Akai Force Forum: Everything relating to the Akai Force, the new 64 pad, clip-based standalone sampler/groovebox from Akai. While not an MPC, it shares many similar software features to the MPC X/MPC Live including the same underlying code-base.
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By SnowMetal Tue Aug 02, 2022 11:11 pm
The Save Track function.. I can save an audio track easily, which seems like a really good way to recall portions of work from other projects, then copy/paste clips in existing audio tracks. The problem is, however, that when you save a track then load it into another project, the samples don't load with it. Is there a way to get all audio to load with a saved audio track? And if not, can anyone think of a single practical use for saving an audio track? Is it just another case of Papa Akai not shining his benevolent face down on us? Do I just have to trust his holy guidance?

Thank you in advance.
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By SnowMetal Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:13 am
In case anyone except myself plans on using saved tracks, I found a solution. In the load screen, uncheck "hide project data folders" or whatever. Next, before loading the track, go into the Track Data folder and hold Shift, load each sample into the pool. Then load your track and the clips will automatically be populated with the corresponding samples.
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By NearTao Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:59 am
I haven't explored any of this space on the Force, but on the MPC the workflow it would probably be to export the midi as patterns and save the program. Otherwise on the MPC you're more or less forced to load the entire sequence, but that isn't always what you want to do.

I'll have to take a look and see if the Force has a similar workflow or if it even uses patterns.
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By SnowMetal Wed Aug 03, 2022 6:59 pm
NearTao wrote:if the Force ... even uses patterns.

The Force does not use patterns. Which is why I have to be subjected to this kind of outlandish suffering. If I want an extended liveset, and since it's impractical to write long (1-hour or more) sets inside the Force, I have to create movements in Ableton, then import them. Oh well, the show must go on! :)
By allreddv Fri Aug 12, 2022 9:10 pm
The Force does use patterns. You can load MPC patterns and even save clips as mpc patterns. When you save a midi clip the two options are as a "midi file", or "mpc pattern". Unless you guys mean something else by pattern that I am not understanding.

As for why you would save an Audio track if it doesn't save the audio files, here is why it is important for me personally.

I use multiple hardware synths and have the Force using a FocusRite 18i8 with an Octopre via ADAT, so 16 channels.

When I save an audio track I am able to save the following.
1. Title (synth name)
2. Correct audio input channel from interface
3. Correct audio output channels
4. Input Mode (In, Merge, Auto). I use Merge which allows me to play a recorded clip and the synth live at same time.
5. Effects
6. Volume, Pan, Send settings
7. Track Color (this is good for me when creating new projects I always have same synth as same color)
8. Any Macro settings

I can then save several versions of the above with different types of settings depending on typical uses and I name the audio track the synth name followed by primary use type.

Then when I want to start a new project I just load in all the audio tracks I want and I am good to go. Saves so much time. Bit of a pain to setup but so worth it in the long run.

I do the same for all the midi channels also each correlated to the synth and matching the same color as the audio track for the synth. Then I can control the synth via midi with all the midi mapping done and record the synth into audio clips on the audio channel.
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By SnowMetal Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:55 am
allreddv wrote:here is why it is important for me personally.

Most of what you list here has no value to me. I'm glad everything is working for you, in a way you like! :)

allreddv wrote:I use Merge which allows me to play a recorded clip and the synth live at same time.

Isn't Merge mode for MIDI tracks only? I'd love to see a video of you setting up this workflow. PLEASE? :)
By allreddv Sun Aug 14, 2022 6:49 pm
You can merge audio also. Why would I do this?

My current biggest gripe about the Force is its 8 audio track limit. I understand they probably did this so people wouldn't overload the Force CPU and complain, same as the 8 instruments plugin limit. The issue for me is that when I am fully playing at peak everything going I am usually maxing out 25-30% of CPU and 5-10% memory. Seems pretty arbitrary to limit me to 8 audio tracks since I am not even close to hitting 50% of processing power. Akai should just remove this limit.

By merging audio I essentially gain a possibility of an additional 8 audio channels but 8 of them being audio files coming from the Force itself and 8 sound sources coming in live from my hardware synths. This can be especially useful with synths that don't have patch layering.

So I can load a patch in a synth and record an audio clip in its audio track. I can then play that audio clip while simultaneously loading in a different patch into the same synth and playing something else via midi to that synth and I am able to hear both sound sources.

I am not actually sure if you can record both sound sources into the song mode of the Akai or not. I will try and see just to test. I play live so I am only really concerned with output sound so for me this works. One tricky issue with this is that it can be tricky to manage volumes of the two simultaneously as the recorded audio clips being played by the Force are usually at a considerable louder volume than the live audio signal being played at the same volume through the Force so you have to do some adjustments to volume levels.

I also use this method for top end loops or some audio samples I want to use. While I will almost always use all 8 synths during a set I never am using all 8 at the exact same time, so I can drop in the audio clips into the synth audio tracks that are not being used in that scene. I could play over those as well with the synth but I find the volume issue to be even greater when using downloaded samples vs the live synths so I really only do this into the synth tracks that I am not planning on using for that scene.

Not ideal at all but the only workaround I have since Akai has that dumbass audio track limit.

I also control all of my audio track volume levels using an Akai Midi Mix mapped. One other trick I do is I actually run all 8 audio tracks to the 8 sub busses. The reason for this is that I then map the sliders to the volume control of the sub busses and then one of the three rotary knobs to the volume of the audio track itself.

What this allows me to do is easily set the max volume I want for a track at the moment via the rotary knob and then I can use the sliders to fade and bring in tracks via the sliders knowing exactly how loud max slider position will be. Otherwise it is hard to know exactly where to stop on the sliders each time and this volume changes from patch to patch on the same synth. Works really well for playing live. The downside would be that you are eating up all your sub busses if you wanted to use them for other things but this isn't really a problem for me. Technically you are also increasing your effects slots from 4 to 8 for each audio track. Obviously you could do this with less audio tracks and save a couple sub busses if needed for other processing.

You can set volume limit ranges to the audio tracks themselves via the Force's qlink knobs. Unfortunately, these limits are ignored when using external midi controllers. It is either a bug, or a big overlook by the devs when they added midi learn from external controlers. It's another of the items I would really like to see fixed. The other issue with setting the limits to Qlinks is that you wouldn't be able to easily change them and as mentioned before, volumes vary from patch to patch on the same synth. Plus I find it difficult to navigate and find the correct track and knob quickly while playing live whereas on the Midi Mix I know exactly where everything is and they don't change dependent on where I am positioned in the Force Matrix Screen.

I am considering doing some YouTube videos on how I use the Force in my setup. I have a pretty complex setup with 16 audio interface channels coming from 8 Synths and also have 8 hardware effects pedals. I have everything setup so that I can control each synth from 2 Keystep Pros (4 synths each) and all synths and effects pedals from the Force also. So while I wouldn't consider myself an expert at all on the Force especially when related to using the native plugins which I actually do not use at all, and I don't use many of the effects plugins either because I think they are mediocre at best and I have external effects pedals. I would consider myself pretty advanced on using the Force as a controller for playing external gear live and how to set the Force up to get the most out of it for doing so.

I acually think the Force shines as a midi controller much more than an actual instrument. I think there are better tools for sound design and arranging tracks but it is by far the most powerful midi controller for live performance. I don't think anything really even come close at the moment, outside of actual computer DAWs that I think they suck for live performance.

Hope this gave you some tips. I actually was already subscribed to your YouTube channel.
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By SnowMetal Sat Aug 20, 2022 2:06 am
allreddv wrote:You can merge audio also.

I'm looking all over for how to do this, and I'm not seeing it. I appreciate the help; I really do. Where do I look to start merging audio? What steps do you take? Thank you! :)
By allreddv Mon Sep 05, 2022 4:58 am
Sorry, just seeing this now. I don't jump here all that often.

1. Setup a new Audio Track
2. Double tap the top tab of the audio track in the matrix view to open up the track settings window.
3. Underneath "Track Title" the next option is "Audio Settings" with a menu option for "Monitor"=
4. Scroll to "Merge"

I am assuming you already have your I/O setup if you are getting an audio signal from a synth/sound source. but in case not

1. Enter Mixer View
2. Click the I/O tab at the bottom
3. Select the correct input channel

So now you should be getting sound playing live from your synth, now you can record an audio clip of your synth, or actually drop in any audio file you want into a clip on that audio track. With "Merge" option you will still be able to hear your live synth while the audio clip is playing.

Let me know if this made sense and you are able to get it to work.
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By SnowMetal Wed Sep 07, 2022 8:18 pm
allreddv wrote:The Force does use patterns. You can load MPC patterns and even save clips as mpc patterns. When you save a midi clip the two options are as a "midi file", or "mpc pattern". Unless you guys mean something else by pattern that I am not understanding.

The Force is not pattern-based, meaning all information must be contained in one project. On a pattern-based machine (basically every other sequencer/workstation in the world), each new pattern contains everything for that pattern, and can possibly contain all new material; synth patches, samples etc. This makes it easy to create hours-long live sets. In the Force, you get a limited amount of audio tracks and plugin tracks, and there are no program changes possible inside of one track. So, if I create a two hour set, the entire set has to contain the same 8 plugin voices, which is impractical. Loading a new set takes a long time, meaning a break in the action.

allreddv wrote:Let me know if this made sense and you are able to get it to work.

I appreciate your help. That's not what I was looking for. I was hoping "merge audio" meant to bounce multiple audio sources to one clip. :)
By allreddv Sat Sep 10, 2022 12:01 am
I don't use the instrument plugins so I was unaware you couldn't' do program changes for internal instruments. That is a big miss by Akai on that one. For my external gear I am able to do program changes per clip, which is one of my favorite parts of the Force.

When I change scenes I can change all 8 synths and 12 effects pedals to the patches I want. Pretty stupid you can't do so with their own plugins. All they would have to do is assign program change codes to the presets and any new user saved presets.

I agree with you that is a big limitation if using the Force instruments to make sets, This is one of the reasons why I think the Force really shines more as an external gear controller and clip player than as a sound source with its instruments. (not that it should be this way since Akai markets it as a sound source device) The instruments are mediocre at best in my opinion. Although I did finally make a track using some internal instruments and effects. Putting final touches on it now. I did so mostly because I wanted to get in depth with the Arranger Mode which I hadn't even really used before.