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Hands on - Akai S1000 digital sampler (part 2)

One problem that some samplers have which doesn't apply to the S1000 is losing the operating system. If the operating system is stored on floppy disk, and you don't have the disk, what can you do? Go down the betting shop and back a few nags probably because your luck certainly can't get any worse...

As always in the Hands On series, I am concerned with the basics of operation so that a newcomer to the S1000, belonging to a friend or at a studio you have hired or otherwise wangled your way into, can get started and get the thing to work at a basic level. As with every piece of equipment, there are features which you can manage without, and a few features which only the most dedicated experts will ever access. Don't ever worry about not being the master of any particular machine as long as you can get what you want out of it.

Power up

One problem that some samplers have which doesn't apply to the S1000 is losing the operating system. If the operating system is stored on floppy disk, and you don't have the disk, what can you do? Go down the betting shop and back a few nags probably because your luck certainly can't get any worse. The S1000 has its operating system stored in ROM. This may not be the latest version of the system, which will be stored on a floppy disk nearby, hopefully, but it will get you going and provide very nearly all of the functions of which the unit is capable. If you do have the operating system disk, then just push it in the drive and switch the power on, the system will load up automatically.

Assuming that the S1000 in question belongs to someone else, then you need to know something about how it is connected. You will notice the XLRs and jack sockets on the front panel. Surprisingly there are no inputs on the back, which one might think would be considered more appropriate for rack mount operation. If the inputs are straightforward - just use the jacks or XLRs according to the cables you have available - then the outputs are not so simple. The S1000 has a pair of main stereo outputs and eight other polyphonic outputs as well. It's ten to one that only the stereo outputs will be connected but 'power users' may have the individual outputs connected to separate channels on the mixer also. I would advise forgetting about the individual outputs for the time being. They are useful, but let's not get too complicated just yet.

Let's play

First, let's load in a disk. Press the DISK button, then the CLR (Clear) soft key, then the YES soft key and the entire volume will be loaded. Press the SELECT PROG button and you will see something like Figure 1. S1000 programmers follow two distinct strategies when building up their disk volumes so you will probably find yourself in one of two states.

Strategy 1: Each program will have a different program number and all programs will be set to the same MIDI channel, probably channel 1.

Strategy 2: Each program will have the same program number, as in Figure 1, and they will all be set to different MIDI channels.

Multitrack tape users will probably follow strategy one, MIDI studios will undoubtedly follow the second option. If you have a '1' disk and you're a '2' person, then press the RNUM soft key and operate the cursor and data knobs in the obvious way to set all the program numbers to 1. Don't forget to press the GO soft key or the renumbering operation will not be completed. Next turn to the Play Response page by hitting the RESP soft key and set the MIDI channels as appropriate. You'll find that everything you want is available at a twist of the cursor knob, and that the data knob is there for selecting programs or setting parameters. To translate a '2' disk to suit a '1' user follow a similar procedure. At this stage it's probably best to experiment with saving your newly modified volume to a blank formatted disk (a volume, as you might have guessed, is equivalent to the entire memory content of the S1000). I'm sure you can figure out how to do it.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004