Akai S700

Akai S700 Image

Akai's 12-bit S700 was released in 1987 as a rack-mount spin-off of the X7000 keyboard sampler. The S700 is a very user-friendly sampler. It's much like the S612 that preceded it, but with some improvements. It has the same filters and effects as the S612. Its sampling frequency ranges from 4 to 32 KHz and it supports up to 8 seconds of sample-time. Its polyphony is limited at just 6 voices and unfortunately it uses the totally obsolete 2.8-inch QuickDisk format for loading and saving samples.

A unique limitation of its sampling, the S700 is capable of recording only six 0.8-second samples at its maximum bandwidth setting of 16kHz. It samples in mono and using twelve bits it has a distinctly lo-fi sound quality. Yes there's a low-pass filter and no, it's not resonant. So, limited memory, sound quality and data-storage may label the S700 as a dead end. But some think it's got character and continue to use them today. It's a dinosaur, and some people may like that about it!

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12 Visitor comments
November 5, 2009 @ 2:54 pm
I got on my own home studio, for makeing old school beats s700 is perfect, I love it, maybe it's a dinosaur but sound with I recive is unreapatable
October 23, 2009 @ 6:36 pm
Pretty handy 4 making a random syth out of any sound,,the test tone in it is real nice 2 i use it a lot
May 3, 2009 @ 7:33 am
I owned one in the late eighties and got very familiar with it.

The only program that allowed graphical sample editing was Turtle Beach SampleVision DOS. This is also a good workaround for failed Quicdisk drives. SampleVision Windows (3.1) could communicate with the DOS version thru file conversion, and had a better interface and effects / editing. Also, I believe Mac Turbosynth talked to the S700. I have heard Trent Reznor still uses that program today.

I enjoyed the unit completely. If you kept the sample rate high, the 12 bits weren't noticable (especially at the time). If you lower the rate it gets crunchy fast.

There was a memory daughter board that allowed 16 voices to be stored at once.

This was the best sounding hardware I owned, before software took over. I have a lot of fond memories of it.

For both Samplevisions and Turbosynth send me an email !
Muffy St. Bernard
April 15, 2009 @ 2:07 pm
Its main limiation, for me, was the QuickDisk format. Not only were the disks expensive when I first bought this unit (1993) but they could only hold one sample per side. A few years ago the drive broke completely, so I guess that's moot.

Otherwise my S700 has always been stable and reliable. The sampling -- and assigning to one of many "programs" -- was quick and idiot-proof, though it output a devastating "POP!!!" after each sample action. Use of the "program" feature made it easy to switch between sample sets and arrangements with ease.

As an added bonus for those of us using it live: the line-in had its own volume control, so you could use the sampler as a primitive mixer.
March 8, 2009 @ 4:40 pm
I was in a band and we had a Simmons drum kit driving an S700. Excellent for sampled kicks and snares and you just tuned the toms!
VSE Rating

Don’t bother

User Rating

Rated 2.9 (119 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices (increase to 16 with the optional ASK70 expansion board)
  • Sampler - 12-bit linear, 4kHz - 32kHz (variable) sampling rates
  • Memory - 128 or 256 KB (8 seconds at 4KHz)
  • Modulation - LFO with sine wave, speed, depth and delay controls
  • Filter - High and Low Pass filter
  • Keyboard - None
  • Effects - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Akai Pro

    Additional info from Jannis Decker

    Reviewed November 2007

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