Akai MPC - accurate input meters
Old 21st January 2013
  #1
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Akai MPC - accurate input meters

What are some steps I can take to get an accurate input level for recording into the MPC 1000? Since the MPC doesn't have numerical meters for whatever reason, the aim is to get signal as hot as possible without clipping (Akai's SNR).

Now, I've been attempting a bit of calibration throughout my primary studio tools (Rane TTM 56 / Akai MPC 1000 / RME Fireface 800). By feeding a -20dbfs pink noise tone to all these devices, and measuring the results on the Dorrough meter (plug-in), I can get as close to the same DAW signal with the MPCs master level at -6db, which I generally set it at anyway.

As I'm writing this, I'm monitoring my MPCs master outs in my DAW with the same Dorrough meter. With signal hitting optimum level on the Rane (+4db) the meters show a reading of around -4db fs, AND this is with the MPCs Rec Gain flat.

So, what does this mean? Any use of the MPCs rec gain will just distort and clip my signal, even if their meter reads no clip? Should I just monitor like this (through DAW) from now on?

Any advice?
Old 24th January 2013
  #2
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I have had this question with gain staging on the MPC in the past. Im also intrested. It seemed even staying away from the peak meters I would still get distortion on the MPC 1000 samples. Drums are different. You can hit them as hard as you want within reason,but it all depnds on what your doing with them.

Now the MPC 3000 depending on how hard I hit it with melodic samples it would sound different. Hitting it harder would compress it more but I never got crackling like on the MPC 1000.
Old 24th January 2013
  #3
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Hate to be a dick, but use your ears, you're making music not doing brain surgery, if its distorting in a way you don't like back it off a little, if you're not getting enough signal give it some gain
Old 25th January 2013
  #4
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Hate to say it but gearslutz has become alot less active lately. Sems evrything is a dumb question nowadays. I used to be one that asked tons of questions here and got alot of negativity but there was also alot of people that helped. Now alot of threads lay dead. You might be better off on MPC-forums.com or future producers.

One
Old 25th January 2013
  #5
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I don't want to be the guy that says hundreds if not thousands of hits were made without concern about accurate metering on the MPC series but it's just the truth. Furthermore, some people like to record in on the low side to insure things are clean. Some people purposely distort their samples as they think it sounds good.

I do want to add one thing. Any equipment will distort their converters at full gain, even if you aren't clipping. That is just how electronics are. I didn't even learn this from making music, I learned it from setting amp levels for car stereos.
Old 25th January 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio507 View Post
Hate to be a dick, but use your ears, you're making music not doing brain surgery, if its distorting in a way you don't like back it off a little, if you're not getting enough signal give it some gain
There actually is a fair bit of science that goes into 'making music'. The problem is, although our ears may be a good tool for measuring levels in audio...there are far more accurate tools like meters. As I said before, with input on the Rane hitting +4db (which is Rane's nominal or maximum input level), and signal being monitored on both the MPC and the DAW - input level is metering at around -4dbFS while the MPCs rec gain is flat.
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