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Akai S1100EX 16 Voice Expansion Unit for the S1100 (part 4)

A mixing console can only have so many inputs. Sixteen inputs used to be considered a lot, but now the requirement is for as many as can possibly be squeezed in.

Audio Interface

A mixing console can only have so many inputs. Sixteen inputs used to be considered a lot, but now the requirement is for as many as can possibly be squeezed in. It is commonplace for broadcasters to order desks with nigh on a hundred channels, and they are starting to insist that these channels should be stereo too. In the MIDI music studio, we would also like to get our hands on desks with a hundred stereo channels. We might have to wait a while before they become more affordable for us, but in the meantime Akai have thoughtfully provided a method whereby the S1100EX need not be an added drain on channel resources, not even if you have half a dozen of them.

On the rear panel of the S1100EX, as you will see on Figure 2, there is a pair of audio inputs. Note that these are not sampling inputs, but if you connect the stereo outputs of your S1100 to these, a cascade is set up so that stereo audio flows from one unit through another and thence to just two channels of the mixing console. Note that this does not offer the utmost in versatility, but if you’re pushed for channels, as I expect many of us are these days, then this feature is very useful.

In saying this, of course, I’m forgetting that the man or woman who can afford a multiple S1100 setup can afford plenty of mixer channels too. So let’s look at the audio outputs in more detail. The S1100 has a stereo output; so does the S1100EX. The S1100 has eight polyphonic individual outputs; so does the S1100EX. In fact the audio facilities are duplicated right down to the headphone socket, which like the S1100 is positioned on the back!! It must save on tooling costs because no-one can tell me that there wasn’t enough front panel space for it!

Eight individual outputs on S1100 and expander will fill up a lot of channels and also offer a lot of controllability. There is an enormous difference between setting levels on faders and setting them via the display an LCD screen. As the song goes, “Reach out and touch”. Says it all really doesn’t it?

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004