MPC Tutorial

Producing Pop with the MPC Renaissance

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20 Videos | Length: 2hr 42min 28sec
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  • Welcome 4:12


    DrFord welcomes you and discusses what will be covered in this series before the track you will be producing is played.

  • Intro 13:58


    An Introduction by DrFord covering what to expect in the series, 'Producing Pop with the MPC Renaissance', and some songwriting and arranging 'basics' for beginning your music. By dissecting some of today's hit Pop / Dance music, DrFord shows 'the formula' for most 'hit songs' in the genre.

  • Standalone Setup 7:50

    Standalone Setup

    This video covers setup instructions to personalize your MPC Renaissance in Standalone mode, including plug-ins, sensitivity and audio hardware routing.

  • Browsing & Loading 3:48

    Browsing & Loading

    The browser is the heart of the MPC Renaissance, and in this video DrFord shows you how to make it your own. By utilizing the customizable Folders, your sounds and libraries are at your fingertips.

  • Guide Beat Pt. 1 9:00

    Guide Beat Pt. 1

    In this video, DrFord builds the demo loop which acts as the basis for the entire series. This video incorporates the included 'Deep House' library from AKAI that is included with the MPC Renaissance, and shows the basics of using Tracks in Sequence mode.

  • Guide Beat Pt. 2 8:23

    Guide Beat Pt. 2

    This video continues on to finishing the beat, showing the Quantize function, instruction on 'Swing' for 1/8ths and 16th notes, and use of the 'Sequence Edit' functions to edit performances.

  • Sequence & Song Arrangement 7:05

    Sequence & Song Arrangement

    In this Video, DrFord shows how he uses Sequences and Songs, how they work together, and sets up the arrangement for the song we are producing by copying and naming the Sequences into the correct order and arrangement.

  • Customizing the Sequence Pt. 1 10:03

    Customizing the Sequence Pt. 1

    Building on the Demo Loop created in previous videos, DrFord further customizes the arrangement preparing for the song structure. Creating Sequences for each section of the song, we are setting up for success as we progress farther and farther into the production.

  • Customize the Sequence Pt. 2 6:31

    Customize the Sequence Pt. 2

    Finishing the arrangement, DrFord builds the Bridge and final Chorus Sequences. He also finishes the preparations for Overdubbing Synth lines.

  • Laying Down the Synth 8:13

    Laying Down the Synth

    In this video, our main "Motif" Synth is recorded, establishing the Key center, melody and chord progression for the song. All Synths recorded in this video Series use the AKAI included Hybrid 3 Synthesizer.

  • Drop the Bass 10:04

    Drop the Bass

    DrFord hits the big red button and drops the bass on our song. First, Bass is recorded on the Verse Sequences, and then for the Choruses and bridge. By copying and switching sounds DrFord shows how you can add interest and excitement to stock presets.

  • Ear Candy Pt. 1 10:37

    Ear Candy Pt. 1

    Up until this point, the videos have been focused on structure and getting the 'Rhythm Section'. In this video we begin to start adding sounds to fill out the Production. By adding new High Hats and Synths, our Verses start to take shape.

  • Ear Candy Pt. 2 9:40

    Ear Candy Pt. 2

    Continuing where the last video left off, we begin to apply 'sound design' on the Bass sound to make it sound more unique and inspiring. Moving forward, the Kick drum is blended in and the Mix between the two is perfected. Using critical listening skills, EQ is applied before the Motif Synth is brought in and more EQ is applied to create balance between the core of the song.

  • Ear Candy Pt. 3 10:30

    Ear Candy Pt. 3

    Adding distortion is fun. It also creates a unique marriage between sounds and can give a track a modern vibe. Using pad copy, the kick drum is duplicated for use in multiple sections so the Verse can have Distortion and the Choruses will be clean. Submixes are also used and basic 'group Bus' concepts are discussed.

  • Final Synths Pt. 1 8:19

    Final Synths Pt. 1

    This video adds the finishing touches for the Synths by stacking a few pads and an Arpeggio for the Chorus, a new High Hat loop and several Sweeps and Drop FX using the Hybrid 3 Synth.

  • Final Synths Pt. 2 5:41

    Final Synths Pt. 2

    In this Video, we complete what was started in previous video by attacking the Bridge section to make it thicker and more special overall.

  • Direct Record 7:24

    Direct Record

    Direct Record is a great new function brought in AKAI MPC Software Update version 1.7, and allows external sound sources to be recorded direct to the Pads for looped playback. Using an Electric Guitar, DrFord adds some weight to the Choruses in the way of a distorted Guitar tone, courtesy of an Avid Eleven Rack coming in through the MPC Renaissance XLR Hardware Input.

  • Final Mixing & Mixdown 11:00

    Final Mixing & Mixdown

    As our Production and mix are beginning to take shape, last minute steps are required to prepare for our vocalist to come to the Studio and record. By tweaking levels, recording Automation and adding some last minute effects to our Synths, we prepare the song for a 'Rough Mix' print that will be given to our Lyricists and Singer.

  • Routing into a DAW 5:47

    Routing into a DAW

    In this Video, DrFord shows the benefits of running the MPC Renaissance as a Plug-In inside a host DAW. Utilizing the individual outputs from the Program Mixer, Samples and Synths are routed to individual tracks inside Pro Tools and recorded as Audio as we begin to transition out of the MPC Renaissance to record Vocals.

  • It's a Wrap 4:23

    It's a Wrap

    DrFord invited Cheesa from NBC's "The Voice" to come record Vocals on our track and she did a great job! A few edits and mix tweaks off camera, our song is finished and ready for final touches in the Mixing and Mastering phases.

Product Overview

The MPC Renaissance is Akai Pro's fully integrated hardware/software system, and super producer DrFord shows you how to use it to produce a complete pop song from idea to mix ready!

DrFord starts by analyzing "the formula" for writing today's hit pop/dance songs. After that, it's straight into how to set up the MPC Renaissance in your studio and master its powerful Browser.

Next, class is in session as DrFord teaches you How to Build a Guide Beat and use the MPC Renaissance's Sequencer and Song Arrangement Features. He then explores laying down poppin' Synth and bangin' Bass tracks before diving into the kind of ear candy and Sound Design techniques that will make your pop song unique.

He finishes up the series with final videos on Synths, Direct Recording, and the Final Mixdown to give to a vocalist to write to, followed by a lesson on Exporting the Individual Tracks into your DAW for Mixing.

Whether you're an MPC novice or know your way around, check out "Producing Pop with the MPC Renaissance" and see how producing today's Pop music is done!

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