Sloppy Piano Chops – Akai MPC 1k Program

Well, I broke down and got a guitar pedal board today, so I could more easily work with multiple pedals. Before it was one at a time, but not any more. Now I can run them in series and mix and match for some more interesting effects. I’ll have to start posting about putting the pedal board together and powering it. Oh and hacking on the plastic to get everything to fit, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Today, I wanted to record some piano. Some jazzy chords, played a bit out of time, but routed through the Chase Bliss Mood with the slip filter running, which makes it pretty hard to make things sound like they are played in time. This formed the basis of why you’ll see some of the chords sound like they are the tail, and other parts come in much louder. I then routed this through the Chase Bliss Generation Loss, which you’d think was drizzling the noise into this sample, but no, I can thank my USB charger for my computer for this. I figured I was going to add noise anyways, so why not leave it in. I’m not sure I have a ground loop problem or something else, but it’s quite noisy, and I know it’s from my external USB C graphics, because when it is running off the battery it is fine. So all of that it is run through the Generation Loss high pass and low pass filter, then dumped into the Gen to bit crush quite a bit, and with some added flutter.

Anyways, Sloppy Piano is the result, if you want to take your hand at chopping it go nuts, it’s got some interesting sounds here, but as I said, due to poor playing, and the Mood slip, you’re not really going to get any straight chops. Given enough time you might be able to loop it and surprise me though.

From here, I just did the laziest chops you can imagine for the MPC 1k to create Sloppy Piano Chop. This is not something I’m terribly proud of from a chopping standpoint, but I found it quite fun to play and figured it’d be worth it to share. Good luck and have fun!

MPC 1k Q-Link Repair

Oh the joys of owning older gear.  Q2 on my MPC was super sketchy.  Loading up the JJOS v3 test menu showed Q2 was going from a range of about 300-500, and normal operation is 0-1000.  Another fun problem was that moving Q1 was also making a subtle change to Q2.  That’s definitely not supposed to happen!

I figured there were a few things to try in order to resolve this.

  1. It might just be that the Q-Link board was horribly damaged, and needed to be replaced. A quick look on http://www.mpcstuff.com showed that this was going to cost a bit in order to go this route.
  2. The fader could be gunked up with dust, and just need to be blown out.  The older gear gets, the more dust it picks up, and a lot of pots, faders, and tact switches might need to  be sprayed with DeOxit, blown out with air, or otherwise freed of gunk.
  3. The cable that connects to the Q-Link board might have gotten oxidized, and in desperate need of being reseated.

I figured I’d start with the low cost solutions. It’s honestly not that hard to pop the MPC 1k open, so I figured I’d just get a closer look. My strategy was to disconnect the cables to the board in case of a bad connection, and blow the fader out with some compressed air. While I can say that using your breath can help this suffers from two problems… first is that if you’re allergic to dust you may get a face full which isn’t so great, and second the moisture in your breath can do long term damage to electronics. The moisture might seem like a “so what”, but the older your gear is, the less time you want to spend repairing it.

Before putting the case back together, I figured I’d give it the good old JJOS test. Fortunately after reconnecting the cables and blowing out the fader I was back in business. Always a happy day for an easy fix!

I’ve got a few tact switches that feel a bit sticky from time to time. This probably indicates the possible need for a switch or button replacement. I’ll worry about that later though.

LoFi House – Akai MPC 1k Drum Program

Today I decided to play around with Reason again, and ended up recording the LoFi House MPC 1k Program. Really nothing too fancy, but other than routing drums through a 12-bit distortion Rack Extension, with a bunch of tweaking to filter it a bit. Honestly, each drum hit could be better tweaked for a tighter sound, but I ran out of sampling steam. Perhaps I’ll come back to a round two (or three) of these samples and trying and put something together a bit more consistent. So nothing too epic, but I figured it would be fun to play around with.

I almost posted the recorded audio that I chopped into the program, but honestly, the chops are more interesting. Instead I decided to throw together a demo loop of the Program. I put together this LoFi Loop which is just a 96bpm loop with 66% swing. Nothing that knocks, and could definitley use some eq, but hey, it’s free for you to do what you want with.