MPC 500 vs Korg E2 Sampler. Which is best for my needs?


So I know that neither device has a really stellar record, but I’m interested in a sampler/sequencer to complete my battery powered set up

Right now I have a Novation Circuit and an SP404A. I used to have a Digitakt in this set up, but it hindered the portability a bit and I no longer have it. I am more partial to finger drumming than step sequencing, personally, although I like the benfit of step editing AFTER I’ve manually recorded.

So far I’m feeling the MPC500, although finding one with full Ram and Fatpads in decent condition is ridiculous. People seem to be selling them at very unreasonable prices considering the reviews on the item and the conditions they’re in. Otherwise, it seems the MPC500 would be the PERFECT counter part to my SP.

Truthfully, I only want it as a battery powered midi sequencer. My main draw to it is that it can be Unquantized. I hate that my Circuit is auto-quantized, and the drum micro steps still feel too robotic. I know that the Electribe is auto-quantized as well BUT it at least has built in grooves that have some life, as well as being a newer product than the 500. The fact it can export to Live is also great as I’m a long term Ableton user.

TL;DR : Anyone have experience with one or both? Which was more or less frustrating, and which should I go for? As a reference I make experimental hip-hop/ trip-hop.

Bonus Round; Anyone have either for Sale in decent condition for a reasonable price?


If you don’t care about the sampling capabilities get the E2 synth.
At least you would get the same sequencer, but easier to manage sound sources and more filter options.


Can’t speak for the MPC as I have never owned one.

I have found that my E2 synth makes a surprisingly good MIDI sequencer. Some features (chord, gate arp, touch scale), which are not so great when applied to the E2, sound really good when sequencing a polyphonic synth (a Virus Snow in my case).

I also use my E2 in conjunction with my A4, as this gives me BPM per pattern as well as extra voices.


You should really wait for Circuit firmware 1.7, just to see what it really brings to the table!

Regarding the robotic feeling… double the tempo, and you now have 12 substeps + swing. Not too bad!

From what I gather, you’re essentially looking for a sequencing solution for the sp, right? The Electribe might not be the best bet… it has fixed midi channels per part, and you can only sequence chords up to 4 notes if memory serves me right.

I have a mpc500, used it as my portable boombap box for a long time. Some stuffs to know: you can’t power a midi splitter with it, and you can’t monitor the stereo input outside of sampling mode. Having say that, it’s a more than able sampler and sequencer… if you don’t mind the small screen! Lot of people criticize the menu diving inherent to such a small screen, but I’ve never found it too awful.


The small screen doesn’t bother me too much, especially considering I have the Circuit and SP which both have little or no screen space haha. Good looks on the ES midi channels, I didn’t know that and that would definitely be a hindrance. I figured the 500 would be a good match since you can pick note values and midi channels per pad (if I’m not mistaken; if I am please correct me on this.)

I actually am waiting till the 1.7 update to buy anything, only because if they sneak in a couple cool features I may not need to buy anything.

The one thing that always gets me is the note-per-pad setting in the SP starting on B2 instead of C3 which makes using chromatic mode on the Circuit a bit weird for sample sequencing. I figured the the 500 I can at least program it somewhat comfortably.

I also don’t plan on using the MPC for much sampling if at all. Maybe for a quick flip here and there if I only wanna take one machine out and about with me.


I bought my MPC 500 a year ago for $400 (mint condition, fat red pads & extra memory). I think it’s worth it, I love it. Def has it’s quirks & you have to be careful as people have had a lot of issues with these (which is why I paid top dollar for 1 from a company that also offers a 30 day money back guarantee in case it had issues).

I also have an Electribe, but the synth version. I bought it about 3 years ago, but gave it to my brother 6 months later. It’s still in my studio tho, my brother doesn’t play with it anymore. I actually wanted the sampler version, but long story short the Guitar Center that said they had it, really didn’t, I drove 2 hours to pick it up (I asked 3 times on the phone to make sure it was the sampler version) & when I got there, they said oops!

Personally, I would go MPC 500, but that’s what I already did so :slight_smile:

They both have their pro’s & con’s, but if finger drumming is important to you, also unquantized beats, I’d go 500.


I was actually hoping you would chime in! Funny enough after our chat the other day I noticed more of your posts on the SP forums, haha.

Would you say that the SP and 500 work well together, quirks aside? They look like they’d be perfect together feature and function wise. I was even thinking about getting on directly from MPCStuff which I know would be costly but they seem damn reputable and have a 90 day parts and labor warranty.


I think they work wonderful together…
404 for effects & memory, 500 for sequencing, tuning samples.
Plus the polyphony isn’t great on either the 404 or 500, but using them together gives you the extra polyphony (use samples on 500 AND midi out to 404 to use samples on 404 as well).
You can plug the 404 outputs to the 500 inputs (that way you can hear both with headphones), but you can only hear the 404 when on the sampling page of the 500. BUT, you can play the 500 sequence WHILE sampling which is helpful & you can also play with mutes while on the sample page.
You can easily sample back & forth & can resample on the 500 as well.

I like the size of the 500 too, it’s the size of an ipad (just thicker).

Just like the 404, the 500 isn’t for everyone, but I really do love it. It has it’s quirks, but I’m ok with them. I’ve made some great beats on it.

A few things:
When batteries get low it starts to make a wine noise & it gets louder & louder until you change the batteries.

The saving system is really weird, I’m not a fan, it’s actually worse then the 1000 & 2500, probably due to it’s screen size. You CAN save in A LOT of different ways, but this can make it confusing.

MPC’s & sp’s feel like they’re meant to go together. What 1 lacks the other has. This is all I can think of at the top of my head, but if you have questions let me know.


Oh man! That’s aggravating!


& yea, I love the sp forum, it was the first forum I joined.
Love this forum too tho. Great people on both.
MPC forum is pretty cool too, a lot of people willing to help.


Yea I wasn’t happy. I didn’t buy the Electribe at that point (I was mad, especially since I asked over & over to make sure it was the Sampler). BUT I didn’t want to leave empty handed, so I bought the Volca Sample. They gave me $20 off of it, which made it worth the drive.


That literally answered all my questions. Thank you for all the info! I’m definitely going to go the 500 route.


Why no portable battery for the digitakt though? I guess mpc500 comes in as more portable still some of the mods people do to them make them look super nice.


Aside from not having my DT anymore, I like that you can use samples chromatically on the 500 AND make chords from them. No resampling necessary. Not only that, but the DT isn’t something I’d want to take outside to my garden or anything, it’s way too shiny and new to get all dirty. My SP is the only piece of gear I’m comfortable bringing almost anywhere as long as there isn’t any water that can damage it. The 500 would be another piece I wouldn’t mind taking out and about.


I think you will be happy with it, as long as you get one that works well. If I think of anything else I’ll let you know.

& again any questions, I’m down to help, I love talking about this stuff :blush:


You can indeed pick note value per pad, but the midi channel is only assignable at track level on the 500.

Regarding the screen, I get what you’re thinking, coming from the Circuit / SP… but there is a shitload of menus hidden inside the 500 (which means loads of options and possibilities as well). Be aware that it will take some time to learn to navigate it fluently… and buy one with a mint cursor / data wheel: those are crucial to a fluid navigation.

The 500 gets load of shit for being underpowered compared to its bigger siblings… compared to a fully feat. Mpc1000 with JJOS, sure, it is less powerful, but still, there is a loooot you can do with it. What I don’t like, though, is the meh filters and the effects… not that they are bad, but setting them correctly with such a small screen gets old real fast and quickly sucks the fun out of it.

Oh, and @Sharris if you want to save super quick and without too much hassle: create a new folder and save the whole memory (a project). It will backup a snapshot of your mpc500.


Yea I do that sometimes, but it only saves the first sequence (1000 & 2500 save ALL sequences, which is how I found out the 500 doesn’t), so don’t save entire memory if you have more than 1 sequence.

Due to this I also have program & sequence folders with my project folders, all mixed up & if lets say, you want to load a project, it shows you EVERYTHING, not just the projects so you have to sift thru it (meaning I can’t easily tell what is what, this is where clever naming would come in to play). Plus it’s saving files inside of other files. Crazy shit.

That’s my suggestion to you DataStrain, get the saving down ASAP once you get it or you’re left with a mess. All my 500, 1000 & 2500 memory cards are already a mess (I’m lazy when it comes to saving), so I just deal with it, but I’m about to clean them all out.

I think you have to save entire memory to save the effects as well… I don’t really use the effects tho (runs out of polyphony fast, but if sample in mono it helps a lot).

That is a good tip tho Kuro. I learned that with my other MPC’s, but unfortunately I like to make multiple sequences.


That’s still not too bad actually, at least with it being track level I can dedicate a track entirely just to 404 samples. Thanks for the words of wisdom! Same to you Sharris! Much appreciated :pray:


I had an E2s, and found the lack of microtiming really aggravating. The groove templates help a little bit, but… nah.


See that was one thing I was unsure of. I used to love the Groove Pool in Ableton when I was step sequencing/penciling in notes but once I got accustomed to finger drumming I can’t help but notice it’s not MY groove. That’s my biggest gripe with Circuit honestly.

If the Circuit could record unquantized while remaining step editable (similar to DT) that would be a game changer for me. Instead of editing micro steps by hand, we could use a step + encoder to micro time notes. A pipe dream, possibly, but boy oh boy that would be fantastic.

Hell, if I could record by hand and my steps land on the micro steps instead of having to program them individually I would still be a happy camper.