I picked up a second hand Akai MPC 2500 a few ago and after tricking it out with the full 128mb of ram, a 40gb hard drive and jjosxl I’ve been having great fun breaking my musical shackles from the computer.
Ok, so the MPC is a computer but the hands on tactile feel make the whole experience much different and I’ve found the learning curve minimal given I have a strong background in music technology although I’m sure I still have much to learn as jjosxl seems to be quite deep.
Here are a few tracks I’ve uploaded to Youtube from the last week or two staring the Akai MPC 2500, Korg MS-20 Mini, Korg Volca Keys, Korg Electribe EMX1, Oberheim Matrix 1000, EMU E5000 Ultra, Roland TR-707 and a bit of delay and reverb.
Tonight I’ve been trying to decipher the various schematics online for creating a midi thru box. My knowledge of electronics is growing but still very basic and even such a simple circuit gave me some headaches.
So here it is, a working midi thru, ignore the Arduino connected to the breadboard it’s only being used to supply 5v and nothing else. The soldered circuit board bellow has a 9v battery/mains input.
Bill of materials:
5 x MIDI connectors
1 x 6N136 optocoupler
1 x 74CH14 Hex schmitt inverter (or CD40106)
9 x 220 ohm resistor
1 x 4.7k ohm resistor
1 x 1n4148 diode
1 x TS7805 5v power regulator
1 x 2.1 mm power header
And then solder to perfboard circuit board. It’s certainly not pretty and some of the worst soldering I’ve ever seen but it works. 🙂
All I need now is some sort of case and I’m good to go.
I’ll try and update this post with more detail and clearer breadboard layout / schematic when I get the time.
I’ve recently been exploring the musical possibilities of the iPad and one of my recent discoveries has been the fantastic TB MidiStuff.
It allows you to easily create touch interfaces for your MIDI devices. Combined with the wireless midi functions of the iPad and OS X and it makes controlling MIDI devices wirelessly easy enough even for me.
Tonight I sat down to explore what was on offer. I’ve got to say I’ve not even scratched the surface but in the process I created two “panels” for controlling the Volca Beats and the Volca Keys.
Unfortunately not every knob on the Volca’s is accessible from MIDI. The Volca Keys is missing the VCF Peak and the Beats is missing some of the most useful for shaping the sound, the kick click, pitch and decay, snare snap, pitch and decay, tom hi pitch, tom lo pitch. Obviously this has been done to save costs but it still gives us plenty to twiddle with.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the large capacitors in power supplies can retain a charge for some considerable time after being powered off so make sure to wait at least a few hours with the machine turned off and unplugged before attempting access to the power supply. I’m probably over cautious but I’d like to wait at least a day.
Once an appropriate amount of time has passed, you can begin by removing the 7 screws holding the case lid in place, 2 on each side and then 3 at the top of the rear.
Now that you have access to the inside of the case, you can move to the back and start unscrewing the screws which hold the power supply housing in place. Make sure not to undo the two screws holding the fan in-place until after you have removed the power supply housing.
Now with a bit of jiggling you will be able to remove the power supply housing, be careful not to damage any of the cables which are threaded through the housing or the on off switch which is partially housed behind the power supply case but does not need to be removed.
You can now unplug the fan from the header pins on the motherboard and throw it in the bin. (Ok, you can keep it if you want to but why would you want to?)
Now that you have the power supply housing free it’s time to get busy with the Dremel. Try positioning your new fan over the grill to to see where it will fit best. You should be able to use two of the holes in the grill for two of your fan fixings.
Once you’ve got it nicely lined up you can try and use a felt tip or pencil to mark up a few guide lines and then cut out the section.
You’ll also need to drill two holes for the other two screws of the fan.
You can then attach the fan using the special rubber screws which dampen vibration noise. Any parts of the grill which remain exposed should be taped over to stop airflow. I’ve used clear tape here so it’s not visible in the picture.
The fan power cable will need to be plugged in backwards to the samplers motherboard, so clip off the two plastic burs on the connector.
Now connect the fan to the motherboard power header. The motherboard header has 4 pins but the fan only has 3 so you have to be careful to connect it the right way round.
If you are facing the rear of the sampler you want to plug the 3 pin fan connector in to the 3 pins on the left hand side of the motherboard connector, making sure that the side of the fan connector with the removed burs is touching the plastic side of the fan power header.
If you’ve got it the right way round you will be able to see that the yellow wire is going to “NC”, the red to “+12v” and the black to “grnd.”
You can now carefully reassemble the case screwing the rear fan grill back on with the two screws and nuts and then reattaching the power supply housing.
Reconnect the power plug and power on the sampler to make sure that the fan is spinning well and not making any noises. If all’s well, power off, screw the case back on and voila.
Enjoy the silky smooth sound of nothing. (Well virtually)
To properly silence this thing, I’ve also done a 2.5″ SATA to IDE mod on the E-MU so that I could get rid of the racket made by my external SCSI drive. I’ll try and document this when I get another free moment.