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The Akai MPX8 is one of the more famous sampling boards on the market today. The MPX8 is a portable sampler that utilizes Akai Pro’s famous velocity-sensitive drum pads, comes with 21 classic samples, and an SD card slot to add your samples. It’s no wonder that so many musicians rely on the Akai MPX8 sampler pad.
However, there are quite a few problems with this sampler that might make someone want to find an alternative. For instance, some users find that samples they make end up getting mixed up with other samples. Others find that the whole interface is messy, and the loading time is “very slow”.
So, if you’re looking for an alternative to the Akai MPX8 sampler, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to go over some of the best samplers on the market today that is comparable with the Akai MPX8 sampler.
Korg Volca Sample Digital Sample Sequencer
This 16-key step sequencer is small but powerful, making it perfect for musicians who want to be able to control sounds. Onboard samples are enough to have you playing around for hours and creating a plethora of unique sounds and sequences. Additional sound files can be imported directly into the sequencer via MIDI, and then you can adjust the playback frequency; length; decay and amp attacks; decay times and pitch attack; and pan.
You can drag beats, skip steps to create an irregular rhythm pattern, or simply utilize it to keep tempos with samples added.
- Creates great layered sounds with a spectrum of rhythms
- Has every style filter you’d expect and more: resonance, decay, frequency, attack, etc.
- Compact making it easy to transport
- Works well when using this sampler by itself or with other devices
- Using the MIDI clock functions with this device is nearly impossible.
If you have ever seen a group or band use samplers or a solo musician that triggers backing tracks or sounds on stage unintentionally, then you’ve probably seen a Roland sampler pad used on stage. Many musicians use this sampler and consider it the industry gold standard. Drummers will love the upsides of the Roland sampler in the studio as well as live performances.
With this sampling pad part of the kit, you can easily drop in pre-loaded loops, intros, sounds, as well as one-shot samples. Entire backing tracks can be used with both speed and precision.
- 4gb of internal memory
- Great filters and effects for live sound manipulation
- Easy to import and organize your own files
- Intuitive control with velocity-sensitive pads and real-time control knobs
- Expanded USB features for accessibility
- There aren’t enough preset sample sets
- Only 6 trigger pads if you need more flexibility for live performance
- This tech is fragile–something to consider if you’re on the road a lot
- No quantize feature to sync grids or grooves
Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2
This is one of the industry’s best samplers because of all of the options and the overall reliability of the product. It’s not only small enough to fit into the slot of a backpack and to be easily transported from one gig to another, but it’s also sturdy enough to put up with years of persistent use.
You can effortlessly create beats with the sampler’s 16 highly sensitive (and back-lit multi-colored) pads, and assign patterns, samples, and sounds with this machine. With this sampler, you have access to over 2,000 sounds for drum kits, one-shot samples, basses, acoustic instruments, and leads.
- Great startup tool for producers and songwriters alike with a large loop library
- Easy to build and manipulate rhythms, melodies, progressions, and sequences
- Very intuitive to use
- Quantize functionality
- The controller editor that comes with this sampler doesn’t work with the unit
- You can’t change the octaves on this machine, so there’s only one octave to work with
Pioneer Toraiz SP-16 Professional Step Sequencer and Sampler
If you want to take your sequencing and sampling to the professional level, then the SP-16 is the perfect option. This combined step sequence and sampler is a complete performing and production all-in-one unit.
The Pioneer Toraiz SP-16 allows you to make up to 256 unique patterns while its 16 velocity-sensitive trigger pads ensure that you have room enough on the device for launching your rhythm patterns, trigger loops, as well as any of your created samples.
However, for professional DJs and synth artists, you may need more capacity. Long samples and large files may not be supported.
- Excellent sound quality – professional studio level
- Pads are incredibly responsive
- Impressive analogue filter
- The effects are limited – live sampling can be a challenge
- Issues loading long samples
- Touch screen can be, well, touchy
Akai MPC Live Music Production Controller
Akai is a well-known brand when it comes to samplers. This particular model uses the best of the existing MPC line-up and adds Bluetooth connectivity, a rechargeable battery, and 16 GB of onboard storage. This sampler can be battery powered and act as a standalone device for even the most obscure of venues.
One of the coolest things about this particular sampler is that you get a 25gb library for free as well as a plethora of software that will help you create amazing beats right away.
This MPC is intuitive enough for hobbyists, and sophisticated enough for professionals.
- Touch screen for hands-on manipulation
- Standalone functionality
- Upgradable when new features are released
- Internal effects are easy to use
- Inputs and outputs for syncing with any tech (including headphone output)
- Might be more advanced than necessary for beginners
Elektron Octatrack DPS1 MKII Dynamic Performance Sampler
This sampler is a very powerful unit for musicians that are seeking a high performing package. The Elektron Ocatrack is its own studio – all in one unit. It’s loaded with 8 MIDI tracks as well as eight stereo audio tracks that are available in any of the sampler’s 256 pattern slots. Amazing functionality.
You can capture sounds using MIDI or audio connectivity, and you can generate 64 step patterns. This sampler pad’s key benefit is that you can preload entire tracks filled with everything that you need and even edit them on the go.
You can also add effects on top of your tracks such as EQ’s, reverbs, phasers, flangers, compressors, delays, and so much more. The best feature of this sampler is that you can use a single step to add all these effects.
- Incredibly powerful device
- The effects and ability to manipulate are incredible
- Real-time sample stretching and pitch shifting
- To properly use this device, you have to do your research. It’s not intuitive.
All of the samplers above are great alternatives for the Akai MPX8 sampler pad, but which one is the best? In our personal opinion, the best alternative to the Akai MPX8 sampler is the Pioneer Toraiz Sp-16 Professional Sampler and Step Sequencer.
This is the best sampler because you can easily make your music sound professional just by using this pad. Plus, you get 256 unique patterns to work with when making your sounds. This sample pad also has enough storage to hold all of your sounds without you having to remove them every time – which makes it easier to use the same sound in different songs.
Another benefit to this sampler pad is that it’s the most responsive out of all of the other products listed above. It creates an amazing sound, and the filters are impressive.
All-in-all the Pioneer Toraiz SP-16 Professional Sampler and Step Sequencer is the best Akai MPX8 alternative.