Akai Pro MPC Essentials - Creating and Using a Keygroup Program

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A keygroup is a type of program in MPC that will take a sample and pitch it across all of the keys on your MIDI controller or pads on your MPC, essentially creating your own virtual instrument. For example, you could turn a single bass note sample into an entire playable bass program by creating a keygroup with the sample. Keygroups are useful for adding melodic elements to your songs without using plugins or instruments, or for adding pitched layers to your drums. This guide will walk through how to create a simple keygroup program with MPC Essentials. 

 

Contents 

  1. Creating A Keygroup 
  2. Playing Chords with an MPC 
  3. Additional Guides and Videos
  4. Further Technical Support

 

 

Creating A Keygroup 

  1. Start by choosing a sample. The MPK Mini MKII comes bundled with downloadable sound content, available on your Akai Pro account page. This includes tons of samples that you can use to create a keygroup for any of your projects.



    To learn more about downloading and using the included sample content as well as navigating the MPC Essentials browser, make sure to check out the guide below:

  2. Using the MPC Browser on the left, choose a sample and drag it into the Program Information window of MPC Essentials.



    3. After you have dragged this sample into the Program Information window, you will see that sample file is now listed in the 'Samples' column of MPC Essentials.



    4. Open the Sample Edit window. This is where you can edit the sample you have selected to use as your keygroup.

    One of the most common edits you will make in this window is cutting your sample down to the desired length you wish to play. 



    5. After you have completed editing your sample, return to the Main window of MPC Essentials.

    In this window, you are able to assign a keygroup to your MIDI controller. 

     

    6. Within the Main window, under the 'Sequence' section, you will see a section labeled 'Type'. The default selection for this section of MPC Essentials is 'Drum'. The 'Type' will need to be changed from 'Drum' to 'Keygroup'.



    7. Now that Keygroup is selected as the 'Type' for this sequence, you will now assign the sample you want to use as the keygroup.

    To do this, go to the Program Edit screen of MPC Essentials. Under 'Layer 1' change the drop down menu from 'None', to the sample you are looking to assign as your keygroup. The title of this sample will be found in this drop down menu.



    Congratulations! You've created a keygroup program!

Note: If you want to save the program for use later on, go to File > Save current program...

 

 

 Playing Chords with an MPC 

Chords are combinations of notes played simultaneously that can add fullness and depth to any track. For example, a C chord combines C, G, and E notes to create a more complicated and meaningful sound. So to play chords with your MPC/MPK pads you'll need to hit multiple pads at once. In order to make it easier to find chords with the pads on your MPC/MPK,  you can use this handy web app to locate and save your favorite chord formations:

 

Additional Guides and Videos

 

 

Further Technical Support 

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Pro technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.

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