Exchange tips and tricks for the Akai MPC4000
By 5U-7_(7ON) Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:28 am
I use the 4000 to sequence, my Z4 to sample, and two Z8s for playback. I consider them all one system so I hope no one minds this being on the 4000 forum.

I want to create high quality stereo samples with FX for a variety of professional and personal applications. I'm using a Z4 sampler running at 96kHz/24-bit.

Here is my signal chain:

Stereo Mic Pair > Stereo Preamp > Stereo EQ > Stereo Compression > A/D Conversion > Stereo Digital FX > Z4's digital input.

Here is my question: In order to obtain the absolute highest quality, should I use my A/D converter's word clock to sync the FX and Z4? Does word clock remain active while my sampler is in record mode?

Thanks for any input.
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By NearTao Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:59 pm
Seems a bit complicated to me, but I don't know what recording/mic application you are doing.

For signal integrity/quality are you able to get a balanced signal all the way through the chain, if you're really looking for the cleanest sound that'd be an area I'd look into.

I'm afraid I cannot answer the word clock question, but I'm imagining you're trying to sync fx like a delay or something to tempo?

I have so many other questions about your setup... like why not use the z8 for sampling duties? Are you using the Z8's for tracking out like a tape deck? Why is the 4k only for sequencer duties and no sampling?

Sounds like a really cool setup... you've piqued my curiosity for what you're doing, what decisions you've made, and why you've settled on the direction you're going.
By pask Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:57 pm
Could you test it for us?
I'm debating whether I should find an optional Wordclock card for my 4k to help tightening the sound a bit more.
When connecting your 4k as the last clocked unit, don't forget to engage the termination switch (on the wordclock card).
Thanks!
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By dabmeister Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:06 am
I use an Apogee Big Ben to lock all my devices that require clock sync. But I'm going to take a stab at what the op is asking. What A/D conversion are you referring to. And yes, clocking stays active if you keep it selected as such. Basically you give the other device converters to a master. But whatever master that is should be stable enough to keep everything else in line.
By 5U-7_(7ON) Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:04 am
CharlesRandolph: “What A/D converter do you have?”

I should be clear: this setup is in the making. I am working in theory at this point in order to inform future purchasing decisions. Right now I am still using my Z4's A/D conversion. My plan is to purchase a high-end A/D converter with a good word clock (I'm eyeing a used Crane Song HEDD).

CharlesRandolph: "I've been eyeing the Antelope Audio Pure2 Mastering AD/DA Converter & Clock."

Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out!"

NearTao: “For signal integrity/quality are you able to get a balanced signal all the way through the chain, if you're really looking for the cleanest sound that'd be an area I'd look into.”

Definitely going with balanced for the analog connections…

“I’m afraid I cannot answer the word clock question, but I'm imagining you're trying to sync fx like a delay or something to tempo?”

…but once the signal jumps through the A/D, from what I understand I ideally would have the FX and Z4 word clock slaved to the A/D. This is supposedly to avoid any jitter between the sampler and the FX. But I have no experience with word clock myself.

“I have so many other questions about your setup... like why not use the z8 for sampling duties? Are you using the Z8's for tracking out like a tape deck? Why is the 4k only for sequencer duties and no sampling?”

The decision to use the separate devices for sampling, sequencing and playback was made just simply to give myself headroom when working on longer or more complex projects. If I follow through with this deep sampling approach, my programs are going to start eating up RAM and CPU. Also, I want to keep the load off of the 4000 as much as possible in order to guarantee the most stable sequencing performance, hence reducing its role to a pure midi computer.

Here's is the video that got me thinking about all of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFvWWQU8cYc

pask: “Could you test it for us?
I'm debating whether I should find an optional Wordclock card for my 4k to help tightening the sound a bit more.
When connecting your 4k as the last clocked unit, don't forget to engage the termination switch (on the wordclock card).
Thanks!”

Thanks for the advice. Yes, once the COVID-19 lockdown ends, I'll be making more money again and then I will make final purchasing decisions about which A/D and FX, etc. I will check back in once I have thoroughly tested the setup.

dabmeister: “I use an Apogee Big Ben to lock all my devices that require clock sync. But I'm going to take a stab at what the op is asking. What A/D conversion are you referring to.”

The advice I've been given so far has led me to the same conclusion. Since in my future ideal setup I would be recording these samples inside of a vocal booth, the sampling rig might not even be in the same room as where my sequencing, tracking out and mixing will be going on.

The A/D I am interested in currently is a used Crane Song HEDD Quantum module. They supposedly have very pristine conversion and an accurate word clock generator. For the rest of my setup, I will probably get another high-end clock and run it as the master to a distribution device such as the Drawmer D-Clock.

“And yes, clocking stays active if you keep it selected as such. Basically you give the other device converters to a master.”

Yes! Thank you for answering my question! I couldn't find anything online about this topic, about how word clock operates with a sampler. That's exactly the information I was seeking out with this post.

“But whatever master that is should be stable enough to keep everything else in line.”

Yes, I think whatever A/D I invest in, the word clock will be of equal concern to me as the conversion itself.
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By dabmeister Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:39 am
CharlesRandolph wrote:I've been eyeing the Antelope Audio Pure2 Mastering AD/DA Converter & Clock.


Same here. Was clicks away from ordering that joint. Then reality set in and I started reasoning with myself if it was an essential need at the moment. :lol:
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By CharlesRandolph Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:47 am
dabmeister wrote:Same here. Was clicks away from ordering that joint. Then reality set in and I started reasoning with myself if it was an essential need at the moment. :lol:


Yes, It's going to have to wait. At this point, all I needs are these new tact switches to come in. :lol:
By pask Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:57 am
This is what the manual says about the WC/SP/DIF option:

[WORDCLOCK IN] jack: This is a BNC jack for receiving a word clock signal from an external device. Use this when the MPC4000’s digital audio signal processing must be synchronized with that of an external digital recorder or digital mixer.

So, it's unclear if this optional board adds a system WC option for the whole machine or if it's just to clock the sp/dif signal (that doesn't carry the clock).
As neither the MISC. nor the GLOBAL pages show the option to clock the MP to an ext. WC., I guess it's the 2nd scenario (which makes it less interesting, imho).

I'm using a Forssell MADA, by the way (AD conversion) and a Symphony MK1 + AD/DA16x system.
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By CharlesRandolph Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:23 am
pask wrote:As neither the MISC. nor the GLOBAL pages show the option to clock the MP to an ext. WC., I guess it's the 2nd scenario (which makes it less interesting, imho).


Go to MISC > F3 (CONFIG) > Digital Out Sync > Scroll and Select Word Clock.
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By dabmeister Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:11 pm
pask wrote:This is what the manual says about the WC/SP/DIF option:

[WORDCLOCK IN] jack: This is a BNC jack for receiving a word clock signal from an external device. Use this when the MPC4000’s digital audio signal processing must be synchronized with that of an external digital recorder or digital mixer.

So, it's unclear if this optional board adds a system WC option for the whole machine or if it's just to clock the sp/dif signal (that doesn't carry the clock).
As neither the MISC. nor the GLOBAL pages show the option to clock the MP to an ext. WC., I guess it's the 2nd scenario (which makes it less interesting, imho).

I'm using a Forssell MADA, by the way (AD conversion) and a Symphony MK1 + AD/DA16x system.


For the two decades I've been dealing with digital audio, I've always understood that "word clock" and digital audio were two different entities. One focuses on the AD/DA converters, the other deals with the subject matter "audio". Word Clock just keeps the sample rate for the converters in line or sync'd, so that the audio stream won't get any audible artifacts such as clicks, pops, aliasing, etc.
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By CharlesRandolph Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:01 pm
dabmeister wrote:For the two decades I've been dealing with digital audio, I've always understood that "word clock" and digital audio were two different entities. One focuses on the AD/DA converters, the other deals with the subject matter "audio". Word Clock just keeps the sample rate for the converters in line or sync'd, so that the audio stream won't get any audible artifacts such as clicks, pops, aliasing, etc.


+1, Also it's mainly used when you have 3 or more digital units, working together.
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By NearTao Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:11 pm
You know... I had actually burned word clocks from my memory and forgotten all about jitter and such.

I want to say thanks for all the great posts reminding me of my advanced age memory gap, and also recalling how much I disliked dealing with BNC connectors and termination issues. I had a BNC run long enough that I was getting device reflections and all kinds of other problems. So don't run it too long :D