Can someone point me in the right direction?

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  • Updated 8 months ago
I'm totally new to making music. I bought an mpc live a few months back and have been trying to learn as much as I can about the workflow but I dont know all the lingo. A friend and I want to collab on a project together. Hes a seasoned musician who plays live instruments and I'm trying to learn the technology side of things. I have a few questions. The first would be is it possible to record live instruments into the mpc? If so what is the best way to go about this? Also is it possible to add more instruments to the instrument file in the live through packs or plugins? My friend really wants to be able to play with synths and I'm envisioning being able to load more instruments to then play those with a midi keyboard. Am I on the right track or do you have to go about it another way?
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Posted 8 months ago

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Starship Ghetto Byrd

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If I have understood everything correctly, then YES, you can do all of those things with the LIVE. However, if this is your first groove box, it may be a struggle to understand everything, as the LIVE is remarkably complex.

This is the flip-side of being remarkably capable!

Personally, I find standalone mode much more accessible and easy. 90% of the time I'm in standalone, so that may help. Also, download and read the manual, watch videos, and keep asking questions! And make sure you've got the latest update.

Let me address your specific concerns in order.

1) YES, it is possible to record live instruments onto the LIVE in a variety of ways:

a) The LOOPER is a bit fiddly for live instruments because it lacks a footswitch,
but it can be mastered with practice. I've used it for bass, keys, harmonicas,
vocals, etc. This is great for live jams, and if you come up with a keeper riff
you can easily export it. You two will definitely want to try it out.

b) You can record as an AUDIO TRACK. This means your recording can only be
as long as your current SEQUENCE. Again, once it's in memory you can
move and manipulate it in a number of ways.

c) You could use the SAMPLER, which I tend to use largely for one shots, or if I'm
recording a track specifically to slice it up, and I don't care what the tempo is.

2) You can add more instruments through through packs and expansions, yes, but
for me it came with more synth sounds than I'm ever going to use, so I don't
intend to spend any more money! Also:

a) You can create your own synth sounds using the PROGRAM EDIT function,
along with your own samples. I have imported a number of my favorite synth
sounds from my old school ESX. You could even record your partner playing a
middle C on the tuba (or whatever!), and turn that into a "synth."

b) There is an autosampler feature which I have not used, but as I understand it,
you can plug the LIVE into other electronic instruments and sample a range of
notes to create your own sampled synth. This would be great if you have
buddies with other synths so you can bring the LIVE to their house and
plunder their sounds.

3) You could play the LIVE's synths with a MIDI keyboard, but I encourage you to try
the pads before you spend more money - AKAI's pads are some of the best in
the business. To me, they have more soul and response than a lot of cheaper
keyboards (my Reface DX, for example, which I adore, but the keys are clunky),

Anything else we can help with?

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Thanks for the response. I've got a lot of learning to do for sure but that's half the fun. I've been trying to learn standalone as much as possible as that was a big reason I went with the live. Do you have a YouTube channel I could check out? I figured with a name like that you might have some cool stuff out there. Also where in edit are you creating your synths? Is it in the effects section or are you doing some other sort of vodoo?
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  • 99 Reply Likes -> Come get some lessons from dudes in the trenches every day with them. -> The owner of the MPC Forums also has a pretty awesome set of 'Bibles' for just about every model out there including the latest ones. Try the tutorials if youre on the fence about buying a PDF or not. The beat-chopping sample chapter alone was an amazing help when I first had to learn the MPC's way of doing things. I actually still use his procedure every single time I chop up a beat now heh.
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Sweet! Thanks a bunch.
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Eliza, Employee

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Hey swayzeinc,

Thanks for posting!

Happy to see that Starship Ghetto Byrd and Monotremata already gave you great advice! I would recommend watching this video for more information on creating your own Keygroup (synth) programs with the Autosampler:


Check out the other videos in Tube Digga's channel as well. He covers a lot of different facets of the MPC workflow.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Thanks for your help, Starship Ghetto Byrd and Monotremata!
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Thanks Eliza!