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.