I’m frustrated

I'm using the MPC Element and Essentials as a VST in Reaper. Is there a step by step guide because I'm totally stuck?

I have bought an MPC Element which I am getting the hang of in the not very intuitive software (or is the manual) but I really bought it to use as instances on channels in Reaper. Now I am no expert on MIDI setting things up etc but managed to set up my Novation Launchkey easily enough but of course that is just being used as a MIDI controller. I can't for the life of me figure out how to set up the Essentials VST and Element so it works as I want it to and apparently as it should. Fiddling about with settings sometimes hitting the pads make sound/ sometimes they don't. Sometimes it records in Essentials and not in the DAW, sometimes the other way round. Clearly I don't know what I am doing. I have searched and Googled to no avail. Ideally I would like to be able to record a kick track/snare track/hats in the software on 3 channels and get use the Grid Editor (which is a lot better than Reapers) then get it into the the DAW as MIDI. I don't know if this is possible but I can't even get it to record in both Essentials and the track. Can anyone please give me a nice easy step by step guide on how to get it set up?
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  • I will write for win7, if you are on Mac than adjust a little :) Probably similar.
    If you didnt already install this: C:\Program Files\Akai Pro\MPC Essentials\support file SetupAkaiProMidi.exe (Its for controling DAW transport.) After that, where is clock and that small icons (in tray) double click that red icon, it should pop up, name: Akai Pro Internal Midi Port, check if disabled is not checked.
    Go to Reaper preferences / audio/ Midi Devices : enable all Akai you see for midi input: righ click on each and select enable input and also enable input for control messages. Add mpc vst on track, enable input monitoring for that track and also enable record monitoring. Try if transport works at same time with both daw and vst.

    Some tips:
    right click on rec monitoring button and select "record disable input monitoring only". Thats so u dont record twice, in daw and in vst and leave a mess. Use like that (recording only in mpc vst) until u want it out to daw. For getting midi out to reaper u can just select in mpc type: midi program and on track select record output midi. Press record and all the midi will be recorded to Reaper. After recording trim midi and in mpc switch to previous program and select empty sequence cause all the midi data is now in repaer and u dont need it in 2 places playing at same time. U can also right click on midi and select explode midi by note row-pitch. But that doesnt give u separate audio tracks, u can create one by one or by muting pads and exporting also one by one. Slow process.

    Another tip is to save in mpc vst and in Reaper too. If you dont sometimes it will suprise you with empty project instead what you worked whole day
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  • I’m very pissed off now
    Thanks for the very comprehensive run through but I am still having problems. I have installed the Akai Pro Internal Midi Port and I think have done the Midi settings correctly. I have tried them enabling the MPC settings and with them disabled and whenever I try to record even though the overdub and record lights are red in the software the VST isn't recording the beats.

    I get a warning in the top right of the screen as soon as I press Recorrd "Audio Device Not Working - No Audio Will Be Recorded" I'll attach images of the screenshot and the settings.
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  • Hi Again Bojan,

    I have now got the Essentials software to record as a VST so I have the drum track in there. Can you please explain again how I record it into MIDI on the channel? I have got as far as selecting Output MIDI on the channel in Reaper but where do you set MPC Type: MIDI program?

    Thanks for your help,

    Andy
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  • In my midi devices in Reaper I enabled all 3Akai: AkaiPro Internal Midi; MPC Public and Mpc Port 1. All : enabled+control. In output devices: AkaiPro enabled+ clock and 2 other are just enabled (no clock) I experimented in the past with syncing with standalone, maybe I dont need all that for output, doesnt hurt anyway :)

    Regarding your message "no audio will be recorded" if MPC gives you that message than just ignore, its a bug, if Reaper than check your audio device settings
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  • Whoooh it works! I'm up and running.

    Cheers mate. I reckon you (or someone) should do a little Youtube vid on using it in Reaper as there's nothng.

    Thanks agaian

    Andy
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  • Cheers, I'm glad it helped, just sharing my experience with it. Not planning tutorials, not an native English speaker, Im better at typing :) I would definitely watch if someone else make it.
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    • Hi Bojan, long time. You may have said but my advice is to only have one instance of the VST and when you have done say the initial 4 bar drum track say with just kicks and snares in sequence 1 and are happy then use the solo the kicks and convert that to a wav then do the same with snares then stick the wavs in your kick track in Reaper, Snares in snares track. Then do sequences in tEssentials for each change in the drum pattern. make sure you save it all as new project in Essentials and you can always go back. I sometimes do the baseline and samples using the MCP as once you get the workflow going it saves aging to stick your keyboard in, use a VST sampler etc. There is also tons you can do in Essentials once you start really playing with it. Andy.
    • Yeah, thats the workflow or workaround we have to use :)
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  • I may put a step by step post on the Reaper Forum as I couldn't find anything and it's different for each DAW. There is info on Pro Tool, Ableton etc but I love Reaper and it's a bargain. I see that even ex Pro Tools people are starting to use it so it must be good.
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  • Hi Bojan,
    I was wondering about your workflow process when using MPC Essentials as a VST. I have experimented with different ways of doing it and ended up overwriting kick or snare patterns when I change tracks,.

    There's a video of some Akai guy using it on Ableton on 3 tracks and he makes it look very easy but doesn't explain what he'd doing. It looks like he is using 3 different pad banks, a Kick bank, Snare bank and hi-hat bank. He is then overdubbing in the software as you would if you used it standalone.

    I don't really like that way of working and like having my Kick, Snare and Hat kit in one bank and playing the basic kick/snare beat first as I never quantize as I make hip-hop beats and quantize ruins them.

    Will try his way though and see if it works. I'd be interested to hear how you work though.

    All the best, Andy
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  • struggling actually :) Tried many different ways, standalone + energy xt2 (after drum track I export audio loop, drag to energy xt2, change program in mpc to vsti or another drum program type (with bass) while energy xt2 is playing synced to mpc. To achieve sync I just mapped transport in xt2 to same buttons in mpc so when I press play both play synced. That method works but I get tired after an hour and who can remember where everything is when I need to separate everything for mixing ??? Second, Live Professor vst host (64bit, beta). Little unusual and require some time to set up but I liked how it looks. On the side labels mpc1, mpc2 etc and when clicked it scroll interface to that mpc instance. It has no sequencer so MPC sequencer has to be used. Almost like real mpc workflow. And after some time also boring like first method. Third method (most recent) with Reaper. After research and tryouts I finally make it scroll like Live Professor, well not the same but similar result. Made custom actions mapped to computer keyboard and toolbar with same functionality too. When I press ctrl+ 1 on numpad it pops out. ctrl + 2 (numpad) mpc 2 pops other closes. Ofcourse u need to press any pad on Element to focus that instance (or click with mouse). Beauty is that actions can be used with any vsti like that, it actualy float first fx on that track. Action is simple, just combination of 2 other: first: select only track 1, second: toggle float fx 01 on selected track. For second track the same just first action is different: select only track 2 and so on. All tracks have mpc or vsti as first fx and all are set: record arm when track is selected. Needs SWS extension to be able to make those actions. I also used without mpc software for a while because v1.7 brings high cpu usage on my machine so I spent a lot of time remapping with midi vsts. Now Im using v1.6 this way (third method).
    Make track templates and fx chains, it helps a lot.
    Also, important, first save is the most important. Before u make anything save all mpc projects and reaper project. After that occasionally but that first save should eliminate losing programs.
    Easiest is to have all drums on same mpc instance. Latter, when you done everything u can export 1 pad at the time by muting other pads and import back to Reaper
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  • Hi Bojan,

    I've found one way of working with instances on different tracks after going through the manual and watching this https://youtu.be/k_ovgDbGnBg

    Make a new program in Essentials and build your kit but put the kicks on one Pad Bank, Snares on Bank 2, Hats on 3 etc. Make sure you save your program in Essentials then you've got your kit. Stick instances on tracks then record your kicks then snares then hats by overdubbing as usual. I had my loop sample on track one so was just drumming along to that. Then adjust your beats, velocities etc in Essentials. When ready record Bank 1 as audio output instead of Midi then make sure you save your sequence in Essentials, switch the kicks to an empty sequence then do the same with your snares on Bank 2 etc.

    I then use a gain VST to get all the outputs to around -18db to give some headroom then do your EQ-ing etc. This is a great free pack which comes with a mono and stereo gain and a really nice EQ, Chorus etc http://www.bluecataudio.com/Products/...

    Found getting it into audio in Reaper avoids losing anything by mistake and if you save everything in Essentials you can always do a track again if you like.

    Andy
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  • Maybe easier way for drum separation after they are programed: one instance MPC holds for example all drums. Mute everything but kick. Instead of save use "save as" and give it name (kick probably) Repeat couple of times proces for snare, hi-hat etc muting all but that drum element you want separated. Just couple of minutes to do that. Then in another instance (on new track in Reaper) load snare project, in another hi-hat. I just tried it out, 2 minutes took to do that. And u will still have original drums and everything after u export to audio.
    Before I always tried "duplicate track" in Reaper but that doesn't work with mpc vst (cant load same project twice but when the project have different name it works)
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  • Well that's essentially what I'm doing,. Loading kicks on one Pad group, snares on next etc in same MPC program then you can just add an instance of MPC to next track and navigate to the program and it loads the kits and sequence and you just do the basic kicks, then go to track 2 and overdub your snares etc. Just done it and once I was happy recorded each track into Reapers as audio, not MIDI. Worked perfectly. Instead of messing about with the beats in the Midi editor I did it in the MPC grid which I actually find easier. yeah I do like doing the kick and the snare together but I practised first and knew where I wanted my kicks to go so was easy to mess about with the snares in the nest track. I always start with my sample or synth melody anyway (I make hip-hop type beats) so I have an idea and have something to drum along to.
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  • I know it's an old post but, after following these steps it all works for the most part! The only issue I have now is that, if I have a track on Reaper that uses MPC Essentials as a VST, that track will always play whatever is made in Essentials as a continuous loop, whether it has been recorded into a MIDI region or not.
    Basically, I create a track, add Essentials as a VST, track is empty, Essentials has a drum loop, press Play in Reaper and it constantly loops until I press Stop. Even when the track is not armed...
    Any ideas on how to fix?
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