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Hands on – Akai S1000 digital sampler (part 2)


As always in the Hands On series, I am concerned with the basics of operation
so that a newcomer to the S1000, belonging to a friend or at a studio you have
hired or otherwise wangled your way into, can get started and get the thing
to work at a basic level. As with every piece of equipment, there are features
which you can manage without, and a few features which only the most dedicated
experts will ever access. Don't ever worry about not being the master of any
particular machine as long as you can get what you want out of it.

Power up

One problem that some samplers have which doesn't apply to the S1000 is losing
the operating system. If the operating system is stored on floppy disk, and
you don't have the disk, what can you do? Go down the betting shop and back
a few nags probably because your luck certainly can't get any worse. The S1000
has its operating system stored in ROM. This may not be the latest version of
the system, which will be stored on a floppy disk nearby, hopefully, but it
will get you going and provide very nearly all of the functions of which the
unit is capable. If you do have the operating system disk, then just push it
in the drive and switch the power on, the system will load up automatically.

Assuming that the S1000 in question belongs to someone else, then you need
to know something about how it is connected. You will notice the XLRs and jack
sockets on the front panel. Surprisingly there are no inputs on the back, which
one might think would be considered more appropriate for rack mount operation.
If the inputs are straightforward – just use the jacks or XLRs according to
the cables you have available – then the outputs are not so simple. The S1000
has a pair of main stereo outputs and eight other polyphonic outputs as well.
It's ten to one that only the stereo outputs will be connected but 'power users'
may have the individual outputs connected to separate channels on the mixer
also. I would advise forgetting about the individual outputs for the time being.
They are useful, but let's not get too complicated just yet.

Let's play

First, let's load in a disk. Press the DISK button, then the CLR (Clear) soft
key, then the YES soft key and the entire volume will be loaded. Press the SELECT
PROG button and you will see something like Figure 1. S1000 programmers follow
two distinct strategies when building up their disk volumes so you will probably
find yourself in one of two states.

Strategy 1: Each program will have a different program number and all programs
will be set to the same MIDI channel, probably channel 1.

Strategy 2: Each program will have the same program number, as in Figure 1,
and they will all be set to different MIDI channels.

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Multitrack tape users will probably follow strategy one, MIDI studios will
undoubtedly follow the second option. If you have a '1' disk and you're a '2'
person, then press the RNUM soft key and operate the cursor and data knobs in
the obvious way to set all the program numbers to 1. Don't forget to press the
GO soft key or the renumbering operation will not be completed. Next turn to
the Play Response page by hitting the RESP soft key and set the MIDI channels
as appropriate. You'll find that everything you want is available at a twist
of the cursor knob, and that the data knob is there for selecting programs or
setting parameters. To translate a '2' disk to suit a '1' user follow a similar
procedure. At this stage it's probably best to experiment with saving your newly
modified volume to a blank formatted disk (a volume, as you might have guessed,
is equivalent to the entire memory content of the S1000). I'm sure you can figure
out how to do it.

David Mellor

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David Mellor