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Okay, but not great
Pad quality is functional, but not spectacular. The fader is a nice touch, but in general this isn't worth it's price tag, especially with the dearth of free programs that come with it. (Come on, not even MPC essentials? get it together, akai.)
So much fun to use.
I love this thing. I mainly use it for live performances. I modded it by attaching some metal hooks on the top corners, and use a laptop strap to wear it over my shoulder. I picked up a 30ft usb cord, and play beats of my chest for live shows.
I think its great.
One of the biggest drawbacks for my workflow has always been drum programming. I've spent many hours wondering how I could make my drums more expressive (Other than just piano rolling them to death) I found the MPD-18 at a local pawn shop so $30 well spent. I find that more and more this gears function goes beyond expressive drum programming. I've been using it as a secondary synth, I will have the same sound bed playing in 2 different octaves at the same time. Probably not the most cutting edge thing to ever be done, But it works for me. I highly recommend this piece or something similar.