Exchange tips and tricks for the Akai MPC4000
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By Blue Haze Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:20 pm
Record sample as close to 0db level as you can

Sounds are made up ot frequency, volume, and timbre (waveforms) aka SAMPLES Go to sample edit page and Set the level using rescale if need to 0 db

Programs are sound designing parameters of the synth containing several sounds in a keygroup of multisampled sounds for controlling high pitch or low pitch sounds, loud or soft sounds, or bright or dull sounds with envelopes. Plus adding modulation which is movement in the sound that changes over time with various program matrix settings. aka parts or instruments piano, bass, flute and etc aka INSTRUMENTS Set the individual zones to 0db and the whole program to 0db.

Multis are used for multitimbrality a sampler program (sometimes called an instrument depending on the manufacturer) is a playable set of samples including all of the synth like settings. The Multi allows you to play several programs at once by setting up each program to a different MIDI channel (part for internal sampler section) or INT A (Virtual MIDI channel where several programs can be set up to the same channel for a combination of sounds) like a Comb bank on a triton. Mainly the Multi is a special type of program that holds the information about which single program are used on which MIDI channel along with mixer settings, effects, and keyspan. When you load a Multi, all of the necessary samples for all of the parts(programs assign to a midi channel) are loaded, along with the program data and MIDI- channel assignments aka BAND RUNNING THROUGH A MIXING BOARD
Set the levels of each part to 0db for each program

Global is the total level of the mpc itself which you can set to 0db.

But one important factor is summing of all the sounds that are being produced on the 4k. When you add effects, layer sounds, and combine programs all of the sounds with be summing or making your levels every hot or causing distortion. Be careful that is it.

So I wouldn`t advise to have all your settings set at 0db.

By NOVA Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:02 pm
Haze, I hope you mean 0dbvu and not 0dbfs. If not, you just gave the newbies terrible advice.

Newbies, calibrate a 1khz test tone @ 0dbvu to equal -18dbfs on your convertors. Now, record so that your peaks hit at 0dbvu. Depending on the frequency content of the material, your convertor should peak between -18dbfs and -12dbfs. You now have a recording tracked at the appropriate level to assure an optimum signal to noise ratio and to leave headroom for dynamics processing on individual samples(tracks), any number of stereo buss(drums, guitars, vocals,) the master bus, and for the mastering process.

Here is the formula:
0dbvu= +4dbu
0dbvu= -18dbfs in professional audio(Some professionals calibrate 0dbvu= -20dbfs in broadcast television)
0dbfs= +26dbu or higher

If you track to 0dbfs, you are tracking at like +26dbu. That's roughly +22dbu too hot. Good luck with the mix working with levels like that.
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By Blue Haze Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:01 am
First before we communicate about anything it is important to agree on the defintion of dbu in relation to levels, gain, and outputs. This is for newbies and the prideful too.

First dBV and dBu and dBm to specifications

0 dBV=1 volt rms

0 dBv=0.775

0 dBm =1 milliwatt has no direct relationship to voltage or impendance just used to measure the reference level of a 600 ohm telephone level which the amount of power disspated at 0.775 volts. For this reason many people mistakely believe that 0 dBm means 0.775 volts, but that is only the case in a 600 ohm circuit. 0dBm does always mean one milliwatt.

The dBu is a releatively recent voltage-referenced term. For many years, dBV denoted a voltage-reference with 0dBV= 1 volt rms. During that period, it became common practice to use the lower case "v" as adapted by the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) and others, to denote the voltage value corresponding to the power indicating in dBm (that is 0 dBv =0.755 volts). "dBv" with the lower case "v" was convenient because the dB values would tend to be the same as though "dBm" were used provided the "dBm" output was specified to drive 600 ohm loads, making it easier to compare dBu specs with products specified to compare dBu specs with products specified in dBm. The convenience factor here only makes sense where a voltage sensitive(read "high impedance") input is involved, and it can lead to serious errors elsewhere.

1 "The nominal output level is +4 dBv.

2 "The nominal output level is +4dBV.

The two statements appear to be identical but you will notice the lower case v and the upper case V after dB. The lower v means the output specified will deliver a nominal output of 1.23 volts whereas the upper case V will deliver a nominal output of 1.6 volts rms.

Unfortunately, people often did not distinguish clearly between dBv and dBV. To avoid confusion the capital "V" was made the standard by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) while the NAB agreed to use the a small "u" to denote the voltage value that is obtained when the customary 600 ohm load (remember dBv aka dBm from earlier) although the load itself must be minimal. The "u" in dBu thus stands for unloaded a term engineers use to describe and output which works into no load (an open circuit) or and insignificant load (such as high impedance inputs of modern audio equipment.

Example again

1 The nominal output level is +4dBv

2 The nominal output level is +4dBu

Both are the same although dBu is the preferable usage today. Both indicate the nominal useage level is 1.23 V rms. To recap the only difference between dBu (or dBv) and dBV is the actual voltage chosen as reference 0dB. OdBV is 1 volt, whereas 0dBu are 0.775 volts.

Lastly after this long as thread just to build basic understanding for newbies and others (its not and engineering training thread) how this all relates to the us producers. 8)

In many products, you may see phono jack inputs and outputs rated in dBV while the XLR connector output levels are rated in dBu. Typically, line level phono jacks inputs and outputs ared intended for use with high impedance equipment, which is sensitive to voltage rather than power, so their nominal levels may be specified as -10 dBV. This is the standard whiich has been used for many years in consumer audio equipment business.

Typical line level XLR connector inputs and outputs are intended for use with low or high impedance equipment (pro audio). Since older low impedance equipment was sensitive to power, XLR connector nominal levels often specified as +4dBm or +8dbm levels characteristic of sound recording, or of broadcast, respectively. (while dBu values would probably suffice today, old practices linger).

A low impedance line output generally may be connected to higher impedance inputs, without much change in level. Be aware that if a high impedance output is connected to low impedance input, that output may be somewhat overloaded (which can increase the distortion and lower signal level especially in a digital system) In some cases the equipment could be damaged, so check the specifications carefully.

So before we go throwing terms around about what dbs and so on let`s first definition the meanings.

As the 4k has XLR inputs and outputs plus line level inputs and outputs plus a phono input.

But after this long thread THE ORINIGAL INTENT OF THIS THREAD IS IN RELATION OF dB WITH dB SPL which is different from Gain. THE INTERNAL MULTI, PROGRAMS, AND SAMPLE EDIT PARAMETERS OF THE 4K ARE SETTINGS FOR dB SPL using the Fletcher and Munson diagram.

Like I said before 0dB settings thru out the settings with leave you open to SUMMING OVERLOAD especially when you are layering and outputing many sounds out of the same output such as main outs .

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By Blue Haze Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:20 am
A sampler is built around a basic sound system.

A input transducer that converts sound into a fluctuating electrical current or voltage which is a precise digital representation of the sound. You usually make sure the source sound it as high and clear as possible. aka A/D CONVERTERS

The signal processing alters the characteristics of the audio signal PITCH, the softness or hardness of the sound called AMP (different from gain itself wil not amplify the signal any louder than it was recorded it was recorded at expect the articial gain signal process of rescale). And Tone filtering.

The output transducer converts sound from digital signal back to electrical current to drive loudspeakers or headphones or to be amplified or processed more. aka D/A CONVERTORS.


How you want to play your tune or record your tunes from the mpc after this is up to you. You have the gain knobs on the multittracker for line and XLR inputs. but the best bet is to get the source right first.
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By Lampdog Sun Mar 05, 2006 7:30 am
That is some interesting reading for all right there.


I like to remind myself sometimes where I started with all of this
verses what I have and can accomplish NOWadays..

By moneyclip Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:58 pm
without getting technical, in general i have found that if my samples are a bit lower in volume i can get more creative with filtering and resonance with out gettin distortion. over all the dynamic between soft and loud can really add depth and feeling to beats as well as attention to simple panning of sounds. if i generally hit the pads hard when entering rhythems and the velocities end up being 120 or higher i don't have much more room for emphasis unless i scale them down.

By fader-pro Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:30 pm
Now me - I just turn it up till the little red lights light up and then I turn 'em down a tad....but hey - what do I know :wink:

Actually Blue, that good stuff for the techies - I enjoed it too....

By NOVA Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:23 am
The mpc 4000, like other digital recording devices uses dbfs. If you track to levels that are as close to 0dbfs as possible you are tracking way too hot. If you normalize your samples, you are making them way too hot. If all program parameters are set to "0" and the global level is set to "0" the MPC should be at unity gain. What goes in should be what comes out. However, with the MPC this is not the case as has been discussed in another thread. Like I said before, track so your peaks hit 0dbVU. The peaks will be between -18 and -12 on your MPC. This is recording 101. This is how you record in a professional environment. If you showed up to work for me and I watched as you tried to max out the covertors and hit 0dbfs on every pass, I would fire you. That's a job for the mastering engineer.If you beleive you can just max out the headroom of your convertors on every single recording and just lower the levels in the mix or program parameters you are wrong.It's not the same thing, and your samples will not respond correctly to dynamics processing in the digital or analogue realms. Money clip is right. Correct levels respond well to dynamics processing. Summing problems on the MPC are not caused by programs that are set to unity gain.They are caused because you are tracking way too loud and your not leaving any headroom.This is why 90% of the **** on this forum can't get their bass to play well with the kick drum. They track way too **** loud.Don't take my word for it, call a pro studio(not your friends studio)and ask to speak to an engineer. Ask him what appropriate tracking levels are and ask about calibration using test tones. Also ask the meaning of unity gain. Haze, your lost at sea and you've taken alot of the people on this forum with you. You obviously have no practical experience in any sort of professional recording environment.If your a newbie and you take Haze word as the gospel your ****. Sorry to bust your balls dude but you spread alot of bad information.
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By juniorcartel Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:31 am
:D :o :o RING RING RING-------ROUND ONE !@!@!@!
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By Blue Haze Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:27 am
What part of I don`t recommend setting at 0dBu SPLs you don`t understand? I plain English IT IS NOT GOOD TO SET ALL LEVEL PARAMETERS TO 0dB. Each owner receive their own manual read the definition of the level settings S I M P L E S I M P L E S I M P L E S I M P L E S I M P L E N O VA S I M P L E N O V A S I M P L E N O V A S I M P L E

Of course to obtain the best S/N ratio, set the recording level as high as possible without allowing the over-level indicators to light at the loudest volume. Now what you do afterwards is up to you. I usually merge and combine samples into kicks snares and so on in edit page at -2db to -5db to leave headroom. Courtesy of Samplecraze info.

It is a preference as of to normalize or not I for one don`t until the mix down but I let each user and their team decide that? Sometime hot is good especially for drums in HIP HOP this is an art not an cold empty science but it depends on what gear you are working with.



SAMPLE SOURCE-Input level, trigger keys, sampling rate, Sampling length.

EDIT VOICE-Truncate, loop, splice, original key, Velocity, Pressure.

EDIT PERFORMACE PARAMETERS-key Mapping, Velocity Mappping, Midi Mapping.

After that now I go into my multitracker and set a simple recording input threshold and all the other stuff you want to talk about on the other thread different topic. Talk all you want but you need to learn your sampling basic before you confuse the two RECORDING TRACKS and SAMPLING.

By the way explain yourself technician aka trainee very simple questions

:D Explain dbfs?

Are we even talking on the same page?

What`s the difference between Levels and Gains?

Why is the would there be gain settings within the sound editing parameters and editing performance parameters within a sampler?

What does velocity means and what does amplitude mean?

What`s the difference between a recording a sample and recording a track into a multitracker?

Explain dBu SPL?

Explain why you have to prove yourself when you have another thread?

What`s the differenence between knowledge and understanding?

You came here on this thread still thinking I`m talking about gain structure when it is about levels?

No rounds here. If someone else wishes to explain to him that maybe he would learn to relax, take it easy, cuz no paying clients wants a egoistic throws temper tantrums engineer trainee when he runs into piece of gear that only does what you program it to do. (Yes, the client can get piss off and storm out cuz they are paying for the session, maybe not come there again but a good engineer is a people person first, alot has to do with people management as well as understanding the process and wants of the client but that is another thread.)

Mmm I agree that the 4k isn`t perfect but which will win the artist, mind of a man or the doorstop that other studios used but you cannot seems to get a grip of.

I`m just a owner, user, dance music producer of the mpc series I have and will be a client of the pro studio if you the trainee was in my session and you threw up a fit cuz you didn`t record or mix my mix right you would be FIRE ON THE SPOT so I could get somene more familiar with MY VISION, MY GENRE SOUNDS, and understand the gear as well or MORE THAN I.

TRAINEE I mean techician train on. I will go elsewhere as you seem to want to escalate rather than educate.

GOOD LUCK NOVA with your 4k ha, ha, ha love or hate it up to you laddy. I suggest(and I know NOVA hates this he said it in the other post) anyways

Several Guides to read for any newbie and I agree with NOVA on this point that it is important for producers to understand recording don` just take my word for it. I believe to always check out the information and most importantly USE YOUR EARS.

The Art of Mixing Recording, Engineering, and production by David Gibson

Mix Masters Platinium Engineers Reveal Their Secrets for Success by Maureen Droney

Beatmaking on the 2000Xl by MPCTutor

The Drum of Drum Layering by Eddie Bazil

The MPC 4000 Reference Manual by Akai

Practiclal Recording by Mark Roberts


The Mastering Engineers Handbook by same author

Making music with Samples by Daniel Duffell

and alot of others but these are some that others and I posted before.

Everything is learned, not instantly done. Experience is the key to all newbies for them to master theirinstruments with basic understanding. Most importantly to read so when someone tells you differ you can respond but it is important to understand your instrument first, next move to the mixer, tracker, and other afterwards.

Be the master of one or the lose it trying to be the user of many.

Bye, bye, NOVICANE


Are you the same guy from MVnation just wondering? The DaMadman got skills that is all?

No need to repeat history just check the thread same answer different mpc ... highlight=

By fader-pro Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:44 pm
Whee!!.......I wouldn't work with ya. A good engineer is a whole lot more than db levels. And there's guys been mixing great stuff for years wouldn't know a db from a vu....And if you've got the ear, believe it or not, you'll rarely use you technical knowledge other than to troubleshoot. Who's gonna listen to digital clipping and think it's OK? It doesn't take a Masters degree to realize you ought to turn it down a bit....
I've worked with quite a few good and bad engineers over the years and some of the worst were cats who knew alot but forgot to listen....They're heads were so far up thier asses everything sounded like **** :wink: ...and let's not forget the human element. A good engineer can often guide the session even more than a weak producer, coaxing great takes out the players and helping everyone feel at home...I'll take experience over some pompous ass fresh outta school any day.