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Akai MPC 3000 MIDI Production Centre (part 6)

Akai MPC 3000 MIDI Production Centre (part 6)

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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.

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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!

David Mellor

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David Mellor