more convenient as many people simply don’t have a nearby ethernet port to use (but see my workarounds later in this article)
What is Bluetooth used for?
Bluetooth support in the MPC allows you to use Bluetooth enabled MIDI controllers (such as the Korg Microkey Air). You can also use Bluetooth to send MIDI data to an iPad. In both situations, no MIDI or USB cables are needed, so bluetooth MIDI is quite useful for mobile beat making use.
Just be aware that Bluetooth audio is NOT supported, mainly because the latency would be too great for it to be usable.
What is the internal storage used for?
The internal 16GB storage is used to store the included factory library of kits and demo projects. It can also be used to save your own projects to, but as I’ve pointed oiut before, this is NOT recommended as the internal storage is not accessible from a computer, making it very difficult to backup your work and impossible to transfer data over to it (so it can’t be used to store your own sound library for example).
So as things stand, adding more internal storage to the MPC One looks good on paper, it doesn’t really add any practical benefits. Perhaps in the future these restrictions will change, but for the moment you’ll definitely be better off using a large capacity SD card or USB drive for all your saving and storage requirements, as when connected to your MPC these drives are all accessible from a computer via USB connection.
I hear the MPC One Plus has more memory and more powerful processor – is this true?
No, this is not true. The MPC One Pus has the exact same memory (2GB) and same CPU as the original MPC One. There is no change whatsoever in this regard. There were rumours that this new MPC One would have 4GB memory (like the MPC Key and MPC X SE), but this turned out to be incorrect. Some retailers even state that the MPC One Plus has ‘more memory’, but this is wrong; it has more internal storage space, but as stated above, this is used for ‘storing’ data, it’s not ‘memory’.
The MPC One Plus uses the same SOC board as the original MPC One. Bluetooth and wifi were already present on that board but were disabled (I assume to avoid the costs of FCC testing, which is required for any wireless device).
Does the MPC One Plus have a battery?
Nope, just another rumour. The MPC Live 1 & 2 are the only MPCs with internal batteries. But you can of course use a suitable portable battery if you really need to use your MPC One on-the-go.
What about the build quality? Is this the same?
Yes, build quality is seemingly identical to the original MPC One.
I already have an MPC One, should I upgrade?
Given the MPC One Plus has the same RAM, CPU and software features as the original MPC One, this is really quite a tame update, so you’ll have to decide whether the new features are worth the outlay.
The good thing is that the MPC One plus is actually a tiny bit cheaper than the original MPC One, the bad news is that you’re likely to get a lot less for your old MPC One model on the second hand market, as many people will likely be selling off to update.
Before buying an MPC One Plus consider the following:
- Red casing – you can buy MPC One skins from a number of third parties, most allow you to design your own, I also assume many will soon offer an MPC One Plus skin. But you can of course have any colour or design you wish, not just red!
- Wireless internet – if you don’t have an ethernet port in your studio but have wifi, a wireless repeater could be the solution. If you get a portable/travel repeater, you can take it around with your MPC One to any location. just make sure the repeater features a built in ethernet port. The repeater will latch on to any nearby wifi signal and will provide internet and network access to your MPC One via the ethernet port.
Alternatively, many MPC One owners are using android phones to share a a wifi connection via USB tethering. At the time of writing, it seems USB tethering does not work on iPhones, and some Android users also report problems with this. It’s definitely not ‘officially’ supported, but it’s worth a try.
I want an MPC One Plus, but I’d prefer the stability of an ethernet connection!
This is an easy fix, just grab a cheap USB to ethernet adapter and connect this to the USB 2.0 port. The MPC One Plus only has a single USB port, so if you need this for other purposes (USB MIDI, USB interfaces, disks etc), you’ll need a powered USB hub (which you’ll probably be using anyway). Alternatively, just temporarily connect the ethernet adapter whenever you specifically need network access.
How does the MPC One Plus compare to the other current MPC models?
Check out my Standalone MPC Buyers Guide, which compares the MPC One Plus to the MPC X SE, MPC Live 2 and MPC Key 61,