After checking out the XL some more last night I noticed something peculiar. If you don't know, the XL was manufactured differently than the former model. Most everything is on one board, with surface mounted IC circuits. Somewhere during the design Akai decided they needed to turn the board upside down. So now, the midi connectors run right to left instead of left to right. The 8-out expansion is the same way (upside down). And the power supply connection and power switch is on the other side. No big deal but interesting.
I did get a chance to check out the CD-ROM that came with the unit (sorry S5k/6k users;). There is enough percussion here to keep you busy for weeks. The CD is NOT in Akai format, so you can read it from you computer and transfer samples/programs from the CD to floppy/Zip for those of us without an external SCSI CD reader (there are some issues with this, see wishlist/buglist). There are almost 2400 samples on this CD which are probably mostly included in over 200 programs. A quick run down of what's there: MPC2000XL Drums, MPC3000 Disks, MPC60 Disks and Standard disks. The Standard Disks looks like it contains the factory demo disks for each of the MPC series. Each of the others have subdirectories of their own loaded with sounds. Personally, after seeing this and hearing many of them, you are going to have a very hard time selling me an MPC sample CD!
Some SCSI notes. On the former model, I was always able to turn on and off external SCSI equipment as needed, since when I wanted to load, I turn on the equipment and just dialed up to the appropriate SCSI ID. On the XL, though, after initial boot and dialing through the SCSI ID's, the machine remembers which ID's are not there. The second time I dialed through the SCSI ID's, I have only 4 choices: Floppy (mine's not there anymore), ID#0 (ext HD), ID#1 (internal Zip) and Flash ROM. The machine didn't even bother to look at the other ID's, just skipped right over. I wish it would forget my floppy, too. I still have to test this arrangement on how it deals with turning external devices on and off. (I know you are not supposed to, but my external HD is kind of noisy)
The former model could handle only a 1 Gig external SCSI harddrive. The XL model can apparently use a 4.5 Gig external HD. I haven't tried this myself, but this is from Akai's and the XL's documentation.