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Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

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Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:47 pm

Hi,

I'm using Cubase (Studio 4) to program drums in Midi. The Cubase Midi tracks trigger drum samples on my hard drive. I would like to take these midi tracks and samples on stage but do not want to have a PC or laptop on stage. So I'm looking for a hardware sampler, sequencer, ... ? Let's call it "The Box".
The Box should enable me to do some very straightforward operations in my home studio: move the Cubase Midi tracks and drum samples from my PC to The Box. The Midi tracks would be split into sequences (intro, verse 1, verse 2, chorus, bridge, outro, etc). When the sequences are in The Box, I'd like to build the song in The Box (but using either Cubase or a dedicated software editor to do so).
On stage, The Box should just enable me to do the following operations:
- Start/stop the song;
- Hold a sequence in the middle of the song (for instance when a musician is soloing for an unknown number of bars);
- Jump to the next or previous (or any) sequence (for instance at the end of the solo).
I won't do any sampling with The Box, don't need any FX or sample manipulation toolds, etc. It should be just a basic sample and sequence player !
I did some extensive research and just couldn't find The Box that would fit the bill. I bought an Akai MPC1000 but although it does a lot of the above, it has some serious limitations: it is a pain to program, there is no software editor, in song mode I can only jump to the next sequence, ...
Can someone help me identifying The Box that would fit my needs ?
Many thanks.

Guy
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BJG145 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:40 pm

Dunno, although I'm surprised there isn't any kind of 3rd party PC-based sequence editor, like MPC Maid or something.

http://mpcmaid.sourceforge.net

Just came across JJOS...don't suppose that helps any...?

http://www.mpc-tutor.com/article/7/mpc1000-jj-os-3.12-review
http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~mpc1000

There's talk of an accompanying sequence editor (JJ Sequencer), though I can't find a working link for it.

http://jjmanual.wordpress.com/

If you can find a hardware unit that meets your specs, maybe you can pick up a similar 3rd party editor for it. Maybe a different MPC, or something like Machinedrum...?
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby ken long » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:30 pm



Any MPC will do exactly all of that. Learn your 1000.

I bought an Akai MPC1000 but although it does a lot of the above, it has some serious limitations:


What serious limitations?

it is a pain to program,

How so? You won't be programming it though if I understood you correctly. You'll simply be using MIDI files created on your PC DAW.

there is no software editor

? Of course there is. But what exactly do you want it to do? As per above, you'll be creating sequences in your PC, right?

in song mode I can only jump to the next sequence, ...

so stay in sequence mode.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:50 am

There are 3rd-party editors but only for loading the samples (e.g. Blue Box). I haven't seen any sequencer editor, nor even an editor allowing me to build a song with sequences, naming the sequences, etc.
I have JJOS2 XL installed. It adds a lot of functionalities (which I don't use) but you still have to do all the sequence programming on the MPC1000.
I spent a lot of time learning my way around the MPC1000 but concluded that no matter how sophisticated JJOS was, there's only so much you can do on such a little screen. Even the simplest task (like naming a sequence) takes much more time than on a PC.
Finally, to Ken's point, I can't stay in Sequence mode on stage as this implies that I would have to change each and every sequence. My hands (and feet) are busy on keyboards (my main instrument) so I cannot use them to hit the next sequence (except on a one off basis).
I didn't come across Machinedrum but will look into it.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:19 am

Can you not export the MPC sequences as MIDI files and import them into your DAW? Edit, re-export as MIDI files and import them into the MPC?
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:15 am

Yes I can. But my typical workflow is to create the midi sequences in Cubase and record them in the MPC1k. I can't "export" them as such in the MPC1k. This is another limitation of the MPC1k and I assume it is related to the absence of Sequence editor. Anyway, I don't have a big issue with this (although again it is time consuming).
In a perfect world, I should be able to create a midi sequence in Cubase (say verse1), drag and drop it to the MPC1k, do the same for verse2, chorus1, etc. Then I should be able to arrange the order and number of sequences and build the song (using Cubase or any other PC based interface). Then I would take the MPC1k on stage and just hit "start" in Song Mode. If required by the circumstances (e.g. a solo, or a mistake of the band in the number of choruses), I should be able to jump to any part of the Song.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:39 am

Can you not "save as" MIDI files from the MPC?

Would this utility help http://mpcmaid.sourceforge.net/ ?

I've not used an MPC in many years, so I'm not going to be much help, but there are dedicated forums for the MPC which may be of use.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby ken long » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:09 am

BRETT the Guy wrote:
In a perfect world, I should be able to create a midi sequence in Cubase (say verse1), drag and drop it to the MPC1k, do the same for verse2, chorus1, etc. Then I should be able to arrange the order and number of sequences and build the song (using Cubase or any other PC based interface). Then I would take the MPC1k on stage and just hit "start" in Song Mode. If required by the circumstances (e.g. a solo, or a mistake of the band in the number of choruses), I should be able to jump to any part of the Song.

I'm not familiar with the 1000. But my 3000 lets me import MIDI files. No problem. Drag and drop as you say. Obviously, the other way is simply recording your MIDI sequences into the MPC. Yes, not as fast as drag and drop but you only have to record the sequences once before you take it on stage.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:06 am

MPCMaid is similar to BlueBox: it allows you only to manage your samples, not your sequences.
I posted on the MPC forums but received no satisfactory answer yet (and the members of that forum are a little biased towards the MPC, like "the MPC can do everything and more!"
Thanks for your help.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby ken long » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:27 am

Copy the Midi Sequence File to the MPC CF.
Go to LOAD MODE and and scroll to "VIEW:"
Turn the knob until it says MID.

Load.

What else do you need?
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:43 am

Ken, you probably didn't read my posts above. My issue isn't about loading (or recording) the midi sequences to the MPC. My issue is about arranging the sequences in a Song (from my PC) and controling the sequences within a song on stage.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby Chevytraveller » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:49 am

BRETT the Guy wrote:I bought an Akai MPC1000 but although it does a lot of the above, it has some serious limitations: it is a pain to program, there is no software editor, in song mode I can only jump to the next sequence, ...


a pain to program?.. really



BRETT the Guy wrote:Can someone help me identifying The Box that would fit my needs ?


An iPod?..
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:09 pm

You meant the iPod as a joke but that is indeed what I'm currently using ! The only thing that's missing is (obviously) the flexibility to jump from one sequence to another in realtime
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby Richie Royale » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:25 pm

I think Ableton will do what you want.

I don't think you can trigger MIDI sequences from MPC pads unless you have already recorded the sequence as a sample in audio and are triggering it that way.

Someone said (elsewhere) that the earlier JJOS could do this but it was dropped on later versions. Might be worth hunting the older one down? Or move towards a laptop with Ableton and an APC?

(edited for clarity)
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby ken long » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:45 pm

BRETT the Guy wrote:Ken, you probably didn't read my posts above. My issue isn't about loading (or recording) the midi sequences to the MPC. My issue is about arranging the sequences in a Song (from my PC) and controling the sequences within a song on stage.

Ah! I see. You want to load your sequences into the MPC but then arrange them into a song from your PC. But you don't want your PC on stage. And you want the flexibility of sequence changes but in Song mode.

None of those things can be achieved with anything on the market nor will anyone produce such a sequencer in future. Not least because this is one of the most convoluted workflows I've ever heard. I'm afraid you're SOOL.

I'm happy to help you if you decide to get real and work with what's in front of you.

You can easily sequence in your PC, dump to MPC, play in sequence mode and improvise throughout the song. I even think the newer MPC's will allow you to "live loop" segments within song mode.

Over to you.
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby ken long » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:46 pm

Richie Royale wrote:I think Ableton will do what you want.


^ This
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby BRETT the Guy » Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:03 pm


Ah! I see. You want to load your sequences into the MPC but then arrange them into a song from your PC. But you don't want your PC on stage. And you want the flexibility of sequence changes but in Song mode.

None of those things can be achieved with anything on the market nor will anyone produce such a sequencer in future. Not least because this is one of the most convoluted workflows I've ever heard. I'm afraid you're SOOL.

Thanks Ken. I guess that puts an end to this thread. Not sure what "SOOL" means but I guess Im' f**ed anyway
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby ken long » Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:57 pm

BRETT the Guy wrote:

Thanks Ken. I guess that puts an end to this thread. Not sure what "SOOL" means but I guess Im' f**ed anyway

No.

I've done this countless times.

1. Programme your sequences in your DAW (verse, chorus, bridge, etc) if this is your preferred method.

2. Export sequences as MIDI files to MPC and assign to MIDI tracks.

3. Play MPC on stage in sequence mode. You ahve the added feature on your 1000 of assigning sequences to pads. So you could have pad 1 playing verse, pad 2 playing chorus, etc. You will need to be in sequence mode for the ability to create the song on the fly (improvised). Song mode will play a pre-determined string of sequences - though the 1000 may have added flexibility in terms of looping within songs. Dunno about that.

Which leaves only the "arranging of the song from your PC once it is in the MPC" bit unachievable but utterly pointless IMO. You would have already arranged the song into MIDI tracks in your DAW before the export to MPC. So why would you need to dick with it further? In any case, should you really need to change it up and lack confidence or you are debilitated by laziness ( ), you could always go back to the PC, esdit the sequences, and dump them back into the MPC. <<<BAM>>>
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Re: Hardware Sample Player ? Sequencer ?

Postby Paul Nagle » Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:27 pm

I do something similar to this by having sections of my songs in my Octatrack. I use a Sequentix Cirklon to do the arrangement, set the tempo, play other synths and even trigger a lot of the Octatrack events rather than its own sequencer. Works well enough for me; I can either use a completely straight song performance or wildly chop and change it whilst other devices, drum machines and so on, are synced up ready to join in.
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