It might look retro, but the MPC X Special Edition is actually “the most powerful MPC ever”

Akai Pro MPC X Special Edition
(Image credit: Akai Pro)

Recent models may have come in black, but as far we’re concerned, the MPC colour is grey, so we’re delighted to see that Akai has returned to this retro scheme for its MPC X Special Edition. Launched to celebrate the Music Production Centre’s 35th birthday, this takes the meat of the standard MPC X, which was released in 2017, and adds some 2023 garnish.

Read the full Akai Pro MPC X Special Edition review

Actually, garnish probably isn’t the word, because the improvements here are far more than decorative. In fact, there are some very practical additions: RAM has been doubled from 2GB to 4GB, and the internal storage capacity has been raised to 48GB, up from 16GB.

The additional memory should mean faster loading times and better performance, while the extra space ensures that you can store more large projects. That said, some of the hard drive space is taken up with an expanded roster of instruments, including the Fabric XL synth, Stage Piano and OPx4 FM synth that were previously seen in the MPC Key 61. 100+ Insert Effects from AIR Music Tech are included, too.

Of course, you also get all the features that MPC X fans will be familiar with, such as a 10.1-inch multi-gesture touchscreen, 16 assignable Q Link knobs with OLEDs, and that iconic bank of 16 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads. 

There’s plenty of connectivity, too - audio, MIDI and CV/Gate, for example - along with WiFi, Bluetooth and Ableton Link 3 support. The MPC 2 Desktop software for PC and Mac is also included.

“The journey for MPC has been a labour of love,” reckons Senior Akai Professional product manager Dan Gill. “We strive every day to deliver the tools that will empower all music-makers, from our life-long MPC users who trust and rely on their MPCs to keep up with their daily music grind, down to the newest members of the MPC community who look to the MPC legend as they foray into their nascent musical endeavours.

“MPC X Special Edition is a tribute to where we’ve come from, what we’ve accomplished, and marker of the next chapter of innovatory, groundbreaking music product development.”

The MPC X Special Edition is available now priced at $2,499. If you want to stay on the ‘special edition’ tip but fancy a smaller and more affordable MPC, check out the MPC Live 2 Beatclub “Timbaland Edition”, which was announced earlier this month.

Find out more on the Akai Pro website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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