MPC 500, MPK 25, MPK 49 Pad Sensitivity
Anyone that has owned or owned an MPC 500, MPK25, or MPK49 which all share the same pads has most undoubtedly noticed the poor response while softly tapping away. In some cases rendering these units useless and posted up for quick sale.
The issue stems from the gap between the pad and the sensor, making soft strikes for low velocity hits near impossible. Most tend to rely on the full velocity button, losing the subtle differences in attenuation between hits which makes beats feel groovey, real and non-robotic.
Tape, Silicone, Rubber, Fat Pads all Great Fixes For the MPC MPK Pads
There are quite a few fixes recommended for the pads.
- Buy New Ones!: If money is not an object Fat Pads can be found online for around $40 in various colors. If you do not want the companies logo on the upper right pad you will need to buy pads for the MPC1000 and cut off the last pad row. I have also heard of others using high grit sandpaper to sand off the logo, but I would assume you would need to do all twelve pads to keep the look and texture uniform on your new purchase.
I have never tried these pads out but from the majority of forum responses vs a few naysayers, these pads are worth the investment and also keep their value for resale. When I buy the pad upgrade for my MPC1000 I will definitely be checking out the FatPads.
- Silicone: You will have to find another online DIY for this one. I have never tied it, nor would I. Others again have had great results but it seems to messy with to much room for error and uneven pad play in the end.
- Rubber: I'm sure all types of products can be tested for this one. From rubber jar opening grips to rubber rug grips can be used. My rubber of choice was always the bike tire. Just the standard thickness bike tire, thorn resistant is going to be to thick. Almost everyone has a flat bike tire in the garage so it's free and easily asses-able. The only problem is, is that it does not stick to the pads which is a problem I'm sure could be easily fixed with a quick dusting of 3m tact spray. I have fixed and sold many MPK's and MPC's pad problems with bike tire and it works great. I feel like the rubber would give it more bounce (no testing was done to see if that truly is the case).
- Tape: This is my go to now. Electrical tape to be exact. It can be easily applied, easily removed, layers can be added or taken away to get the perfect feel per user. It is cheap, readily available and get the job done.
Again the options are endless, the quest? Fill in the gap between the pads and sensors!
This DIY will focus on my preferred and favorite method. Tape.
Opening the MPC500 MPK25
For how simple the task, opening up a unit can be a little scary, but is no more than a few screws that you will need to keep track of. I also recommend taking pictures as you go along. There is nothing worse than seeing a MPC 500 on ebay with the bottom screws in the sides of the unit. That type of sloppy work screams "messed up unit".
In this tutorial I will show what to remove on the MPK25. The MPK49 will be very similar, and opening a MPC 500 can be found in this tutorial
On the MPK25 all screws circled in yellow will need to be removed. Find a snug fitting Phillips Head screwdriver so you do not scuff up the screws and remove them all. They are all the same size so you do not need to separate them.
CAUTION. The top shell and bottom are connected by ribbon cables so don't get the screws out and rip it open. Flip it open and gently work the top off, opening it like a clam from front to back.
If finessed just right and if you apply just the right touch the clam will basically open on it's own, almost willfully asking for you to put your rubber (or tape) inside.
At that point, if you wish, you can remove the ribbon cables, you will have to check the connections whether they have tiny clips on the sides or just pull out. I would recommend just propping the top half up on a pillow so you can just work on the bottom half and get the job done.
Remove the four screws in the picture below and lift up the metal plate, it can be gently folded over to rest. Remove the pads and you are almost there!
At this point take the time to wipe the sensors clean with some 70% isopropyl alcohol and scrub the pads clean with dish soap and sponge/toothbrush.
Might as well have some drinks and relax while the pads dry.
Tape Up Those MPC Pads!!
I've found the perfect layering (at least to me) is five layers of tape.
Standard electrical tape is about the perfect height for the pads and cutting it into one inch squares makes for the perfect width. This is a tedious job as you will have to measure and cut inch by inch and you will be cutting and rubbing on 60 individual squares which can be extremely time consuming and makes going back to bike tire pretty appealing. My thought do it once right.
Now I have tried a couple different methods.
- Tape chunks: layer all five pieces of tape in long strips, cut them in one inch squares and stick each chunk in it's respective space. Sloppy and doesn't keep the shape of the convex of the pad but it gets the job done. If you are going to go this route you might as well use rubber as it's not going to stick to the pad.
- Individual application: To me this is the best of all methods. As mentioned it is time consuming but you will get good lasting results.
The fastest way to get this tedious job done is as follows.
- Lay 14-15 inch strips of tape out on wax paper, no need to stretch it, let it keep it's form.
- Get out that ruler and ask your mom if you can borrow one of her "crack rock" razors. She will know what you are talking about and will probably say something like "that's my boy" or "go make moma some money" either way you have what you need.
- Keep your cuts perpendicular and slice up those 60 squares.
- Wash your hands (you don't want finger oil weakening the tape grip)
- Apply each square individually and firmly, rubbing it onto the previous layer. If you get a big wrinkle pull it off and cut a new piece of tape. If you are taking this much time to make your machine perfect, then take the time to make sure every square is to your perfection. Trust me it will eat away at your mind if you know pad A6 has a wrinkle in it and the rest are smooth.
For install: Reverse the steps above and try out your new velocity sensitive pads!