The Akai MPC1000 is the small little workhorse of the MPC range. But for producers that want a sturdier, meaner machine, does the MPC2500 fit the bill? First, let’s look at some of the major similarities & differences:
MPC2500 vs MPC1000: Software Differences
Fundamentally, the two machines have a virtually identical operating system. That said, there are some differences that we need to highlight – in all instances, the MPC2500 is the machine with the extra OS features.
- Chop Shop – The MPC2500 is able to automatically chop loops based on analysis of the peaks in the waveform. The MPC1000 cannot do this – instead it simply splits the waveform in equal parts (the MPC2500 gives this option also) – FIXED in OS 2.13
- MIDI Synching – the MPC2500 allows MTC (MIDI TIME CODE) synching.
- AutoLoop – A quick press of this button the the MPC2500 and you can automatically loop a break at the correct loop points
- Velocity > Pitch – In the MPC2500, you can set the pitch of a pad to change based on the velocity you hit the pad.
- Grid Editing – A visual step editor that offers a great alternative to the numerical editing of Step Edit.
- Direct Recording – Allows you to record a non-MIDI internal sample while playing back a sequence, thus ensuring you play your sample in time. This can be used when recording things like vocals, scratching and guitar parts.
- Recordable track mutes – finally, the ability to record muted sections of a sequence!
- Track mute to pad – assign sequencer tracks to pads for easier live experiemntation of track mutes (similar to the ‘sequence to pad’ feature found on most MPCs)
- Improved USB functionality – unlike the MPC1000, the MPC2500 does not ‘lock up’ when in USB mode
- Autochromatic Assign – instant and dirty multisample programs using the favourite XL feature that was ommitted on the 1K.
- Output assignment – the MPC2500 lets you assign mono samples to just one output, but with the 1000, it has to be assigned to a stereo pair and panned hard left or right for true mono.
MPC2500 vs MPC1000: Hardware Differences
When it comes to hardware, we have two very different machines.
- Pad feel – the MPC2500 has the classic MPC feel to the pads. The MPC1000 on the other hand has very poor, hard pads which have been known to bust quite easily. The MPC1000 pads were improved on later models, so the pads feel close to the classic MPC pad feel, but as they are smaller, they are still not quite the same.
- Outputs – the MPC25000 has a total of 10 outputs, the MPC1000 has 6.
- MIDI Outs – the MPC25000 has twice the MIDI outs (4).
- Tilting Screen – a very useful feature, something that always made the XL far superier to the MPC2000.
- Q-Links – the MPC2500 has 2 Q sliders and 2 Qlink dials compared to the two sliders on the MPC1000
- Data wheel – Here, both machines fail miserably as both feature horrible plasticy jog wheels. However compared to each other, I feel the MPC1000 has a slightly superior wheel as it doesn’t make the ‘clacking’ noise of its big brother.
- CF Card – again, both machines have quite a poor CF slot which makes it difficult to slot the card in.
- CDROM – the MPC2500 has an optional CDROM drive from which you are able to sample from directly.
- More dedicated buttons – the MPC2500 sees the welcome return of the dedicated number pad and also buttons like ‘STEP’ (rather than using shift and BAR).
- Less cramped feel – everything feels more spacious on the MPC2500. With the MPC1000, it’s always a problem accidentally hitting the wrong button, e.g. hitting the PLAY button when performing actions on the mode and shift buttons (I’ve got big hands).
- Weight – you cannot describe the MPC2500 as portable!
Generally speaking, I prefer the MPC2500, It has a better build, better feel and a superior operating system. Of course with the introduction of JJOS, the differencs in the operating system features have all but disappeared, as JJOS tends to be 99.5% identical across the two MPC models.
I’ll be looking at JJOS in more detail elsewhere on the site, but assuming the OS on the two machines were identical, I feel the MPC2500 edges it for me. But of course on the other side of the fence, there is something to be said for the MPC1000 – it’s small and light and powerful and many people do not need the additional ‘extras’ offered by the MPC2500 – so why not save yourself a few hundred dollars?
Either way, each one will provide you with a classic MPC workflow, and that’s what really matters.