My favorite way of making music is on the MPC One. When I first started my music journey at eleven or twelve years old I started with FL Studio, since I was just a kid with a laptop and not a lot of money saved up that I could spend on gear. I had fun making beats for sure, focusing on old school beats, then experimenting with trip-hop and ambient music a lot, even trap beats, but I was never as into it as I am nowadays. Over time I stopped producing so many beats, making a beat only once in a while in FL Studio, using other plugins such as Nexus, but I was never really super into it, for the most part I just wanted to rap. I realize now that that’s mostly because of the way of making beats that involves using a mouse and keyboard. Once I got my hands on the MPC One I was hooked, and I haven’t stopped making beats ever since. The hands-on approach to making music is a lot more fun, and it feels like an instrument I’ve been learning and I never stop learning. Basically the MPC is a DAW (digital audio workstation) in a box. There’s lots of different kinds of MPCs, but I went with the One because of it’s compact size, and based off of everything I had read online. It truly does not disappoint in a way, and even know that I’m pretty comfortable with it and feel that I know it really well, I realize that there are still a lot of ways I could get even deeper into it, that’s how powerful this thing is. Of course, everything the MPC One can do can be done in a DAW, including FL Studio, which I still use, but it’s just a lot more fun using the MPC. Another thing I’ve been getting into a lot more because of the MPC is sampling. I used to sample beats in FL Studio, but everything seemed so complicated and I ended up just cutting loops that I liked from old jazzy tracks, or even reggae and classic rock, and adding my own drums and instruments to the beat within FL Studio. Those beats were not necessarily bad, but they were just very simple. The melodies were, for the most part, unchanged, although new instrument and drums were added over them. On the MPC, however, I’m chopping melodies into the pads and playing them that way, modifying them in all kinds of crazy ways, making all kinds of different patterns, and it’s just so much fun. Ironically, getting into the MPC also got me back into FL Studio and into learning how to do a lot of things in there that I had previously neglected learning about. It sort of just goes hand in hand with everything I’ve learned since getting the MPC, for example, mixing and mastering techniques in MPC One vs. mixing and mastering techniques in FL Studio. Of course, FL Studio, being a classic DAW, offers more possibilities, since you can even load third party plugins, for example. The MPC is limited to a few plugins that come with it, although those plugins have vast instrument libraries so there’s a lot to work with, apart from expansion packs and just classic sampling. With a specific cable which I have connected into the inputs of the MPC I can sample audio from any device with a normal headphone or earphone connection, so I can sample from YouTube or Spotify if I run the cable from my audio interface headphone output, or I can sample from my phone or iPad or iPod classic, or from music device really. It’s just impressive for what it is, there’s so many ways to create music within the MPC, and just for that I would recommend it to anyone who’s into making music or beats. A lot of the MPC sounds are really electronic so I make a lot of techno or house music on there, and also hip hop beats of course. Although the MPC One is definitely a beast in standalone mode, my favorite way to use it these days is to incorporate it into FL Studio. This is an interesting workflow because it allows me to make ideas on the MPC, with my hands rather than with the mouse, and then to pass on and polish those ideas within FL Studio, or just add more sounds on top of them or structure them better into a beat. The MPC One has song mode, which allows you to put different sequences, basically patterns of sounds, together to create a full song. For example, sequence two might follow sequence one, sequences can be repeated as many times as necessary, and so on. However, it’s definitely a lot simpler and faster to arrange the structure of a beat in FL Studio, looking at everything laid out across a big computer screen rather than the small MPC One screen. Don’t get me wrong, the touch-screen on the MPC One is amazing for the size of the MPC, it works perfectly and you can even access grid mode on it, basically a step sequences like in FL Studio. It’s just a lot faster to arrange the final beat in FL Studio and master it as well, to get the final product sounding loud, punchy and clear. It’s not a hassle to transfer things either. Basically, my MPC is on my desk so it’s always connected to my PC anyways. It’s not in controller mode though so I can use it in standalone even though it’s plugged in. The MPC has a software, basically Akai’s own DAW, MPC Beats, which can also be opened up as a VST plugin within other DAWs, so what I do when I select the controller mode option on my MPC is just open the MPC Beats plugin within FL Studio. The plugin recognizes the MPC and then I can load up whatever project I was working on while in standalone mode, and just drag the individual tracks from my MPC sequences into FL Studio, either as audio or MIDI files. The audio file is just the recorded audio itself, while the MIDI file is the actual notes you played, so you can even change the sound of the melody to be one of the sounds in FL Studio, or even Nexus or Omnisphere or any other third party plugin. I could go on and on about how cool the MPC One is, but I’ll leave it at that for now and maybe talk about it a bit more another time. If you’re into making music or just getting into it and are thinking about buying and MPC One though, trust me, it’s a lot of fun and you most likely won’t regret it.
~ rebel eye