Akai MPC Renaissance – Sampling With an External Sound Module



Have a synth or external sound module you would like to sample?  With the MPC Renaissance/MPC Software it has never been easier.  You can even quantize the sample with legendary MPC swing!  The following article will show you how to record a MIDI track, send the MIDI to an external sound module, and record the sound module's audio as a sample.


  1. Connecting the Hardware
  2. Setting Up MPC Software Preferences
  3. MIDI Track Configuration
  4. Recording the MIDI Track as Audio
  5. Additional Resources
  6. Further Technical Support


Connecting the Hardware

  1. What you will need:
    • An External Sound Module with a MIDI input (synth, drum machine, etc.)
    • 1- 5 Pin MIDI Cable
    • 2- 1/4in Instrument Cables alt

      NOTE:  When using line outputs from the external device, make sure Input 1 + 2 are set to LINE and not MIC on the back panel of the Renaissance.


Setting Up MPC Software Preferences

  1. In the MPC application, go to your Preferences window:
    • On Windows, choose Edit > Preferences.
    • On a Mac, choose MPC > Preferences. alt  
  2. Select the MIDI tab and for MIDI Out Port A choose MPC Renaissance MPC Port 1 (or whatever Renaissance port you are connected to) from the drop down menu.  This will activate the port for MIDI routing. alt  
  3. By default, the Renaissance should be your input device with Input 1 + 2 selected as the Active Input Channels.  Make sure you are configured like the image below or you will not be able to hear the external sound module's audio. alt


MIDI Track Configuration

  1. You are now ready to route a MIDI track externally.  Choose a blank track (or existing MIDI performance) and with the INSTRUMENT drop down choose MIDI.   alt  
  2. You will see that MPC Renaissance MPC Port 1 shows up as your default MIDI output due to the selection made previously in the MIDI preference menu.  This indicates that your track is sending MIDI to the MPC Software sequencer and then out of Port 1 on your hardware. akai mpc ren sound module 51  
  3. The external sound module or synth can now receive MIDI note messages when you press a pad on your Renaissance.  To hear the audio from the external sound module, press (Shift+Sample Edit) on the hardware or use the software's Sample Record tab to enter Sample Record mode.  Choosing Input Monitor will allow you to hear your sound source through hardware Input 1 + 2 without actively recording the signal.  The Input source will need to be set to external when using the Renaissance hardware inputs to sample.  alt  
  4. Now you can record MIDI into the sequencer while hearing the external sound source.  If you leave the PROGRAM drop down on Off, the pads will trigger the current patch selected on your synth or external sound module.   alt  
  5. If needed, you can set a specific MIDI channel for the track.  Also, if your hardware support program changes, you will be able to change the hardware's patch right from the MPC Software.   alt


Recording the MIDI Track as Audio

  1. Once you have a sequence that is arranged and quantized to your liking, it is now time to create an audio sample of the performance.  If you want to record the sample in stereo, make sure L + R is selected under RECORD ARM .  If you want the sample to be mono, choose L (input 1).  If more gain from the external source is needed, use the REC GAIN knob on the Renaissance to increase the input level.
  2. Make sure the sequencer is cued so that the first bar will play the beginning of your performance.  Setting the THRESH (threshold) level will allow the sample to start recording when the audio passes a certain point.  This will allow the sample to trigger immediately when assigning it to a pad.  Increasing/decreasing the REC GAIN knob on the Renaissance will affect the THESH response. NOTE:  If you set the threshold too high, the MPC software may not start the recording when you play the input source, or the start of the material you wanted to record may be missing. If you set the threshold too low, the MPC software may start the recording before you play the external source. Set this parameter to an appropriate level using the level meter.  
  3. Select REC under SAMPLE and press play on the transport when you are ready to record the external source as a sample.  When you have captured the desired performance, press STOP under SAMPLE.  Keep in mind while capturing a sample the MPC Software will only record continuously for around 20 seconds unless you increae the time value with the hardware's jog wheel before starting. MPC Hardware      MPC Software  
  4. After recording is complete, the MPC Software will ask you if you want to keep the sample you have created.   If you would like to reset your threshold and recapture the sample, choose retry. You will be able to edit the sample later, so don't worry about it being perfect.  This menu will let you name the sample and assign it to a pad.  If you don't assign the sample to a pad it will show up in your sample list when selecting keep. alt  
  5. Now your performance is ready to use as a sample and is listed in your sample list (to the right).  You can assign the performance to a pad a play it into your song as desired, or you can select the sample and use the CHOP feature to divide the performance into multiple phrases.  Since the sample was recorded at the tempo of your sequence, you never have to worry about timing as long as the sample starts immediately when pressing a pad.  To edit when the sample starts, use Q-Link 1, 5, 9, and 13.   Enjoy! alt


Additional Resources

You can find a number of additional articles and videos in our knowledge base:


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