Needing help finding a sampler (mpc live anyone?)

dear all,

i hope this is not too off-topic. having been researching on, borrowing, buying and returning a few, i am looking for an outboard sampler that can do the following. i would be super gracious for any hints and help! <3

  • polyphonic (min. 4 fold) voicing per sample
  • each sample assignable to an own midi-channel
  • … sequenceable externally (obviously)

beyond that, and this seems to be the bottleneck, i would love to see

  • an additional, internal, (clock-)syncable sequencer that allows for (live-)recording of (internal) parameters (twiddling knobs on such as sample length, pitch… what ever) while notes are still received externally.

in a nutshell:
i want to polyphonically sequence multiple samples externally while recording only parameter-automations inside this dubious device :slight_smile:

i have not tried the newer MPC models – if anyone has insight on these or of course any other sampler, i’d be happy to hear about it.

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edit: might have misunderstood: you are going to use a seperate sequencer to sequence the sampler yes? if so:

highly recommend old emu rack samplers. im using an mpc2000 rn and i think im going to add or switch to an akai s1000 or emu e4x tbh.

anyways i think an emu would do the trick, e6400/e4x have a built in midi sequencer (more like a midi recorder tho that you can edit by event) and have multiple pages of assignable midi cc (im not sure you can record cc changes tho). wow maybe i should buy an emu again lol

thanks @echoing! appreciate the help… yes and no – i would like to use an external sequencer for notes only, recording the sampler’s internal parameter-modulations on/in its own sequencer… does that make sense?

i’ve peeked into the old machines every once in a while – kind of frightened of their size and cumbersome handling, menu diving, file storage… mhmhm… maybe i have to spend some more effort investigating the emus, yet – is it doubtlessly possible to track and playback (=sequence) internal parameter-edits / recordings while receiving notes externally? my desired workflow would be:

  1. clock-sync sampler to external sequencer
  2. send notes to sampler (don’t record them in the sampler!)
  3. twiddle knobs on sampler while receiving notes and only record knob-changes to it’s internal sequencer

thanks again!

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I use a MPC Live…for my Beats almost exclusively. Its my masterclock when i produce with it and i record audio from my modular/guitar setup into it. It has serious flaws (most fully integrated workstations have these) and i like the pads…that was my selling point. Pads that light up in velocity, sequence and userdefinable colors. I always know which pad is a Bassdrum etc. to your questions:

-yes its polyphonic and there are different ways of using samples. Either as Programs of multiples-most basic as a beat/bassline/sample thing containing everything. Or as complex multisample engines contaning up to 4 samples per pad. A fun thing to test polyphony was when Marbles and Hermod tickled the new software synths that come with update 2.4. i had multiple stages of scale changes and harmonizing tools trigger these midi input without remorse…i think it stopped playing all notes only when i exceeded 6 Octaves-its pretty comprehensive but its still midi and will stop playing notes when it exceeds its own polyphony.

-all new MPCs can record twidling of knobs internaly…BUT, its a pain to edit these. There is no way to record multiple layers and edit. For example: you record a great first pass twidling pitch and fuck up in the second pass. Either undo the second pass immediately or abandon the whole idea because you can not see whats being recorded inside the machine. I‘m pretty sure but have not tried, that you can midi cc a lot of parameters externally and therefore being able to see/edit what you have been tweaking.
And yes NONE of this can be done independently of notes / general parameters. You‘ll have to record step by step.
In my Setup i can do this with Hermod tho-this is my live midi / cv hub where any parameter can be recorded or routed.

-in the end the Sequencer inside MPC is this legacy of famous tricks that have been used on every trap record in the last decade, mainly the 16levels feature that allows 1 pad to be played over 16 half tones (the pitched 808) and the beat repeat triggering precise notes to tempo (the trrrrrr hihat) and the many possibilities to finetune notes in swing and position. Apart from that you get a ‚stepsequencer‘ which is pisspoor actually :laughing: i love it for the boombap features and i would love it to get more modern but its akai and it wont progress really​:poop:

Major flaws of the MPC Live (the rant)

-this machine only has its famous microtiming when it is the Master. Somehow when Pamela was clocking it…it was seriously wonky💩 and Pamela is incredibly tight with the rest of my setup

-All and any midi cc needs to be programmed in really tedious looking pages and even if you have a masters degree in midi ccness, its really easy to lose any connection with actual music making right on these midi pages.

-the manual for this?..come on akai this is really not doing justice to this comprehensive instrument.

-really basic new school tricks have been completely ignored. Eg. copying pads to new pads or new pads inside new programs is not possible. As of why, somebody will wait on the akai insider forum…

Whats good is the sound of the DACs its something i‘ve grown to like. The effects and filters can have weight and work well sometimes. And the pads-love these❤️

I wished MPC could do all tricks mentioned by you but it won’t. And maybe you need to look into a granular sampler like the tasty chips?


wow @crazeebo, thanks so much for the comprehensive reply! didn’t figure on that :slight_smile: a very nice read!

having gotten lost in it a bit, briefly back to bread and butter – am i understanding correctly

recording “automations” for a sequence internally is doable on the fly, but cumbersome to edit (and undo)…? i’m planning to use the sampler in question as a live device only – i don’t really need to edit recordings in detail – basically i want an internal sequence (loop?) of an arbitrary length to be running, allowing me to record a parameter-edit to it (for instance, record a pitch modulation over 4 bars, that loops when i’m done “twiddling” :))

this i don’t fully understand (i hope)… are you saying that it won’t be possibly to not recording incoming notes while how ever recording internal parameter-edits (as described above)? meaning, if i send notes to the mpc externally while “twiddling” on the machine, both will be recorded and played back on the internal sequence (my “loop”)?

sorry for asking so pedantically :slight_smile:

:smiley: yes its complicated
Inside the live there is no way you can see or edit what has been tweaked. And its always dependent on a program (the actual sample layout) so therefore you load a program, tweak & record and that can be saved or not. But once you exchange samples with new ones, that automation is gone because you load new samples or worse, record new samples. Mpc‘s whole architecture is built upon sample-layer-sequence-finetune. These steps cannot be interchanged. For example i load program x. I want to replace pad y with a new sample. In that case i need to either load it from a bin or go to record sample into bin-i cannot just record it live there and then in a playing loop. Akai is oldschool, this architecture has been there since day 1.

You might also want to check out the deluge as well. There will be a looper update shortly…
Isnt a looper solving your problems?

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On an MPC you can see and edit what you’ve recorded - notes, CCs, any midi data - by using List Edit.
(Caveat - I have a 4000, not the Live / X, but I know the new ones have this feature now).

For note data it’s pretty easy to tweak velocities, timing etc. in a very precise way.

CCs are more difficult to deal with there, because there a lot of discrete events to edit. But you can at least see what you’ve recorded.

I have an Elektron Octatrack if you are interested in that, hit me up. There is also a new sampler from 1010 Music based on the BitBox which looks pretty interesting. I have a BitBox so I’m also happy to answer any questions if you have them.

I LOVE samplers and have used many both live and in the studio, starting with the Wonderful Akai S950 many moons ago (which I still have because it rocks!)



So the Digitakt didn’t work out? :wink:

So, nope, not Digitakt.

Okay, i have 4 rotary hardware potis i can abuse and record cc‘s on the live. But its impossible to even see all 4 on a page together. Its impossible to change/edit cool gestures. The gestures basically need to be recorded-undone until they fit my taste :smiley:

Actually thats my story as well-finding the best possible sampler for a period of time…
The crossfader on the octatrack is killer
The load/wait feature on the deluge is killer
The sound of the Emu6400 is killer
The live input of the tasty chips is killer
The convenience of Kontakt is killer
Borderlands granular is killer


Yeah right! So I need to own:

Akai s950 - old school sound
OP1 - pure fun and joy - hipster points
ER301 - a modular in a module
BITBOx - easy to use
Yamaha VSS30 - Lofi awesomeness
Ableton Push2 - the best sampler all round (but in a DAW booooo)
Octatrack - delivers but my god, it takes work

I’d be curious to hear more about what you’re trying to accomplish, in as much detail as possible, and why (for example) you want to decouple the sampler’s own sequencer providing the sound tweaks vs. just sending CC"s and program changes from your master sequencer. There might be a better way to do what you’re trying to do!

To answer your question - look into the Roland MC-909. They’re massive, just enormous, but they can do what you’re trying to accomplish pretty well.

Check out the Synthstrom Deluge. Multi-sample was introduced in update 2.0.


I, too, am always searching for the holy grail of samplers.

What I try not to think about is that what I am always essentially looking for is “Ableton.” Which does literally everything I could ever want.

I’m resigned to just calling my MacBook Pro “Ableton in a box.” I just wish it had the MPC X’s IO built in. A cross fader would also be nice. Oh well…


This sounds very much like you’re talking about the Akai Force. The Force is standalone but acts like Ableton, can sample, has lots of IO, a crossfader, and plenty more. Might be worth looking into, if you’ve got the money for it.

The Akai products just aren’t there, IMO.

The real innovation when Ableton dropped in the early aughts wasn’t its grid; the real innovation was streaming samples from disk. With the Akai samplers, including the Force, you have to load everything into the “sample pool” (which streams from RAM) first.

Also, auditioning kits on Akai machines is painful (assuming they haven’t fixed this since I sold my Live). If you want to play a kit, you have to load it onto ram. Then if you decide not to use it in your beat, you have to go delete all of its samples from the project sample pool one by one.

Honestly, the closest thing I’ve found so far has been an iPad running Beatmaker 3. That plugged into an Es-8 eurorack module and you’ve got what is pretty damn close to an MPC X, with a far more robust workflow.

I’ll echo this. I just got one and it’s awesome and flexible so far.


If by “see” you mean see graphically, like automation curves in a DAW, you’re correct.

But in List edit you can sort the view so that you only see the automation data, and the different CC numbers will distinguish one CC from another, so you can see 4 of them at once, if you care to try. I gather from your tone that a list of data values is probably not what you’re looking for. But “impossible to see 4 on a page together” and “impossible to edit” is just not true.