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MPC File Naming Recommendations

It pays to be fairly disciplined when it comes to naming your mpc samples and sounds, otherwise you could be heading for a whole heap of confusion! In this article we look at the basics of file naming for all models of Akai MPC.

Mpc file name limitations

The first thing to realise when naming your MPC sounds is that there is a limit to the number of characters you can use. The usual limit within an MPC file name is 16 characters, however if you are using older DOS formatted disks to transfer sounds between an Akai MPC and a computer, your computer will only read the first 8 characters of the file name.

This means that if you have a bunch of sounds stored on an old DOS or old-style MPC format disk that all begin with the same 8 characters, your computer will assume they are the same file name, and the file names will all be shortened to something like ’long-n~1’, ‘’long-n~2’ etc. This issue affects MPCs up to and including the MPC2000XL, so on those machines we tend to advise keeping the file names to a maximum of 8 characters to avoid any problems when transferring files between MPC and computer.

However, for newer MPCs this 8 character problem is not relevant; these MPCs use a standard FAT formatting system and as such computers will have no problem reading the file names you choose. So in these cases you can use 16 characters. The only exception is if you tend to work with a mix of old MPCs, new MPCs and computers, in which case play it safe and stick to 8 characters.

Choosing Distinct MPC File Names

Try to ensure you avoid using generic MPC file names like ’snare.wav’ because invariably you’ll end up with hundreds of snare sounds just called ’snare’ and you will not be able to organise your drum library effectively.

You could use file names like ’snare-1’, ’snare-2’ etc, but if you wish to avoid duplicates this could be hard to maintain effectively in the long term when you have hundreds of projects spanning hundreds of folders.

One way to distinguish file names between projects is to append a code to the beginning of each file. This code could relate to the project the sound is being used in, or refer to the type of sound. For example, in our samples packs we append a two letter code to each snare and this code reflects the name of the pack, e.g in the True Essence drum pack, each drum file has TE appended to the front.

To keep the number of characters down, we employ an abbreviated code system. So, ’snare’’ becomes ’snr’ or even ’sn’.

So a snare from the ’True Essence’ pack becomes ‘TESNR01.wav’. This also adheres to the 8 character limit so is suitable for any MPC in any studio environment.

Using Sound Descriptions

Another common method is to include the actual description of the sound, e.g. ‘thick’, ‘clappy’, ‘wood’, ‘deep’ etc. This can often be preferable if you wish to quickly scan a folder of samples to find examples of a specific type of sound. However I prefer to simply organise my sounds into folders based on their sound characteristics.

Naming loops

It’s common to include the tempo of a loop in its file name, e.g ’dt-break3-90bpm.wav’. If it’s a musical loop, think about including the musical key as well, e.g ’fw-bass-Db-78bpm.wav’.

Do It Your Way!

Just remember that there are no rigid rules, nor any industry standards. If you none of the suggestions in this article seem ideal, simply use a file naming system that works for you!

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