In this post I will provide you with insights into how I’m using the UAD Apollo Quad Firewire audio interface as the hub of my Akai MPC based studio. Please note that the setup and routings described in this post are specific to my personal studio, tools and workflow preferences.
Over the years I’ve owned numerous multi channel audio interfaces including: Echo Layla, Digi 002R, Digi 003R, M-Audio FW 1814, Motu 828 MK3 and my current interface the Apollo Quad Firewire. Out of all of the interfaces I’ve owned up to this point, I can say that the UAD Apollo Quad Firewire has been one of the most flexible systems I’ve used with my Akai MPC based setup. The key to the flexibility with the UAD Apollo system lies with the Console application and it’s “flex routing” capabilities.
My current configuration pairs the UAD Apollo Quad Firewire and the Antelope MP8D 8 Channel preamp connected via ADAT and clocked via word clock.
Here’s a break down of my physical connections to my Apollo Quad Firewire Interface:
Analog Input 1-2 : iPad LR. My iPad uses a Komplete Audio 6 Mk1 interface which allows me to send a stereo balanced signal to the Apollo interface.
Analog Input 3: Akai MPC individual Out 3. All of my MPC programs are setup to use individual out 3 to output Kick drum samples.
Analog Input 4: Akai MPC individual Out 4. All of my MPC programs are setup to use individual out 4 to output Snare drum samples.
Analog Input 5-6: Akai MPC Main Out. The main outs are generally used for monitoring inputs to the Akai MPC during sampling, metronome signal, and the main melody sample i.e Piano or Guitar samples.
Analog Input 7: MPC Individual Out 5. I generally use the individual out 5 on the Akai MPC to output hihats.
Analog Input 8: MPC Individual Out 6. This output on the MPC is typically assigned to crash/cymbal samples.
ADAT 1-2: Novation Summit Synthesizer
ADAT 3: Studio Electronics SE-1X Analog Synthesizer
ADAT 4: Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer
ADAT 5-6: Akai S3000 Sampler Main Out. I generally use the Akai S3000 for resampling purposes because it has an interesting texture not offered by my Akai MPC 4000.
ADAT 7: Empirical Labs Mike-E Preamp. This preamp is generally used for recording my bass guitar, Fender telecaster or my Fender Rhodes keyboard.
ADAT 8: Studio Electronics ATC-1 Analog Synthesizer
SPDIF: Roland XV-5050 Sound Module. The SPDIF input saved me in this case, as it allowed me to connect the sound module to my system without costing me a valuable analog input.
VIRTUAL 1-2: This input monitors all system audio from my Mac. This allows me to quickly sample wave content from my desktop as well as any signal from iTunes.
Analog Output Monitor: This output is connected to my main monitors, Genelec 1030A.
Analog Output 3-4: Akai MPC 4000 Sampler Inputs.
Analog Output 5-6: Akai S3000 Sampler Inputs.
Analog Output 7-8: iPad Input 3-4 (Komplete Audio 6 Mk1).
As you can see, there is a considerable amount of sound sources in my studio which are controlled by my Akai MPC 4000 via MIDI. The flex routing offered by the UAD Console application allows me to route any of the signals from my keyboards, guitars and synths to my samplers as well as my iPad in an extremely quick way.
Flex routing also allows multiple patch points. For example, I can route the signal from my iPad into my Akai S3000 and then immediately route the output of the Akai S3000 into my Akai MPC 4000 for sampling. This flex routing happens directly through the application without the requirement of additional hardware patching through a patch bay. This new flexibility has enabled a great amount of experimentation in my setup:
Hopefully this information provides you with some inspiration on ways that you can use your Akai MPC with the Apollo interface and the Console application to get a more creative workflow.
If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me via my contact form.