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Akai Pro MPC Essentials - Sample Editing Basics


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Article updated 06-28-2017

Samples are digitized snippets of audio that can either be recorded using the recording function of your MPC software or loaded from the File Browser. Have a keyboard, vocal, or instrument that you want to sample?  With MPC Essentials, it has never been easier! The following article will show you how to take a sample, assign it to a pad, and chop it up.

 

Contents

  1. Finding and Loading Samples
  2. Trimming A Sample
  3. Chopping A Sample 
  4. Utilizing the Process Selection Menu
  5. Additional Guides & Videos 
  6. Further Technical Support

 

 

Finding and Loading Samples 

Have a sample that you want to use with your MIDI controller? Bringing this sample from your computer's storage to MPC Essentials is easy! Use the File Explorer on the left side of MPC Essentials to find the sample you want to use. 

  • The File Browser lets you navigate through your computer's internal and external hard disks to load samples, sequences, songs, etc. (Note the section outlined in red in the image below).
  • There are five Favorites Folder buttons labeled 1 to 5 at the top of the File Browser. Here, you can select up to five locations on your hard disk(s) to give you quick access to your files. Hold shift and click on one of the numbered folders to set the current File Browser view to a favorite location. (Note the section outlined in blue in the image below)
  • You can also preview your samples before loading them. Click on the speaker icon below the File Browser to preview a sample, or click Auto to automatically play a sample when it's selected.

To get the most efficient use of the File Browser, set the file path to your hard disk(s) first.



Once the desired sample you wish to edit has been located, simply drag this sample from the file explorer into the Sample Edit window the audio waveform should be displayed in the top portion of the Sample Edit screen.

Can't find a sample to use? Our MPK2 and MPD2 series controllers come with plenty of samples and content to browse through. Follow our guide below for instructions on how to download, install and find your content:

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Trimming A Sample 

Trimming a sample allows you to edit the start and end point of the sample and is often used to remove silence before or after your sound.

  1. Drag a sample into the edit window from your File Browser or from your sample pool in the bottom right (samples in the sample pool have already been added to your project).
     
  2. Set the edit type to Trim if not already.


     
    • Pro-Tip: When Trimming samples, there are a few features available to assist you with getting the perfect sample.
      • Zero Snap activates the snap-to-zero function. For easier sample editing, the software will "force" you to place a start point or end point only at "zero-crossings."
        • This can help to avoid clicks and glitches when playing a sample.
      • With Link Slices activated, changing the start point of a slice will also change the end points of the previous slice. Similiarly, changing the end point of a slice will also change the start point of the next slice. 
        • Turn Link Slices off if you are trying to create slices that use non-contiguous parts of the sample. 
           
  3. Grab the green marker at the start or end of the waveform and drag them to the desired start or end point of the selected sample. The cursor will turn red when a trim has been made on the selected sample. The portion of the sample that is being cut out will be grayed out.


The selected sample has now been trimmed!

Previewing Sample Trims

When in the Sample Edit screen, the pad bank will have a few options that will come in handy while editing the selected sample. 

The main thing that differentiates the function of these pads is whether they have been assigned as a (Note On) or a (One Shot). 

  • One Shot pads only have to be triggered once and will play the sample in its entirety.
  • Note On pads only play the sample while the pad is being triggered.
    • For Note On pads, as soon as the pad is released, the sample will stop playing. When the pad is triggered again, it will play the sample from the beginning, opposed to continuing play from where it stopped after the pad was released.  

Each row of pads has a common function:

  • Pads 13 - 16 refer directly to assigned loops
  • Pads 10 - 11 allow the sample to be triggered in One Shot, or in a Note On Fashion
  • Pads 5-8 are all Note On pads allowing the sample to be triggered in different ways, such as playing from the end of the sample to playing from the start
  • Pads 1-4 give you the same sample play options as Pads 5-8, but these pads are designed to be One Shots, so they do not need to be held for the sample to play from the end, or start.

Note: the pads in the sample edit mode can not be triggered from the pads on an MPK2, MPD2, or MPK mini controller. 

 

Assigning Trimmed Samples to Pads 

After the selected sample has been trimmed, it is time to assign it to a pad! Once the edited sample is assigned to a pad, triggering that pad will play the sample.

  1. To assign a trimmed sample to a pad, click on the 'Assign' button at the bottom of the Sample Edit Window. 


     
  2. Decide how the edited sample will be assigned to the pads. The selected sample can be assigned in a Non-Destructive Convert (the edits are not permanent and can be changed later) or as a Pad Parameter.


     
  3. Once you have decided which settings work best, click the Do It button and the trimmed sample will be assigned to a pad.
     

You're now ready to trigger your trimmed sample on the assigned pad! 

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Chopping A Sample

Chopping allows you to take a sample and cut it into shorter segments. These segments can be used to create a new arrangement

In Chop Mode, the sample will be divided into multiple regions called slices. There are three different ways to use this function:

  • Region - Divides the sample into several regions of equal length
  • BPM - Divides the sample into several regions based on tempo
  • Threshold - Uses an adjustable detection Algorithm that derives the number of regions created from the volume levels present in the sample

For this example, we will be chopping a sample by using the 'Threshold' feature. This is the most commonly used chop feature, as it creates slices from the volume levels present in the selected sample, easily allowing you to create clean and concise slices for each pad.

  1. To being, drag a sample into the edit window from your File Browser, or from your sample pool in the bottom right (samples in the sample pool have already been added to your project). 
     
  2. Select the edit type to Chop, if not already selected. 


     
  3. Now that Chop is selected, the ability to select the way in which the sample will be chopped is available. Set 'Threshold' as the 'Chop To'. 
     
  4. As soon as Threshold is selected as the 'Chop To' feature, you will notice that the sample has been chopped into multiple slices. 
    • These slices can be viewed on the waveform of the sample within the Sample Edit window and can also be edited within this window of MPC Essentials 

Your selected sample has now been successfully chopped into new slices based on the volume levels present in the sample. These slices are now ready to be assigned to pads! 

 

Previewing Chopped Samples 

Now that the selected sample has been chopped into slices based on either Region, BPM or Threshold, the created slices are ready to be assigned to pads! 

Before assigning these slices to the pads of your MIDI controller, you will want to preview them to make sure they have been chopped exactly as you would like for them to be. 

Within the Sample Edit window, you will notice that the pads in the Pad Bank have now been assigned a slice. The slices are assigned to the pads in chronological order, starting at one.  Each pad will be labeled 'Slice #' and reference the slice that will be played when that pad is triggered in accordance to the chops you have just made. 

Trigger the pads to preview the slices of the chopped sample. Should an edit be necessary, simply click and drag the green marker with the corresponding number across the waveform. Continue to trigger the corresponding pad for that sample to preview it until it is chopped exactly how you would like. 

Note: the pads in the sample edit mode cannot be triggered from the pads on an MPK2, MPD2 or MPK mini controller. 

 

Creating Programs from Chopped Samples 

Once the sample has been chopped, it is ready to be converted to a Program

A Program is a file that contains a list of samples to be used. Chopped samples converted into Programs will appear in the samples list in the Main Window. From this list, the sample can be assigned to the pads of your controller.
 

  1. In Chop mode, there are a few ways to program a sample. For this example, we will be assigning a program in a Non-Destructive Convert. 
    • When a sample is converted to a new program in a Non-Destructive Convert, you have the ability to go back and edit the program. 
    • When a sample is converted to a new program by being Extracted as a New Sample, you will not have the ability to go back and edit the program. 
       
  2. To create the program in a Non-Destructive Convert, select 'New Program'.


     
  3.  Once selected, you will be given the option to 'Convert or Assign the Slices'.

     
     
    • By default, the 'Convert To' option should be selected as 'New Program Using Slices'.
    • The 'Slice Type' should be selected as 'Pad Parameters' by default. 
    • Pro-Tip: If Create Events is selected, you will create a new Program in which each slice results in a sample and is automatically assigned to a pad. Furthermore, it will automatically create a Sequence in which each pad plays its corresponding slice in ascending sequence by pad number. The samples will be named with 'sl' and a consecutive number attached to their original name.
       
  4. Now that the program has been created, it will be shown in the Samples menu of MPC Essentials. This edited sample can be accessed in the Main Window of MPC Essentials.


     
  5. To assign this program to the pads of your MIDI controller, select the sample under the Samples Menu. Drag this title onto the first pad in the Pad Bank. 
     
  6. Once you have released this program onto the first pad in the Pad Bank, all pads will be assigned a slice from the chopped sample

     

You are now ready to trigger your edited sample with the pads of your MIDI controller! 

Note: the pads in the sample edit mode cannot be triggered from the pads on an MPK2, MPD2 or MPK mini controller. 

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Utilizing the Process Selection Menu 

The Process Selection gives you various editing options for the selected sample. 

In the software, click the desired sample editing option, a new window will open (which may have some additional parameters). To execute a selected option, click Do It or cancel your changes by clicking Cancel.

 

The various editing options for the selected sample include: 

  • Discard - deletes parts of the sample before the start point and after the end point.
  • Delete - deletes the part of the sample between the start point and end point and closes the gap between them.
  • Silence - replaces part of the sample with silence.
  • Extract - deletes part of the sample before the start point and after the end point and saves it as a new sample (with a name you enter) in your current project.
  • Normalize - increases sample's level to highest level possible without distortion.
  • Reverse - reverses the part of the sample between start and end point.
  • Fade In - sets fade-in between the start point and end point of the sample.
    • Linear fades - fades in with a linear curve - straight line between the start and end.
    • Log fades - fades in with a logarithmic curve - quickly rising at the start and flattening out towards the end.
    • Exp fades - fades in with an exponential curve - slowly rising in the beginning and growing steeper towards the end.
  • Fade Out - sets fade-out between the start point and end point of the sample. 
    • Linear fades - fades out with a linear curve - a straight line between the start and end.
    • Log fades - fades out with a logarithmic curve - quickly rising at the start and flattening out towards the end
    • Exp fades - fades out with an exponential curve - slowly rising in the beginning and growing steeper towards the end.
  • Pitch Shift - changes the pitch of the sample without changing its length.
    • This lets you set the sample's pitch to your Sequence without affecting the sample's tempo or duration.
    • You can adjust it up to 12 semitones, up or down.
    • Keep in mind that the audio quality may decrease at more extreme settings.
  • Time Stretch - lengthens or shortens the sample without changing its pitch.
    • This is useful when you want to match the duration of two samples with different pitches. You can enter the original tempo of the sample and the desired tempo after processing.
  • Gain Change - raises or lowers the volume of the sample.
    • You can adjust it up to 18dB, higher or lower.
    • This function is different than Normalize because it will allow volumes beyond clipping level.
    • This may be a desired effect, but remember to watch your output level!
  • Copy - saves a copy of the sample and adds a consecutive number after the sample name.
  • Bit Reduce - lowers the bit resolution of a sample, effectively reducing its degree of faithful reproduction.
    • You can reduce the bit rate down to 1 bit. (The sound is similar to the Resampler effect, but Bit Reduce will permanently alter the sample.)
  • Stereo > Mono - converts a stereo sample to a new mono sample and saves it as a new sample (with a name you enter) in your current Project. The following options are available:
    • Left will convert only the left channel. 
    • Right will convert only the right channel. 
    • Sum will combine the left and right audio channels to a single mono channel. 

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Additional Guides & Videos 

 

Further Technical Support 

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the experienced 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.