The Tap Tempo key is a great way of setting the tempo without having to clog
up your brain with numbers. Your taps can be averaged over two, three or four
hits according to your preference. When it comes to creating music loops, the
tap tempo function really shows its worth. Trying to set a tempo to get a loop
to cycle in a regular and glitch free manner is usually a matter of trial and
error (unless you do everything at 120 BPM). With Tap Tempo what you do is create
a sequence with the same number of bars as the loop, which will repeat automatically
unless you instruct it not to, and hit the pad to which the sample is assigned
on the first beat of the first bar. Then, as the sample plays, hit the Tap Tempo
button in time with the rhythm and amazingly enough the tempo will be very nearly
right for the loop. You’ll have to make some fine adjustments of course,
but you have saved in an instant half the time and effort it usually takes.
The Main Screen key has the obvious function of taking you back to the main
sequencing display from wherever you happen to be. It has the secondary function
of acting as a life saver in case you are halfway through doing something you
didn’t really want to do. In which case, just press the Main Screen key
and nothing is spoilt. I could still use an Undo key though!
When you are a newcomer to the MPC 3000, the next key will receive a lot of
use. This is the Help key which provides information on whatever screen and
cursor position you happen to be in. When computer sequencer users find themselves
in difficulties they need to bring out a large ring bound manual, which probably
doesn’t have all the information for the latest update, and half the pages
will fall on the floor just to draw added attention to the predicament. What
an embarrassment! With the MPC 3000 if you find yourself in difficulties in
the midst of a sweaty studio session, just surreptitiously press the help key
and no-one will even know what’s going on. The help given is clear and
concise, and usually adequate, unlike most computer manuals (on all three counts).
The lower two rows of keys are for transport and locate. There is a three
position autolocator as well as two types of fast forward and reverse to move
through the sequence by quantisation interval or by bar. Two record keys are
provided, one to record and erase existing material and one to overdub. There
are also two play keys: one to play from the beginning and one to play from
the current position.