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MPC Tutorial

Producing Pop with the MPC Renaissance

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20 Videos | Length: 2hr 42min 28sec
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    Tutorial 1

    Welcome

    4:12

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

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    Tutorial 2

    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.

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    Tutorial 3

    Standalone Setup

    7:50

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

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    Tutorial 4

    Browsing & Loading

    3:48

    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.

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    Tutorial 5

    Guide Beat Pt. 1

    9:00

    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.

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    Tutorial 6

    Guide Beat Pt. 2

    8:23

    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.

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    Tutorial 7

    Sequence & Song Arrangement

    7:05

    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.

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    Tutorial 8

    Customizing the Sequence Pt. 1

    10:03

    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.

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    Tutorial 9

    Customize the Sequence Pt. 2

    6:31

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

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    Tutorial 10

    Laying Down the Synth

    8:13

    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.

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    Tutorial 11

    Drop the Bass

    10:04

    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.

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    Tutorial 12

    Ear Candy Pt. 1

    10:37

    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.

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    Tutorial 13

    Ear Candy Pt. 2

    9:40

    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.

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    Tutorial 14

    Ear Candy Pt. 3

    10:30

    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.

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    Tutorial 15

    Final Synths Pt. 1

    8:19

    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.

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    Tutorial 16

    Final Synths Pt. 2

    5:41

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

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    Tutorial 17

    Direct Record

    7:24

    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.

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    Tutorial 18

    Final Mixing & Mixdown

    11:00

    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.

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    Tutorial 19

    Routing into a DAW

    5:47

    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.

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    Tutorial 20

    It's a Wrap

    4:23

    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.

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!

KeysBeMe
Submitted 1 year ago

Very Helpful

looking forward to the rest of the information in this video!

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1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I vividly remember the beginning of the 4th grade, being asked if any students were interested in learning music. Without a pause I volunteered. At the time, and I can't tell you why, I asked if I could play Bass. At this point in music education, this specifically meant Concert or Upright Bass. I was measured, tested for Rhythm and Pitch, and given the OK. I was so excited that I ran home that day and told one of my sister's what I had done. If you knew my sister Jessica, it wouldn't surprise you that her response to me was, "You don't want to play the Bass, you want to play the Drums." Jessica has actually always wanted to be a Drummer, but in the late 70's, girls played instruments like the Flute. So she decided if she couldn't do what she wanted, I would do what she wanted. 20 plus years later, I am just glad that I had encouragement to and the opportunity to study music in school regardless of what instrument. In my Senior year of High School I sat first chair in the Jazz Band, played Timpani in the Orchestra, in secured the lead role in the school's musical theatre production of "Anything Goes." Along the way, as most young groups of friends do, I picked up the Acoustic Guitar so that I could strum with my friends outside the local coffee house and on the beach. I studied Classical Guitar Community College, and knew that music and education was both my passion and my career to be. I continued my music education at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, and earned a Degree from their Keyboard program. While there I also completed their 6 month Recording Engineer program, "R.I.T." I look back on my time at M.I. as some of the best times in my life, and I wish I could start my studies all over again.

2. What training have you had?

Most real studio training is done under a mentor, on the job. I was lucky enough to find two. Ronnie King is a famous Los Angeles session player, and his studio keys can be heard on albums from Tupac Shakur to The Offspring. What was great about working with Ronnie was his ability to switch genres on the fly, whether he was producing Punk Rock or Pop ballads. He is very talented, and taught me a great deal about instrumentation and arranging. Ronnie introduced me to my first real Engineer mentor, Robi Banjeri. Robi is a fantastic engineer who I worked with and trained under at "The Mint." "The Mint" is a famous live music venue in Los Angeles, but what most people don't know is that it has an amazing vintage recording studio hidden behind the stage. In fact, the equipment housed in that studio was purchased from Daniel Lanois (U2). I would attend M.I. during the morning and daytime hours, and then head to "The Mint" and study with Robi for a few hours. Robi would leave around 7pm, and I would work with clients until usually 2am producing and engineering. Even now, I remain great friends with Ronnie and Robi, and I have even picked up a new mentor and friend in Derek Jones (Megatrax,) who truly deserves the name Engineer. Every time we talk he teaches me new things about electrical engineering and mixing. Generally I feel honored these great engineers and producers feel like keeping me around.

3. When did you get into recording?

My first foray into recording was during the late 90's. Growing up in San Francisco during the 90's, House music and Techno was emerging and Raves were "the thing to do." Naturally I was transfixed the first time I watched a DJ spin Vinyl and complete captivate the crowd. I decided I would DJ, saved up money from my job at a local Burrito joint, and bought my first real piece of Audio equipment, two Technic 1200 turntables and a Gemini mixer. My bedroom was beginning to look more like a band rehearsal room than a place to sleep, and that suited me just fine. At that time, if as a DJ you made your own Vinyl records, it was really an accomplishment. So I asked other DJ friends of mine, and was recommended to a local Producer / Engineer named Bill Williams. Bill was sort of a Bay Area legacy, as he had his hand in creating early SF dance music. I bought studio time, and began my studio journey as a DJ / Artist. After a year of weekly sessions with Bill, I decided to buy a Pro Tools mBox1 and a Mac computer. Not long after I moved to Los Angeles and attended Musician's Institute.

4. People you have worked with/for?

I have been very lucky in the studio world, and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists, engineers and producers. At Studio Atlantis, I was able to assist Ronnie King on Tupac Shakur remixes and "new originals" by Johnny J, assisted sessions with 3LW, and was generally very lucky to experience working in a true "million dollar studio," which nowadays are rare. Studio Atlantis was recently purchased by "Rodney Jerkins" and is now his personal studio. After that I had the opportunity to work with the incredible Hip Hop producer Dj Battlecat, know for taking west coast funk, and morphing it into the music that created the Crypt walk. It was incredible to watch him work an MPC. Nothing was quantized ever, and he radiated an aura of cool. Just by being in the room with him you felt cooler by association. He critiqued my beat making, gave me tips, and even leant me the use his famous silver faced MPC 3000 customized by Bruce Forat. Since then I have had the opportunity to travel the united states working in studios, and playing live shows in several genres, from Country music in Nashville, to Pop Rock in Florida, and now back on the west coast I recently had the opportunity to engineer a session with Robben Ford, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novak, and Mike Landau. Watching these professionals work is nothing short of amazing. I have also had the opportunity to work with some fantastic local talent, both in Los Angeles and every city I venture to. The best music doesn't always come from the Pro's, and the best learning experiences are the ones where you have time to make mistakes, fix them, and move forward. Up and coming artist sessions are just as important as pro sessions.

5. Why are you so good at training people?

Music has always been a staple of my life. It has been the driving force that brought me to my biggest life decisions, achievements and disappointments. Without music I wouldn't be a shadow of who I am today. For me it all goes back to the 4th grade, when I raised my hand to join the band. Being able to give others the opportunity to learn, is something I don't take lightly. Music has a huge impact on people's lives. It's proven that children who study music have better Math and Science scores, and show advanced thinking in abstract problem solving. I enjoy teaching because I want to pass along my passion, and become the mentors that took me under their wings without any consideration of payback. They taught me because I wanted to learn, with no ulterior motives. I have heard many people use the phrase, 'Those who can't do, teach'. I think this is bogus. My challenge to every professional out there is, 'Those who can do something well, should teach'.

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    Producing Pop with the MPC Renaissance

    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!

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Producing Pop with the MPC Renaissance is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1.
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very Helpful looking forward to the rest of the information in this video!
Date published: 2017-03-27