The S900 sampler was Akai's first truly professional sampler, released in 1986. Its sampling specifications were pro-quality at the time: 12-bit stereo sampling, 7.5kHz to 40kHz variable sampling rates and a maximum of 63 seconds of sample time at 7.5kHz. Up to 32 samples can be created and stored to disk along with any edit settings. This was one of the first rack-mount samplers to use a built-in disk drive. Although the drive could load sounds while you play, it was still a very slow process.
Editing and programming the S900 is a very good precursor to the advanced S3000 series. There are lots of advanced edit capabilities for looping, truncating, velocity crossfading, tuning and even analog-like parameters to control. Individual outputs for each of the eight voices, stereo mix out, stereo input, MIDI and trigger inputs round out this machine as a professional vintage-status sampler that still proves to be very useful even for today's musicians!
The S950 soon followed the S900 and offered increased memory and sampling rates. The sample rate was now variable from 7.5 to 48kHz and it could hold up to 99 samples in memory. Memory could be expanded from 750KB to 2.25MB. The S950 is used by Fatboy Slim, Moby, Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode, Future Sound of London, Sneaker Pimps, The Bomb Squad, Dr. Dre, DJ Premiere, Prince Paul, Vangelis, Digable Planets and A Guy Called Gerald.
- Polyphony - 8 voices
- Sampler - 12-bit linear, 7.5 - 40kHz sampling rates (63 seconds). Up to 48kHz in S950.
- Memory - 750 kB RAM in S900 (not expandable). 750 kB (standard) to 2.25 mB RAM in S950.
- VCA - ADSR
- Effects - None
- Arpeg/Seq - None
- Keyboard - None
- Storage - 750K internal RAM. Up to 2.25MB in S950
- Control - MIDI plus optional 8 trigger-inputs via ME35T-board
- Date Produced - S900: 1986
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