Akai S20

Akai S20 Image

Akai's S20 Stereo Phrase Sampler starts out looking like a table-top version of the lackluster S01. Major improvements include STEREO input and outputs and far greater memory expansion (up to 17 MB) and of course, the sequencer. The standard 1 MB can sample between 7 to 56 seconds. Upgrading to 17 MB lets you sample from 131 seconds (Stereo 32kHz) to 1048 seconds (Mono 8kHz)! The S20 is a budget desktop phrase sampler targeted towards DJs and home project studios; and the S20 offers excellent value for the price.

An onboard 3.5 inch high density floppy disk drive allows for samples to be interchanged with higher-end Akai samplers or loaded onto a computer for further editing. There are some caveats, however, and these include absolutely no onboard effects whatsoever and a rather poor built-in sequencer. It is also worth noting that the unit uses RCA jacks instead of 1/4 inch stereo plugs, which may be useful to some and irritating to others. Nonetheless, pair the S20 up with a decent sequencer and an outboard effects box or filter (if desired) and you've got a nice, cheap, and functional little sampler.

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20 Visitor comments
lightman
February 5, 2011 @ 4:04 am
Have one of those and still use it a lot for my music. It's nice and compact for gig, studio and stage use, has an easy-to-use interface and most importantly a killer sound - Akai S-style, you know the score. Yeah, it does not have all those nifty features of modern desktop or keyboard sampling workstations/grooveboxes but it only costs a fraction of them, yet sounds just as good, if not better. If you can find it cheap (and you will), give it a try, you won't be disappointed.
RAFAEL
October 7, 2010 @ 9:27 pm
I AM SELLING MY AKAI S20 FOR $50 DOLLARS. send questions to : buysellbuyebay@gmail.com
Cookie Galore
September 21, 2010 @ 8:23 am
Beat Scientist, is there an onboard bit crusher?

This was my first sampler and though I found it to be a bit clunky to use at first, it sounds great and was a lot of fun to play. It's a great sampler for playing the sounds rather than just playing back the sounds.
Beat Scientist
June 24, 2009 @ 6:22 pm
can also work well as a studio accessory - I've used it as a sampling drum / sound module hooked up to a DAW running cubase, sample the kits or sounds I want, tweek them then trigger the sounds from the sequencer.

If you wanna be creative try bitcrushing on this baby! you can get some really nice results.

I would say this to anyone thinking of buying an S20 (or any akai): Don't over look the quiality of akai quality of these older AD/DAs, they just sound great... I moved on to the S5000 then finally the MPC5000 after buying my S20 but still kept the S20 because of the sound these filters capture.
logicbomb.de
October 17, 2008 @ 1:37 pm
Although undocumented, this bad boy also supports MIDI sample dump, although its very slow, takes about a minute of transfer time for every seconds of audio (mono). Don't forget to resample your clips to 32khz!!!

I'd say its more of live performance tool than a studio piece, works great w/ Kaoss Pad or Alesis AirFX, or both even!
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Demo track produced on the S20, from the Future Music CD, issue 56.

    Manual - Click this link to download the Akai owner's manual.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Sampler - 16 bit, 32 kHz, 16 kHz, 8 kHz. 4th order delta/sigma 64 times oversampling.
  • Memory - 1MB memory (STEREO, MONO), expandable to 5MB or 17MB by 72-pin SIMM.
  • LFO - None
  • VCF - None
  • VCA - level and release are controllable
  • Effects - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - sequencer: 4 tracks, 30,000 notes
  • Keyboard - 16 pads
  • Control - MIDI (16-channels, 2x IN, 1x OUT, 1x THRU)
  • Date Produced - 1997
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Akai Pro

    Additional info provided by Sean Caron

    Reviewed November 2007

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