New to the MPC production world? Got a music production question that's not really specific to any particular MPC? Try your luck here and get help from our experienced members.
By jayblu Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:27 am
Apologies in advance for asking multiple questions, but as I hope will be clear, an answer to anyone of them is only really useful in the context of the others. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on not only everybody's individual approach, but also on any variations, and the reasoning behind them.

I bought an MPC Touch last February and for the most part have just been happy making little 2-4 bar loops in order to get to grips with sampling, filtering etc. However, I'd like to start bringing other things into the mix (first and foremost I am a guitarist/keys person) but feel like the way I'm doing things is really suboptimal/am convinced that this is not how anyone with any sense would go about it.

For clarity, I will go through the things I would like to achieve one by one, say how I'm currently doing them, and then ask the relevant questions. Broadly speaking my questions are basically just 'what is the most efficient/standard way of doing X?'. I strongly get the feeling that the answer to most of these questions might just be 'use a DAW'

1. Overdub a short guitar or keys part.

Currently the way I would do this is, to take for example keys, is as follows:
Send the outs from my Roland 300sx into my Focusrite 2i4
Send the outs from my Focusrite into the ins on my MPC
Record an audio track in the MPC Software

Q1.1 Physically sending the out from my audio interface into my MPC seems quite absurd when both are connected via USB to the same Windows machine. However, after a non-negligible amount of investigation (checking forums et cetera) it seems that the only way that I can record directly from the Focusrite audio interface in the MPC software requires me to change the audio device in the MPC software from the MPC touched to my Focusrite audio interface. Surely this is not the best way to do this ?!

Q1.2 The other issue with this approach is that muting on audio tracks is not sequence-dependent. That is to say, unlike with normal tracks (MIDI, Keygroup etc.), I cannot mute a different subset of audio tracks in each sequence. For reasons which are quite beyond me, muting an audio track seems to mute the audio track globally (for all sequences). [Of course there are ways around this, by duplicating audio tracks, or by doing something silly like putting the recorded audio in a different type of program, but this seem like a fudge and is highly unsatisfactory] What is the standard way of overdubbing a part?

2. Record a song length vocal part.

Q2.1 What is the standard way of doing this?
If I work up various sequences and then want to record a vocal, my vocal would be much longer than all my sequences. I can't really get my head around how I would go about working with an audio recording which is this long. Without say exporting as audio a 'song' of sequences. And then if I were to do that, it seems that the workflow for making changes to those sequences to complement the vocal would be quite tedious. Indeed I don't know how I would do that without having to repeatedly bounce the 'song'.

If the answer to this is esssentially 'use another DAW', I would really appreciate it if anybody would be prepared to give me an idea of how people go about integrating an MPC into their workflow when using another DAW. (Say for instance as a VST?) I'm assuming that people don't just work up various different sequences on their MPC and then export them into their DAW to never make any further changes.

3. Live Looping.

This is much less of a concern, but I would like to be able do live looping. (That is live overdubbing of different parts from drum machines, bass, guitar, keys vocals etc. Without having to stop the recording in order to record arm certain tracks. Furthermore, I get the impression that when people do this live they can record arm one track during playback in such a way that it will only actually begin recording once playback returns to the start of the sequence length.) The impression I get is that this is not particularly possible using the MPC software, and that pretty much anybody who does this doesn't using Ableton.

Q3.1 Can this be done using the MPC software? If so could you give me a brief description as to how this is achieved?

Q3.2 If not, what are the common configurations that people use to achieve this? e.g Ableton + Akai APC40 mkII

Thanks in advance for your time and apologies if any of this is unclear, or if you feel that this information is available elsewhere - I promise I did look but evidently not hard enough!