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FatHand

Anyone use MPC?

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Recently bought one and wondered if anyone else has one, how you are using them and for what kind of music.

I'm hoping to use it for doing some live dance. Pretty sure it will be useful for most of the other bands I'm playing in as well. I've got a lot of ideas... just need to learn how to use it properly!

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I don't know if they are usually used live tbh.... seem to be more of a studio tool which I could see the benefits of in the pre-computer days...but nowadays, I think its far quicker (if a little less fun and innovative) to slice and arrange stuff on a computer. Youtube is crawling with great MPC tutorial videos by beginners and seasoned pro's, definitely some stuff to pick up there!

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Youtube is a great resource for tutorial type stuff for mpc, some real experts sharing their knowledge and techniques which is always useful (generous as well).

I'd have to disagree about the live aspect though ... having just played with it for a short period of time I think it'd be great for live performance there is a lot of scope for spontaneity. It is also a very tactile instrument, if played in such a way. Some of the youtube clips show this really well. Obviously the sets of samples they use can be sequenced and played back like you might with software sequencer. I've seen a couple of youtube clips of live techno stuff which would be something I'd be aiming for.

The editing is maybe not as instantly convenient as computer but I'm sure you could edit/create sample sets on the computer and download them for use on the MPC. I've yet to do any of this so can't really make a fair comparison.

I remember watching Ala Fu using an MPC one night a while back, I think it was along with decks, laptop and a synth of some sort. I think he may have had some trouble with the laptop that night.

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I owned one until quite recently. ;)

A couple of forums that may be of help:

MPC-Samples.com Forums

and

Rap + Hip Hop engineering & production - Gearslutz.com

Hope that helps Colin - and I hope you're getting on well with the new toy.

Steven.

Ha ha, yeah of course:laughing:! Knew there was at least one person. Not really surprised with the lack of responses on this topic ... I guess it's not really an every day piece of equipment.

Having had it for a little while now, I kind of know my way around the menues now - still really stilted when converting what I want to do into actually doing it. The menue and function layout is possibly the hardest bit to get past when learning a new machine though. I love the way it plays and although I'm not doing anything at all complicated I think my cooridination is there. I know computers can do everything that it can but for me there is something much more satisfying about it. Could be that I'm generally into the hardware option. You can just turn on and play so it's great for jamming ideas.

Anyway, I'm so pleased to have bought it off you and you'll be glad to know it's being enjoyed!

Cheers Steven

Colin

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argh

the mpc is an over-rated, out of date piece of hardware which is surrounded by a lot of bullshit mythology. It was cool in the 90's because it was the only thing at the time that did what it does, but now you can buy a laptop, audio interface and far better midi pad controller for less money and acheive a hell of a lot more.

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but now you can buy a laptop, audio interface and far better midi pad controller for less money and acheive a hell of a lot more.
know computers can do everything that it can but for me there is something much more satisfying about it. Could be that I'm generally into the hardware option

He likes buttons.

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He likes buttons.

yeah you can buy a 16 pad velocity sensitive midi controller (akai even make an "mpc alike" one, the entry level one costs something like 60 quid), I like hardware too which is why I have one of these which cost 120 quid

EM_PADKONTROL.gif

Unlike the mpc family the pads use square rather than circular sensors so they are fully velocity sensitive right to the corners, it has an assignable x/y touchpad controller and the pads LIGHT UP WHEN YOU TOUCH THEM! if you're into that kind of performance value kind of nonsense

MPC's are overrated, expensive out of date junk! The only thing that has outlived their technical worth is the quantisation templates they have and those are easy to get off the internet.

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yeah you can buy a 16 pad velocity sensitive midi controller (akai even make an "mpc alike" one, the entry level one costs something like 60 quid), I like hardware too which is why I have one of these which cost 120 quid

EM_PADKONTROL.gif

Unlike the mpc family the pads use square rather than circular sensors so they are fully velocity sensitive right to the corners, it has an assignable x/y touchpad controller and the pads LIGHT UP WHEN YOU TOUCH THEM! if you're into that kind of performance value kind of nonsense

MPC's are overrated, expensive out of date junk! The only thing that has outlived their technical worth is the quantisation templates they have and those are easy to get off the internet.

That looks an impressive piece of kit.

But surely if he'd rather not delve into the realms of computing, an MPC could be useful? But I agree, your suggested setup would be much more effective. At the risk of sounding like an old bastard, I find the rate at which technology is moving to be pretty amazing. A piece of hardware like an MPC can go from being cutting-edge stuff to practically redundant in a few years... crazy days.

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Recently bought one and wondered if anyone else has one, how you are using them and for what kind of music.

I'm hoping to use it for doing some live dance. Pretty sure it will be useful for most of the other bands I'm playing in as well. I've got a lot of ideas... just need to learn how to use it properly!

you assign samples to the buttons, you press the buttons, the sound plays. It's not that exciting.

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That looks an impressive piece of kit.

But surely if he'd rather not delve into the realms of computing, an MPC could be useful? But I agree, your suggested setup would be much more effective. At the risk of sounding like an old bastard, I find the rate at which technology is moving to be pretty amazing. A piece of hardware like an MPC can go from being cutting-edge stuff to practically redundant in a few years... crazy days.

yeah it's nice, depending on what software you use you can do funky stuff like assign several samples to one pad based on the velocity, so you can have several snare samples on 1 pad. A gentle tap will play a dull snare sound and a hard hit will play a brighter sound - its good fun to have a whole kit assigned to the pads with multiple layers of samples, it's pretty expressive.

Another novel use is assigning each of the 16 pads a single note in a scale, or having 2 octaves of a scale assigned to each 8, then using the pads to drive a synth.

You can do this kind of thing with an MPC and a laptop, it's just a lot more expensive and time consuming.

I don't mean to be argumentative, it's just MPC is one of these brand names that has a reputation that far outweighs the realworld value of their equipment.

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I started writing a reply to this but my computer crashed as I was writing...

Anyway, I like the look of that Korg control pad you have. I'm really enjoying the way beats sound and feel when played using the pads, the beat flows nicely and you can incorporated dynamics into the drum parts with ease . The ability to assign multiple samples to each pad is a great feature and like you said, it is function on the MPC too (you don't need a laptop though). With the MPC there are limited onboard effects to manipulate the samples you create although there are 4 assignable controls on the left hand side which is handy for manipulating the sound in real time. In terms of this kind of flexibly and control you can do a whole heap more with a computer and controller compared with an MPC on its own.

So I thought about a controller as an option at one point but I opted to spend a little more the instrument I was after. I ended up buying second hand and getting an impeccably kept MPC for a very reasonable price.

What I've got is perfect for me as I like to have a jam from time to time and it means that I don't have to take along a computer and lots of cables everywhere... I can turn it on and play (so long as there are speakers) and there is no crashing or hanging up or some random thing I have to work out or forgot to switch over (kind of stuff that happens to me with computers)! I can also expand it's flexibility by hooking it up in a bunch of different ways, plug in a range of different keyboards, effects or other hardware if I want. There is the option of using foot switches for extra control. I can also use this machine as a midi controller if I want to. I think junk is a slightly harsh description. Equipment is only obsolete if you can't see ways of using it to your benefit, for me this is an upgrade to my set up as I can see many uses for it.

There is always a debate about the need for buying expensive hardware when you can get software and a controller to do the job just as well but although I generally veer towards buying independently functioning hardware, my view is that if you enjoy the equipment you play with then it's probably good.

To get back onto the original topic, I really just want to see if anyone else uses an MPC or something similar (like you do with the software equivalent), and perhaps how people use sampling within their music.

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To get back onto the original topic, I really just want to see if anyone else uses an MPC or something similar (like you do with the software equivalent), and perhaps how people use sampling within their music.

The classic basic thing hiphop producers do with an MPC is they will sample say a 4 bar loop of something instrumental, chop it into 16ths and assign the whole thing across the pads, thats pretty much where the basic sound of people like dj shadow / wutang clan / 90's hiphop on the whole comes from. Using the multiple layers you would then do the same thing to a drumloop, sampled from a 3rd party or made yourself with a drum machine etc, + a bassline and build up the tune that way, sequencing patterns as you go.

In this day and age, imo, sampling is (or should be) much more about sampling your own material rather than lifting stuff from records. The good thing about sampling like this is you might be using a fairly big or complex effects chain on 1 instrument. Recording a part then chopping up the sample and loading it into a MPC/mapping across a keyboard frees up your hardware effects (or cpu power) and then gives you a new level of creativity with what you've recorded. The advantage of computers in this though is that you can save the whole original effects chain/synth patch/midi pattern and go back if you need to and alter bits before sampling them again, if you decide down the line you want to tweak something.

There are loads of possibilities, just using a hardware sampler makes it a bit more time consuming and clumsy.

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The classic basic thing hiphop producers do with an MPC is they will sample say a 4 bar loop of something instrumental, chop it into 16ths and assign the whole thing across the pads, thats pretty much where the basic sound of people like dj shadow / wutang clan / 90's hiphop on the whole comes from. Using the multiple layers you would then do the same thing to a drumloop, sampled from a 3rd party or made yourself with a drum machine etc, + a bassline and build up the tune that way, sequencing patterns as you go.

Been pretty busy with work and practicing with bands last couple of weeks so not had much time to hook things together.

In this day and age, imo, sampling is (or should be) much more about sampling your own material rather than lifting stuff from records. The good thing about sampling like this is you might be using a fairly big or complex effects chain on 1 instrument. Recording a part then chopping up the sample and loading it into a MPC/mapping across a keyboard frees up your hardware effects (or cpu power) and then gives you a new level of creativity with what you've recorded. The advantage of computers in this though is that you can save the whole original effects chain/synth patch/midi pattern and go back if you need to and alter bits before sampling them again, if you decide down the line you want to tweak something.

There are loads of possibilities, just using a hardware sampler makes it a bit more time consuming and clumsy.

That's more like it! I'm pretty interested in expanding into this way of writing ... I've got loads of drum effects that I'd like to sample from my synths as well as getting down some bass lines and effects. You can create midi tracks on the MPC which should be useful. I'm a little hazy on how it's all going to fit together but it'll become clearer as I practice.

So do you have a live show on the horizon?

It is fairly slow work at the moment not knowing my way around all of the functions but once I've got a good selection of samples to play with I'm planning on writing in a similar way as I do with bands I play in, or at least try this method as I imagine it will help getting a realistic way to perform it live - got some other guys who are keen to try this so it could work quite nicely. There are definately going to be lots of keyboards involved! So basically no shows until there is a working set but usually productive over the summer months!

What about yourself? Got anything lined up? The new tunes are sounding good.

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What about yourself? Got anything lined up? The new tunes are sounding good.

I'm an external soundcard away from being at least technically able to perform live. Got a bit of cash atm so might delve into some other cheap, interesting bits and pieces...something others don't have possibly, which I haven't found yet :)

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I'm an external soundcard away from being at least technically able to perform live. Got a bit of cash atm so might delve into some other cheap, interesting bits and pieces...something others don't have possibly, which I haven't found yet :)

Have you seen the kaossilator? Quite like the look of it but it is something that other will have as it's cheap and does some cool tricks! :up:

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Have you seen the kaossilator? Quite like the look of it but it is something that other will have as it's cheap and does some cool tricks! :up:

Yeah I noticed it's cheaper than the others..what can it do?

Edit: should probably just look that up.. ;)

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Yeah I noticed it's cheaper than the others..what can it do?

Edit: should probably just look that up.. ;)

There are some reasonable youtube vids. I think it can loop for 8 beats. It's monophonic. You can select the type of scale you want as well as the key. It's got drums effects. It's like a kaoss pad, moving your finger across the pad it changes the note and up and down changes the paramater it has been given.

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I don't see the point in doing this kind of thing live atall. What will you do that goes beyond the average kind of thing you can acheive while djing with ableton live and a midi controller? IMO it's just sophistry and has no real value. I hate the notion that music = theatre and that isn't what electronic music is about atall. I like to hear wicked tunes being played out but I don't want to pay to see the artist recreate a sloppy version of it on stage so he can earn a fiver.

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I don't see the point in doing this kind of thing live atall. What will you do that goes beyond the average kind of thing you can acheive while djing with ableton live and a midi controller? IMO it's just sophistry and has no real value. I hate the notion that music = theatre and that isn't what electronic music is about atall. I like to hear wicked tunes being played out but I don't want to pay to see the artist recreate a sloppy version of it on stage so he can earn a fiver.

Fair enough. That is maybe not what it is about to you. But I want to make music that is designed to be performed live and not a sloppy version of something I made on my computer that is fiddled around with a bit. You wouldn't say, why not just make a mix in your house using ableton live and a midi controller rather than having a DJ. It is good to see that effort goes into the music in one form or another.

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What will you do that goes beyond the average kind of thing you can acheive while djing with ableton live and a midi controller? I like to hear wicked tunes being played out but I don't want to pay to see the artist recreate a sloppy version of it on stage so he can earn a fiver.

I think it entails a different creation process, therefore a different type of music.

that isn't what electronic music is about atall

How can you throw absolutes around so willingly? If something makes sound it can be subject to a stage and I'm not really concerned with conforming to any limited notion of what music is about. Live music is about fun, atmosphere and intimacy, but if you see no value in these then I guess your message transgresses genre and the debate ends. Why do people go to a Beethoven recital when they have perfectly good hi-fis at home?

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Fair enough. That is maybe not what it is about to you. But I want to make music that is designed to be performed live and not a sloppy version of something I made on my computer that is fiddled around with a bit. You wouldn't say, why not just make a mix in your house using ableton live and a midi controller rather than having a DJ. It is good to see that effort goes into the music in one form or another.

From my point of view, I want to make good tunes and the "live" aspect comes from how people might use that tune in a dj set or whatever.

I think a lot of this challenges the traditional notion of what music, and clubs are for. It is wierd enough as it is that DJ's are a focal point, maybe if you removed that and just had a bloody ipod pumping out the tunes people would lose that focal point and be forced to look back at themselves.

I really just do not see any point in performing this stuff live other than theatre and egotism.

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Oh and on the subject of live electronic music; check this out:

Fucking fantastic tune!

That is ace! Electirbe looks like it would be fun to play with, would be good if you pick one up second hand...

Check this one out. Along the same lines as what I'm planning and they're using MPC.

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