DesiHipHop’s Music 101 – MPCs And The History Behind It

, , , aims to push forward the Hip-Hop culture in South Asia. For this, it is very crucial to make the artists aware of the general things every musician who aspires to sell his or her music should be aware of. DesiHipHop’s Music 101 aims at doing just that! This series will give our readers information about how the music industry works, and what are it’s most common factors. Without further ado, let’s begin!

desihiphop music 101

What Is A MPC?

Have you ever wondered what this instrument which looks like a landline phone actually is? We’re talking about one of the most revolutionary electronic instruments of all time. If you’re wondering what it is, let us put your mind at ease – it’s a MPC. Here is how the history related to MPC has been. Invest your attention and get enlightened.

MPC stands for Music Production Controller. American industrial designer – Roger Linn came up with the idea of designing an electronic drum machine just because he couldn’t play the acoustic drums. “I was a guitarist and songwriter and while making song demos, the hardest part to play and record was the drums. Simple drum machines existed at the time but had two problems: they had a poor sound and they weren’t programmable. I had been learning about electronics and computers, so I made my own.” Roger said in an interview.

Roger was talking about The LM-1 Drum Machine which revolutionized the electronic production in music industry forever in 1980. Furthermore, this machine was used by Prince, Michael Jackson and numerous others on their hit records. Gradually, a series of other machines were released by Linn like LinnSequence, Linn 9000 and others.

Evolution of MPCs

MPC60 was the world’s first MPC which came out in 1988. In fact, MPC60 had a sampler, drum machine and a MIDI controller all packed in one machine. Roger Linn co-designed it with Akai and took his idea to a whole new level. The initial idea of creating an electronic drum machine changed with the addition of MIDI sequencer. Although samples were being used before this, MPC60 made it easy. MPC60 had a capacity of 99 sequences, 20 songs and 60,000 notes.

akai-mpc60-361521Akai MPC60

In addition, the sampling memory was of 13.1 seconds (750 KB) and was expandable up to 26.2 seconds (1.5 MB). Producers started experimenting with sampling their own sounds to create some new ones. MPC60 II came out in 1991 and as a result, 90’s hip-hop witnessed a lot of sampled beats.

Akai MPC3000 came out in 1994 and broke the limitations that MPC60 had. As a matter of fact, Akai MPC3000 increased the sample rate and increased the memory mark. It offered 22 seconds to 3 minutes of sampling if the memory was being expanded. It is said that Dr. Dre reportedly used as much as five Akai MPC3000s on The Chronic. That’s how much Dre liked it!

Roger Linn’s Separation From Akai

In an earlier interview, Roger suggested, “From what I’ve seen, Akai seems to be making slight changes to my old 1986 designs for the original MPC, basically rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. By comparison, my design was truly a unique drum machine. It was created for the way people make music today instead of how it was made 20 years ago”. That’s the same thing that Akai’s future releases suggested.

1086994Roger Linn With An Akai MPC

Roger decided to part ways from Akai after the release of Akai MPC3000. The first MPC that Akai released after Roger’s stepping away was Akai MPC2000. This sudden step back from 3000 to 2000 was confusing but was the only way for Akai to save royalties from Roger. Akai decided to not use Roger’s signature swing design and avoided royalties but failed to satisfy their users. A lot of people criticised it, but Kanye West used it for his earlier productions and admits that he loved it. Akai MPC2000 came out in 1997 and after two years Akai launched Akai MPC2000 XL. MF Doom, Pete Rock and other music legends praised this release a lot.

Hardware Market Of MPC In The Digital Era

2000s witnessed one of the most iconic changes in the music production business, the popularity of Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). DAWs were around from a while but the way it became cheaper and popular made Akai worried about becoming outdated. This tension gave birth to MPC1000 in the year of 2003. A similar product then came out in 2007 and the name was MPC2500. Both of these machines featured USB connectivity and expandable memory through memory cards.

Akai launched MPC Renaissance in 2012 which relied on Akai’s MPC software function. It is the first MPC which survives on the power from an external source – like a PC or a Mac. In the competitive market, MPCs stand face to face with Native Instruments Maschine and Ableton Push Controller.

What do you guys want us to cover next? is trying to bring history and importance of several terminologies and technologies used in the music industry to the public eye. If you have any suggestions or demands on what we should cover next, let us know in the comments sections down below.