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Akai S1100EX 16 Voice Expansion Unit for the S1100 (part 6)

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Mode 2

If anything, Mode 2, or ‘Voice Expansion’ mode, is even easier than
Mode 1. This mode is for when you need to have thirty-two simultaneous voices
on the go, or sixteen in stereo. This is usually the case when you are playing
sampled piano. Without sufficient voices, the sustain pedal is very difficult
to use without note-stealing becoming obvious. Switching into Mode 2 is as easy
as switching into Mode 1. When you load some samples in from floppy disk, the
S1100EX will load first, and the display will invert to tell you what’s
going on, and then the S1100 will load the same sample data. When this is done,
you basically have a thirty-two voice S1100 at your disposal. All editing procedures
will be exactly the same as if you only had an S1100, and when you save data
to disk only one set has to be saved because the data is the same in both units.

Advanced Options

Keep in mind that the S1100EX adds a whole new S1100 to your rack and you’ll
appreciate that feats like having two different digital effects running at the
same time are quite logical. But you may wonder about a couple of other matters,
so let me clarify…

Are you a Cue List user on the S1100? The Cue List allows samples to be entered
against SMPTE timecode so that they can be played back in sync with a video
without having to use an external sequencer or synchroniser of any kind. The
S1100 can do this too, but the IB-108 SMPTE reader/generator card isn’t
supplied as standard, as it is with the S1100.

As I said earlier, further S1100EXs can be added to the SCSI chain, but you
only benefit from the added multitimbrality that Mode 1 offers. Although your
first S1100EX will add an extra sixteen voices in Mode 2, this doesn’t
unfortunately mean that another one would add sixteen more. The first sixteen
notes would be played on the S1100 and the next sixteen on all subsequent S1100EXs.

An interesting trick that the S1100EX’s manual notes is digital mixing
for resampling. This isn’t specifically an S1100EX feature since you could
do it with an S1100 and a DAT machine, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Here’s how: First you need to have an IB-104 digital interface installed
in your S1100 which provides a optical and electrical digital inputs and outputs
in addition to the digital output that the S1100 has as standard. Make up a
complex stack of programs on the S1100EX that you think might be useful if it
didn’t use up so many voices, and play it back through the digital output
into the S1100’s IB-104 digital input while sampling digitally. This should
give you a sound with several layers but keeping the S1100’s full polyphony.
You could do this just as easily through the analogue inputs and outputs adding
whatever EQ and processing you need. I suspect that having two samplers around
will throw up a lot of possibilities that we haven’t even begun to consider
before.

David Mellor

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David Mellor