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Akai MPC 3000 MIDI Production Centre (part 6)

It’s very easy to have as many attempts as you need to capture your sample at its best, and once you have decided to keep and name, you just press the appropriate soft key and name it.

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It’s very easy to have as many attempts as you need to capture your sample at its best, and once you have decided to keep and name, you just press the appropriate soft key and name it. Of course there is bound to be some editing to do to the sample, but once again the drum orientated nature of the machine makes this easy. Start and end points are easily set, and there is a 'Best Start’ soft key to find the attack portion of the sound accurately for you.

Other simple but essential items are sample volume, which will then act as a master volume for that sample for all programs and sequences (very useful for creating a well balanced kit from the outset) and tuning which may often allow some improvement on the original sound. These are all temporary changes which can be reversed or altered if necessary, unless you choose to make the trucation of the sample permanent to save memory. Of course there are always those who want to be just a little more adventurous, so in a separate area of the same screen are editing functions which alter the sample data itself.

You can mark out a zone within the sample and copy it to a temporary storage area. Then you may splice it to the sample’s start or end, delete the zone, silence it or reverse it. The one thing you don’t seem to be able to do is insert it somewhere in the middle, but would you want to? Not very often I suspect. A useful feature is the number of options there are for auditioning the sample and/or zone you have set. You can play the whole sample, the zone, the contents of the temporary storage area, up to the start of the zone, after the end of the zone, up to the start point of the sample or after the end point.

All of this means that whichever part of the sample is wrong and you want to discard, you can home in on it pretty efficiently and zap it. Sometime in the future I think it would be very useful if Akai provided a feature for cutting up a long sample into pieces. This would make it easier to take samples from a sample CD rather than having to set up each one separately.

When all your samples are honed to perfection, you will need to assign them to the drum pads. To do this go to 'Sel pgm, asn snds’ - I’m sure you understand Akai’s abbreviation - and hit the first pad you want to assign. Now simply move the cursor to the appropriate place on the screen and dial in the sound you want to allocate to the pad. You can set up to three samples in different velocity zones, and you can set three decay zones to play different samples according to settings associated with the small slider at the bottom left. This might typically be used so that as well as varying the decay of the hihat, the sample itself can change.

There are other options that help the MPC 3000 give a good account of itself in performance: there is an amplitude envelope which allows you to soften the attack or decay of a sound, velocity modulation of that envelope, and variable tuning and polyphony. As all drum machines should have, and all sequencers, it is possible for the start of any note to cause the cessation of another, in this case up to two others. This is necessary for realistic simulation of a hihat where a closed or pedal hihat sound must cut off a preceding open hihat. This will also allow other creative possibilies.

There is also a sweepable filter with adjustable resonance which will be great for electronic sounding drum tracks. Kraftwerke should definitely have one!

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By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
Learn music production