Akai MPC Touch Review

MPC Touch Review


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My name is Brennan Galley and I was the Canadian Technical Sales Manager for inMusic Canada. I toured Canada coast to coast to show musicians how to use innovative DJ and Music production equipment.  These videos I shoot were designed to be a follow up to anyone I met, who wants to see the demonstration I do for a second time.  My goal is to help musicians use the gear they purchase to the fullest of its capacity.  I’ve spent a lot of time touring with different MPC’s and my current rig is the MPC Touch.

The MPC Touch is the first member of the Akai MPC family with a touch screen.  In 1988 the MPC 60 was released and allowed artists to create music in a brand new way.  Since then much has changed, however the original work flow remains.

When I first got started with MPC 2000xl the biggest hurdle was loading a sound. Back then SCSI, Compact Flash, Floppy needed to be patiently loaded in before a session could start.

Akai MPC Touch – Loading Sounds

This video shows how to get sounds loaded quickly onto the pads.  The assumptions is that you have registered and downloaded all of the content.  There is about 20 gigs of content that come with the MPC Touch so be sure to give yourself time to do the downloads.

Here is a link to the Akai Pro Login screen.  If you are a new Akai customer then set yourself up with an account.  If you are returning than register your product and get all of your downloads in the product page.

01 – Recording A Live Beat

Now that you have your sound set it’s time to lay down a Rhythm.  My biggest tip is go simple.  If you lay down new parts tracks by track, than you will have a lot of flexibility later on.  Remember that you want to build a dynamic track.  Songs become stagnant to your ear if you have constant repetition and planning at this stage will give you more tools later to deliver a track that moves.

02 – Step Sequencing

You’ve laid down a starting track and have drum part idea’s that will add to your existing beat. You can also start your song with step sequencing if that’s where your comfort level is.  There is endless ways to put a song together with the MPC Touch.  Get familiar with the tools and find the best way that works for you to produce a song.

03 – Note Repeat

It’s now time to lay down some hi hats over the beat.  Laying down a perfect 16th note is tough when you do it live, but note repeat allows you to capture it.  Push harder or softer on the pad as you lay down the track to get a more dynamic performance

04 – Pads Scaled

Your beat is captured and now you want to capture your hook.  A melody line that will stick in the listener’s head.  If you don’t have a keyboard controller in your studio setup you can still use the MPC touch to capture a performance in a scale.  The benefit of computer based sequencing is that all of the VST’s that you would have available in any other DAW are available in the MPC software.

05 – Muting Tracks

At the top of this article I mentioned that you want to separate elements of your track.  This is why.  Inside the MPC software you can select track mute and bring in and drop out whatever tracks you choose.

06 – Song Arrangement

You have the parts of the song in place, you’ve been playing with the mute track now and know exactly how you want your song to sound.  In this video I show how to copy your sequence and then how to turn 4 bars into 16.  With Mute track you can record your performance by simply pressing record and play.

07 – Loop Recording

This video shows how to capture loop recording with the MPC Touch.  The beautiful thing is that the loop recording will match up perfectly with the sequence, because you can track while you hear the beat.  Take those live samples and assign them to the pads and open up the ability to play back stuff that is impossible to play live.  I plugged an Sen. 421 into the MPC touch awhile back with a XLR to 1/4″ cable.  It worked.  I had to crank the volume full blast on the input but the signal didn’t distort.

08 – Program Parameters

In this video I show how to get into the program parameters to adjust how the pads will playback.  With the MPC Touch you can have any pad simultaneously play any other pad.  Or if it’s more appropriate you can have it mute any other pads.  Preparing a program will give you better control for pad mashing.

09 – Long Loop Perform

If you have longer loops that you want to perform with a great function of the MPC is pad mute.  This video is a follow up with the previous Program parameters video.  Control over your pad playback is key to a good performance.

10 – VIP In MPC

If you find that you always gravitate to the same sounds on your computer this tools will provide you will a new way to filter through you sounds and find the perfect solution.  VIP is powerful software and is included with the Advance series from Akai, The VX49 from Alesis and the CTRL 49 from M-Audio.  When you combine this with the sequencing power of the MPC, your time in the studio becomes more about finding the perfect performance and less about hearing every sound that you’ve downloaded.

I produce in different ways for musicians.  If they are performing as a classic band set up and want it live off the floor, my go to is Pro Tools 10 on a Mac OS10.6.8.  If I am producing the beats myself and am working with a solo artist, MPC is where I prefer to start.  It’s really quick and to the point.  After the four hour energy crash that sometimes happens in sessions, I can drop a remix of what we have and re-inspire the artist.  Works every time.