The Akai MPC2000 was my first real sampler. I used it throughout all the original Xero and Hybrid Theory demos and our first album. After that, I started making beats directly in ProTools.
I got back into the MPC with Fort Minor. But I ran into a little problem: I’ve been collecting samples and sounds for about 15 years now, so I have a massive library of stuff I might want to pull from, and a lot of them are in different formats. It would take forever to import all that stuff on an MPC. Not to mention I couldn’t travel with an MPC–it’s too bulky. I opted to use the MPC for some stuff, and other solutions at other times. It was complicated, and I wanted to have one sampler that could do everything.
A year or so ago, I found a solution. MASCHINE, made by Native Instruments, is a software-based sampler. It’s a laptop program + physical controller combo. I can import my stuff easily, sample new stuff in it, store and organize my samples on my laptop, and make beats using the built-in sequencer. The effects are solid, and I can add more effects from third parties (like Waves, for example). It can open as a stand-alone program (which is how I usually use it), or open as a plug-in in ProTools.
But most importantly, it’s pretty compact, and the actual controller is awesome. Even the big one fits in my backpack, and I can write with it almost anywhere. It’s got the MPC pads–which feel like the MPC–but they light up when each sound is playing. I love this feature, because without it, I’d occasionally find it hard to remember which button corresponds with which sound. It has 16 pads x 8 banks, which leaves room for tons of sounds.
Native Instruments just released an update to the software, plus two new controller options, seen above. I use the big one, which is great. The smaller one and the little iPhone app versions will be available October 1st. They didn’t ask me to write this, nor am I expecting any piece of gear for writing it. I simply love this piece of gear. I’m going to go download the software update now…