I love electronic music, so getting an MPC1000 was a natural step for me.

I feel like I’ve been living in the stone age and suddenly an AI construct fell from the future and started explaining how time travel isn’t that hard when you really think about it. I’ve been working on a Korg Electribe A MKII, a Korg Electribe R MKII and a CD player for the past year with You and What Army. They did their job well, but the MPC1000 replaces the hell out of them.

To clear things up for those that don’t know: the Electribes actually synthesise the sounds themselves. The Electribe-A (Short for Analogue synth) made all the music, and was capable of two synthlines simoultaneously, whilst the Electribe-R (Short for Rhythm) acted as a drum machine and a click track for the drummer. I used the CD player to play the computer programmed samples, but it was limited to parts of the songs where the live drums weren’t playing, as there was no click track functionality to keep the drummer in time with the electronics.

The Akai MPC1000 requires sounds to be made externally (I make mine on my computer, or record them from my electribes or synths), then uploaded to it’s memory card/internal memory (I have a 2gb card so it’s plenty enough for gigging).

I found out about the sampler from… I’m not sure actually. Probably a combination of it being Dr. Dre’s instrument of choice for composing all the most gangstuh songs ever, the ridiculous amounts of impressive youtube videos and the huge community surrounding it.

It’s a good sequencer. Takes a long time to program, but it’s fantastic in a live band situation. There are two main outputs on the back, and 4 other assignable outputs, which I route the click track through one and sent that off to the drummer (you need a click track for a drummer when having sequenced samples live. A painful amount of bands trying out electronica with rock for the first time don’t realise this), and use two more as a stereo effects send for my kaoss pad 2.

But where it really shines for me is in it’s live capabilities. The 16 pads on the front make it an instrument; not just an electronic box. I have made several videos of how it works in a live situation:

This one is the breakdown for a You and What Army song “Supernova”, which I transposed to samples soon after getting my MPC1000.

This one is my Drum and Bass mashup of samples from the Transformers series and movie.

And this one is my latest mashup of Captain Planet samples.

Pros It’s made YAWA’s live sound infinitely better: Now instead of just two tracks of a very limited synth sequencer, we have all the samples from the recorded versions layered over the songs. They sound as full live as they do in the recordings. In the new songs we’ve written I’ve finally been able to produce the electronic parts purely on my computer to get the awesome sounding synths and some heavy beats.Also, people are impressed to see the sampling done live. It adds a bit more skill to the electronica side of the live performance! ConsRemember: It doesn’t make the sounds itself, you’ll need a good DAW (Digital Audio Workstation (Computer for making music)) to make the sounds on and then transfer them via card/usb to the MPC1000.It only takes .wav files, which is not really a problem, but it can be difficult at times, as this takes up a lot of RAM memory. If you are thinking of buying an MPC1000, I would STRONGLY advise getting it upgraded to the 128MB RAM. Without that, I couldn’t even load one song at a time, and when a crowd is into the music you can’t be waiting for ages after each song while you load the samples. (I cover up my loading times by beatboxing or getting the mormons to riff) When you load the samples they go into the RAM of the sampler, which is where it runs out of space if I have more than about 3 songs loaded at once. Mind you, I made all my samples stereo wavs, effectively doubling the size, and stereo sound isn’t necessary for the majority of my samples.I just need to find a decent wav file size reducer program.

Conclusion

For me, it was £400 on eBay well spent. If it is your first time, however, It’s a lot to learn in one go. I spent a good few hours digging through the manuals before I could really get into it. However, if you’re tired of the same synth sounds from your MicroKORG and want some freedom to bounce around the stage once in a while, I’d reccommend the hell out of the MPC1000.

There are a million and one youtube videos of MPC1000 performances. I suggest you go look at them to wet your appetite. Then show me your own videos when you get yours!

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2 Responses to “My New Toy – Using an Akai MPC1000 in a band”

  1. As I’ve written on you youtube – thank you for real electronic music maker’s MPC 1000 review. It’s true that mainly MPC 1000 usage is made by those “gangstuh” biatches :D
    You’ve made my mind. BUT!
    You can do all those things you write here about with a laptop!

  2. Thanks, man!

    There are a few benefits using an MPC over a laptop – not including the whole “Status” it gives you when people know you are an MPC user ^_^

    For a start there’s reliability. I am not so trusting to use a PC/Mac in a live environment because I’ve seen bands curse their laptops into oblivion on stage when they mess up.

    Secondly, there’s the live triggering of the samples with the 16 pads (Though you could just use an external pad and a laptop I guess, but that’s getting much more expensive than the MPC on its own!)

    That’s just off the top of my head though. If you’ve got money to burn the laptop and an external dumb controller might well be the better way to go, but for me the MPC does everything I need for a fraction of the price of a decent laptop setup.

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