What is JJOS?
If you are an owner of an MPC1000, you are probably aware of a few bugs that (at the time of writing) remain unresolved by Akai, even though they are currently on OS version 2.13 of the official MPC 1000 operating system.
In 2007, a rumoured ex-member of the Akai coding team (nicknamed ‘JJ’, which stands for Japanese Jenius, a name given to him by his followers on MPC-Forums.com) released his own (free) version of the MPC1000/MPC2500 operating system. The idea behind the free JJOS was to fix all the outstanding niggling bugs present in the official Akai operating system and to make some small workflow improvements. It was also to be used as a ‘gateway’ operating system to the far more advanced paid-for JJ operating systems, such as the JJOSXL and forthcoming JJOS 3.
Let’s have a look at what the free JJ OS offers the Akai MPC 1000/2500 owner over the default Akai OS.
To improve the load and saving of samples, a more intuitive directory system was installed into the LOAD and SAVE screens. This new file management area is similar to the one employed in the advanced JJOS versions. ON the whole it is easier to use than the Akai Os but with one caveat – you can no longer filter your view based on file ‘type’ – i.e. you cannot choose to just view programs or sequences like you can in Akai OS. The argument from JJOS owenrs is that with the new file management system there is no need for such a filter as it’s already easier to locate files.
Other than that, improvements have also been made ot the USB transfer mode. First to deal with mounting issues with Mac OS, a dedicated ‘MOUNT’ button has been added to force the Mac to recognise your MPC. But the big improvement is that you no longer need to manually remove the USB cable from the back of your MPC in order to leave the LOAD screen. Seriously, this has to be one of the most infuriating ‘features’ of the Akai OS and I still cannot believe this was never resolved by Akai.
Other than that, it’s the little tweaks that make a difference. For example, loading up individual sounds no longer the additional step of selecting which pad to assign it to (or having to assign it as ‘OFF’); instead you can set JJOS to just load direct into memory with no ‘sample assign’ screen whatsoever.
A basic form of GRID EDITING was added to the MPC1000 free JJOS (accessed via MODE and pad 15), although this is not as full-featured as the native grid editing on the MPC2500, nor of grid editor on JJOS XL.
This is a great feature if you prefer a more visual way of inputing sequencer events.
‘Audio Tracks’ allow you to record audio performances directly into sequencer tracks (tracks 61-64). This is not hard disk recording though – any recording you make is saved directly into RAM, as if it had been recorded via the RECORD page.
Your audio recordings are available as standalone samples in the TRIM screen and are of course saved with your project file. They also allow for multiple takes and full MIXER control within the actual sequencer track itself. which can then be extracted as samples. It also allows for ‘bouncing down’ of sequencer and audio tracks together to save track space.
Trimming & Chopping
Trimming and looping is simplified by automatically adjusting sensitivity whenever you zoom into the waveform; there’s no for the ‘Fine’ screen and hence workflow is made more efficient. Waveform height adjustment is also added to ensure much more accurate editing.
Zooming itself can also be achieved through the BAR keys, while waveform height is adjusted through the ‘up’ and ‘down’ cursor keys.
Chopping is a graceful affair, again with all the friendly zooms and an effective AUTO slice. The COMBINE function is gone though (I assume to make space on the F key menu), so to combine two regions you simply ‘extend’ the end point of region 2 all the way to the end point of region 3.
Sample Edit now includes some additional editing options in the shape of various STEREO > MONO functions, including a unfortunately fairly ineffective vocal cut algorithm.
- Tap Tempo can be performed via a pad rather than through the tap tempo button (thus improving playability and sensitivity).
- You can take screen shots of the MPC screen (useful for guys like me making tutorials!)
- Pad sensitivity range is increased from 1-16 to 1-25.
- TRACK MUTE screen interface has been given a minor facelift with additional ‘ALL MUTE and CLEAR buttons added.
The Future of the Free JJOS
- It ‘completes’ the native MPC1000/2500 operating system, fixing outstanding bugs and streamlining certain functionality to improve workflow, hence giving most MPC1000/2500 owners a much improved experience for no additional financial outlay.
- It introduces people to the world of JJOS and acts as a gateway to the more advanced JJ operating systems available. These are obviously optional but with features such as non-destructive chopping and advanced grid editing, these premium operating systems provide additional tools to the beat maker and help extend the usefulness of the MPC hardware.
Free JJOS Review: Conclusion
All in all, the free JJOS is a complete no brainer for anyone who owns an Akai MPC1000 or MPC2500. It’s free, stable, safe to install and provides loads of extra features and bug fixes. And if for some reason you decide to go back to the Akai OS, it’s as easy as just re-loading the Akai OS file from the JJOS LOAD screen. Give it a go today.