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[MPC Tracking] Has this ever happened to you? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 27th February 2018
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[MPC Tracking] Has this ever happened to you?

Have you ever recorded a two track from an MPC, and separated the same track in protools, to find the two track sounded better?
Old 27th February 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
Have you ever recorded a two track from an MPC, and separated the same track in protools, to find the two track sounded better?
I typically do either one or the other, 2 track because I don't have time to track out, or track out and thus I don't need the two track but I haven't compared.

Which MPC? I don't necessarily buy this but some say the main outs on certain MPC's sound better, I have had a 1000 and 2000XL, I have routed everything through the individual outs (picked the first 2 channels) and I didn't hear anything substantial, I didn't have the best monitors or converters at the time however.

Second thing would be your converters, what are you tracking into? I find if you converters lack punch, for example, if you have 3 snares separated, it will sound less punchy than 3 snares combined, but I haven't had that sort of issue with even cheaper, modern interfaces. However, it's been a long time since my main outs and my individual outs both go straight to my interface, mains go through the mixer, individual to the patchbay which can go direct to interface, or to a mixer channel, but not routed the same.

Lastly, and more simply, if you are recording sources louder that would be lower in the mix after leveling, it may very well sound different after you level. Even if you theoretically got everything exact, if you track some sources hotter than others, then level them down, the converters may sound different.

Then you have summing. When you track out the 2 track, the MPC is summing. When you track everything out individually, your DAW/converters are summing. I imagine that an older MPC with great converters for your DAW would sound different (not sure how much) due to a few things.

I really am just taking some guesses here but I feel my ideas could be sound, not saying they are right. I know for sure I used to MPC 1000's sound better tracked via spdif when I first started but that was because I didn't have very good converters at the time. Never have played around since because, as I said, it have more components in the signal chain that make it an unfair comparison.
Old 27th February 2018
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The summing engines in most workstations, particularly the older ones, is rather lacking in the math department. A lot of the 90s era boxes only had 16bit summing engines.
Old 27th February 2018
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Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
The summing engines in most workstations, particularly the older ones, is rather lacking in the math department. A lot of the 90s era boxes only had 16bit summing engines.
If the summing was lacking why would the two track sound better?

This drum machines were MPC 3k and 4k, and the DAW/converters were Protools HD with either Apogee Rosetta 800, or an old Mix system with Apogee AD8000.

(I haven't tested it in a while, but I spoke with the person who originally brought it to my attention recently, and it's something we discussed).


EDIT: Now that I think about it, it could have been phase issues from the MPC's not locking the same each time. It was probably throwing things off.

I'm going to test it soon.

Another thing I want to do, but I haven't gotten around to is Making an impulse library of old converters. (I'm sure it probably exists on the net, so I'll search first.). I'm thinking Akai s900/s1000/MPC 60/MPC3000, EMU ASR10/EPS, and SP1200.
Old 27th February 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
If the summing was lacking why would the two track sound better?

This drum machines were MPC 3k and 4k, and the DAW/converters were Protools HD with either Apogee Rosetta 800, or an old Mix system with Apogee AD8000.

(I haven't tested it in a while, but I spoke with the person who originally brought it to my attention recently, and it's something we discussed).


EDIT: Now that I think about it, it could have been phase issues from the MPC's not locking the same each time. It was probably throwing things off.

I'm going to test it soon.

Another thing I want to do, but I haven't gotten around to is Making an impulse library of old converters. (I'm sure it probably exists on the net, so I'll search first.). I'm thinking Akai s900/s1000/MPC 60/MPC3000, EMU ASR10/EPS, and SP1200.
Asking why the inferior summing engine of the hardware sampler sounding better is kind of like saying "if the guitar amp has so much distortion, then why does it sound better?" Sounds crazy, but back in the day that was a legitimate question every recording engineer was asking!

I have an S2800 which is a rackmount MPC3000 without the sequencer and drum pads. I always found it to be better to track everything into the DAW separately.

That said, there are a number of reasons the 2track could sound better. Like you said, USER ERROR could be to blame. Simple not syncing things properly. Also, when you play the 2track you only get the hiss once. When you separate everything out, you get the hiss on every track. So if you aren't careful with your levels, if you have a bunch of tracks, it could add up.
Old 27th February 2018
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Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
Asking why the inferior summing engine of the hardware sampler sounding better is kind of like saying "if the guitar amp has so much distortion, then why does it sound better?" Sounds crazy, but back in the day that was a legitimate question every recording engineer was asking!

I have an S2800 which is a rackmount MPC3000 without the sequencer and drum pads. I always found it to be better to track everything into the DAW separately.

That said, there are a number of reasons the 2track could sound better. Like you said, USER ERROR could be to blame. Simple not syncing things properly. Also, when you play the 2track you only get the hiss once. When you separate everything out, you get the hiss on every track. So if you aren't careful with your levels, if you have a bunch of tracks, it could add up.
I didn't mention user error, or a failure to sync properly by me. MPCs drift ( as you know).

If it sounds better, it is better, so I wouldn't say the "inferior" converter sounded better. But, I understand your point.

I thought the S3000 was the mpc equivalent. Is it the s2800 instead.
Old 27th February 2018
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you wouldn't be able to make impulse responses of converters; IRs can't capture anything nonlinear (i.e., any kind of saturation, etc., these things have to be mathematically modeled). you would essentially be capturing the frequency response of the inputs/outputs only.
Old 27th February 2018
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I've experienced this many times over the years of MPC tracking. It could simply be that you prefer the sound of the MPC's summing engine. You could also be digitally clipping inside the MPC which can sometimes sound good under certain conditions. Don't be afraid to rap over the 2-track, haha.
Old 28th February 2018
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Originally Posted by atma View Post
you wouldn't be able to make impulse responses of converters; IRs can't capture anything nonlinear (i.e., any kind of saturation, etc., these things have to be mathematically modeled). you would essentially be capturing the frequency response of the inputs/outputs only.
True, I thought of this after I posted. I wouldn't need an IR. I could do an EQ match of the free response, save it as a preset, and use something else to add saturation/ Distortion.


So here's another question. I've been away from looking into new gear, so I'm years behind what's out there.

What's the best way/system for calling up a patch and pulling up a plugin chain/series of mults automatically with it?

Let's say I call up a piano preset that automatically comes up multed across 3 stereo channels with eq/compression/ and saturation on each?

The answer doesn't have to be limited to any specific software. I'm using protools, but I'm open to using some other platform for virtual instruments.


I guess the best software for saving mults, and plugin chains is what I'm seeking.
Old 28th February 2018
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Blue Cat's PatchWork is the probably the most flexible option out there. it can load instruments internally as well as parallel fx chains, etc.
Old 28th February 2018
  #11
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Originally Posted by atma View Post
Blue Cat's PatchWork is the probably the most flexible option out there. it can load instruments internally as well as parallel fx chains, etc.
Cool. That's the only plug I know that does this, but I've never used it. I'm still on an old HD TDM rig, and rather than investing in a new rig for mixing, I'm thinking I'll go to a more modern rig for instruments, and track live stuff/mix on my old rig.

I want to add a UAD octo and a dcommand to my mix rig too. I'm renovating my house, so everything is on hold for a min. I'm just looking for direction when I get back to biz.

The cool thing about having everything in storage for a min is everytime I get a musical spark, I'm limited to just an old acoustic guitar, and I'm forced to practice.

Thanks for the info!
Old 28th February 2018
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Squeezing the main mix through the stereo/mono hardware outputs glues the whole thing together.Creates 'ViBe' (finishing the levels/tweaking inside the hardware rather than in the comp can add some 'mojo imo) Your mileage may vary as always.....
Old 28th February 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
I didn't mention user error, or a failure to sync properly by me. MPCs drift ( as you know).

If it sounds better, it is better, so I wouldn't say the "inferior" converter sounded better. But, I understand your point.

I thought the S3000 was the mpc equivalent. Is it the s2800 instead.
This was the line I was referring to as user error: "Now that I think about it, it could have been phase issues from the MPC's not locking the same each time. It was probably throwing things off." Anytime you are going to track anything that has a phase relationship, you MUST track them in the same pass. So for example, if I had a kick with two layers and then an 808 kick, I would have to print all three in the same pass. So kick1 to the left out, kick2 to the right out, 808 kick to the the 1st auxilliary output. If you try to do them in multiple passes, you'll get problems. I used to see people make this mistake all the time, because it was close enough that they often wouldn't even notice there was a problem.

You are also somewhat dependent on the MIDI clocking of your DAW and MIDI interface. Some are better than others. When I ran Sequencer Plus Gold, which was DOS based, with a little MOTU midi interface, that thing was so insanely accurate that I could actually offset midi notes to create frozen phase effects that would sound exactly the same every time I hit play!

I'm going from memory here, but when I bought it I seem to recall that the only difference between the S2800 and the S3000 was the 2800 was limited to 16MB ram, didn't have SMPTE/MTC chasing, and only had 1/4" inputs (no XLR) and only had stereo outputs - although it did have an option card I bought that provided two more outputs and digital i/o plus SCSSI. I didn't need more than 16MB (mine has 8MB), XLR inputs (external mic pre), or SMPTE (back when I used SMPTE, my MIDI interface converted it for the sequencer, so it was pointless).
Old 28th February 2018
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I always record two tracks out of any sampler ever since I got an MV8800. That machine taught me that samplers are recorders too and been two tracking out the boxes since.

An MPC LIVE is my current DAW at the mo
Old 28th February 2018
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yeah, honestly, i will run as much **** as possible through my older akai samplers just for the coherence you get from using the same i/o; particularly my s1000. i'm not sure what exactly is happening, but it sounds better than from the DAW.
Old 1st March 2018
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Originally Posted by atma View Post
yeah, honestly, i will run as much **** as possible through my older akai samplers just for the coherence you get from using the same i/o; particularly my s1000. i'm not sure what exactly is happening, but it sounds better than from the DAW.
My S1000 makes a high pitched noise. I can't get it stop. I may get another one.
Old 1st March 2018
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actually mine makes a pretty annoying high pitch whine as well.. i'm just used to it. i think it's the LCD display or something? the sound doesn't interfere with anything internally.

still probably my favorite sounding sampler... the way the preamps saturate and the pitch shifting interpolation is beautiful. everything sounds better coming out of it.
Old 1st March 2018
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Akai S1000 / S1100 / S2800/ S3000 / S3200 / S3200XL Official LED LCD Display | eBay

Ultra High Contrast Display

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Old 1st March 2018
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i swear i actually have one of those, and it still makes noise..
Old 2nd March 2018
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Originally Posted by atma View Post
i swear i actually have one of those, and it still makes noise..
That's why I've never invested time into fixing it. It's old. It had a good run..

Id prefer working on making Kontakt sound like I need it to. I'm scared buying one would soon result in the same issue.
Old 3rd March 2018
  #21
Dor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IM WHO YOU THINK View Post
True, I thought of this after I posted. I wouldn't need an IR. I could do an EQ match of the free response, save it as a preset, and use something else to add saturation/ Distortion.


So here's another question. I've been away from looking into new gear, so I'm years behind what's out there.

What's the best way/system for calling up a patch and pulling up a plugin chain/series of mults automatically with it?

Let's say I call up a piano preset that automatically comes up multed across 3 stereo channels with eq/compression/ and saturation on each?

The answer doesn't have to be limited to any specific software. I'm using protools, but I'm open to using some other platform for virtual instruments.


I guess the best software for saving mults, and plugin chains is what I'm seeking.
The pro tools 2018 preset features seem promising. I installed PT 2018 but haven’t had a chance to dig into it. The options seem limitless. YouTube

D
Old 15th March 2018
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PT 2018 has a few nice updates. Check it

As to the original topic,
I noticed a difference with other hardware units over the years and just figured it was the extra outputs and cabling, etc. But I also found this true with exporting wav files from Logic(to Protools). The exported 2-track seems glued together a little better than the separated tracks IMO. Even if I include volume/panning/efx on the exported files. Not sure how to describe it or what to call it but I do notice a small difference. I still like having more control over the final mix with separated tracks though.

I actually thought about this the other day while listening to Dave and Warren's interview when they were talking about distortion/harmonics.

YouTube
Old 16th March 2018
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there ought to be literally zero difference in summing between DAWs. The math is exactly the same, unless there's a built in dithering algorithm, or you're using 64 bit vs. 32 bit summing, which will increase accuracy of any calculations.

with hardware, there are obviously a number of variables that will affect things.
Old 22nd March 2018
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Some of the best producers I've worked with always swore against using the 8 outs for tracking the MPC 3000 because they felt the stereo outs sounded fuller and I agree. I never use the 8 outs on my 4000 unless it's too cumbersome not too. I still track using 1 bar of high hat as a leader and I sync all of the tracks up later. I learned that from those same producers as well.
Old 23rd March 2018
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Yeah, I've also heard a number of different producers talk about essentially sending all their audio through their Akai samplers/MPCs, just because that process tends to give a certain kind of coherence to everything. I swear I remember reading about even William Orbit (Torch Song, Madonna, etc.) sending basically all his audio through his Akai S3000 at the time (this was during the 90s), for this very reason.

I haven't had much experience with different summing methodologies, but with older Akai samplers, this actually makes a great deal of sense to me, as those units definitely color everything in a specific way (at least that's been my experience with the Akai S1000/S6000), that I can imagine would lend a great deal of coherence/glue/whatever to a mix.
Old 23rd March 2018
  #26
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The 1000 and 2500 definitely sound better and different because unless I’m mistaken all the effects ONLY run through the stereo outs, not the individuals...only thing is with the 2500 there tends to be a slight difference between the right and left side for whatever reason, and this is with every one I’ve ever tracked. Haven’t noticed the difference with my 3K and 60’s but I’ve been tracking through main outs for as long as I can remember because with stereo samples you end up eating up all your outputs so quickly that you might as well just use the 1 output and do multiple passes if only to save time patching and routing
Old 4 weeks ago
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Had the same situation/results here, as well.

I would initially do my writing in the MPC, with everything two tracked out via the L/R outputs to monitor what I was writing. Then when all the writing was done, I would then track each individual track into my DAW via the analog 8 outs. When I did that, in all cases the original 2 track sounded richer, fuller, and just closer to a finished product for whatever reasons.

Now with that said, the absolute BEST results I've gotten from an MPC in terms of sound was when I had the 4K equipped with the ADAT outs. When I dumped tracks into my DAW through the ADAT outs, it was magical! It actually sounded better than what even the analog L/R, at least to my ears
Old 4 weeks ago
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Originally Posted by digiman View Post
Had the same situation/results here, as well.

I would initially do my writing in the MPC, with everything two tracked out via the L/R outputs to monitor what I was writing. Then when all the writing was done, I would then track each individual track into my DAW via the analog 8 outs. When I did that, in all cases the original 2 track sounded richer, fuller, and just closer to a finished product for whatever reasons.

Now with that said, the absolute BEST results I've gotten from an MPC in terms of sound was when I had the 4K equipped with the ADAT outs. When I dumped tracks into my DAW through the ADAT outs, it was magical! It actually sounded better than what even the analog L/R, at least to my ears

I've been looking for an adat card for ages, but I'm not paying some outrageous amount for one. I wonder if I get a spdif card and clock externally if it will sound better.

Last edited by IM WHO YOU THINK; 4 weeks ago at 01:28 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
DAH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digiman View Post
Had the same situation/results here, as well.

I would initially do my writing in the MPC, with everything two tracked out via the L/R outputs to monitor what I was writing. Then when all the writing was done, I would then track each individual track into my DAW via the analog 8 outs. When I did that, in all cases the original 2 track sounded richer, fuller, and just closer to a finished product for whatever reasons.

Now with that said, the absolute BEST results I've gotten from an MPC in terms of sound was when I had the 4K equipped with the ADAT outs. When I dumped tracks into my DAW through the ADAT outs, it was magical! It actually sounded better than what even the analog L/R, at least to my ears
This is simple: you skipped the DAC and the analog parts around it as well as the ADC on the capturing device. I can't recall whether I have ever compared the stereo outputs vs individual ones, but the book says the latter are not up to the former.
Old 4 weeks ago
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Originally Posted by DAH View Post
This is simple: you skipped the DAC and the analog parts around it as well as the ADC on the capturing device. I can't recall whether I have ever compared the stereo outputs vs individual ones, but the book says the latter are not up to the former.
What's not simple is reading. (Couldn't resist). He knows why the adat port sounds better.

The issue of the stereo outs sounding better than the individual outs was an analog comparison.
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