The Akai MPC 5000 is the last serious sampling workstation from Numark Akai. (If we not count the Reneissance-era which is finally just a controller separated from the software in the computer.) Many aspects it's the best MPC ever built, it has a stable HD player, 24bit sampling engine, and built-in synthesizer, as I heard, it's a reduced Alesis ION packed. (You may know, Numark bought Alesis too.) Other aspects, it's the worst MPC ever built, not so stable disk-operations, relatively slow loading, bad MIDI timing (wtf Akai pls!!! bad MIDI timing in a drum-computer??? are you serious???) and frustrating restrictions which are making really bad reputation of this machine. Of course, it's not completely unusable, but you may expect long learning time to bypass hidden mines. Like the HD option: you can play from harddisk only in song mode. It's because the topology of the system, since HD play is bound to virtual tracks which are exists only in song mode. After all, if this not enough, in song mode, you can't switch to pattern view, so you can't even change tracks! That means you can't change what you want to play over song mode. The only way to achieve this is to connect a MIDI controller to your MPC5K, and set the MIDI option that program change message initiates a track-change, because the MIDI implementation still enabled over song mode. Another annoying bug is the Q-Link stuff: when you first loads a pattern, Q-Link settings are not loading till you doesn't open the Q-Link settings page. After you opened once, settings are restored and you can leave the page. Seriously. I completely disappointed when I discovered, that MPC5K engine is just a litllet bit slower than the real BPM tempo. Like 0.01 or something around. Unfortunatelly, you can set the tempo in 1 decimal, like 125.1. So you can't really fix this problem inside the MPC. Instead you can slave it to outside, like from computer or other gear. It's just annoying because MPC5K built to be the center of the studio, and it can't be, because it's always fall behind all the good timed gears. (Or if you dedicate that the MPC let the BPM master to all other gear, some of them may supports only whole numbers as tempo, and you can hear a small desynchronisation and finally a small gaps time to time when these are resyncing itself after every 4 bar playing hence the minor tempo change.) In other side, the built in synthesizer is awesome. It's simple and has not so many modulation and patching opportunities, but it sounds really well, sending into the EQ and compressor serial, it could be far good to make basses, leads and fx. It's not the best for pads and lucious motion sounds, but at least it doesn't want to be more than it is. The sequencer is fckyeah-good, after you learnt how it works, you got the world's fastest workstaion even if you want to drive outside modules, or just want to messing around the 64 tracks at your service. The sound engine is no-compromise, I promise you will love it. You can load the same .wav file into your DAW and the MPC5K and you will notice the difference. Effects are so-so, some of them making radical changes (distorsion, amp models, EQ) and some are actually not (phaser - I don't understand how they thought this). Delays are good ones, but if you want to reverb a sound, you should look something other than built-in algorythms. All-in-all: if you want a very outstanding sampler for it's sound plus a far enough synth engine to bass, leads and polysynth tones, and maybe you can deal with the very strict HD playing, then this machine will be your love. You will like it even if the problems above are annoying for you - but you have to pair it to another gear like me. I'm driving it with an E-MU XL-7 Command Station, and it seems all my problems are gone... for a while. Tip: if you would like to buy an Akai sampling workstation for it's sound, but without all these problems and you don't mind the built-in synthesizer, you can choose from 2 options: buy an Akai MPC 2500 and JJOS2XL hacked OS for it, or buy an Akai MPC 4000 which near the same, except the flash memory rack, the built-in synthesizer and HD rec/play - but you get ak.sys OS (best Akai OS ever), you can boost the RAM to 512 MB and it has a good MIDI implementation with stable operation.
Used heavily when bought making it impossible to do some of the most desired functions. but still builds the prettiest synth sounds and is stellar A+