Pitting the merits of Native Instruments’ Maschine v. MPC from Akai, both DJ recording tools offer a premium-level performance and are used every day all over the world to produce beats, melodies, and harmonies.
Any working musician will tell you, they’re on a limited budget. Choosing between a Maschine or an MPC is difficult. For some genres, one might be preferable to the other. Even on some songs within the same genre, one might be used over the other and it can be difficult to know where the most value is.
What’s for sure is that you don’t need both. The Maschine and MPC are very similar, offer many of the same features, and can be applied in more or less the same way.
After this article, if you have any doubts about where you stand on the Maschine v. MPC conversation and are considering making a purchase, we encourage you to read some online user reviews to get a sense of others’ experiences.
At the end of the day, no matter what genre of music you make, having either the Maschine or MPC available to you in writing and recording, if not performance as well, can open you up to all sorts of new sounds and approaches to beat-making, songwriting, and composition.
Why Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Is A Great Pick
Native Instruments Maschine is a top-notch production and DJ performance instrument. Use it to create tracks and beats fast and intuitively.
As a DAW, Maschine is designed like a drum machine just like the MPC. The Maschine has a few different variations. The Maschine Mk3 is one of the more popular. It uses larger, more sensitive pads and has its own soundcard. The best features of the premium Maschine Studio are included in the Mk3 at a more affordable price point and a more compact design overall.
The price of many basic Maschine DJ setups on the market will be more affordable than an MPC or a sampler.
That is the first major advantage Maschine has over MPC. If it’s a case of you absolutely needing either a Maschine or an MPC today and you’re looking to save money, go with the Maschine.
By purchasing a Maschine, you get a controller that will hook up to any sequencing software. Within seconds, you’ll be good to go to start creating beats. Designed similarly to an Akai MPC, the Maschine controller features sixteen pads and back-lit buttons. It is compatible with Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ software as well as Ableton Live and FL Studio.
Many people prefer the Maschine as a more rudimentary tool when creating beats as it has a wealth of drum kit content and is quite versatile.
Why The Akai MPC Beats The Competition & May Be The Better Choice
Now let’s talk the Akai MPC. This is professional-level excellence with Ableton compatibility.
While the Maschine is more general consumer-grade, the Akai MPC has been relied upon by some of music’s biggest players.
The influence of MPC in electronic music, dance, and hip-hop is significant. It’s argued to be as important as the TR-808. DJ Shadow produced his 1996 album “Endtroducing” with an MPC. J Dilla disabled the ‘quantize’ feature of his MPC and developed his signature sampling style off the machine. Kanye West has long relied upon an MPC to compose some of his biggest hits from “The College Dropout” up to his most recent records.
Enough about its reputation though. Let’s have a real look at how well the Akai MPC holds up compared to the Maschine.
The biggest advantage to an MPC, for most people, is that it is more versatile than a drum machine and does exceed the Maschine in different ways.
An MPC offers you more than a Maschine. An MPC can be used as a live instrument, helping to make beats in real time. It can also give a more hands-on feel crafting beats in the studio.
Better yet, an MPC can be used to sample non-drum sounds, and help to craft different grooves and soundscapes off that. The workflow of an MPC is oftentimes preferable as well, compared to the limitations of a drum machine.
While Maschine can do these things in the same manner, the Akai software employed with an MPC is generally thought to have better arrangement functions.
Pick & Choose Where And When To Use Your DJ Recording Tools
This type of music gear vs. gear articles are always going to be somewhat controversial because ultimately, it does depend on personal preference. There are some people that are going to inherently prefer one over the other.
What we say is to do what feels right for you and your music.
For most people, the MPC software rates highly and they interpret it to be more versatile than Maschine. As a hardware tool, however, Maschine seems to be more popular than MPC. At least in the sense that using Maschine is closer to a standalone instrument that does not require fussing over any software to do its thing.
Then again, we can say that MPC comes with its own wealth of synths. Maschine does have its fair share of selection and it can be paired with software like Kontakt, Rector, and Guitar Rig quite easily, however, MPC is typically viewed as better.
It really comes down to what environment you’re using it in. Sometimes, Maschine gets the nod. Other times, MPC will.
No matter what you choose, amazing quality music has been produced by both. Don’t let anything hold back you or your creativity. Choose what appeals to you and go with that.
The Native Instruments Maschine and/or the Akai MPC would both make for welcome additions to any musician’s arsenal.