Last week I dusted off my old Yamaha A3000 version 1 sampler and was surprised to find out how well it worked with multisampling. I remember shelving the unit a while back namely because I had issues with looping, midi, and a few other things that happened to be fixed or improved with Version 2. I never got around to upgrading it, but I recently discovered that despite the fact that it’s a version 1 Yamaha A3000, it actually works extremely well with multisampling. Nowadays I say leave looping to the likes of the newer Akai MPCs, Roland SP Groove boxes, Soft Samplers, or anything current. However, with multisampling, I think the Yamaha A3000 still has a lot of life left even if it’s still version one. Something tells me also that multisampling was probably the A3000’s primary function in the first place. and unless you were interested in that, you pretty much sold or moth balled the sampler.
Currently I have the Yamaha A3000 V1 maxed out at 128MB of memory which is plenty for most multisampling tasks. Attached to the rear SCSI is a zip drive which works to store the samples from memory and loads them rather quickly. I usually import my WAV files from the PC and using either the Floppy Drive or Zip drive works well with for this. I use Sony Soundforge to save my WAV files to Microsoft PCM format for easy importing. The on board effects are decent and applying the samples to the keys is easy enough. Triggering the samples via a midi controller works perfectly and you can do velocity cross fades and some layering as well. In fact with regards to multisamples, the Yamaha A3000 is actually pretty easy to use. Looping on the other hand is best done “from” version 2 and upward although it still can be done with Version 1.
Lately I’ve enjoyed using such hardware samplers as the Roland W-30, S-330, and S-760. When you compare the Yamaha A3000 version 1 to those samplers you start finding out that the A3000 is pretty competitive. In fact in some cases it’s an upgrade so it’s been really fun. I also have a Roland SP-606 which works fine for working with loops. It syncs well with the Yamaha A3000 if required. Honestly, I’m not into that much looping really so some hard core loopers may require more in features than what I currently use.
It’s always good to hold on to old gear as you never know when you might need it again in the future. Actually if I think about it, I don’t think I was able to sell the A3000 version one in the first place so perhaps that is why I really kept it…laugh. However, with my recent interest in working with multisampled instruments and synthesizers, I’ve found the Yamaha A3000 version 1 to be a more than capable and rewarding hardware sampler. So far, it has been getting the job done beautifully. Perhaps one of these days I’ll upgrade to either the A4000 or A5000 when I see one, but for now, my A3000 has a new life with multisampling and it’s super cheap on Ebay right now!!