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Let's end this MPC "colorization" debate! Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 2nd March 2014
  #1
Gear Head
 
Synesthezia's Avatar
 

Let's end this MPC "colorization" debate!

I originally posted this in the MPC Forums.


Okay, so for a while now, I've heard this debate being tossed back and forth... but I've never seen any proof... so I decided to put my new 2000XL to the test... and guess what? The MPC can do something!

So here's what I did...

I set my levels and sampled a Zeppelin break into the XL. Then I plugged my XL directly into my PC with a 1/4 in to 3.5mm adapter and recorded the raw output. Compared to the original...there
wasn't really a difference.

Or at least, at first there wasn't. But then I got an idea. I turned the main volume knob a notch or two, expecting to get some heavy distortion since I had already set the level just under clipping. I recorded the raw output again, and BAM! There it was. It was louder and beefier... without distortion! I repeated this a few times, turning the volume up as I went.

Turns, out, the MPC doesn't "color" sounds right away. But... once you start turning those knobs past the "clipping" point, it actually compresses the sound with some analog saturation!

Proof:

1. When The Leevee Breaks - normal
2. When The Leevee Breaks - main volume raised past "clipping" point, resulting in analog saturation, compression, and at extreme levels, audible "smooth" distortion.
3. Nas "N.Y State of Mind" - volume gradually raised throughout to demonstrate the process.

Recorded in mono.

Last edited by Synesthezia; 2nd March 2014 at 06:52 AM.. Reason: inserted link to original post
Old 2nd March 2014
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Welcome to the world of gainstaging for tone.

In the hardware garden all gain controls are to be viewed as not just level but also tone controls. Some more than others.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
jbrown1music's Avatar
Of course if u clip it, it will sound different. Drums can benefit from that sometimes
Old 2nd March 2014
  #4
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
Now just do that same technique on the MPC 3000 and it will shock you how much better the same breaks sound. This old trick was what we older hip hop producers did on the SP1200's, ASR 10', EPS 16's MPC 3K's to really push the drums. It's what left during the computer production craze. I'm using Nebula these days to bring the harmonic distortion back into mixes I do, it's as close as you can get in the computer.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
Now just do that same technique on the MPC 3000 and it will shock you how much better the same breaks sound. This old trick was what we older hip hop producers did on the SP1200's, ASR 10', EPS 16's MPC 3K's to really push the drums. It's what left during the computer production craze. I'm using Nebula these days to bring the harmonic distortion back into mixes I do, it's as close as you can get in the computer.
I use the R2R Analog Tape programs from CDsoundmaster and the Acustica free library for the ASR-10 A/D/A

Driving the input hard on Nebula really does some nice things.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
Now just do that same technique on the MPC 3000 and it will shock you how much better the same breaks sound. This old trick was what we older hip hop producers did on the SP1200's, ASR 10', EPS 16's MPC 3K's to really push the drums. It's what left during the computer production craze. I'm using Nebula these days to bring the harmonic distortion back into mixes I do, it's as close as you can get in the computer.
Any particular preferences that drive well, Nebulafodder wise?
Old 2nd March 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Will The Weirdo's Avatar
Try a chain like:
STN MPCee3K
neve pre pushed
r2r tape(wolsack kills on snares)
tapebooster
STN u10 transformer

If you loose too much snap, use a transient plug before the r2r tape.
I turn those FL studio digital drums into fat drums with Nebula all day long, lol.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #8
Nebula is good for tone but you dont get the same transient punch as with the hardware in my tests...But Im finding Alex B TSX Portico quite good...Tape and Tube Booster...combine those with Fielding DSP reviver (punchy 3rd harmonic) and a transient plug - and you can get close to a hardware tone and punch...

IMO you dont hardly need to drive the akais to get the saturation and compression punch...the s1000 is ridiculous the low mid punch...
Old 2nd March 2014
  #9
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3rd Degree's Avatar
 

Keep in mind that the 2000xl is pretty clean compared to many other samplers. I don't think there is a question that any sampler, or older converters in general, will color the sound. However, once you really know the sound well, it is a lot easier to get close to it, and even better than it, ITB. Funny enough, I think the ASR 10 influenced my sound more than any other sampler I have used but it was also the sampler that I made the least amount of music on. I kind of started trying to get that sound but now I like to have some of the body it has, but still keep things a bit brighter and cleaner.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #10
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Will The Weirdo's Avatar
I loved the ASR 10, lol. I did Tech N9ne's "Now It's On" on my trusty old ASR, I loved the snap it had on snares, MPC 3K and an ASR 10 was Hip Hop drum heaven IMHO...... slow by today's standards but so great sounding. Nebula has worked wonders for me in enjoying drums ITB. About a decade ago I had a conversation with DJ Premiere, we discussed the saturation differences between the S950 he loved and the 3K. I bet he still has his S950's, lol.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
Try a chain like:
STN MPCee3K
neve pre pushed
r2r tape(wolsack kills on snares)
tapebooster
STN u10 transformer

If you loose too much snap, use a transient plug before the r2r tape.
I turn those FL studio digital drums into fat drums with Nebula all day long, lol.
Wow, that's some long chain........
Old 2nd March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 

vanilla_dutches i'm messing with the free nebula stuff too myself. don't have the cash for full + recent reports of some **** going on at the site, once both are resolved i'm getting it based on how dope the free one is.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Wow, that's some long chain........
yeah its so boring having to work that hard...plus you cant compose with a chain like that...so you dont get to vibe with it...
Old 2nd March 2014
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
yeah its so boring having to work that hard...plus you cant compose with a chain like that...so you dont get to vibe with it...
Found an S1000 yet, or you still too lazy? Not boring enough then, is it.....
Old 2nd March 2014
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Found an S1000 yet, or you still too lazy? Not boring enough then, is it.....
thats a very cheeky tone considering you denied me of that pleasure...

lol...not really got my full studio set up at mo anyways because still not moved back to London...once thats done Ill play with some outboard saturators and samplers to see what works...
Old 2nd March 2014
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
thats a very cheeky tone considering you denied me of that pleasure...

lol...not really got my full studio set up at mo anyways because still not moved back to London...once thats done Ill play with some outboard saturators and samplers to see what works...
Sorry, I just couldn't let her go.......there are plenty about......
Old 3rd March 2014
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Sorry, I just couldn't let her go.......there are plenty about......
not actually that many Ive kept an eye out...but Im not in a huge rush as said...I think tbh Id rather find a real time processing solution but might take a punt at some point...
Old 3rd March 2014
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
not actually that many Ive kept an eye out...but Im not in a huge rush as said...I think tbh Id rather find a real time processing solution but might take a punt at some point...
There's a whole flock of them on german ebay just now.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
Try a chain like:
STN MPCee3K
neve pre pushed
r2r tape(wolsack kills on snares)
tapebooster
STN u10 transformer

If you loose too much snap, use a transient plug before the r2r tape.
I turn those FL studio digital drums into fat drums with Nebula all day long, lol.
How would you gain stage this?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #20
Gear Addict
 
Ave Crux's Avatar
 

I've always thought that the color that an MPC 2K gives is pretty grey. And that the ASR-10 sounds black.
Old 4th March 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Theres marked differences , ESPECIALLY with the XL vs anything previous to it. I've played beats I made on my old 2000 classic on the 2000xl in my studio & its like "damn! Wtf happened to the low end?" Even my roommate who was there when i made the track wondere the same
Old 4th March 2014
  #22
DAH
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DAH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ave Crux View Post
I've always thought that the color that an MPC 2K gives is pretty grey. And that the ASR-10 sounds black.
Then the 3k is brown
Old 4th March 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ave Crux View Post
I've always thought that the color that an MPC 2K gives is pretty grey. And that the ASR-10 sounds black.
Well done, Sir.
Old 4th March 2014
  #24
Well, that escalated quickly
Old 4th March 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
 
xanax's Avatar
kinda funny how people go through all these expensive plugin chains to emulate something done in 5 seconds on ASR/MPC.. makes me feel good about hanging one to these old ladies.. i also suggest some of yall peep this again:

Old 4th March 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xanax View Post
kinda funny how people go through all these expensive plugin chains to emulate something done in 5 seconds on ASR/MPC.. makes me feel good about hanging one to these old ladies.. i also suggest some of yall peep this again:

It's actually done in 5 seconds in a software chain too...

It's called preset save/recall.

I know, I got rid of one of those old ladies.
Old 4th March 2014
  #27
Gear Nut
 

wtf is this? was there ever a debate?
Old 4th March 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 
3rd Degree's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xanax View Post
kinda funny how people go through all these expensive plugin chains to emulate something done in 5 seconds on ASR/MPC..
Well, for myself, I use stock Reason plug ins so they are expensive and I got over trying to emulate the ASR/MPC but with that knowledge, started working on my own sound that is much more "modern". If I was only chasing the sound of a certain sampler, I agree, it makes much more sense to just use it.

Dope video btw, is it your own video?

I have the same mentality though, every time I stop having fun or lack inspiration, I shut my computer off. I just go to work on the MPC or the ASR 10. If I don't have a sound I need, I have to find it on a record, and old disk, or make it myself. I made really dope kicks by letting a large board fall on to carpet or hitting a stack of vinyl with an SM58. I will make snares or rim shots with a screwdriver or pencil on my desk. It's a good way to just get back to the basics and enjoy yourself.
Old 4th March 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 
xanax's Avatar
nah i ain't j-zone lol... but i like to be remind full of what's said in there cuz i can be a victim of plug-ins myself.. just entered UAD world and that's a whole other level ... it's easy to overdo it with chains but sometimes limiting yourself is good - especially in ITB domain - where everything becomes unlimited.. gotta remember a lot of our favourite records where often produced with limited set of tools.. even big studios of the golden era didn't all have 10 pultecs/fairlights on hand.. ok it's 2014 now but i say **** these loudness wars.. let's keep some dynamics & warmth.. i still do all my pre-mixing production OTB.. i try and capture my various instruments as raw as possible into DAW.. and then polish whatever needs to.. but i'll admit it's hard not to abuse some of the tools..
Old 4th March 2014
  #30
Lives for gear
 
3rd Degree's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xanax View Post
nah i ain't j-zone lol... but i like to be remind full of what's said in there cuz i can be a victim of plug-ins myself.. just entered UAD world and that's a whole other level ... it's easy to overdo it with chains but sometimes limiting yourself is good - especially in ITB domain - where everything becomes unlimited.. gotta remember a lot of our favourite records where often produced with limited set of tools.. even big studios of the golden era didn't all have 10 pultecs/fairlights on hand.. ok it's 2014 now but i say **** these loudness wars.. let's keep some dynamics & warmth.. i still do all my pre-mixing production OTB.. i try and capture my various instruments as raw as possible into DAW.. and then polish whatever needs to.. but i'll admit it's hard not to abuse some of the tools..
It's funny you say that because I use Reason for making my music and because it does not use 3rd party plug ins, well until recently and I have not bough many, I have like 10 plug ins total. I think if anything, it really helps me. I sometimes try to convince myself I need to export my stuff to PT and I usually get the same results, sometimes worse, rarely better. On the flipside, I started mixing full songs in Reason and though it's far more tedious than PT, I get about the same result or better with far less instances of plug ins. Not that my mixing is amazing, just saying that it is nice to have a simpler environment and that can be pretty challenging.

It's funny in Reason because once you start having a really "excessive" chain, you really see just how big it really is. I wonder if other DAW's made you actually see all your plug ins at the same time, stack on top of each other, if people (myself included), would stop and think, damn, do I really need all of that on a snare that already sounds good.
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