Recently I picked up a used Roland MV-8000 at a small second hand shop in a remote area of Nagano-city, Japan. I actually had my eye on this for the past two years and gradually watched the price hit rock bottom and to the point where I thought it was only a matter of days before someone saw the great deal. So I snagged it while I could and I must say it’s been a blast working with it. So far it does just about everything I’ve asked it to do and what it does, it does very well.
Working with phrases, the pads, and sequencer are all pretty straight forward. What particularly interested me was the ability for the MV-8000 to work fully with creating instruments using multisamples imported or created by sampling. Not only could I create a beat, or loop a phrase, but I also could playback any sort of Akai, E-MU, Ensoniq, or Roland multisample from a collection of sample CDs that I have acquired. I also mentioned the Akai S2000 in my title because I have also found a new way to work with importing samples to the S2000 which in turn I can create a CD-Rom for import into the MV-8000 which works flawlessly. Thus I thought I’d outline my workflow below in case it helps give ideas to others interested in doing something similar with either of these devices.
I must stress that the main task I am trying to achieve is to import samples into the Akai S2000 / Roland MV-8000 as instruments for playback using a midi keyboard controller. In my case I usually use a Roland A-90 Expandable Controller.
The Akai S2000 is a fun sampler and I’ve always liked the sound, BUT, it’s never been easy to import and map samples across the keys. I finally found a solution that works incredibly well and I’ll use my “Universe of Sounds” for the E-MU Emulator II series as an example. A while back I successfully converted the E-MU Universe of Sounds CD Roms to Emulator X2 format on my computer. I then found that if I did the following I could import these into the Akai S2000 perfectly.
1. Convert the Emulator X2 Universe of Sounds patches into Akai S5000 format using Extreme Sampler Converter. I’ve used Awave Studio and Translator 6 without success. They alter the patch settings too much, but ESC keeps them virtually untouched.
2. For the second step, I translate the Akai S5000 files into Akai MESA format using CD Xtract 4. Again if I use Awave Studio or Translator 6 it alters the patch files and they don’t sound correctly. Translator 6 works fine if I import into the Akai S2000 only, but later when I want to import into the Roland MV-8000, I notice major patch issues which I isolated to Translator 6 changing the original patch attributes.
3. I now take the AKAI Mesa files created by CD Xtract 4 and import them into Millenium Pro which is a program I found on an old hard drive from WAAAY back. I can’t remember where I got it but I remember a guy named Jan used to program it. It works perfectly for importing MESA patches into the S2000. It’s VERY stable and most importantly it keeps the true nature of the multisample patches in tact. It’s amazing how well it works. Note that I use a Windows 98 computer with an INTERNAL SCSI card connected to an Akai S2000. I found that using any sort of PCMCIA SCSI or USB SCSI will not work. It must be a card slotted inside the computer. I can also use Windows XP which works fine too, but like Windows 98 a little better. In both cases you need an internal SCSI card and not a PCMCIA card SCSI device.
4. Once I have the sample imported into the Akai S2000, I can stop there, OR, I can import them into the Roland MV-8000. What I do for that is first save the multisampled patches from the Akai S2000 to an MO disk drive connected via SCSI. The Akai S2000 can only use 230MB MO disks so I can only create a maximum 230MB CD-Rom.
5. I then have to rip an image of the MO drive using again the highly useful “Extreme Sample Converter”. It creates an exact image of the MO disk with which I can then use a image burner and create an Akai S-1000 formatted CD-Rom. I found that saving the patches FROM the Akai S2000 and then ripping the MO image to be the BEST way to keep all the settings safe and untouched. Any use of a software application like Awave Studio or Translator 6 alters the files. I have done this extensively and on my computers they 100% change the files so I can’t comment anymore than the fact that something is changed and I can’t explain it. An Akai S2000 created MO disk works 100% perfect so I’m all over that…laugh.
6. Finally I insert the newly created Akai S1000 CD-Rom into the MV-8000 and import the patches into the instrument area of the sampler. PRESTO!! I now have my E-MU Universe of Sound instrument collection mapped perfectly with pitch, root notes, envelopes, and names all appropriately placed. I literally don’t have to change a thing, but of course the MV-8000 is different than the Akai S2000 so I naturally tweak things a bit to my liking.
I can now use the Akai S2000 to effectively create a working and very accurate Akai S-1000 CD-Rom full of multisamples that can be perfectly imported into my Roland MV-8000, S-760, Yamaha A3000, etc sampler. The Akai S-1000 is still pretty much a universal format for most samplers and by being able to create multisample instrument CD-Roms in Akai S-1000, I can fill up other brand samplers quite easily.
Note that there is an MV Kit Creator program that I hear works very well with the Roland MV-8000, BUT it cannot handle the creation of multisampled instruments. I primarily use samplers for creating patches or instruments most of the time. I should also note that Translator 6 can translate samples into MV-8000 instrument format, but honestly that doesn’t work for me. I have to spend WAAAAY too much time tweaking the result. By using ESC, CD Xtract, and Millenium Pro in the manner above, my success rate is near perfect which allows me to “Tweak to play” rather than “Tweak to fix” a patch. I would LOVE for Translator 6 to work but it doesn’t. I did however register Translator 6 so that hopefully an update will work, but until then I have found a suitable workaround.
I really enjoy tinkering with hardware samplers. I recently also just picked up a Roland VP-9000 and am anxious to dive into that as well. It should be fun. EnjoY!!