Akai MPC User's Guide

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Summary of Contents

Page 1 - User Guide

User Guide English Manual Version 1.0

Page 2 - Table of Contents

10 1. USB Port: Use the included USB cable to connect this USB port to an available USB port on your computer. This connection allows MPC Element

Page 3

100 Step Sequence Mode Step Sequence Mode lets you create or edit Sequences by using the pads as "step buttons," simulating the experien

Page 4

101 Pad Section This section lets you quickly create and delete note events as "steps" by using the pads of your MPC hardware or MPC sof

Page 5 - Welcome to the MPC

102 MIDI Control Mode In MIDI Control Mode, you can customize what MIDI messages are sent from certain controls on your hardware. This custom &quo

Page 6 - About This Manual

103 To edit a control: 1. Select it by doing one of the following: • clicking it in the software • pressing or moving it on your hardware 2. In

Page 7 - Installation

104 • Aftertouch (pads only): This determines how the pad's aftertouch (pressure applied to the pad after the initial hit) behaves. o When s

Page 8 - Unlocking MPC Essentials

105 Effects The MPC software offers various effects for processing samples and sound Programs. These same instructions for loading and editing eff

Page 9 - MPC Hardware Overview

106 Operation (Plugin) When using the MPC Essentials software as a VST or AU plugin, its features and functions are very similar to its operation

Page 10

107 Playback Start and Stop: The start and stop commands are always synchronized to the host application. When the playback of the host application

Page 11

108 Appendix Keyboard Shortcuts You can use the following computer keyboard shortcuts for the MPC software. Cubase users: When running MPC as a

Page 12 - Quick Start

109 File Menu Function Control (Windows) Command (Mac OS X) New Project Control + N Command + N New From Template Control + Shift + N Command

Page 13

11 14. 16 Level: Press this button to activate/deactivate 16 Level. When activated, the last pad that was hit will be temporarily copied to all 16

Page 14

110 Effects and Parameters This chapter lists the available effects in the software. To learn more about how effects work in the software, please

Page 15 - Recording a Bass Sequence

111 Reverb Medium This is a spatial effect, designed to emulate a medium room. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link Knob Number Dry/Wet

Page 16

112 Reverb Large 2 This is a less CPU-intensive spatial effect, emulating the sound of a large hall. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link

Page 17 - Exporting the Song

113 Reverb In Gate This is a hall reverb with an additional control. The reverb effect is cut off when the input drops below the level set in the G

Page 18 - Operation (Software)

114 Reverb Out Gate This is a hall reverb that has an additional control. The reverb effect is cut off when the output drops below the level set in

Page 19 - General Features

115 Delays Delays the original signal for a specified period of time and plays it back over an adjustable period of time. Delay Mono Parameter

Page 20

116 Delay Stereo Stereo Delay operates similarly to Mono Delay but in true stereo. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link Knob Number Dry/W

Page 21 - Program Types

117 Delay LP LP Delay is identical to the Mono Delay, but it uses a resonant low-pass filter in the delay line. Parameter Value Range Default Va

Page 22

118 Delay Analog Analog Delay is similar to Mono Delay, except that it's designed to sound like an analog "Bucket Brigade"-style del

Page 23

119 Delay Tape Sync Tape Delay emulates a delay system using an analog tape loop and a series of tape heads to produce an echo effect. This delay t

Page 24

12 Quick Start Starting Up 1. Power on your computer, and make sure the MPC hardware driver and software are both properly installed on your co

Page 25

120 Delay Multi-Tap This delay is a mono delay which has three delay generators with independently adjustable delay times and stereo position. Par

Page 26 - File Browser

121 Flanger A flanger is a modulated delay to emulate the sound created when running two analog tape machines in parallel with a slight time disal

Page 27

122 Chorus A chorus effect uses an LFO to modulate the pitch and a delay of the input signal, which are then added to the dry signal. In small amo

Page 28 - Mode Tab Section

123 Autopan This effect uses an LFO to move the incoming signal back and forth across the stereo field, creating a rotary effect. Autopan Param

Page 29

124 Tremolo This effect uses an LFO to increase and decrease the volume of the signal. Depending on the LFO shape, this can produce a smooth wave

Page 30 - Transport Section

125 Phasers The phaser is a classic effect, created by multiple ganged all-pass filters to create "notches," or sharp spikes, in the fre

Page 31

126 HP Filters HP Filter This effect is a static filter without modulation. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link Knob Number Frequency

Page 32 - The Grid

127 HP Filter Sync This effect is a high-pass filter with its cutoff frequency modulated by an LFO. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link

Page 33

128 LP Filters LP Filter This effect is a static filter without modulation. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link Knob Number Frequency

Page 34

129 LP Filter Sync This effect is a low-pass filter with its cutoff frequency modulated by an LFO. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-Link

Page 35

13 Let's record a drum Sequence: 1. Click the Rec button to activate Record Mode. 2. To start the actual recording, click Play. The pre-coun

Page 36

130 Parametric EQs PEQ 2-Band, 2-Shelf This effect is a combination of one two-band parametric equalizer and two shelving filters. Parameter Va

Page 37

131 PEQ 4-Band This effect is a powerful four-band parametric equalizer with four independent EQ ranges. Parameter Value Range Default Value Q-

Page 38 - Software Menus

132 Distortions Distortion Amp This effect is designed to reproduce the sound of a tube amplifier at high volumes. Parameter Value Range Defau

Page 39

133 Distortion Grimey This is a unique distortion effect that distorts a frequency range in a selectable band. Parameter Value Range Default Val

Page 40

134 Distortion Custom This effect is a highly customized distortion, capable of a wide range of useable sounds. Parameter Value Range Default Va

Page 41

135 Compressors A compressor is an effect that changes the dynamic range of a signal by automatically reducing its gain. Compressor Master This

Page 42

136 Compressor Opto The Opto Compressor is modeled after a vintage compressor type using an optical circuit to control the volume reduction of the

Page 43

137 Compressor VCA This compressor is more modern-sounding, with a slightly more transparent sound. A VCA Compressor tends to have quicker attack a

Page 44

138 Compressor Vintage This compressor has a sound similar to classic tube compressors, with their gentle yet pumping response and a dash of tube s

Page 45

139 Bit Reducers Decimator Decimator down-samples the incoming signal by removing bits from the digital signal. The difference between decimation

Page 46

14 Organizing Samples and Editing Note Events We recommend doing some naming and editing before recording further. Let's use the software, wh

Page 47

140 Other Auto Wah This effect is a low-pass filter modulated by an envelope that yields a classic funky "wah-wah"- like sound. The env

Page 48

141 Frequency Shifter A frequency shifter changes the frequencies of an input signal by a fixed amount and alters the relationship of the original

Page 49

142 Glossary A lot of the terms in this manual are based on the MPC parameter names. This glossary briefly explains many of the technical terms us

Page 50 - Main Mode

143 Control Change (Controllers): MIDI messages enable you to manipulate the behavior of a sound generator to a significant degree. This message es

Page 51

144 MIDI: MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface. Developed in the early 1980s, MIDI enables interaction between various types of ele

Page 52 - Pad Bank Section

145 Panning: The process or the result of changing a signal's position within the stereo panorama. Pitchbend: Pitchbend is a MIDI message. Al

Page 53 - Sequence Section

146 Sample: When you tap the pads on your MPC hardware, you can trigger sounds that we call samples. Samples are digitized snippets of audio that c

Page 54

147 Trademarks and Licenses Akai Professional and MPC are trademarks of inMusic Brands, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. ASIO, C

Page 55


Page 56 - Project Information Section

15 Recording a Bass Sequence Recording a melodic instrument like piano or bass works differently in the software from recording drums. Unlike a dr

Page 57

16 Let's add a second layer and set the Layers' velocity ranges so our bass sounds different when played at a higher velocity (as a real

Page 58 - Program Edit Mode

17 Creating a Song This section explains how to make a Song out of your Sequences. Before starting, make sure that you have recorded some Sequenc

Page 59 - Master Section

18 Operation (Software) This chapter explains the complete features and functions of the MPC Essentials software. Important: When using the MPC

Page 60

19 General Features Adjusting the Controls Tip: If you use a computer mouse with scroll wheel, you can use it to affect some of these controls: m

Page 61

2 Table of Contents Welcome to the MPC ...

Page 62 - Edit Layers Section

20 Switches Switches are represented by "LEDs." If a function is active, its LED will be lit red. To activate a function, click it. Any o

Page 63

21 Program Types About Programs A Program is a file that contains (1) a list of all samples used and (2) the settings for each sample (i.e., pad

Page 64

22 To load samples into a Drum Program, click and drag a sample onto the desired pad (in the pad display or its row in the grid) from one of the fo

Page 65 - Filter Section

23 To load samples into a Keygroup Program: 1. In the File Browser, double-click the desired sample. The sample is now loaded in the current Proje

Page 66

24 MIDI Program To create a MIDI Program: 1. Click the Main Mode tab to enter Main Mode. 2. In the Sequence Section, click the Type drop-down me

Page 67

25 Plugin Program A Plugin Program lets you send your Sequences' MIDI data through a loaded plugin. To turn a Program into a Plugin Program:

Page 68 - LFO Section

26 File Browser The File Browser lets you navigate through your computer's internal and external hard disks to load samples, Sequences, Songs

Page 69 - Pad Insert Effects Section

27 To load a Project, double-click its corresponding .xpj file in the File Browser. If your Project was created on the full version of the MPC soft

Page 70

28 Mode Tab Section The Mode Tab Section contains tabs that let you switch between the software modes as well as further control for selecting Pro

Page 71 - Program Mixer Mode

29 Depending on the selected mode, some Mode Tab Section menus and functions can change, described here: Click the Program drop-down menu to selec

Page 72 - Insert Effects

3 Program Edit Mode ... 5

Page 73 - Next Sequence Mode

30 Transport Section The Transport Section contains various transport controls (for playback and recording) as well as bar and tempo displays, the

Page 74 - Sequence Playlist

31 Note: The transport controls can be found on the MPC hardware as well as in the software, so the descriptions below apply to both. Click the Rec

Page 75 - Next Sequence Section

32 The Grid The grid is where you record, program, and edit your Sequences and arrange your Songs. The grid is visible in Main Mode, Program Edit

Page 76 - Sample Record Mode

33 In the top-left corner of the grid are two buttons to switch between Draw Mode and Select Mode: • By default, Draw Mode is active, indicated by

Page 77 - Waveform Display

34 Across the top of the grid is a blue strip that indicates where you are in the Sequence: • The number in the upper half is the bar number. •

Page 78 - Record Control Section

35 Grid for Keygroup Programs, MIDI Programs, and Plugin Programs When a Keygroup Progam, MIDI Program, or Plugin Program is selected, the grid lo

Page 79

36 Entering and Editing Note Events You can easily insert note events and data with your computer mouse. Hardware: Press the Rec button to record

Page 80

37 • Click and drag a note event to move it to another position (when multiple note events are selected, you can move them all simultaneously). Yo

Page 81 - Sample Edit Mode

38 Entering and Editing Automation In the software, follow these steps to enter and edit automation data: 1. To the left of the velocity lane, ne

Page 82

39 Load Recent provides shortcuts to the last five files you have been recently working with. The list is chronological with the most recent file a

Page 83 - Edit Section

4 Sample Edit Mode ...

Page 84

40 • As Audio Mixdown exports the Sequence as an audio file. In the window that appears, you can set the audio file's format: o Audio Length

Page 85 - Settings Section

41 Edit Menu Undo undoes the last action you performed. When there are no actions left to undo, the Undo command will be unavailable and appear gr

Page 86 - Process Section

42 Preferences opens the Preferences window, which contains many customizable elements of the software. Click the corresponding tab on the left to

Page 87

43 • Preferences: MIDI Tab o Active Midi Inputs: These checkboxes represent the active installed MIDI inputs on your computer system. Hardware:

Page 88 - Chop Mode

44 • Preferences: Auto Load/Save Tab o Template File: Click the … button to select a Sequence template to load automatically anytime you create a

Page 89

45 • Preferences: Hardware Tab Here, you can set additional parameters affecting the behavior of your MPC hardware. o Pad Threshold: Click this d

Page 90

46 • Preferences: Sync Tab Here, you can set various parameters related to the software's synchronization: o Receive: Click this drop-down m

Page 91

47 • Preferences: Other Tab Here, you can set various other MIDI and audio parameters. o Tap Tempo: Click this drop-down menu to set how many tim

Page 92

48 Rate lets you to select the metronome click's time division: 1/4, 1/4T, 1/8, 1/8T, 1/16, 1/16T, 1/32 or 1/32T ("T" stands for &qu

Page 93

49 • Strength: Click and drag this field up or down to set how strictly notes will be quantized (i.e., shifted toward the quantize value). Lower v

Page 94 - Song Mode

5 Welcome to the MPC Thanks for choosing the MPC! Fusing Akai Professional's legendary MPC layout and workflow with the power of your comput

Page 95 - Sequence Playlist Section

50 Main Mode Main Mode gives you an overview of the most-used functions. To enter Main Mode, click the Main Mode tab in the Mode Tab Section of

Page 96 - Song Section

51 Program Mode Click the Prg button to activate the Q-Link Knobs' Program Mode. To assign a parameter to a Q-Link Knob in the software: 1.

Page 97 - Step Section

52 If Midi is selected in the Instrument Section, The Q-Link Knobs' Program Mode will look slightly different. To control a desired parameter

Page 98 - Pad Mute Mode

53 Sequence Section This section gives you an overview of parameters relevant to the current Sequence. In the software, click the Sequence drop-do

Page 99 - Pad Group

54 Click the Program drop-down menu to select a Program of the Type you selected above. Click the + button to add a new Program of that Type to the

Page 100 - Step Sequence Mode

55 For Plugin Programs When the Program Type is set to Plugin, the Sequence Section will look slightly different from other Programs: If your Pro

Page 101 - Pad Section

56 Project Information Section The Project Information section shows the Project name as well as all Programs and samples loaded into the softwa

Page 102 - MIDI Control Mode

57 The Sample column displays the available samples. Select All Samples to view all samples in the Project, or select a Program or Sequence below

Page 103

58 Program Edit Mode Program Edit Mode contains all parameters for editing your Programs: • For Drum Programs and Keygroup Programs, this mode i

Page 104

59 Master Section In the Master Section, you can set the playback mode and tuning for the overall Program. Mode sets the playback mode for the Pr

Page 105 - Effects

6 About This Manual This manual was written to help you get familiar with the MPC Element hardware and MPC Essentials software. To avoid confusion

Page 106 - Operation (Plugin)

60 Mute Target Section (Drum Programs Only) For the currently selected pad, you can select up to four pads as Mute Targets. When the pad is playe

Page 107

61 Sample Play determines how much of the sample is played: • One-Shot: The entire sample will play from start to end. Use this when you want to p

Page 108 - (using keyboard

62 Note Range lets you restrict the key range used for a sample's playback. Only notes with a key number higher or equal (Lo) or lower and equ

Page 109 - Edit Menu

63 Semi lets you transpose the selected layer 12 up to semitones up or down. Fine provides fine-tuning of each layer by fractions of a semitone.

Page 110 - Effects and Parameters

64 No. KG (Number of Keygroups) lets you create up to 128 Keygroups within a Keygroup Program. This is very useful when working with multi-samples.

Page 111

65 Filter Section The Filter Type drop-down menu lets you select a filter for the selected pad. See the Filter definition in the Glossary for an e

Page 112

66 The Filter Envelope controls affect the filter frequency. The knobs control the envelope shape or time-variant modulation output. Adjust envelop

Page 113

67 Pad Play Modes Section (Drum Programs Only) Here, you can set the behavior for each pad's samples in a Drum Program. Mute Groups let you

Page 114

68 Velocity Sensitivity Section Here, you can set how much velocity affects various sound parameters: Pitch, Filter Envelope Attack (Atk), Amplifi

Page 115

69 Controller Mod Section (Keygroup Program Only) This section determines the influence of additional play controllers on various sound parameters

Page 116

7 Important Notes • Read the included Safety and Warranty Manual before using the MPC hardware. • Before getting started and connecting devices

Page 117

70 Program Edit Mode for MIDI Programs and Plugin Programs For MIDI Programs and Plugin Programs, Program Edit Mode looks a bit different. You wi

Page 118

71 Program Mixer Mode In Program Mixer Mode, you can set the levels, stereo panning, and effects for a Program: • For Drum Programs, this mode s

Page 119

72 Levels In the software, click the channel fader and drag it up or down to set the level. To view more mixer channels, use the scroll bar under

Page 120

73 Next Sequence Mode Next Sequence Mode lets you trigger different Sequences simply by playing the pads. This is useful for live performances, le

Page 121 - Flanger

74 Sequence Playlist The Sequence Playlist window in Next Sequence Mode shows a list-style overview of all used Sequences in your Project: • The

Page 122

75 Next Sequence Section During the playback of a Sequence, this section gives you the following options: • Click Next Bar to change the Sequence

Page 123 - Autopan

76 Sample Record Mode Sample Record Mode lets you record audio samples to use in your Sequences. This mode is divided in two main parts: • the Wa

Page 124 - Tremolo

77 Waveform Display The Waveform Display shows the entire waveform of your recorded sample with a timeline at the top. While this is just for refe

Page 125 - Phasers

78 Record Control Section The Record Control section offers all the relevant controls for recording. Threshold In Record Mode, the software auto

Page 126 - HP Filters

79 Input Source The Input Source parameter defines whether you are going to record an external audio signal (External) an internal signal from the

Page 127

8 Unlocking MPC Essentials Follow these steps to unlock the MPC software before using it. 1. Connect your MPC hardware to a USB port on your com

Page 128 - LP Filters

80 Sample Rec and Stop Click Sample Rec to record-arm the software, or click Sample Stop to stop the recording process. After clicking Sample Re

Page 129

81 Sample Edit Mode Sample Edit Mode lets you edit samples using various functions. In the software, click the Sample Edit tab in the Mode Tab Se

Page 130 - Parametric EQs

82 Waveform Display The Waveform Display is divided into two sections: • The top of the display shows an overview of the entire sample waveform

Page 131

83 Edit Section This section contains controls to edit samples and to select between Chop Mode or Trim Mode. Most of this chapter describes Trim M

Page 132 - Distortions

84 Pad Section You can use the pads to play certain parts of the selected sample, regardless of the selected Pad Bank. Trigger the following play

Page 133

85 Settings Section This section lets you edit various parameters affecting playback and loop functions. In the software, edit the start point (

Page 134

86 Process Section The Process section gives you various editing options for the selected sample. In the software, click the desired sample editi

Page 135 - Compressors

87 o Log fades the audio in with a logarithmic curve—quickly rising at the start and flattening out towards the end. o Exp fades the audio in wit

Page 136

88 Project Information Section This section is identical to the Project Information Section in Main Mode. For more information, please see the Pro

Page 137

89 Edit Section in Chop Mode In the software: • Use Q-Link Knobs Q13, Q9, Q5, or Q1 to adjust the start point of the sample. The smaller the

Page 138

9 MPC Hardware Overview This chapter explains the features and functions of your MPC Element. MPC Element Top Panel 123456789101112131415161718

Page 139 - Bit Reducers

90 Settings in Chop Mode In the software, this section lets you edit various parameters affecting the start point and end point of your sample&apo

Page 140

91 Chop To Section in Chop Mode This section determines the slicing process. You can select between three slicing modes: • Threshold uses an adju

Page 141

92 This section contains most of the same functions as it does in Trim Mode: Silence, Extract, Normalize, Reverse, Fade In, Fade Out, Pitch Shift

Page 142 - Glossary

93 • Assign Slice assigns a single slice to a selected pad. Click Pad and select the desired pad. If Extract Region To New Sample is activated, th

Page 143

94 Song Mode Song Mode lets you arrange Sequences in a specific order and/or repetition to create songs. You can edit the structure of a Song duri

Page 144

95 Sequence Playlist Section The Sequence Playlist Section (to the left of the pads in the software) is the list of the steps of a Sequence. Each

Page 145

96 Pad Bank Section In this section, all Sequences are assigned to a pad. Unused empty Sequences are marked (unused). You can use the Pad Bank but

Page 146

97 Edit Step Section This section contains controls to add or delete steps from the Song. Click Insert Step to insert the selected Sequence (ind

Page 147 - Trademarks and Licenses

98 Pad Mute Mode Pad Mute Mode lets you easily mute pads within a Program or set Mute Groups for each pad. In the software, click the Pad Mute ta

Page 148

99 Pad Group The Pad Group feature extends the concept of Pad Mutes: you can mute or unmute multiple pads simultaneously by hitting one pad that y

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