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yoTrakkz 10/06/2011

Akai Professional XR20 : yoTrakkz's user review

« Decent, not the best from akai though »
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The quality on the Akai XR20 seems to be pretty sturdy. The drum pads are fairly stiff, but I was used to their feel within an hour of playing. The LCD is large and important info is easily seen from a decent distance away. There are two footswitch inputs on the back (on/off and A/B/fill), which are a huge plus for me.

UTILIZATION

Outputs are limited to L/R/Aux, but that should be enough for me. My only physical concern was a bit of crackling coming from the headphones when I first tried it out. I soon realized that this wasn't crackling - it was a sample of a record popping 'n' clicking! It would be nice to have USB or expandable memory available, too, but that's easily worked around via midi. I'd also like to be able to switch the swing function on and off as I play, but I can work around this, too.

SOUNDS

sounds great, doesnt have the feel of the mpc by akai though.

OVERALL OPINION

Programming is a breeze; you get three separate tracks for your drums, synth (bass or other sound) and percussion or SFX. Up to 32 notes are possible at a time, so you can make quite thick patterns. I've read some complaints about timing or voice-stealing when you load your patterns up to the max, but I don't usually have that much going on at once, so I've yet to notice it. I did try an experiment and maxed out the polyphony, but I didn't notice any drag at all. Pattern or song programming really aren't that different from any other drum machine out there these days; the large pads simply make playing the parts live much easier. You can only save 100 patterns onboard. This should be a concern, but each pattern is really four patterns in one: A, B, and two fills for each of those. Switching back and forth between them - or using their respective fills to lead into the other - is simple and offers plenty of both options and variety for my tastes and needs.