Mittwoch, 12. September 2012

AKAI S900/950 Mods

Some usefull modifications for tha AKAI S900/950 samplers.

1. Display

The original display is an ELD, which stands for electroluminescent display. Years ago these old displays losing luminance and need to be replaced.
The normal way is to replace the EL foil, but you will have the same problems maybe in a few years. Better build in a cheap 40x2 character LED LCD with great contrast and luminance.

2. Floppy

We all know the problems with floppy disks and data transfers. The other modification is to build in a floppy drive emulator. its an own unit with a software programm. The S950 thinks he got a build in floppy drive but you can store your samples on a 2GB sd card or usb stick. You need to create partitions in the size of the floppy disk 1,44 MB for HD and 740KB DD.
The most famous emulator is the hxc, you can google it. Its tested and working fine for the AKAI s950 with a price around 110 Euros. There is another emulator for usb devices, but it's only tested for the MPC60 in the 740KB Version. The price is around 40 Euros.

3. Memory

Memory for the S900/950 is really hard to find and if you found someone selling it he want hundred of dollars for a few "used" kilobyte.
The Mutec Memorys are in same quality than AKAI and workin fine. Years ago I bought Mutec memmory  for my S1100 and I never got any problems with em.
Price for the 750 KB Memory Expansion Card is 90 Euros.

Last but not least I want tell you some reasons for using the old AKAI sampler. It sounds musically and has its own type of crispy and warm 12bit sound.
The S950 got a true analoge switched capacitor filter with 36dB transition steepness per octave. No ressonance or realtime modulation but an own envelope and dynamically controlled by the keyboard velocity.
For every 8 voice there is an own converter chip with serveral clock and VCA amplifier, which is the reason for great pressure like the old Roland synthesizers. If u want change the pitch of the sample, the clockrate and rate of the memory will be changed. It's like an turntable, when changing the speed of a vynil. Only a few samplers of the early 80's runing this enormous effort. It's just a great piece of engineering art and a great instrument which still has it's place in a modern studio.

Watch out for my next post, I will describe my modifications for the AKAI MPC 2000XL.