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Akai Professional’s new line of headphones were met with some cheers and some jeers when they were announced a while back.  So I was excited at the opportunity to review the MPC “Professional music production headphones”.

So, as it stands I’ve traveled in and out of a few states and airports with these headphones. They’ve served the purposed pretty well. However, I have to admit I felt a bit obnoxious when I rocked them in public. The aluminum and steel construction is solid as a rock as far as build quality but they are rather large. But I guess that’s a matter of preference for some. The large MPC letters and red backdrop on the side of the cans didn’t make it much better. But as I said this is a matter of preference as far as look and feel. I, for one, am not a fan of the flashy headphones craze that Beats By Dr Dre seems to have ushered in proudly. Still, i understand that there is an entire demographic that is all for it and in that case, the MPC headphones hit the stylistic and flashy mark pretty well. To be fair, I’ve felt the same about Beats By Dr Dre so if that’s what you are looking for in terms of style, here it is. For me, I’m more of a no frills headphones sort of guy.

This is so obnoxious #mpc #headphones

A photo posted by BboyTechReport (@bboytechreport) on

Further digging into the esthetic of build quality, the MPC headphones are a sturdy bit of work. They can definitely take any road warrior’s beating while on the go. This is obviously attributed to the aforementioned aluminum and steel construction. The top band is nicely cushioned with the MPC logo stamped into the soft material. The cups are also cushioned with foam and covered in a soft material which makes for a comfortable wear. As is typical with higher end DJ headphones the MPC headphones swivel at the joints to allow for an easy way to twist one of the cups back or forward to uncover the ear while not disturbing the other ear’s fit.

These headphones are noise canceling so the cups are well prepared for the task of not allowing leakage in or out. They fit to cover the entire ear for that purpose. To that end, and considering the material of the build, the MPC headphones may not suit for long periods of wear. I found that after longer than a few hours the weight of the headphones caused a bit of fatigue. 

  #MPC #headphones   A photo posted by BboyTechReport (@bboytechreport) on

MPC headphones come with 50mm neodymium drivers and they have a frequency response of 12Hz-24kHz. While the spectrum of human hearing is 20Hz to 20kHz it would seem that Akai Pro has literally gone above and beyond the call of duty here. While the headphones can provide a rather clear representation of the source material from the mids and highs, there is still a bit to be desired on the low-end. I found myself craving for more lows. I’ve definitely got a good handle on my mixes and how they translate from the MPC to the DAW and out into the studio via my monitors and even further into the whip where the system bumps. So I know what my joints sound like through and through. That said, I am pretty firm on the fact that the MPC headphones don’t quit translate bass frequencies very well on their own.

Now, in the lab that may not be a huge deal as I tend to use headphones as an additional reference point in contrast to my monitors or even my boom box. So the good thing is that I can hear everything else pretty clearly. I can even discern the differences in some effects changes with the MPC headphones which isn’t always easy to do with headphones. I know, these aren’t really meant for mixing. They are mostly catered to the beatmaking and DJ market so accuracy may not be a huge factor here. But it’s good to know where they sit in the line up of headphones in my lab.

If I may go back to the issue of bass, the MPC headphones can be helped in use with smartphones or when out on a DJ gig. Just turn up the bass! Sounds odd to say in this context but when I rocked them with my iPhone I turned the EQ on and set it to bass boost. That’s when the lows came alive. So, it’s not that the MPC headphones can’t handle the bass, they surely can. It’s just that they aren’t going to give you that bass satisfaction right off the bat like some other headphones might.

There are two cables that come with the MPC headphones. One  6.8 ft. (2.1m) with 1.8-inch connector and a separate communication cable with built-in microphone for use with iphones and other applications or scenarios. This was a cool surprise as not all headphones, especially on the DJ side, come with a communication cable. Lastly and of course a 1/4″ adapter included.

Also,on a side note, if I were in the R&D department at Akai Pro, I’d make a point to not put the name “MPC” on anything that is not an actual MPC. In my opinion, it creates brand confusion. I’d opt for calling these headphones something that is indicative to beatmaking or DJing rather than “MPC headphones”. Seems to me that was the target (beatmaking or DJing headphones) but a name like MPC means less to the core audience when used in this way. That’s just my 2 cents on a side note.

bboy_review_scale_3Overall, the MPC headphones are not bad. I’d have to give them a 3 to 3.5 star rating in terms of accuracy in the lab. But they are a decent pair of DJ headphones. If you are into the fancy style design craze for headphones they are nice, indeed. But they take a hit in terms of bass frequency to boot. So for those looking to experience the low-end theory, be prepared to make adjustments in the EQ or find something better suited for your needs. As I said it’s not that the headphones can’t handle the lows, you’ll just need to help find the lows with EQ etc.

Tech specs are;

  • Frequency Response: 12Hz-24kHz
  • Max SPL: 114dB @ 1kHz
  • Impedance: 16 Ohms
  • Cable: 6.8 ft. (2.1m) with 1.8-inch connector
  • 50mm neodymium drivers
  • Aluminum and steel construction
  • Closed-back design prevents sound from leaking in or out
  • Audio cable with 1/8″ connector;
  • 1/4″ adapter included
  • Communication cable with built-in microphone included

– See more at: http://www.akaipro.com/product/mpc-headphones

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