Akai MPC60

Akai MPC60

Akai MPC60

Electronic sampler
Inventor(s) Akai
Roger Linn

The Akai MPC60 ("MIDI Production Center 60") is an electronic musical instrument produced in 1988, by the Japanese company Akai in collaboration with designer Roger Linn.[1]

It combined MIDI sequencing and audio sampling with a set of velocity/aftertouch-sensitive performance pads, to produce an instrument optimized for use as a drum machine. The MPC60 enjoyed great popularity, particularly among musicians producing hip hop and similar styles.


The MPC60's success and popularity can perhaps be best understood in the context of earlier drum machines.

Early machines in the 1970s tended to use analogue synthesis for their sounds (characterful, but not very realistic) and only provided pre-set rhythms. By the late 1970s, use of microprocessors and affordable RAM memory led to the development of machines which allowed musicians to program their own rhythm patterns (e.g. the Roland CR-78).

Linn LM-1 (1979)

In 1979, Roger Linn produced the world's first drum machine to use digital audio samples as the sound source, the Linn LM-1. This was very popular as these sampled sounds were generally much more realistic and "punchy" than analogue ones. Another innovation of the LM-1 was its operating system optimized for real-time recording and playback of drumbeats, introducing useful features such as automatic timing correction (quantization) and variable degrees of swing timing.

In 1983, the MIDI protocol was launched, as a standard way to interconnect electronic musical instruments, and quickly became very popular, replacing the plethora of manufacturer's incompatible proprietary interfaces. MIDI provided a ready way to synchronize the operation of drum machines with other studio devices, and enabled programmed rhythms to be exchanged as MIDI note data.

Linn 9000 (1984)
SCI Studio 440 (1986)

By the mid-1980s, machines such as the Sequential Circuits Inc. Studio 440 and Linn's own Linn 9000, combined powerful MIDI sequencers with the ability to sample one's own sounds. This offered much more flexibility in terms of what had been available before, both in terms of drum sounds, and the ability to integrate the drum machine with other studio devices. However neither of these machines were a great commercial success, and both Linn and Sequential ceased trading.

Roger Linn then began a design collaboration with Akai, drawing heavily on the Linn 9000 and Studio 440 concepts, resulting in the MPC60. Drummer Willie Wilcox produced & recorded many of the original drum sounds shipped with the original Akai MPC 60.



In 1988, Akai also released the sequencer section of the MPC60 as a standalone hardware product in its own right, the ASQ10. As with the MPC60, this was renowned for its solid MIDI timing compared to computer software based systems.


In 1991, Akai re-launched the machine as the MPC60II. This incarnation nearly identical to the original MPC60, merely featuring a headphone output, and a plastic chassis instead of a metal one.

MPC 60 Sound Library

The MPC60 was widely supported by third-party sample sellers (and, of course, the instrument allowed users to do their own sampling). Many of the original MPC60 factory sounds were produced & recorded by drummer Willie Wilcox.

Details of Akai's own library are given below:

The original MPC60 came with four factory floppy disks, each with a different kit of sounds:

The Akai MPC60/MPC60II library consisted of the following:

Further MPC60 operating system development by Roger Linn

In 2006, Roger Linn's company Roger Linn Design continues to support the MPC60. Upgrades available include:

See also


  1. "MPC60 Software". Rogerlinndesign.com.

External links

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