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Version 3.10 Software for MPC60

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I use the MIDI File Conversion Utility included with MPC60 v3.10 Software?

 

1. Download the file MPC60MFC.zip and unzip it.

2. Copy the upzipped file to an MPC60-formatted floppy disk. (If this doesn't work, try formating a floppy to Windows 720k format in a Windows or Mac computer and copying the file to this disk. Don't use 1.4 meg disk format.)

3. Insert the disk in your MPC60's drive and turn power on. After about 20 seconds, instructions will appear on the screen to guide you through the process of converting your MIDI or SEQ file.

 

Q: Can I download a copy of the manual?

A: Yes, from from the MPC60 Version 3.10 Product or Support pages.

 

Q: I have an MPC60 question that doesn't relate to your v3.10 software and Akai won't help me. Can you?

A: I (Roger Linn) am sorry but I work very hard and simply don't have enough time to do all our work that needs to be done, much less answer questions about my products of 20+ years ago, most of which I don't even remember. I'd recommend you try www.mpc-forums.com.

 

Q: I'm getting error messages when I read from the floppy. What's wrong?

A: If you are getting any floppy disk error messages during file save or load, your floppy drive probably needs cleaning. This is done using a 3.5" cleaning diskette, if you can still find one. Follow the instructions on the cleaning diskette, then place it in the floppy drive and press DISK, then 7. This will cause the disk's read/write head to make contact with the cleaning paper inside the cleaning diskette. Repeat this process about 20 times.

To guard against future disk errors, clean your floppy drive every 2 or 3 months. If you still get disk errors after the cleaning, your floppy drive may need replacement. This is not unusual considering the age of your MPC60 and the heavy use of the floppy drive. To replace the drive, contact www.vstservice.com in Los Angeles.

If after cleaning or replacing your disk drive you still have trouble reading certain old disks, it may be because these disks are old or were saved to from a dirty or worn-out disk drive, causing the information on the disk to be weak. In this case, it may be impossible to retrieve the disk information.

 

Q: I find it difficult to find low density floppy disks for the MPC60. Can I use High Density disks?

A: The correct floppy disks to use in the MPC60 are double sided, double density (DS/DD). These disks are difficult to find because of the greater popularity of high-density disks (HD). If you canÌt find any DS/DD disks, you may use HD disks instead.

NOTE: If you take an HD floppy that has been formatted in the MPC60 and try to read it in an MPC3000, the MPC3000 will tell you that the disk is bad or not formatted. If this happens, simply cover the HD hole in the lower right corner of the disk with opaque tape. (This hole is located on the same edge of the disk as the "HD" emblem, and unlike the other "write protect" hole, has no sliding window.) This will trick the MPC3000 into thinking that the floppy is a DS/DD disk and will then be able to read it.

 

Q: After installing version 3.10, how will my MPC60 be different from an MPC3000?

A: An MPC3000 has the following advantages over an MPC60 with version 3.10 installed:

 

• The maximum sample time in an MPC3000 is 32 megabytes (380 seconds) versus the MPC60's maximum 1.5 megabytes (26 seconds).

• The MPC3000's sampling method is 44.1 khz, 16 bit linear (CD quality). The MPC60's sampling method is 40 khz, 12 bit non-linear (quieter than 12 bit linear).

• The MPC3000 has a digital sampling input.

• The MPC3000 has lowpass resonant filters with separate envelope generators on all voices.

• The MPC3000 has 32 simultaneous playback voices versus the MPC60's 16.

• The MPC3000 has true phase-locked stereo sampling versus the MPC60 version 3.10's method of stereo sampling by recording one side at a time then combining them to make a stereo sound.

• The MPC3000 has built-in delay effects.

• The MPC3000 has a high density (1.4 megabyte) floppy drive versus the MPC60's low density (793 kilobyte) floppy drive and support electronics.

• The MPC3000 has a SCSI port. The MPC60 does not, unless it contains our MPC-SCSI option.

• The MPC3000's internal computer runs approximately 2.5 times as fast as the MPC60's, for tighter timing when running complex sequences.

• When using the Assignable Mix Outputs on the MPC3000, sounds sent to these outputs have independent mix levels. On the MPC60, the levels to these outputs are fixed.

• The MPC3000 has approximately 30% more sequence memory than the MPC60.

 

Q: In version 3.10, how can I set it up so that if I hit a pad twice, the second hit cuts off the sound of the first hit?

A: After loading your program, press SOUNDS, then 2, then move the cursor to the POLY field. Play the pad you want to be cut off, then select MONO in this field.

 

Q: How can I expand the MPC60's sample memory?

A: The MPC60 was originally sold with 13 seconds (768 KB) of sample memory with a socket for a expansion board that doubles the sample time to 26 seconds (1536 KB), which is the maximum. If you don't have expanded memory, do a web search for "MPC60 Memory Expansion" to see who's selling a memory expansion any more.

NOTE: Our version 3.10 software includes a feature called Sound Compression, allowing sounds to be squeezed into 1/2 the memory space by downsampling to 20 kHz, thereby doubling available memory. If you don't know whether your MPC60 has expanded memory, the following procedure will allow you to find out:

 

Q: How do I find out if my MPC60 has expanded memory?

A: If your MPC60 is running version 3.0 software or higher:

1. Turn on your MPC60.

2. Press SOUNDS, then 5 for the sampling screen.

3. Move the cursor to the LENGTH field and spin the DATA ENTRY knob to the right.

4. If the field contents go above 13.1, you have memory expansion. If not, you don't.

 

If your MPC60 is running version 2.14 software or lower:

1. Turn on your MPC60.

2. Place a disk containing a SND or SET file into the disk drive.

3. Press DISK, then 6.

4. Read the AVAILABLE SOUND MEMORY field. If it says 1536K, you have memory expansion. If it says 768K, you don't.

 

Q: How do I find out if my MPC60 has the Marion Systems MPC-SCSI hard disk interface installed?

A: If you have an MPC60-II and the rectangular hole in the upper middle of the rear panel has no connector in it, you don't have it. If you have the original MPC60, the connector labled "RS232C" on the rear panel may be either the original RS232C connector (which was never used) or the true SCSI connector. Check the operating system number when you start up your MPC60. If you have version 2.14, you have a SCSI interface (v2.14 was the only version that shipped with a SCSI interface). If not, run this test:

1. Press DISK, then 8.

2. If four menu options appear, you have the MPC-SCSI installed. If two options appear, you don't.

 

Q: When I play a particular sequence or song, the timing is irregular. What's wrong?

A: If you notice a timing irregularity in song mode at the point of transition from one sequence into another, the problem may be caused by assignments of the Pgm (Program) field (in the Play/Record screen) for the new playing sequence. When a new sequence is encountered in a song, any program assignments for the tracks in the newly selected sequence are sent out at the moment that the sequence starts to play. This can present a problem because most synthesizers require time to change programs, which can cause any notes existing at the start of the new sequence to be delayed. This delay is brief in most synthesizers, but is usually enough to cause a timing irregularity at the start of the sequence. To avoid this problem, remove any assignments of the Pgm field for all sequences except the first sequence in the song. If you are encountering the same problem when changing sequences while playing (in which case the new sequence begins immediately following the current repetition of the current sequence), then use the same solution: remove all program assignments for the newly selected sequence.

 

If the timing irregularity does not exist at the beginning of a sequence, it may be due to the sequence containing a large system exclusive message at that location, in which case the MPC60 must finish processing the system exclusive message before playing any other notes at that location. If this is the case, erase or move the system exclusive event that is causing the problem.

 

If the timing irregularity does not exist at the beginning of a sequence and is not due to a system exclusive event, it may be due to having too many notes (more than approximately 10 or 12) at one tick in the sequence. If so, this could cause the last notes occurring at this location to be delayed. This problem is aggravated at faster tempos. This problem exists to some degree in all sequencers, and is due to the fact that there is a finite number of notes that the internal computer can process at one time. However, this will NOT cause the sequence to slip out of sync when syncing to an external sync source. To reduce the processing requirement in your sequence, try the following:

 

1. Erase any unnecessary events from the sequence. For example, erase any channel pressure, poly pressure and system exclusive events if you are not using them. Many keyboards send out large amounts of channel pressure messages while playing, which are recorded into your tracks. If you are not using these messages, removing them from the tracks will improve the playback timing. To block these messages from being recorded into new sequences, use the MIDI Input Filter (MIDI> key, option 3).

2. Erase any tracks that are turned off but still exist in the sequence. Turning a track off (the On field in the Play/Record screen) reduces the processing requirement for playing the track, but doesn't eliminate it.

3. If you only need to improve the timing while recording your sequence to tape and are using a sync tone, then record the sequence to tape a few tracks at a time, and turn off or erase the tracks you are not using on each pass. By eliminating the need for the MPC60 to process the tracks that aren't being heard, the timing of the remaining tracks will be improved.

4. In the Play/Record screen, disable Record Ready by selecting a different sequence, then the original one. This slightly lessens the processing requirement.

5. If the delay is due to many notes existing at one tick, then either delete some of the notes or spread them around to neighboring ticks.

 

Q: How can I reduce the time required for the "Analyzing sequence. Please wait..." message?

A: This message is most noticeable during song mode. It appears once after the song is edited and when the song screen is entered while a long song is selected. The reason for this delay is that the MPC60 must scan through the entire song to learn where the start of each bar is. Once this is done, any rewind, fast forward or locate operation will be very fast. Also, response to incoming SMPTE will be nearly immediate. Unfortunately, there is no way to reduce the time required for this message other than reducing the complexity of the song.

 

Q: I want to use the MPC60 only as a sound generator receiving notes from another sequencer. How can I get it to play from only one MIDI channel?

A: 1. Press the MIDI key and select option 2. In the screen that appears, set the Active track receive channel field to the channel you want the MPC60 to receive on. 2. In the Play/Record screen, set the Type field to DRUM or select a track that has a Type of DRUM. 3. Load in the desired program.

 

Q: I want to use the MPC60's pads to program drum parts on an external sequencer, but I can't get any of the MIDI outputs to send note-on messages when I play the pads. How do I do it?

A: 1. In the Play/Record screen, set the Type field to DRUM or select a track that has a Type of DRUM. Then, set the track's Chn field to the desired output MIDI channel and port. 2. In the MIDI key, option 1 screen, you can change the note numbers assigned to each pad if desired. 3. If you are simultaneously using the pads to program the external sequencer and using the MPC60's sound generator to receive from the external sequencer, then set both the Soft thru and Local mode fields to OFF. These fields are in the screen accessed by pressing the MIDI key and selecting option 2.

 

Q: When I play a key on my keyboard synthesizer while connected to the MPC60, two voices play in my keyboard for every one key pressed. Why?

A: When you play a key on the synthesizer keyboard, it plays the note internally and also sends a note over MIDI to the MPC60. Because the MPC60's Soft thru feature is normally set to ON, that note is immediately sent back out to the keyboard, causing it to play the same note again. To solve this problem, turn Soft thru off (press the MIDI key, then select option 2) or disable Local Control on your keyboard synthesizer.

 

Q: How does version 3.10 work in my Akai ASQ10?

A: Version 3.10 software may be installed in the Akai ASQ10 MIDI sequencer, enhancing its sequencing capabilities to that of an updated MPC60. This is because the ASQ10 is internally identical to the MPC60's sequencer section, lacking the MPC60's sound generation, sampling and drum pad functions. However, version 3.10 is optimized for the MPC60 and will therefore present the following inconveniences to the ASQ10 user:

 

• The ASQ10's TEMPO button will have the function of the MPC60's TEMPO/SYNC button.

• The ASQ10's SYNC button will have the function of the MPC60's DRUM MIXER button, which is useless on the ASQ10.

• The ASQ10's DRUMS button will have the function of the MPC60's SOUNDS button, which is useless on the ASQ10.

• Various screens will present parameters related to sound generation, sound program disk files, or use of drum pads, all of which are useless on the ASQ10.

 

Q: I own the Marion Systems MPC-SCSI Hard Disk Interface for MPC60. Can I use it with a flash drive?

A: JD Wilson from SCSI Card Readers (www.scsicardreaders.com) has informed us that if you have an MPC60 or MPC60-II with our MPC-SCSI installed, he can sell you a kit that will mount a Compact Flash Card reader inside your MPC, permitting you to save and load to 780 MB of a Compact Flash card, without disabling the MPC-SCSI's rear panel SCSI drive connnector. Though we have not tested this kit and don't provide any support for it, it seems like a very good solution for the problem that SCSI Zip drives are no longer being manufactured.

 

Q: I have an MPC60 floppy that has missing files, but the available memory on the disk indicates that the missing files are still taking up space. Is there a way to recover the missing files?

A: The problem indicates that the disk may have a damaged "directory". We have created a utility that reconstructs the directory portion of the disk from the file data, which may restore your files. Here's what to do:

 

1. Download the file SYSTEM.ZIP and unzip (uncompress) it.

2. Copy the upzipped file to an MPC60-formatted floppy disk. (If this doesn't work, try formating a floppy to Windows 720k format in a Windows or Mac computer and copying the file to this disk. Don't use 1.4 meg disk format.)

3. Insert the disk in your MPC60's drive and turn power on. After about 20 seconds, instructions will appear on the screen to guide you through the process of repairing a damaged MPC60 floppy disk.

 

Q: Do you know where I can find a copy of the original Akai MPC60 User Manual, written for version 2, the last software version Akai released?

A: Yes, here.

 

 

 

And here are a few questions and answers regarding the MPC3000

 

Q: I have the v3.10 software for MPC60, but the stereo sound files and large 2-floppy sound files it creates can't be read by the MPC3000. How can I read the special files on the MPC3000?

A: We have created a special version of the normal Akai v3.11 operating software for MPC3000. It is called v3.12 and is identical to v3.11 except:

 

1. It can read stereo sound files and large 2-floppy sound files that were created by MPC60 v3.10 software.

2. It is a temporary software version that boots from floppy and loads into sequence RAM, so it does not replace the v3.11 software in your MPC3000's ROM memory.

 

To create the boot floppy containing v3.12 software for MPC3000:

1. Download the file m3k_v312.zip and unzip (uncompresses) it.

2. Copy the file onto a 1.4 megabyte floppy.

3. Insert the disk into your MPC3000 and turn the power on. After about 45 seconds, the MPC3000 will be running v3.12. After loading the MPC60 sounds and saving them, reboot the MPC3000 without the v3.12 disk in the drive to resume running your internal software version. While running v3.12, your available sequence memory will be reduced by approximately 10%.

 

Q: Do you provide support for the MPC3000?

A: Sorry, no.

 

Q: Where can I find the latest software for the MPC3000?

A: Our good friends at Mansell Labs have created an update that takes the MPC3000 (or MPC3000LE) well beyond the final version Akai released. To learn more, contact www.mansell-labs.com.

 

Q: How do I expand the MPC3000's (or MPC3000LE's) memory to 32 megabytes?

A: Despite Akai's claim that the maximum MPC3000 memory is 16 megabytes (using two 4 MB SIMMs and their proprietary 8 MB memory board), it is actually 32 megabytes, or 380 seconds of sample time. Their stated reason for claiming a maximum capacity of 16 MB is that the MPC3000's disk system has a limit of 30 MB per disk partition, which prevents you from saving a full 32 MB of sample memory to disk. We think you'd prefer to have the choice. To expand an MPC3000 to 32 megabytes:Buy two 16 megabyte, 30 pin (not 72 pin) SIMM memory modules. Any speed will do, parity or non-parity.

Disconnect the power cord and open your MPC3000 by removing 4 screws at top of rear panel, 4 screws at left edge of bottom and 3 screws at right edge of bottom, then lift up the front end of the front panel.

In the two SIMM sockets located in the center of the bottom of the unit near the front edge, install the two 16 megabyte SIMMs.Push them into the sockets until they snap into place. If they donÌt snap, you may have put them in backwards.

Look for the small, 2.5 inch square board in the front right corner of the bottom of the unit. This is Akai's proprietary memory board, containing either 2 MB or 8 MB. This is no longer necessary so remove it. (If you leave it in, it will simply duplicate a portion of the 32 MB provided by the 2 SIMMs, and therefore won't increase memory past 32 MB.)

Do not ask us any questions about this. This is all the information you need and there is nothing more we can tell you.

Roger Linn Design  •  Berkeley, CA, USA

Roger Linn Design  •  Berkeley, CA, USA