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Akai S1100EX 16 Voice Expansion Unit for the S1100 (part 5)

The S1100EX has two principal modes of operation, called appropriately enough Mode 1 and Mode 2.

Mode 1

The S1100EX has two principal modes of operation, called appropriately enough Mode 1 and Mode 2. Akai might have considered giving them more meaningful names like ‘Multitimbral mode’ and ‘Voice expansion mode’, in which case we would have had one less hurdle to trip over. Mode 1, or ‘Multitimbral mode’, is where the S1100EX acts as a completely separate S1100, linked only by the floppy disk drive (or hard disk if connected) and display on the S1100. Let me take you through the sequence of operations:

Since there are no buttons on the S1100 marked ‘S1100EX’ there must be a clever way of telling the linked system what you want to do. There is. Press the Mark key and hold it for just over a second. A SCSI status line appears on the bottom of the display which you can mostly ignore after the initial setting up. While holding the Mark key press the Ent/Play key and this will select a mode in which the S1100 is operating on its own. This isn’t what you paid all your money for so let’s load the S1100 up with some sounds as quickly as possible and move on. After you have filled your S1100 with 2 Meg, 10 Meg or 32 Meg of sounds, according to its capabilities, hold down the Mark key again until the status line appears and press the +/< key. The LCD screen will go into ‘reverse video’ and the parts that were grey before will turn blue and the parts that were blue will turn grey (actually a shade more reminiscent of well used dishwater). This tells you without any shadow of doubt that you are now operating the S1100EX. Every command you enter now will be piped straight down the SCSI cable to the S1100EX, as will the sample data you enter from floppy disk, hard disk or CD ROM. The beauty of the system is that apart from one key combination to set the S1100EX into Multitimbral mode, and two more to swap between the two units, there is nothing else you have to learn. You have saved a considerable sum of money and operation is as easy as before. In fact, the best way to think of this mode is as two S1100s. Keep that in mind and you can’t go wrong.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004