Nothing i've used so far is as quick and easy for laying down rhythms and quick melodies. JJ OS2XL - turns it into a pretty powerful sequencer for all my synthesizers as well. I find it more efficient and tactile than using Ableton with less hassle. More fun for live performances as well. Studio in a box. Down side is the learning curve and getting around the fact that it's really 1980s tech... but using what works is what counts, not how fancy your gear is.
My first sampler was an Akai S2000 which was a budget rack sample player. It didn't impressed me enough since my E-MU 1212m with the Reason NN-XT did the job far-far better. This was around 2004. Then I bought an MPC 1000 in 2011 and the JJOS2XL actual version to replace the annoying Akai OS. So you think, Kontakt or any other software sampler handling things better and more efficient? I bet you will change your mind when you spent a few hour with the MPC1K under JJOS2XL. Far the best and easiest hardware sampler I seen until nowadays. My enthusiasm rooted one hand because the excellent sound engine and another hand because the JJOS2XL operation system. These together makes this beast as a real warrior. It can drive 2 gears outside, and the MPC1K didn't get the terrible MIDI timing problem like the MPC5K, so it can be as precise like any other pro MIDI gear. I tried it in many ways, in the bed at evening, connected my phone's out to the input and sampled some favourite phrase from a science interview with Michio Kaku. On the stage controlling my DAW on the notebook and release some long sample. On my vacation in the hotel room creating the first impressions after an inspirative day. This gear can fit near any situation if you able to plug it. You can expand the memory to 128 MB and add a simple IDE 2.5 HDD. The CF card slot is default. If you don't use the special JJOS2XL format, the basic PGM files can be read by MPC 2500/5000 models. The sequences are compatible except the effects section. For some bad points, it has a terrible workout in physical. If you buy one as second hand, you better to look around for pad set replacement kit, and check the faders if you can!