Rare filter unit from Akai Professional, the MFC42 is from the same mould as the Sherman Filterbank and Mutronics Mutator, so it’s a complex, comprehensive filter with modulation, triggering & midi remote control facilities
The MFC42 is a pretty deep device and takes time to learn. It has three input channels, configured as one stereo and one mono, and a stereo output. Some features are common to both sections but not all. I spent some time with it and found the basics straightforward – the multimode filters, phase shifter, distortion, EQ and modulation are all easy to setup. To get past this point I think the manual (printed copy supplied) will be required reading
The MFC42 has a great midi implementation with most controls sending midi messages. This means most functions are automatable via a sequencer. It also has snapshots that can be selected via midi program changes. The LFO has a tap-tempo function but can also be synced to midi clock
It’s not immediately clear what the signal flow is through the unit but the block diagram in the manual makes things a lot clearer. The front panel is laid out with midi & programs at the upper left & modulation below. The central section has the filters – each with a large dedicated filter sweep knob – with the mono input on top and the stereo input below. The right hand side of the panel deals with outputs, panning, EQ & headphones
It’s not an intuitive layout but there’s logic to it. The filter section at the heart of the design is given prominence & has a good control layout
The unit is a shallow 2U rackmount box. On a table it sits with the front panel sloping back at about 30 degrees making the controls easy to operate. In this respect it’s very like the Electrix Warp Factory Vocoder & Electrix Filter Factory
I think the MFC42 will repay experimentation & research. It’s simple enough to get the basics up & running but there’s lots below the surface which will take time to discover. I think it will be worth the effort – it’s a good-sounding unit, smooth & civilised rather than harsh & edgy – and Akai has spent time on control layout and usability
“An affordable alternative to other Filter boxes such as the Mutator, Sherman Filterbank, Electrix Filter Factory, and Waldorf X-Pole” – Vintagesynth.com
“I agree the features are simply awesome, especially de fact that basically the whole thing is automatable via MIDI, the syncable LFO and the envelope… It’s also a pretty piece of gear.”
“The MFC is an absolute beast, and dare I say one of the most underrated units from the Akai Pro camp. It’s a secret weapon of mine… pretty much anyone who comes in the studio & uses it wants to buy one”
“I find that I’m using this on just about every track, whether it’s to give pads movement, creatively filter loops, or to add some analogue grit to my drums. I love this machine and am thrilled it will be in my studio for a long time to come.”
“I have one. i love the hell out of it. goes really well with running a full mix of a dance track through it (french/filter house sound), disco samples etc.
it’s also really nice running both analog and digital synths/samplers through it. adds a very delicious warm fuzziness that saturates tastefully. it’s not a big show off of a filter but has a very tamed and rich tone. on top of that, it’s probably the best alternative to a MUTRONICS Mutator (daft punk) as it’s $400 versus $2000 give or take.
you get full midi implementation, an adsr envelope, phaser, lfo, and distortion (not too useful most of the time but very appropriate at certain times). also an 8-pole filter for mono mode.. super dangerous with the resonance!! all available in lo pass, hi pass, band pass, and notch”
In excellent, almost mint condition. Tested & working 100%. Supplied with printed manual and a pair of home-made rack ears. Photos show the Akai for sale
See also our Audio Filter page