Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer in Japan

Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer
Casio CZ-5000 Synthesizer

Today I was out and about and I went into a used goods shop called “Santa” in Nagano-city, Japan. I was surprised to see that there was a big store wide sale and that they were possibly going out of business soon. Now I almost “never” find anything in this store other than overpriced junk but occasionally I find some computer floppy disks or some interesting toys for the kids. They sometimes have old music gear but it’s always the kind of stuff nobody wants or just musical toys. Well, today it was a different matter because sitting in the shop was a Casio CZ-5000 that looked to be in excellent condition. The price on it was $25 which made me scratch my head for a minute and wonder why. I then realized that I didn’t know much of anything about the Casio CZ-5000 and that I better run home and do some checking.

Later I discovered it was potentially a nice 80’s oriented synth that I could have some fun with. What I was also excited about was that on Yahoo Auction Japan, the Casio CZ-5000 was selling between $350 to $450. I thought Wow! I could at least buy it and sell it later to maybe make some extra cash. I raced back to the used shop and brought it up to the counter. The gentleman immediately told me it didn’t work. I said ok that’s fine but can I at least plug it in and check the power? He said sure and knowing this shop might not have headphones I brought my own which he was surprised to see.

The Casio CZ-5000 powered up nicely. Indeed the synth didn’t seem to want to make any sound. I then figured out how to access and change the patches. Now I got sound coming through my headphones and it sounded pretty decent. Like with previous synths I’ve purchased at used shops in Japan, the sales staff usually don’t know anything about these keyboards. In addition, when a Casio CZ-5000 is mixed in among other Casio kids keyboards they start thinking all Casios are the same. I don’t know why the clerk said the keyboard was broken, because it sounded great to me.

Finally the sales clerk let me have it for $10 perhaps feeling sorry I don’t know. Even though there was a big sale going on, I guess he just wanted to get rid of it. For whatever reason I was more than happy to take it off his hands. As I drove home I realized that I didn’t really have a chance to check if everything indeed worked. I started to worry a bit, but then realized that this was only 10 bucks.

Later in the evening I powered the Casio CZ-5000 up again and had a ton of fun jamming on it for about two hours. The Casio CZ-5000 is a really fun synth to play around with. I found that the sequencer worked great. In fact all of the buttons, volume, chorus, etc. worked as they should. I ran the CZ-5000 through the Korg A1 effects processor I recently picked up and boy did it come to life. I noticed that bumping up the on board chorus while adding some portamento made the sounds much more analog sounding. I particularly liked the vibrato effect as well. I then did some basic tweaking of the presets and even created a few new sounds. They saved nicely into the internal memory.

All in all, the Casio CZ-5000 plays beautifully and it’s just in fantastic condition. It should fit in nicely with my current 80’s synth setup and I’m looking forward to seeing what else it can do.

Korg A1 Synthesizer Effects Processor

Korg A1 Synthesizer Effects
Korg A1 Synthesizer Effects

It’s raining pretty hard right now in Nagano-city and there’s a Typhoon on the way. So, I decided to hop in the car and check out a used music shop about 30 minutes from my place. What interested me was a Korg A1 effects processor that they have had for over two years now. They had a $60 price tag on it and there were several issues I noticed with it. First it had no presets inside. It was also missing the rack ears and it had no memory card. A year ago I looked into how to reset the factory presets but was discouraged to find that many were having trouble with sysex transfers specifically with the A1. However, the reviews of the Korg A1 were all very favorable. Also the resell value of the Korg A1 was hovering around the $400-$600 range. Thus I always kept my eye on it thinking that one day someone would snatch it up quick, but nobody did!

Well recently, I found out that a couple of people were successful in loading up the factory default patches using the A2 Send Card Utility. I also was able to find the factory patch set plus a whole bunch of others. So, I decided to revisit the Korg A1 to see if I might be able to get it going. Luckily the Korg A1 was still sitting in the same corner as it had always been for the past two years or so. I brought it up to the counter clerk and his eyes had the look of “finally” I’m going to get rid of this piece of crap..laugh. There was no power cord, but he quickly supplied me with one. I told him that I understood it had no factory preset sounds in it, but that I only wanted to check and make sure that the power was ok. Indeed it started up nicely.

I told the sales clerk that I would buy it but that I wanted to look around some more. When I finally decided I was ready to check out. I noticed he had thrown in the power cord for free and had reduced the price to $35. He told me that it was old and had been in the shop for a very long time so he would knock some off the price. I think he was bent on sealing the deal. I said sure no problem of course.

When I got home I cleaned up the Korg A1 really nice and started it up. Everything powered up fine and the LCD screen was very nice and clean. I then connected a midi cable between my Windows 7 computer and the Korg A1. Actually I use a Roland A-880 Midi Patcher so that was stuck in between. I had downloaded and installed the A2 Send Card Utility and then enabled the Korg A1 to receive MIDI sysex messages. After I loaded up the factory sysex file I sent it to the Korg A1. Sure enough, the Korg A1 accepted the sysex dump on the first try! Fantastic! I now had a Korg A1 working 100% in top notch condition.

I then hooked up my Roland JP-8000 for testing and turned off all the effects on a Mini Moog patch I had created. I plugged the Roland JP-8000 into the front of the Korg A1 and then used headphones to have a listen. Wow! I was amazed at most of the Reverb effect patches. The Roland JP-8000 came alive and it was amazing. I really liked the reverb room patches especially well with the synth. It really fattened up the sound. Very warm indeed! Some of the reverbs were bright, but not in a cheap way at all, rather they were very professional sounding and clean!

With regards to synthsizers, I thought the Korg A1 had some great delays, choruses, and even distortion sounds. The editing ability was vast and I know I’ll be able to get tweak quite a bit out of it. The Wahs were really fantastic too. Many of the patches gave the Roland JP-8000 an added warmth similar to my Juno 6, 106, and the MKS-50. It’s like the Korg A1 suddenly popped my Roland JP-8000 into Juno gear. That was a welcome surprise! It could be the nature of adding effects to a synthesizer, but the Korg A1 also added something more which I can’t quite explain yet.

Although I do play guitar, I plan to mainly use the Korg A1 as a synthesizer effect processor. I feel it really works well with synths especially well. I’ve only just started to scratch the surface of the Korg A1 Multi Effects processor and I’m liking it more and more as I dig deeper into it. Now that dumping and receiving sysex files is a breeze, I can also check out many of the other patch sets that are available in sysex form online. Hopefully I won’t have to change the battery in the Korg A1 for a while!

I know the Korg A2 and A3 effect processors are very popular, especially the A2. The only choice I really had here was the Korg A1, but honestly it’s a very nice effects unit. For now it will do the job perfectly! It’s just what I was looking for and you can’t beat the price either.

Korg EMX-1 Electribe – The 80’s Time Machine

Korg EMX-1 Electribe
Korg EMX-1 Electribe

With a stroke of luck I finally found a mint condition Korg EMX-1 Electribe for a stunning $160 bucks at a used music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. The version I bought is the old one with the Smart Media card instead of the SD type, but I already have quite a few Smart Media cards so I didn’t really mind. I also heard that the EMX-1 Smart Media version is identical to that of the SD version so I’m pretty excited about it. The price of the EMX-1 in Japan is actually quite high, especially for used ones but I strongly believe that the sales clerk had no idea how to price this. In fact, this is the same place where I bought my second Roland JP-8000 which I posted an article on below. I’ll definitely be frequenting that spot quite often as it’s kind of a hot bed for popular gear with great prices.

I’m a growing fan of “Synthfreq” who uses the EMX-1 quite a bit in her 80’s oriented compositions. I find the sound of the Korg EMX-1 and the fact that it has five synth sequencer tracks great for putting that 80’s sound together. Of course the Korg ESX-1 would also be great for loading up 80’s drum samples, but I feel the EMX-1 already does a pretty good job with it’s stock PCM sounds. It can also sequence basslines and melodies very easily which I like as well. Do check out Synthfreq’s youtube channel for more examples of how the Korg EMX-1 can work well as a drum/synth sequencer workstation.

In the video below, Synthfreq is using the Korg EMX-1 for the drums. She and her sister are playing the other parts on various synths. Also check out that wonderful Roland Jupiter 8!!

Update: I’m now looking to upgrade my tubes in the Korg EMX-1 with something like the Sovtek 12AX7LPS ECC83, JJ 12AX7 ECC83S, or GT ECC83-S Gold Series Eletron Tubes. Any ideas? Thanks!

Roland JP-8000 Synthesizer Memory Damaged and Fixed!

Roland JP-8000 Synthesizer
Roland JP-8000 Synthesizer

Back in 1998-1999 I purchased a second Roland JP-8000 and JP-8080 Combo at a used Music Shop called Ishibashi located in Yokohama, Japan. I still have both today and find them to be very fun to work with. I have also just about every commercial and non-commercial patch set available as I’ve been collecting everything I come across since then. It’s a great synthesizer and even as a new Roland SH-201 and SH-01 Gaia user, I still find the JP-8000 and JP-8080 a bit more useful for me. Plus it just has a fantastic sound for everything.

Well today, while checking out a used music store in downtown Nagano-city, I found a used Roland JP-8000 sitting on the shelf that the clerk just got in the previous night. He had a price tag of $120 for it. I had to do a double take because I couldn’t believe the price. In my mind I was thinking “OK, What’s wrong with this JP-8000?”. I check the condition and it was near mint. All of the buttons, knobs, and sliders felt solid. The body was not scratched and did not have any blemishes. Along with the Roland JP-8000 there was the power cord, manuals, and special JP-8000 softcase that was issued with them when I bought mine in the 90’s. Everything “looked” great.

So I asked the sales clerk if I could fire it up and give it a test run. He set me up with some headphones and I turned it on. Almost immediately I got a “Memory Damaged” message. I thought “Ah Ha!” That’s why he’s selling it cheap. He thinks it’s almost toast due to the memory message. I know this sales clerk and if it had said “Battery Low” he would have had a higher price. This was a new message and foreign to him. The JP-8000 then went into internal preset mode and I was able to play it even though there was memory damage. It sounded perfect! All of the original patches were there with some user ones garbled but understood that was because of the battery.

I then Hmm’d and Haw’d finally saying “Ok, I’ll take it” knowing full well I just “MAY” have stumbled upon a gem. When I got home I spent some time carefully opening up the JP-8000 until I finally got to the battery. I replaced it with a new one and “presto” the memory damage message disappeared and everything was working as it should perfectly. Amazing! Now I have a second working Roland JP-8000, but I’m not sure what to do with it yet. I just knew that the price was incredible and if anything I could resell it and make some extra cash. I may however, opt to have my two daughters use it to learn more about synthesizers. They both play piano and recently my eldest daughter loves listening to the song “Pop Goes the World” by Men Without Hats. I figure the Roland JP-8000 would go well with that song and provide my daughters with some synthesizer fun.

What I really like about the Roland JP-8000 besides the sound is the functionality. I find the ribbon controller, RPS, Sequencer, Split/Layer Keyboard, and of course all the knobs, sliders, and buttons to provide a treasure trove of live performance fun. The effects are decent, especially the chorus. I know it’s digital and a VA synth, but I’ve always maintained that if I had a choice between the Roland SH-01 Gaia, SH-201, or JP-8000/8080 it would be the Roland JP-8000. I’m a performance player who prefers to do everything with my hands. To me the Roland JP-8000 allows me to do slightly more with actual playing than the other two. With the Roland JP-8000, I don’t need a computer hardly at all. It’s fun and of course all the synths I mentioned above are great but the Roland JP-8000 is just special to me.

Roland PMA-5 Internal Battery Replacement

Roland PMA-5

About a month ago I bought a junked Roland PMA-5 Personal Music Assistant from a used music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. The sales clerk said it worked but that it was placed in the junk area because they were selling it “as is” for $20 bucks. I figured I would try my luck as lately I’ve been scoring well with this particular shop. Well I brought it home and it said the battery was NG or No Good! I opened it up and noticed that the Sony 3V Internal Battery was the kind that was soldered to the PCB board. What was far more alarming was the fact that under the battery carriage that holds the six double A batteries was a “ton” of battery acid. Apparently the previous owner left batteries in the tray for a long time and they leaked. All three PCB boards inside the PMA-5 were pretty much toast as battery acid was all over them. Thus I had to call it a loss, but fortunately I could salvage the touch screen for parts.

Yesterday, I happened to be in the same used music shop and what did I find? Another Roland PMA-5 for $20 bucks sitting again in the Junk bin. Should I try again? Unlike the previous PMA-5 that I bought, this one had the Stylus Pen, Leather looking cover, power adapter, and Manuals. I thought since the Roland PMA-5 looked to be in better condition that I would give it a second chance. The note on the sales tag said it had a “Battery NG” error so it also looked like I would have to change that soldered battery inside.

I brought the Roland PMA-5 up to the counter and I noticed the same Japanese sales clerk approached to help me. He smiled and asked if I was successful with the previous Roland PM-5 that I bought last month. Interesting he remembered. I said “No, the last unit was completely covered with Battery acid on the inside.”. He seemed very alarmed by that and felt that even though he sold it to me “as is”, it was bad in that it potentially was dangerous to sell a product with battery acid problems. So in good faith, he opted to give me the second Roland PMA-5 for free! Amazing! He has sold me lots of gear in the past, so I figured he thought I was a good frequent customer. I very nice gesture I thought. I thanked him and graciously accepted the second Roland PMA-5.

I brought the Roland PMA-5 home and started it up. It worked!! The headphone jack was scratchy and cut out but that was easily fixed by soldering the dry joints that I found inside. Now the headphones work fantastic. I did get a “battery NG” message and noticed that the internal battery was just starting to leak battery acid, BUT, nothing had leaked onto the PCB board yet. I quickly de-soldered the battery which was actually quite easy to do. However, I am now having a problem replacing the battery.

The previous battery was a Sony 3V battery with 3 legs soldered to it. I am not sure how to solder a new battery holder to the PCB board. All the battery holders that I find have “two” legs and not three legs like the original. Does this mean I need to run two positive red wires from the PCB board holes to the one positive battery holder leg? Then run the one black wire to the one negative battery holder leg? I can’t seem to find battery holders with three legs so I’m not sure how I can solder a new battery holder into the Roland PMA-5. It doesn’t make sense to me. I am currently searching for info about this on the internet but it seems not many people have changed the internal battery on a Roland PMA-5 Personal Music Assistant yet…or at least have written about it.

I’ll update this post with my solution once I find it. For now the PMA-5 works fine without the battery. It just means I have to re-calibrate and initialize the unit each time I power it up. It also means I cannot save any styles or songs I create. This is ok for now as it’s quite useful as a “preset” backtrack player. It’s also very entertaining to play around with while I’m watching my kids do their Dancing and Swimming classes. It’s a fun little unit and actually sounds pretty decent. I also feel it would be difficult to program a song in with just the Stylus pen so perhaps it might eventually be ok not to replace the battery, however, it would be nice to have it fully operational at some point. We’ll see.

Stay tuned for updates shortly. – Jim

Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler Workstation

Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler
Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler

Wow! I just picked up a used Ensoniq EPS Classic in fantastic condition today for real cheap. The EPS Classic had been sitting in the used shop for a couple of months in the junk bin and still nobody had bought it. A couple of days ago, I asked the clerk if I could plug it in and give it a test spin. He said that the EPS Classic made no sound and that it would only work as a Midi Controller. I didn’t have the time to talk about it with him, but I figured I would come back and try again later to test the ESP. Well, today I had some time to visit the used music store and this time a different sales clerk was working.

This time, the sales clerk allowed me to start up the Ensoniq Classic EPS. He said he had no idea how it worked and thus it was the reason why it was in the junk bin. There were about 65 floppy disks and quickly I was able to find the OS startup disk. I did some homework about this sampler so I kind of had an idea about how to get it going. I powered up the EPS Classic and everything booted just fine. I then found a Moog Disk and loaded up a Moog Instrument in the first bank. I found that the headphone jack was the right plugin jack so the sales clerk allowed me to use the store’s headphones. It took me a minute to figure out how to access the Moog instrument I loaded up, but sure enough I found the sound.

Wow! Did that Moog sound fantastic. Instantly I knew I had to have this EPS Classic Sampler. I can’t explain it, but it’s the sound that just clicked with me. It definitely sounds different than my Roland W-30 or S-330 Sampler. It has that old school sound which really reminds me of the 80’s. Along with the Ensoniq EPS Classic, I got an Ensoniq pedal, case, manual, 65 disks, and the 2x Expander hooked up in the back of the sampler. The keys are all in terrific shape and work very well.

I’ve actually heard a lot of great things about the Ensoniq EPS Classic especially the sound and sequencer. Indeed the sampling time is very small but the loading times and sample swapping are very fast. In fact, I already have plans to use the EPS Classic with my Boss RC-50 and loop sounds as I play them. I can then load up new sounds and record on the fly. My Roland W-30 would be a little slower in doing this, so I’m curious how the EPS will work. I think the EPS should be fun for some creative new ideas.

I don’t know much about software or other editing utilities for the Ensoniq EPS Classic, but I’ll be looking into that this week. I’m hoping to find a way to create disk images with Wav files so that I can use them with the HxC SD Card Floppy Drive Emulator that will work with the ESP. I actually just got my second HxC Emulator in the mail today and plan to set it up eventually with the EPS Classic. There is a guy on Youtube below who successfully was able to install the HxC SD Card Emulator with the Ensoniq EPS Classic. I just did it with my Roland W-30 and S-330 Samplers, so I’m confident it will work.

Update: On Win98, I installed a program called EPSdisk that allowed me to copy Ensoniq EPS Floppy Disks into .GKH image files onto my PC. I was then able to open the .GKH files in AWAVE Studio using my Windows 7 PC. I also was able to effectively make backup copies of the EPS Classic OS. When I bought the EPS Classic it came with OS version 2.20. I downloaded and made a new OS Disk for version 2.49 using EPSdisk. The EPS Classic loaded the udpated OS 2.49 version just fine. The Ensoniq EPS Classic OS v2.49 fixes COPY FLOPPY DISK and adds several SCSI and Sequencer functions.

Furthermore, I found that I could import wav files into AWAVE Studio and create and instrument file. This instrument file could then be saved into .efe EPS Instrument Format and then be saved to an EPS Classic formated floppy disk using EPSdisk very easily. This is my ticket now to importing WAV files of my own into the EPS classic. I actually did this with some example wavs and it worked perfectly! Once I found ESPdisk and discovered that AWAVE works with EPS Classic .efe and .gkh formatted files, I knew it would be easy to import WAV files. Excellent!

By the way, I found that my Ensoniq EPS Classic is now running OS 2.49 with Rom Bios version 2.0 and Keyboard version 2.10 using the Software Information Command on the EPS Classic.

Another interesting tidbit I found with the Ensoniq EPS Classic is that I had to run two high quality cables out from the left/right output jacks and into my decent Yamaha mixer to effectively get a clean sound out of the EPS. Tweaking the gain, high, mid, and lows, I was able to get a very quiet, clean, along with a very solid punchy sound.

Some people experience lots of static coming out of the output jacks. I sense this is perhaps mainly due to the fact that you might need to run the EPS through a good mixer with decent cables. The EPS sampler will make a small amount of noise due to it’s characteristics and also because the output is slightly lower than more modern samplers. However, it’s easily adjusted when using a good mixer. At least it worked great for me. I’m getting some really great analog oriented sounds now and it’s awesome!! My EPS Classic is definitely very phat sounding now.

The video below shows a guy on Youtube opening up his Ensoniq EPS sampler, removing the disk drive, and replacing it with an HxC SD Floppy Emulator.

Frankothemountain is a Youtube user that uses the Ensoniq EPS Classic on most of his early music. I really liked some of his songs and emailed him about some more info. He said he had four EPS Classics and indeed he used them extensively on his recordings. He said it required “lot’s of looping, editing, and down sampling” but the creative possibilities were endless. It’s a very inspiring Sampler Keyboard. You can check out one of his songs and videos below.

Akai S2000 Sampler Connections

Akai S2000 Digital Sampler
Akai S2000 Digital Sampler

Last weekend I picked up a used Akai S2000 Sampler for $20 bucks and thought I’d have some fun with it. I’ve actually never owned an Akai Sampler before and I understand the S2000 is likely to be last on everyone’s list of samplers to buy, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Below are some thoughts about the Akai S2000 based on my experience over the past few days working with it.

SCSI External Drives and Media for the Akai S2000
I have been successful at attaching an Iomega 100MB Zip Drive and a Fujitsu 230MB MO drive to the Akai S2000 without any problems. I can format, load, and save samples, programs, etc. to these drives. I have not been able to successfully create a boot disk with the a zip or MO disk yet and still must rely on the Floppy Drive to boot up OS Version 2. This is not a problem, but it would have been nice to be able to boot up with an MO disk like I can with my Roland S-760.

I haven’t had any success getting any SCSI external CD-Rom Drive to work with the Akai S2000 yet. I have 4 different CD-Rom drives of various ages and none of them seem to work. However, it is possible the CD-Roms drives do work, BUT, the Akai Disks are not readable. I have been burning Akai S2000 CD-Roms with Nero and none of them work with the Akai S2000 even though they work with ESC ( Extreme Sampler Converter ) software on my Windows 7 computer. So the Akai S2000 does see and attempt to access the Nero burned Akai CD-Rom, BUT it always displays an AKAI SCSI Disk not found error. So my thinking is that Nero or something messes up the CD-Rom Copies after burning. I am not sure. ( Note that I am well aware of changing the HD SCSI under Global to access the various external drives ).

Importing WAV Files to the Akai S2000
The only way I have found to effectively and quickly import WAV files into the Akai S2000 is with a program called Akaidisk. This program works really well and I found it to be quite fast. You are limited to importing 1.44MB worth of samples at a time, but that is fine for me as I primarily work with muli-samples rather than loop based phrase samples. I run Akaidisk off a Windows 98 computer that I have for working with older samplers and synthesizers. Akaidisk works perfectly and it’s currently my preferred choice of getting sounds into the Akai S2000. In fact it’s the only way that works for me at the moment.

Software Editors for the Akai S2000
So far, I have been unable to get any software editor to work with the Akai S2000 on Windows 98. I do not have a Mac and my other computers are using Windows 7. Akai Mesa for PC and Chicken Systems Millennium which I’ve heard great things about do not work at all on my Windows 98 computer. Mesa actually “sees” my S2000 Sampler, but I then get “Time Out” messages whenever I try to do anything. Millennium just crashes whenever I open the program. Toss!

I am aware that it may be easy to fry or pop the SCSI related fuse in the Akai S2000, but since my Zip and MO drives work via SCSI I feel that is not the case. Akai Mesa PC on Win98 does see my Akai S2000 but whenever I try to access it by creating a Program for example, I get the “Time Out” error. Why the Akai S2000 is timing out every time, I am not sure. I have tried all sorts of SCSI Drive and cable combinations with zero luck. My computer will simply not work with the Akai S2000.

A few other Akai S2000 points.

1. I do not find working with the Akai S2000 menus to be all that difficult at all. Many people say it’s a pain or very slow, but when I want a particular set of samples mapped on the keyboard within the S2000, it’s pretty fast. I find goofing around with the technical problems I mentioned previously to be more time consuming. Heck, working with my Roland Fantom XR Sampler Rack isn’t all that faster especially when using the software.

The key is to find a workflow and make it happen. For now, Akaidisk and Win98 with either a zip or MO drive connected to the Akai S2000 works fantastic. I do wish I could find a working CD-Rom drive that works, but perhaps later I’ll find one. ( Or like I mentioned a way to properly burn Akai Disks ).

2. On a positive note, the Akai S2000 has a lot of great functionality. It sounds great and it’s actually very easy to program. For $20 bucks, I think it’s a bargain!

3. It’s likely I can get the HxC SD Card Floppy Drive Emulator to work with the Akai S2000 no problem. I have two HxC SD card Emulators and will have to try this. Akai S2000 floppy disk images can be created with OmniFlop for the HxC Emulator. The Akai S2000 should be able to boot from the HxC and access any disk images placed on an SD card. First one would create a Floppy Disk with files using Akaidisk and then use OmniFlop to create an Akai Floppy Image. Drag and Drop these files onto the HxC and load them up into the Akai S2000. I’ll have to test this but I’m sure it will work well.

4. I haven’t tried using the Akai S2000 with any external hard disks yet but I’m sure it will work since I have a Zip and MO Drive working. I’d rather stick with removable media however as it’s more reliable then having a Hard Disk break down on me. I also find older Hard Disks more noisy. See update below.

Stay tuned for more updates on my adventures with the old but familiar Akai S2000.

UPDATE – Importing Akai CD Rom Programs and Wav files into the Akai S2000 Sampler.

Today I was able to successfully import Programs from Akai CD-Roms using Translator, BUT, only running on Windows 98 Second Edition. I’m finding more and more that Windows 7 is not good at all for working with old synths and samplers. I have found that pretty much Windows 98 works with most tasks that I need to accomplish. I was able to use an Iomega 100 or 250 External Zip drive for reading and writing the Akai S2000 programs/samples. I was also able to use MO drives of 230MB or 640MB in size as well. Fantastic!! I can now virtually convert and import anything into the Akai S2000 Sampler this way. Now on my Windows 98 computer I can see anything on Akai formatted CD-Roms, MO Disks, Zip Disks, and Floppies. Brilliant!

I also found like with the Ensoniq EPS Classic that you need quality cables and a good solid Mixer to get the best sound out of the Akai S2000. If you don’t, you are likely to get unwanted static or noise.