Reviews and questions about the entry-level MPC500
By xyce Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:43 am
Hey guys,

i recently bought a used mpc 500, which came with a power supply. However, the PS is exactly the same, which mpcstuff is selling. Is this the original PS? ... pean-220v/

The seller claimed to have the akai emx128 installed, but in the memory slot is actually a mutec dmc-12 memory. Is the original emx128 more valueable than the dmc-12? How can i check the memory for errors?

Where can i get the internal factory sounds? Are the sounds the same in the internal flash memory, on the MPC sound library CF Card and the download on MPC 1000 web page?

The pads are very stiff, but i assume, it is the normal behavior?

Anything else i should check?
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By NearTao Mon Jan 18, 2021 1:20 pm
Welcome to the club...

I believe the original power supply had actual Akai branding on it... so what you have will work just fine (just needs 12v with a 500ma minimum)... I've got a 12v that can output 2000ma... and it works just fine. You just want to make sure that you have the proper voltage... and *at least* the minimum amperage for it to work properly. The specs for the Akai 500 allows for some small variance in voltage (so if you hit status and it reports 11.89v or so) it will also should work fine... anyways... a lot of people have been using the ones provided by MPC Stuff for quite some time... so I wouldn't sweat that too much.

The memory slot is actually an old style laptop memory expansion. So... from powering on do this... <Mode> <Pad4-Record>... If you are on "Mode: Stereo" data wheel clockwise until you see "Free..." this should read 12m02s, or if you are on "Mode: Mono L" data wheel clockwise until you see "Free..." this should read 24m04s... this is assuming you have nothing loaded. It's possible that the memory could be seen as 64mb... 32mb... or 16mb... which would give you lower numbers in Free... but I'd start there.

As for a memory test... well you could have stuck bits... and this would cause weird behavior... but it would entirely depend on where the issue was in memory to know what kind of behavior you'd get. I'm not aware of a test sequence in the MPC 500... but maybe there is something in the service manual. Personally... I'd trust the memory... but you could always record off a long sample and play it back to see how it sounds... but given you're looking at 23 minutes of listening... I'm not sure you're going to do anything beyond hoping to get lucky to find something odd.

If you're looking for the factory internal sounds... see what setting you have for auto load. <Mode> <Pad 2 Load>... right arrow over to "Program" then data wheel clockwise to "Autoload"... if you down arrow you can change OFF/ON. Personally... these sounds are just "okay"... but if you just want to see what is there they it's a good place to start.

One thing you are likely to notice once you play around with the sounds is how much louder it sounds compared to anything you sample in... so a few things to note:
* It has the compressor on <Mode> <Pad 9 Effect> Data wheel clockwise to Master : Comp... you can check settings here, but this will give a bit more oomph
* It has all program levels set to 100 (versus the default assignment of 70)... so <Mode> <Pad 6 Program> Data wheel clockwise to Sample level and adjust

There's a few other things... but those will make a huge difference and are easy to change.

While you're digging around... you should go to <Mode> <Pad 8 Other> and see what your "Master Level" is set to... for maximum loudness... you'll want to set this to 0db... but you will run the risk of digital distortion and clipping your audio... so likely you'll want to go to -6db or -12db depending on how you work. At least remember it is there so if you hear everything going wonky you can change it.

The pads on the MPC 500 are not great... so you might look up the electrical tape fix... basically some folks put tape on the button of the pads to fill the gap between the pads and the sensors... it's an okay fix... and you can tell if you want it based on if you can slowly push the pad down... some of them may have as much as a half millimeter of play...

Don't be afraid to mix using Full Level so you don't have to hammer on the pads so hard... and/or 12 Levels... 12 Levels Velocity will get you a lot more play in changing up notes without having to engineer a fix for the pads/sensors while you get a feel for the box.

Anyways... good luck and have fun man!