Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

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mattjolly
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Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by mattjolly » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:20 pm

Hi all!
I have basically decided to move over from my pio decks and mixer into the world of ableton for live performance. Although I need some help from all you gurus on midi hardware and whether what I’m trying to achieve is possible!?

This is what I’m trying to achieve

Use ableton with midi hardware for djing live as below and also a bit of production here and there if I get into it more.

For djing (ideally):
• pure mixing as I usually play House, electro house, fidget house stuff so no scratchy wrachy.
• looking at 2-3 channels for my tracks (split into sections or whole tracks for ability to either normally mix or live remix tracks together etc)
• 2-3 channels for loops
• 1-2 channels for vocal samples
• Some knobs and buttons for eqs, effects etc
• Ability to cue track/s in headphones aswell

So I am looking at getting a macbook pro probably 2.66GHz, 4gb ram, 320 Hard Drive or the 2.8Ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb Hard drive (if I can afford it, doubt it).
This will probably be more then adequate yeah? The two midi hardware options im really considering are below, give ur opinion on each or recommend something else. I have done a fair bit of research & this is what I have come up with so far.

Option 1 - Korg Zero 8

Basically 8 channels everything possible here. Kaoss pad thing I quite like aswell.
Questions:
- Sound quality issues I hear have been resolved?
- Biggest negative I think is because it’s such a beast and is massive, lugging the 8kg unit to each gig is going to be quite annoying + with the laptop. This is my only real negative?
- Is this a problem can any comment when they have had to take it to all there gigs?
- I quite like the 3eqs and then the effects knobs on each channel, plus the other knobs and stuff that is all midi mapable!
-Soundcard inbuilt is also handy, as I can hook up to the clubs mixer or just straight out to my system at home. Comments?!

Option 2 - Akai APC 40 + Behringer BCR2000 + midi interface (M-Audio Firewire Solo?)

So basically everyone knows about the APC40, ableton controller lots can be done with it;
Questions:
- My biggest concern being the fact there aren’t enough or designated rotary knobs for eq’ing without swapping banks, which to me is pointless and not ideal.
- Hence, Behringer BCR2000 with all the midi knobs it has it would definitely be able to handle my eq’ing problems along side the APC40?! Yeah?
- The next problem I have is headphones and cueing of tracks in the APC40…. I know a lot of people don’t use this and simply bang in the next clip but I would like to preview them first (well sometimes) making sure no key clashes and everything sounds sweet.
- Is this a solution to the problem? Im a bit unsure if this is possible but have an idea. Say in ableton I set up a send knob ‘send A’ for instance on all 8 tracks and on Behringer BCR2000 have these midi mapped to a row of the bottom 8 knobs. The ‘return A’ on other side in ableton is volume of my headphones master out going to say 3/4 on my soundcard (1/2 is master out). 3/4 obviously is where my headphones are plugged in. So basically if I want to hear the volume through channel 2, turn knob two on behringer which in turn obviously turns the send A on channel 2 in ableton and volume just for that channel comes through the headphone. So I can turn any of the knobs round for volume to come through without effecting the master sound coming out of the m-audio soundcard 1/2 (Master). I dunno if this will work? Or is there an obvious way that im stupidly missing?
- Another question: I am pretty sure with this setup I need a soundcard with atleast 2 outputs yeah? So will this M-Audio Firewire Solo be ok. And more importantly when im hooking up to the club mixer or system will it be adequate enough, or is it worth getting something better quality wise? This is not really an area of expertise for me even as basic as it is. Can anyone recommend a good soundcard that they have used for clubs that will do the job well? I would probably prefer to invest the money now instead of getting something cheap and not the best!

So now you know what im looking at what do you think would be best for what im trying to achieve, obviously transport is a big consideration for when im playin out the more portable the better. But will the apc 40 do the job with all the other nooks and crannies. Korg zero 8 looks like a more complete system but 9kg worth of lugging around.

For ages I was set on the Korg before I really thought about the APC40 now im stuck and dunno what to do haha…. Any help comments if you can answer any questions or provide opinion or recommendations, all is much appreciated!

Cheers
Matt

Ed J
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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by Ed J » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:31 pm

I do prog house and minimal, so also with the no scratchy, but also far less with the vocal samples etc. on my front.

I use an APC and a BCR, and it's pretty much perfect, I have 4 channels for songs, 1 for loops/clips, 1 for a drum rack ( I like to do random improv sometimes, it's fun! :D ) and 2 for bouncing back sends so I can put loops on using beat repeat (which goes up to 1 bar) and do crazy shit with fx.
mattjolly wrote:Or is there an obvious way that im stupidly missing?
live has an output just for cue that you set to a seperate output on your sound card.
you can cue using the APC by just pressing buttons, and as I return all my sends back into tracks 7 and 8 I can just preview them to see what it sounds like, pretty useful.

mapping the EQs to a BCR is pretty cool, with low-mid-high and then low/high cuts going up to the top.

I recently got one of those new NI audio-2-dj thingies, and I'd recommend it, good sound, but a pain in the bum if you don't have the correct leads :D

The beauty of using an APC and BCR is that you can do pretty much anything with it, and it gives you a hell of a lot of knobs to play with, and the APC being able to fire 2 clips simulatinously makes getting clips set in time properly much easier :)
Some stuff, and some other stuff. Honest.
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audiovoid
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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by audiovoid » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:48 pm

I owned a zero4 and the overall sound quality and drivers were quite sub-par.
If you're looking to go the hybrid mixer/midi controller route then I highly suggest taking a look at the Ecler evo5.
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Superchibisan
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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by Superchibisan » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:31 pm

i use a zero4 AND an apc40. it is THE perfect combination.

i strongly suggest you get both the zero8 and the apc40, it will be heaven, trust me!

regarding your questions of hte zero8. sound quality issues have been resolved. yes its huge, and lugging it around will require a custom flight case, i wouldn't use anything else. the thing has 11 different eqs for EACH channel and can change them independently of the other channels, very cool. soundcard being built in is a DREAM come true. so easy to get set up!

the apc40 will cover any other bases you need.

with the zero4 and the apc40, even the colours match!

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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by audiovoid » Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:22 am

Superchibisan wrote:i use a zero4 AND an apc40. it is THE perfect combination.

i strongly suggest you get both the zero8 and the apc40, it will be heaven, trust me!

regarding your questions of hte zero8. sound quality issues have been resolved. yes its huge, and lugging it around will require a custom flight case, i wouldn't use anything else. the thing has 11 different eqs for EACH channel and can change them independently of the other channels, very cool. soundcard being built in is a DREAM come true. so easy to get set up!

the apc40 will cover any other bases you need.

with the zero4 and the apc40, even the colours match!
So the hiss, the lousy eq curves, and the sketchy drivers have all been fixed via firmware? If so, that's definitely nice.
However, here are a couple of other things to take into consideration.
On the Zero8 the eq's are lined up like an old analog desk meaning that there's a frequency sweep knob right between the high and the mid knobs. When I was playing with it I kept turning the wrong knob and it annoyed the hell out of me.
Also, the kaoss screen. Although a great addition, does not feel like a real kaoss pad. If you've ever felt the action difference between a kp3 and the kp3 mini (or kaossilator) it's like that but even worse. I felt it wasn't smooth whatsoever.

One other thing to consider with bringing out your own mixer to gigs is that unless you have a soundboard to run xlr or quarter inch into then your sound quality will usually end up crap. Running master outs of one dj mixer into an rca in on a venue's dj mixer always cuts the db by half it seems and causes other severe audio degradation.
Everytime I gigged with my zero4 I was forced to go in on one of the venue mixers rca line channels and even with my korgs master volume and channel faders maxed (and redline metering) my output was still WAY WAY lower than the person playing on cdj's before me.
Not to mention, a few times the built in audio interface would emmitt a loud glitch/buzz and sometimes would simply not work and id have to unplug, power cycle, or restart.


ps. when i mentioned lousy eq curves I meant that on almost all of the eq types (mostly the filter ones that i'd use most) the eq curve was offset and completely non-smooth. Basically, with the low eq all the way down there was no bass. Turn it to about 7 0clock and there's practically full range bass. That was Not right by me.
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mattjolly
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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by mattjolly » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:25 am

Thanks for all your comments guys!
Ed J wrote: mapping the EQs to a BCR is pretty cool, with low-mid-high and then low/high cuts going up to the top.
yeah that sounds quiet good!
Ed J wrote:I recently got one of those new NI audio-2-dj thingies, and I'd recommend it, good sound, but a pain in the bum if you don't have the correct leads :D
hmm.. this is the area i dont understand the most... how i am going to hookup to the clubs mixer or mix my stuff in. its hard to find that kinda info, anyone know where i can find this stuff. Can anyone recommend a few good products to use as soundcards that would be good for what i wanna do and provide decent sound, and relatively easy setup (as i dont really understand it haha) I think the apc40 doesn't have to much latency so should be alright if i change it and start bashin buttons till its in beat...
Ed J wrote:The beauty of using an APC and BCR is that you can do pretty much anything with it, and it gives you a hell of a lot of knobs to play with, and the APC being able to fire 2 clips simulatinously makes getting clips set in time properly much easier :)
yeah i really like this and you can have banks of knobs too! so many options. I was frothin on the korg zero 8 now the more i think about the apc40 and BCR my mind goes crazy. Hmm... I have looked at others like Ecler and Vestax but i dunno dont think its as good as the other combination. hmm difficult decision..

ED J how do you mix ur clips into what the dj before is playin on the club mixer?

Guys the constant thing about sound issues with korg also bug me... and people reporting problems...people saying its fine, im starting to think its not worth the risk.

d.j.r.
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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by d.j.r. » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:33 pm

mattjolly wrote:Thanks for all your comments guys!
Ed J wrote: mapping the EQs to a BCR is pretty cool, with low-mid-high and then low/high cuts going up to the top.
yeah that sounds quiet good!
Ed J wrote:I recently got one of those new NI audio-2-dj thingies, and I'd recommend it, good sound, but a pain in the bum if you don't have the correct leads :D
hmm.. this is the area i dont understand the most... how i am going to hookup to the clubs mixer or mix my stuff in. its hard to find that kinda info, anyone know where i can find this stuff. Can anyone recommend a few good products to use as soundcards that would be good for what i wanna do and provide decent sound, and relatively easy setup (as i dont really understand it haha) I think the apc40 doesn't have to much latency so should be alright if i change it and start bashin buttons till its in beat...
Ed J wrote:The beauty of using an APC and BCR is that you can do pretty much anything with it, and it gives you a hell of a lot of knobs to play with, and the APC being able to fire 2 clips simulatinously makes getting clips set in time properly much easier :)
yeah i really like this and you can have banks of knobs too! so many options. I was frothin on the korg zero 8 now the more i think about the apc40 and BCR my mind goes crazy. Hmm... I have looked at others like Ecler and Vestax but i dunno dont think its as good as the other combination. hmm difficult decision..

ED J how do you mix ur clips into what the dj before is playin on the club mixer?

Guys the constant thing about sound issues with korg also bug me... and people reporting problems...people saying its fine, im starting to think its not worth the risk.
I own a Zero8 and there isn't a problem. You have to run the mixer hot, meaning with the master at around 3 o'clock. This effectively puts volume control at the amp......and in the hands of the sound engineer at the club......if it has one. No hiss at that point, and that was how it was made to be.

The zero4 apc40 combo is hard to beat. Its cheaper, and the functionality of the monome type buttons is really quite quite useful....especially with max for live coming out. Myself I enjoy a lot of the on-board functionality of the zero8, and plan on getting an 8x16 monome at some point in the future. Either combination is more than what most people need......but half the fun is figuring out how to make practical use of all these options.
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Re: Help Akai APC40 or Korg Zero 8 - Need some advice & opinion!

Post by Homebelly » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:40 am

I also own a ZERO8.
I managed to blow up one of the internal amps.
It meant that the desk would still pass audio to and then back from the computer using FW.
But, it would not pass audio from its own input to its own out put.
It also meant that the lights didn't come on.
I had the dead amp replaced.
Before the explosion i had the HISS issues that are a common complaint unless i ran it hot like d.j.r recommends.
Now i get now hiss at all at any out put setting...
Its a very cool desk for controlling live regardless of the hiss.
I also have my sights set on an APC to go with it and i will be one step closer to my ultimate goal
and possible world control...
15" 2.4 MBP/Live/Sampler/Operator/ Home made Dumble clone/Two Strats/One Jazz Bass.
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