Bug reports & end-user tech support for Akai's generation of MPC Software 'controllers' - MPC Touch, MPC Renaissance & MPC Studio.
By fancy_pance Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:25 pm

I had a 2000XL back in the day and I'm now coming back around to MPCs because I heard about the new standalone units and was thinking about getting one.

As cool as they look, I don't think I'm going to get on board. For me it comes down to something shockingly simple and mundane: time signatures!

Time signature was on the main screen of the 60, 60 II, 3000, 2000, 2000XL, 4000, 1000, 2500, and 5000 (and I'm sure would have been part of the 500 if there was enough real estate). Why? Because meter is one of the most fundamental elements of music, and it can vary wildly. Anyone that's learned to read and write music knows meter needs to be indicated at the beginning of each piece.

From what I can tell, around the time of the 'tethered' MPCs, Akai dropped time signature from the main screen. A 'bar' is now implied to consist of 4 beats. Apparently meter can still be adjusted, but it's now buried somewhere in the PC software from what I gather (I haven't owned any of these units).

Although it's true that most hip hop and dance music is in 4, there's tons and tons of music that isn't. A huge portion of the music I think about and want to make on the MPC isn't in 4. And by not making time signature a more prominent part of the UI, Akai is severely limiting the usefulness and potential of this instrument. I would also say that by turn they are limiting the potential of hip hop and dance music by hiding this element away. I'm sure there are lots of people in dance and hip hop who don't even think about meter that might start experimenting with it.

To me, essentially locking a sequencer into 4 is absolutely absurd: it's like locking an image editor to a single aspect ratio.

Users should be able to set a sequence time signature from the main screen and freely combine bars of different meters in the same sequence, just as was possible for those machines from 20+ years ago!

As a potential customer, I'm sad. As a musician and music teacher, I'm disgusted! BRING BACK TIME SIGNATURE TO THE MAIN SCREEN!!
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By MPC-Tutor Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:06 am
It's there in plain sight in the desktop software, but as of 1.9.6, it's not adjustable from the hardware. That might change in 2.0, from the videos so far it's difficult to tell. Currently there's still some features not accessible from the hardware - for example, you cannot edit automation data or event data in hardware grid edit (only velocity but not event tuning, filter, envelope etc), and no list editor. Again perhaps this has changed in 2.0.
By fancy_pance Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:58 pm
That's nice it's somewhere in the software, but I hope Akai realizes what an enormous oversight it would be if they fail to bring this back to the hardware UI, especially now that they're getting back to standalone. Like many, I'm most excited about these new models precisely because they don't require a computer. If I need to tether it to do something as basic as adjust a time sig, they blew it.

Again, this is something that was a part of the main screen of every single MPC, from the 60 all the way until the Ren. And I think it was that way for a very good reason.
By stale bread Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:10 pm
There Needs to be an Sticky Thread specifically for Major oversights that the dev team can go to and address... I know they must be hard at work but there are several things that are just incredible omissions/oversights....... Please confirm if I'm mistaken but apparently you cannot assign custom midi notes to pads (select a pad and put whatever midi note you want on that pad) this is a staple of the mpc and is very important for creating your own scales across the program banks and it's very, very, important.
secondly I have heard that you cannot record sysex dumps from external synths into the mpc- lives sequencer and this is a stunning omission as this feature allowed your songs and sequences to call up the specific patches on your external synths that you used for that song automatically...... with the resurgence of hardware synths these days this is definitely NOT a feature akai should want to forget about, this alone will stop many from buying this product and this really needs to be addressed.
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By Fanu Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:25 pm
stale bread wrote:There Needs to be an Sticky …apparently you cannot assign custom midi notes to pads (select a pad and put whatever midi note you want on that pad)

Even MPC60 can do this :-|

Some of those omissions are strange and always make me think, did they actually listen to long-time MPC / Akai users while designing these things?
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By Ian Canefire Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:16 pm
Reading this just made me love my mpc4000 that much more.
I changed the midi positions on the pads so that it meshes with a bass guitar layout. Thus my dr880 (5 rows) and mpc4000 (4 rows) are similar.
Setting the timing then hitting note repeat and recordings variations with swing is bread and butter for trap music and drum and bAss.
This thread is shocking. I am sure they will fix this stuff, as people's jobs will be on the line if it doesn't sell. They can't have another "Just Blaze" moment.
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By MPC-Tutor Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:43 pm
The MIDI note thing is ridiculous, there are two workarounds though; a) create a program on a legacy MPC with all the MIDI notes arranged in your preferred order and load this into the MPC Software or b) an XPM file is just a standard text file (in XML format), so open an XPM drum program in a text editor and manually re-write the MIDI notes (it's very obvious where the changes need to be made). I'm sure some bright spark could whip up an app to do this for you.
By Totalitarian Dave Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:35 pm
How 'bout it?!
Though far more crude in (one of, aside from electronica) my planned applications (basic drum machine programming; something along the lines of a 'virtual' drummer that I don't have talk to or ask to put his/her guitar away), I had very similar thoughts regarding the much acclaimed "workflow friendly" MPC One, the $700 'stand alone' workstation that provides just about every option, functionality and effects parameter under the sun except for the very BASIC function of a TIME SIGNATURE variation beyond 3/4 or 6/8.

It's maybe worth noting that Akai, like the developers at Blackbox, think so little of their customer's creative potential and musical literacy that they decided to simply blow off TS variations like 5/4, 7/8, 11/8 etc., perhaps thinking that "highly creative" DJs and the like, working exclusively in simple 2s and 4s, would never even notice the omission; apparently, they were correct in this assumption, which, incidentally, applies to ALL of the MPC series beat-boxes (and that's just about all they are; to call them workstations is a bit of an overstatement and an insult to anything calling itself 'work').

For my part, I was literally on my way to Sam Ash (Chicagoland area, Stateside) to pick one up when it dawned on me that I hadn't verified this, again, VERY BASIC function, available on all FIRST GENERATION drum machines, sequencers and workstations, the Boss DR-5 Dr. Rhythm, Alesis SR-16 or 1st iteration Yamaha Motif series workstations, for example (all of which I still have, but, as my living arrangements have changed, I lack the space for my Yamaha Motif, never mind the weight).
Upon this realization, I turned the car around, did some checking, and sure enough, without PC dependent 2.0 software addition, you cannot change the TS parameter beyond 3/4 (that involves chopping excess bars) or 6/8 (using triplets), never mind that in Song Mode, you can only string together endless pedestrian 4/4 patterns.
Very disappointing indeed, especially given all the other highly detailed functions.
"Evolution", is it?

Great job, Akai & Blackbox!

*Note: This rant is NOT aimed at anyone on this forum, just wanted to add my 2 cents worth on the topic of omitted TS options.