Akai MPC Renaissance - Using as a plugin in Ableton Live

The MPC Renaissance and Studio include a powerful standalone MPC application.  You can also use the MPC software as a plugin within your favorite DAW such as Ableton Live.  This video guide walks you through everything you need to know about using the MPC plugin inside Ableton Live. 

 

 

Contents

 

Audio device setup
  1. Install the MPC drivers from the Disk 1 - MPC Software DVD which is included with the product. If driver updates are available, you can download them from the Akai website
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Connect the MPC Renaissance to the computer, and turn it on.
  4. Launch Ableton.
  5. Open the Ableton Preferences window, and select the Audio tab on the left.
  6. Next to Audio Input Device, selct Akai MPC Renaissance.
  7. Next to Audio Output Device, selct Akai MPC Renaissance.
  8. If you are recording audio, the select one of the following sample rates: 44100, 88200.  These are best suited to audio because they are even multiple of 44.1 kHz, the native sample rate of CD Audio.  48000 and 96000 are best suited to video, since they are even multiples of 48 kHz, the native sample rate of video.
  9. Buffer Size should be set between 128 and 1024.  Lower buffer settings favor low latency over stable performance. Higher settings favor stable performance over low latency.
    • 256, or 512, are good all-around settings.
    • Choose 192 or 128 when you need the lowest latency, or if you are running on one of the fastest systems.
    • Choose 768 or 1024 if you are troubleshooting performance issues, or are running on a slower system.

 

MIDI device setup
  1. On the left of the Ableton Preferences window, select the MIDI Sync tab.
  2. At the bottom, next to Input Akai MPC Renaissance (MPC Public), set Remote to ON

    Quick link to this part of the video

 

Plugin Preferences
  1. Add the VST version of the MPC plugin to a track in Ableton, and open the plugin window.
  2. Towards the center-top of the screen, to the left of the Main tab, click the Preferences Menu icon.  In the menu that opens, select Edit > Preferences.  
  3. On the left side of the window that opens, select the Other tab.
  4. Next to Hardware Transport C, select DAW.

    This setting will allow the record button on the MPC hardware to be mapped to the Record button in Ableton, and allows you to use the transport controls on the MPC hardware to record onto tracks out in the Ableton software.

    To record into the tracks inside the MPC plugin instead, set Hardware Transport C, to Plugin.  This allows only the MPC plugin to hear messages from the record button on the MPC hardware, and allows you to record into the MPC plugin as opposed to into Ableton.

    Quick link to this part of the video

 

Plugin window positioning. Loading a Project
  • With the MPC plugin open on your computer, you can click and drag the lower-right corner of the window to resize it.  
  • Click on the title-bar of the plugin to reposition it on the screen.
  • The plugin will be visible when the Ablton track that it resides on is selected in Ableton.  If you select a different track in Ableton, the MPC plugin will be hidden.
  • Loading and saving MPC projects on the plugin within Ableton works the same way as it does in the stand-alone version of the MPC software.  Your projects will work and sound the same whether or not you open them in the stand-alone MPC software, or within a the MPC plugin.  The only exception to this is when you use the multi-output features of the plugin version to send more than one stereo output to a host DAW (Ableton in this case).  This feature is not available in the stand-alone MPC software (because there is no host DAW to route to).

    Quick link to this part of the video

 

Mapping the transport controls 

With the above Audio settings, MIDI settings, and Plugin preferences (set to DAW) completed, you're ready to map the transport controls.

  1. In Ableton, click the MIDI button in the upper-right of the screen to enter MIDI Mapping mode.  You can also access this mode by pressing Ctrl+M on Windows, or Command+M on Mac. When in MIDI Mapping mode, all mappable areas in Ableton will be highlighted blue.  
  2. Locate the Play, Stop and Record buttons at the top of the Ableton window.

    alt  
     
  3. Click the Play button in Ableton.  Ableton will now be listening for MIDI messages from the MPC hardware.
  4. Press the Play button on the MPC hardware to map the MPC's Play button to the Play button in Ableton.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the Stop and Record buttons.
  6. With the Record button still selected in Ableton, change the Mode setting the very-bottom-left of the Ableton window from Absolute to Relative (2’s Comp).  This setting allows the mapped Record button to stay engaged after you press it. 

    Quick link to this part of the video

 

Recording MIDI notes into the MPC plugin vs into Ableton

In the setup steps above, when we selected DAW, in the MPC plugin preferences under Other > Hardware Transport C, we told the plugin that we wanted the transport controls to control recording in Ableton, as opposed to in the MPC plugin.

To record into the tracks inside the MPC plugin instead, set Hardware Transport C, to Plugin.  This allows only the MPC plugin to hear messages from the record button on the MPC hardware, and allows you to record into the MPC plugin as opposed to into Ableton.

During your production process, you'll likely have whole phases where you'll record into the tracks in the MPC plugin, and whole phases where you'll record onto the tracks in Ableton.  You can either switch the Other > Hardware Transport C setting back and forth from DAW to Plugin, or you can click the button on the screen where you'd like to record (i.e. either Ableton or the MPC).

Quick link to this part of the video

 

Metronome count-in is controled by Ableton, not the MPC

One difference between the stand-alone MPC software and the MPC plugin is that the plugin takes its metronome count-in settings from the DAW.  To enable this in Ableton.

 

Using the SAMPLE RECORD feature

In verison 1.0 of the MPC plugin, audio was not automatically routed to the plugin's SAMPLE RECORD feature.  This has been addressed in future updates.

altIn verison 1.0 of the MPC plugin, to manually route audio to the SAMPLE RECORD, perform the following:

 

  1. Add the MPC VST plugin to a track in Ableton.  Note that the process below is not possible in version 1.0 of the AU version.
  2. Create a second Audio track by pressing Ctrl+T on Windows, or Command+T on Mac.
  3. On the second Audio track, set the two Audio From pulldown options to Ext. In, and 1/2.
  4. Set Monitor to In.
  5. Set Audio To to match the name of the other track your MPC plugin is on.

    This will route audio from your computer's audio input into the MPC plugin.  MPC Renaissance users should be sure that the MPC Renaissance hardware is selected for Ableton's Audio input.  See here for instructions.

    Quick link to this part of the video

 

Sampling into the digital S/PDIF input

The instructions above are for sampling into the MPC's analog inputs.  You can also use these steps to sample into the digital S/PDIF input by selecting input 3/4 instead of 1/2:

 

  1. Add the MPC VST plugin to a track in Ableton.  Note that the process below is not possible in version 1.0 of the AU version.
  2. Create a second Audio track by pressing Ctrl+T on Windows, or Command+T on Mac.
  3. On the second Audio track, set the two Audio From pulldown options to Ext. In, and 3/4.
  4. Set Monitor to In.
  5. Set Audio To to match the name of the other track your MPC plugin is on.

    This will route audio from your computer's audio input into the MPC plugin.  MPC Renaissance users should be sure that the MPC Renaissance hardware is selected for Ableton's Audio input.  See here for instructions.

    Quick link to this part of the video
Sending multiple outputs from the MPC plugin to Ableton

The Track Mixer window in the MPC plugin allows you to choose a different output for each track in the plugin.  Out in Abletin, these MPC outputs will be available as inputs to the tracks in Ableton.

  1. In the MPC plugin, navigate to the  the Track Mixer.
  2. Under the INSERT/SEND section, above the PAN knob on each track is an output setting.  To route any track to a different output, select one of the available outputs here.

    alt  
     
  3. Out in Ableton, create an Audio track by pressing Ctrl+T on Windows, or Command+T on Mac.
  4. In the new Audio track, select the first Audio From pull-down, and set it to match the name of the track where your MPC plugin resides.
  5. Then, in the second pulldown menu in the Audio From section, choose same output that you chose in the plugin in step 2 above.

    alt

    Quick link to this part of the video

 

Also See...

 

AKAI Technical Support and Warranty Service

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Pro technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.

www.akaipro.com/support