Ok, so the Synthcart was the second chiptune hardware I bought, actually it was a birthday present. 

It is wicked cool, it make sound come out of your TV, in all of the bit goodness.  I recommend the big blue numbered keyboard, it is actually called the kid’s controller.  I have used it with the video controller, (it is smaller and black and has small buttons), but it is not that great.  It is kind of hard to use, and sometimes I pressed the wrong button and it sucked…

 

I found one of mine at a thrift store for 79 cents!  The other one I had to buy on a “bid” site, and I won it.  It did not work that great, so I decided to take it apart.  It turns out there was a bunch of dust, dander and crap that was making it difficult for the buttons to press the contact points. It was pretty easy to do, it only took 15 minutes to do.  It was SOO much easier than opening and fixing a ps3 sixaxis. 

 

It now works great and can be a beatbox, and synth.  The only issue I would say I have is that the switches on the Atari 2600 Heavy Sixer, are somewhat temperamental so I may want to switches eventually…

 

You can use the switches to change arpeggio, temp, beatbox/synth, and more.. It is a blast to use..

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In this video I sampled the Nintendo DSI sounds into the MPC 1000 for sampling purposes. This can apply to sampling anything, and making a program of said samples…

Video  —  Posted: December 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Honestly, replacing ram is one of the easier ways to upgrade a computer, drum machine, or other device. Typically, there are slots where the RAM can only go in one way. Some RAM chips you slide in and have plastic tabs on the side that snap into the RAM edge. Other RAM you angle in, and then snap it in. This video shows you how to add RAM to an Akai MPC 4000 drum machine. It is pretty easy, and RAM specifically for it can be found online.

Video  —  Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
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So, to make a long story short. Dealing with hard drives for drum machines can be terrible.

I had bought an Akai MPC 4000 on craigslist years ago. It was sick, there were chiptunes, hard hitting drum beats, strange shit and so on.

I knew I wanted to back everything up so begins the journey.

I tried putting a USB flash drive on the front USB. It recognized it, but the device would not allow me to save to the flash drive, even though there was enough space. ( The MPC 4K seems to like loading samples from the USB instead of saving to it)

Next, I tried hooking the 4k USB on the back to my PC. I don’t fully remember what it did, but I know I couldn’t get anything to transfer.

I then tried hooking it up to my macbook, and download the akai.sys http://www.akaipro.com/mpc4000 , which did connect. I was able to see the files, however, I could not figure out how to copy the files over to the mac. So, after a while, I figured it would not let me do such things.

I thought I tried to diligently get the samples off my hard disk, and boy was I wrong.

About a month ago, I tried turning on the 4K and I noticed something was a miss. The device turned on, however it would not load properly, and there was an audible sound coming from the hard drive. My heart sank, I knew the hard drive had severe issues. I hoped that I could try turning off the machine and turn it back on and get it working. Unfortunately not. The hard drive died completely. There was some kind of beeping every couple seconds.

I tried and tried to get the hard drive working, but either the head is off the track or the head is not reading. I looked into a few different options for hard drive recovery, but they were all too much money. Although, there is a promising lead on reddit for no charge….

Anywho, I delved into my selection of older hard drives, and found a 3.5 IDE 60 gb older hard drive from a former computer. This was an obvious choice, as it was from a family computer, free and working.

I had to find a USBto IDE cable and power adapter, which powers the hard drive and converts the IDE to USB so the computer can read and edit the hard disk. I finally got the hard drive working, however it had to be fat 32 for the 4k to read the disk. I am using a Windows 7 laptop, and apparently it will no longer do FAT 32 formats, and the partitions can only be a certain size. I think it is 32 gb?

I tried a few programs for formatting hard disks, and I had a few issues getting it to work. First it was formatted wrong. Then I tried to plug it into the 4k and have the machine format it, but that was having issues as well. I finally settled on the smaller drive so it wouldn’t have to have more than one partition (although maybe that wouldn’t have been a problem) I managed to place folders of drum kits on the hard disk and then I installed it into the 3k. It has a single power plug and the IDE cable that is attached to the motherboard. It is very simply to remove and install the IDE hard disk once the 4k is opened.

I started opening the folders, and loading them, and then creating new programs for the 4k. You have to create a new program first and then you can start saving a program. More on this later.

Bottom line:

Next time I get a 4k or other disk based system, I will probably physically take out the hard drive, and copy everything to an external disk, as well as a flash drive or DVD, so if this happens again, I don’t have to worry….

This whole ordeal, took a huge amount of time, and frustrated me immensely. If I had just taken my own advice, I could have just forgotten about the disk, and put a new one in!

Interviews

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

I just found a decent interview page from Guitar Center, saw the RUN DMC page, and saw many others, so here is a link!

Interviews

This was a cool little project that I set up. I used the camera connection set to USB, with a USB midi cable for your computer, and VOILA! It worked nicely. I was able to control my Akai MPC 1000 via MIDI! I used the MIDI out and plugged it into the AKAI MPC 1000 MIDI in. Now, the pads were not as supple as the 1000, but it was nice to have it work. I imagine there are many other amazing tricks you can do with this setup. With the right software on the iPad, I aimagine anything is possible.

Next, I would like to see if I can use the 1000 to control General Midi on the iPad!

Hey everyone…
I love open source software and free ware. It is great that people donate or otherwise make free software that they give selflessly to us. I have compiled a list of freeware that is awesome and makes Sampling, or program making easier. Hope this helps someone!
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Audacity: Great recording software that can do many things.

* Record live audio.
* Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
* Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
* Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
* Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
* And more! See the complete list of features.

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
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Blue Box: Great program to make .pgm files for your mpc 1000

* load existing MPC1000 PGM files
* save edited PGM file and all associated samples to one location
* import keygroups/zones from AKP-format programs into PGM (also works with Recycle AKPs)
* load single samples using built-in sample browser or drag/drop one or more samples from Windows explorer windows
* edit any program setting
o pad/layer settings (layer samples, tune, volume, play mode, MIDI trigger,
o pad mixer (volume, pan, output, effect setting and send level)
o amp envelope
o filters
o Q-Link sliders
* copy entire pads and layers and sliders in one step
* copy individual pad, layer, mixer, envelope, and filter settings to any number and combination of pads in one step
* playback samples in layers
* assign a sample to a range of pads (tune and MIDI trigger are automatically adjusted)

http://webpages.charter.net/dereese/gary/akai.html
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MPC Maid : Another great program for making 500/1000/2500 Programs

Works on Mac, PC, and other platforms (Java) and makes the edition of MPC programs files easy.

Switch between the MPC 500 12-pads layout or the MPC 1000 16-pads layout (also takes care of the correct number of filters and sliders thanks to the built-in machine profiles).

Simply drag and drop your samples files onto the pads, and it automatically assigns them, one on each pad or one on each sample layer.

Export the full program and every related sample file together to the target location of your choice.
Also features a semi-automatic slicing tool: drop your loop file to have it chopped into slices based on a beat detection mechanism.

Direct export of the chopped slices as multiple .WAV files, one corresponding .PGM program file and one MIDI groove .MID file.

Multiple window, one window for one program, simply drag and drop a .PGM program file will open a new window for this program.

http://mpcmaid.sourceforge.net/

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Waveosaur : Great slicing tool, slice per pad, export, etc. Vst ASIO Driver,

Wavosaur is a free sound editor, audio editor, wav editor software for editing, processing and recording sounds, wav and mp3 files. Wavosaur has all the features to edit audio (cut, copy, paste, etc.) produce music loops, analyze, record, batch convert.
Wavosaur supports VST plugins, ASIO driver, multichannel wav files, real time effect processing.
The program has no installer and doesn’t write in the registry. Use it as a free mp3 editor, for mastering, sound design. The Wavosaur freeware audio editor works on Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Go to the features page for an overview of the software.

http://www.wavosaur.com/

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NPC : Have not tried it, looks really cool!

This program is a rough emulation of the software of an akai mpc. It utilizes the open source hardware developed by monome.org. Below some basic definitions are outlined along with step by step instructions for creating a piece of music with npc.

http://flatflat.org/software/

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MPC Pad 187 : looks similar to the other ones, have not tried!

MPC Pad 187 is a program editor for the Akai MPC 1000, MPC 2500, and MPC 500. The application allows for easy editing and creation of MPC program files.

The app can create and edit programs for all values found in the Slider, Mixer, and Program modes of the MPC 1000 OS 1. MPC Pad 187 can edit all program files it creates but may not be able to edit program files that are created or saved by the MPC hardware.

If you prefer to use a command line interface, I’ve put some open source software up on the utilities page. With the command line interface, you can script modifying and exporting MPC 1000 programs.

http://www.mybunnyhug.com/software/

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MPC Editor

http://www.midicase.com/mpceditor/

Features
Add samples to program by selecting wave or snd files.
Preview sound files in editor
Open and edit existing programs
Import Recycle 2.0 AKP files. (2.1 is not yet compatible, working on it. April 2010) Removed for free version.
Remove/add samples to existing programs
Single interface to set mixer and note settings for a pad
Export function exports program file and necessary samples to any drive/directory
Export function can converts wave files to MPC3000 or MPC2000 .snd files for platform compatibility.
MPC3000 formatter that allows Windows XP write to MPC3000 disks. Removed for free version.
MPC Disk OEM ID repair. Restores OEM ID field of MPC2000 and MPC3000 disks that Windows damages. Read this. Removed for free version.
Backup and restore MPC formatted disks. Removed for free version.
Prevent Windows from tampering with MPC format. Removed for free version.

Totally forgot about this one! This works great with your Akai MPC 3000, 2000 2000XL. I have been using this with a huge folder of drum kits, and it is easy to save your .pgm file to whatever directory you want, very helpful.

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