What I like most about the MPD 24 is the super great feeling knobs on this machine. I know that the most important aspect should be the pads, but I will get to those. The knobs are endless encoders and feel like they belong on a unit three times the original price of this guy. They are very smooth and have just the right amount of resistance so they feel absolutely solid. The faders are also extremely nice. Both faders and knobs blow away my M Audio Axiom keyboard as if the keyboard was the pig in the straw house and the MPD the wolf. What I don't like about the MPD is really just one thing. The pads are not as sensitive as they should be, and that of course is a huge problem. The main issue is that akai built the sensors under the pad in a round shape....the pads are of course square...hello!!!! So, if you strike the corners, you get about a 50% in my experience of triggering something, and if you do, its very low on the 0-127 scale (about 10-15). I have ordered the sensitivity upgrade on ebay and will be installing it very soon. If you only want to use this for single velocity hits or triggering scenes in ableton or something along those lines, you can set the pads to send "full" hits (127) with any hit of the pad. That seems to respond perfectly.
As for value, I got mine used for $75 so after the pad upgrade, I have invested $90. If that solves the problem than I am going to be crazy happy and feel I spent very little to get what I need.
This is just a midi device so there is no sound quality rating needed. I have used a few different drum pads including older akai models, the m audio trigger finger
(better pad sensitivity but crappy everywhere else) and the Axiom pads which are also a little better. Again, if the sensitivity upgrade works, then this will be the best pad I've owned. For the little price of $75, I would buy this again just for the encoders.