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Tips - S3000XL Frequently Asked Questions

This is a selection of Frequently Asked Questions from the Akai FAQ. I have picked out those which are useful to S3000XL owners and edited out some of the waffle. To go directly to a question click on it in the list below. To return back to the list click on the "Back to top" link at the end of each question.
  1. How do I get my PC WAV sample to Akai format?
  2. What sample editing programs are there that work with the S3000XL?
  3. How do I send my Akai stuff across the net?
  4. What does Teledisk do?
  5. What does Adisk do?
  6. What kind of RAM do I get?
  7. I can't format a floppy with Adisk! I get the message Sector Not Found! Why?
  8. Is there a way to burn a CD-rom of an Akai-formatted hard disk?
  9. What CD-drives work with the Akai?
  10. How can I use my Jaz or Zip drive?
  11. How can I handle Akai formatted hard drives?
  12. How do I use my keyboard controller to trigger the S3000XL when I'm using MESA?
  13. Is hotplugging SCSI devices to Akai machines a Good Thing?
  14. How do I connect up my PC to the SCSI chain?
  15. What SCSI cards do I use on the PC?
  16. Is the EB16 effects board any good?
  17. Can I put an internal hard drive in my S3000XL
  18. My display is fading, what can I do to fix it?
  19. My sampler wants me to contact Richard. What do I do?
  20. How can I control resonance from an external controller?
  21. Where can I get manuals from?

How do I get my PC WAV sample to Akai format?
Use SDS (MIDI sample dump standard). This sends the sample over MIDI, is mighty slow, and doesn't preserve name or looping information. But there's a free DOS program to do it, called 'sdxsend'. You can find it at http://alf.uib.no. A few commercial programs do SDS, including Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge.

Use SCSI sample transfers. This requires that your sampler is hooked up to your PC via SCSI (a seprate problem on its own). It's pretty fast and some programs preserve looping information by sending that along via MIDI at the same time the SCSI dump happens. A few programs will do this. Steinberg's Recycle does, but it's not just a WAV editor, it's a pretty neat loop-editing tool. Most importantly, MESA (available direct from Akai and on the Utilities page) does this, along with a ton of other stuff, and it's free!

Use AkaiDisk 2.0 [aka Adisk] to write Akai-format floppies from WAV files. [see FAQ: What does Adisk do? and the Utilities page]

Dump 'em by audio. Patch your soundcard to the sampler's input and dump stuff that way. It's fast, easy, and doesn't sound too bad. Of course, if you've got a digital out then there will be no degredation of sound.
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What sample editing programs are there that work with the S3000XL?
Steinberg describes Recycle! as "The Ultimate Tool for Sampled Grooves" but is also very useful for all sorts of challenges and full of creative tools. Take a look at Steinberg's products on their site.
Alchemy 3.0 is supposed to be able to load samples to all the major samplers over MIDI. Alchemy is also set up to record through your computer, so you can sample with your computer, do the editing there and just dump the finished sample down to your AKAI.
D-SoundPRO is a shareware Macintosh sample editor. It has had rave reviews from people on the list. Check it out at http://www.synthzone.com/dsound.htm.
On the PC there are quite a few sample editors such as:

  • SoundForge
  • CoolEdit
  • Recyle
  • WaveLab - part of Cubase package
  • Csound
Soundforge and Recyle will transfer samples to/from a PC using SCSI after a bit of hacking to get around some of the SCSI recognition problems. (see FAQ entry on connecting up a PC to the scsi chain).
There is a very professional sample editing program for the Atari ST/STe/TT/Falcon (and compatibles) that works over SCSI with Akai S1000 and up.
For more info, see http://www.algonet.se/~mcalbert/Zero-X/
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How do I send my Akai stuff across the net?
With DOS, at the mo, you can send an Akai floppy disk from here to there by using Teledisk. Teledisk can do a raw read of what is on the Akai disk, and can copy it as an MSDOS file (to your hard disk). Zip the thing and send it across to your friend over the net. Your friend can then convert the thing from an MSDOS file and copy it to an Akai formatted floppy using Teledisk at her end (it seems that the destination floppy should be the same density (720k or 1.44M) as the source floppy for Teledisk to work correctly). For more on Teledisk, see the FAQ entry.
If you want to send just a few samples/programs/multifiles across, you may be better off with just using Adisk to copy the samples/progs etc to your pc separately and sending that off. For more on Adisk, see the FAQ entry.
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What does Teledisk do?
Teledisk can be downloaded from the Utilities section. It does three things:

  1. it can do a raw read of an Akai floppy and convert it to an MSDOS format file onto your hard disk.
  2. it can read the MSDOS format file and stick it back onto an Akai format floppy.
  3. it can make a copy of a Akai floppy onto another floppy (equivalent to (1) and then (2))

For both Teledisk and Adisk you should use a healthy 720k or 1.44MB floppy which you know has no bad sectors. Also, it seems that the source floppy and the destination floppy should be the same density (720k or 1.44MB).
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What does Adisk do?
Adisk is Paul Kellett's brilliant tool for handling Akai floppies on the PC: It can

  • do a directory list of the floppy
  • format a floppy to S3000XL format
  • read Akai samples, programs, multi and FX files and write them to your hard disk
  • convert Akai samples to .wav files on your hard disk
  • convert .wav samples to Akai samples on your floppy
  • and a few other odd things too.
As for Teledisk you should use a healthy 1.44MB floppy which you know has no bad sectors. If you are having problems with Adisk, see the FAQ about Akai-formatting and Dos-formatting for handling akai hard drives.
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What kind of RAM do I get?
To expand your AKAI's RAM by the book you need 72pin SIMMs exactly:: Single Sided - No Parity - Fast Page 70ns or faster 72pin ones. Their capacity can be 4 or 16MBytes and can be mixed together but I suggest you not to in order to avoid hardware incompatibilities.

If you cannot find Fast Page SIMMS then EDO can work too as long as they match the above characteristics (except the fast page part of course) but you won't be using they're Extended Data Out characteristic so don't think you're speeding up your sampler by using them. To be absolutely certain, the only way is to try them out for at least a weekend by loading all you possibly can in your sampler's new RAM and doing some memory movements like DSPing, deleteing, reloading without clearing memory etc and keeping your sampler on for many hours. If all is fine you shouldn't get any "glitching" or strange noises in your samples as result of your operations - if you do, or even manage to crash the OS, then probably your AKAI doesn't like much those new SIMMs. This testing period should be conducted for installing FastPage RAM too ofcourse, one can never know of defective products
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I can't format a floppy with Adisk! I get the message Sector Not Found! Why?
Try Akaiformatting floppies which you know have no bad sectors. Also, cleaning your floppy drive might help.
Problem could be a bad sector on floppy. Bad sectors are not a big deal in DOS, because they get zoned off. If you format a floppy with no bad sectors in dos, then you will have 1457664 bytes free. If there are bad sectors then you will have less than 1457664 bytes free.
Try dosformatting the dodgy disk in the windows file manager's formatter, and see if the pop up at the end says you have 1457664 bytes formatted. If you don't, then I would guess that that's why Adisk barfs.
You may be formatting non-high-density disks? Try reading one of the factory disks. If you can't do that you may have a problem with your diskdrive. Good luck.
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Is there a way to burn a CD-rom of an Akai-formatted hard disk?
To burn your own AKAI format CD-ROM you first have to create a harddisk with all the AKAI volumes, sounds, programs and stuff that you want to have. (Remember the max size of an AKAI drive is currently 512MB. A CD ROM has got up to 650MB)
When you are happy with your drive and think nothing needs to be changed you can start burning. This is done by a so called SCSI copy (which is available from most burning software).
A SCSI copy simply transfers an exact image of your source SCSI volume to the target (the CD ROM). You have to do it this way because the AKAI format is not recognized by any standard computer file system - but this way you work on low driver level and your computer simply doesn't care what sort of data it works on.
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What CD-drives work with the Akai?
Here is a list of some that work:

  • Pioneer DRU-124x 4xSpeed
  • Pioneer DR-U12x Speed (let's say all Pioneer models do)
  • Panasonic 2x all models
  • SONY 2x/4x all models
  • Hitachi 4x
  • Toshiba 4x XM-5401 TA
  • Toshiba 3401 SCSI
  • Toshiba XM5701 12x
  • MAC external 2x CD drive (panasonic/matsushita)
  • Plextor 12x, 20x and 32x
  • Apple CD-300E
  • Apple CD-600E
  • Apple CD1200 (8x Internal)
  • Panasonic LK-MC606BP (Matsushita 508)
Old NEC CD-Rom drive DO NOT WORK with Akai CDs.
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How can I use my Jaz or Zip drive?
First things: connections - the 25 pin cable that you get with your Jaz or Zip plugs straight into your sampler and works fine. If you are chaining the sampler to more scsi devices, you should really use ribbon cables - the sampler scsi port is very finicky about connecting up more gadgets. Remember, the port on the sampler is a SCSI port, not a parallel port, so do not get the parallel port versions of the zip/jaz drives.

The connector socket on the zip drive/jaz and on the sampler is a DB25 socket - a standard printer port. If you are connecting your pc via a scsi card to the zip/jaz, you may have a 50 pin port on the pc, and in that case you need a cable adaptor which converts from a 50 pin scsi to a DB25 pin thingy.

You can use you can actually use the zip to do hard disk recording without problems. One zip gives you about 10 minutes of 16 bit 44.1KHz stereo (cd-audio) sound. The zip is fast enough - just.

You must never "AKAI FORMAT" removable media like ZIPs, JAZs, MOs, Sysquests etc. This type of media needs specific and particular "treatment" for it's formatting, which is not a global standard The AKAI "FORMAT" command is intended rather for HD drives, not for removable media. All you need to do is hit the "Arrange" button and if your media is new, you can even SKIP the bad sector search process and formatting will take just a few seconds! If you have insisted on using the "FORMAT" button too many times, you may have permanently damaged your removable media. You can try recovering from this state by using it's proprietary format and rescue utilities (like Iomega Utils for the Jaz and ZIP) and see if it comes back to "life".
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How can I handle Akai formatted hard drives?
On the Mac:

  1. MESA
  2. Interpreter
  3. Transferstation

On the PC:
Use Hiroyuki Ohsaki's akaitools in linux. It's cool, but really only for geeks at the moment. It handles S3000 type multis, and you can back-up your entire AKAI zip disk into the Linux operating system. The latest version of akaitools is freely available at: http://earth.ics.es.osaka-u.ac.jp/~oosaki/akaitools.
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How do I use my keyboard controller to trigger the S3000XL when I'm using MESA?
Tech support at Akai told me there was no way to trigger your Akai sampler from your MIDI keyboard while in MESA. However, there is a tool available from a pulldown menu in MESA, a tool called OMS Keyboard. It's a picture of a MIDI keyboard that can play only one note at a time when you mouse-click on it.
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Is hotplugging SCSI devices to Akai machines a Good Thing?
[hotplugging: connecting up devices while the power is on]
No! You can blow the interface, and you'll have to take it to the Akai repairman. On the other hand, some people hotplug all the time and don't have problems. This seems rather like letting your baby play in the traffic 'cos he hasn't been run over yet. Why take chances?
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How do I connect up my PC to the SCSI chain?
That is, without having to connect and disconnect things, with the idea being to transfer samples via scsi for editing on the Pc, for example.
You can have two controllers on a SCSI bus, provided you give them different ID's. See docs for your SCSI-card for details. You have to make sure you closed all files in one system before opening in the other. Consider it *highly unsafe*, but not impossible.
For HDR (hard disk recording) you're better of with something like a 2920 or 2940, both from adaptec. If you want to get the most out of a drive that IOmega controller just won't cut it. For general use it's pretty good, however.
You should be able to leave everything connected - just take care with the termination and SCSI IDs and all should work well. A standard setup is:
PC SCSI CARD (terminated) - Internal SCSI CD-ROM - ZIP Drive - Akai S3000XL (terminated)
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What SCSI cards do I use on the PC?
MESA is developed on 2940 U/U W cards but they are by no means cheap nor required, a cheaper option should be fine. Here is a list of tested cards:

  • Adaptec 1502 (AKA Iomega Zip Zoom card) ISA/DB25 (w/o BIOS)
  • Adaptec 1505 ISA/DB25 (w/o onboard BIOS)
  • Adaptec 1510 ISA/Centronics 50 (w/o onboard BIOS)
  • Adaptec 1515/40 ISA/Centronics 50 (with onboard BIOS & PnP)
  • Adaptec 2920 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
  • Adaptec 2940A PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
  • Adaptec 2940UW PCI/Minscsi 68 (with onboard BIOS)
  • Symbios Logic (Formerly NEC) C810 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (w/o onboard BIOS)
  • Symbios Logic C815 PCI/MS50 (Same as C810 but with BIOS eprom chip)
  • Symbios Logic C860 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
  • Advansys 930 (AKA 2930) PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
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Is the EB16 effects board any good?
I've had one for quite a while and I'm very happy with it, especially considering its price. Its effects are very usable in mixes and its interface is a dream to use. As a similar-cost comparison, I have a Midiverb 4 and I find the eb16's reverbs much much MUCH better. The Midiverb's reverbs really suck, so it's not really a fair compairson; I'd say the EB16 reverbs are somewhere between Quadraverb and Rev7 quality. The eb16's pitch shifter is also much faster than the Midiverb's.
A few gripes I have about the EB16: 1. Can't send individual effects to specific outputs. All 4 go to whatever output you assign them. 2. Can't control delay times with MIDI clock. 3. Only 670ms total of delay time.
But again, for the money, I don't think it can be beat. Having a few multifx boxes inside my sampler is great.
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Can I put an internal hard drive in my 3000XL?
The short answer is: no, you cannot add an internal HD to your S3000XL. The long answer is: maybe you can.
The deal is, akai has advertised that you can add an HD, but they do not support it or make it easy, at least in the US. european list members have added HDs, have even received samplers from akai with drives already installed. in the US though, they dont know anything about it, they cant get the hardware to do it, and they are not very helpful.
As the akai comes (as mine came anyway), there's two barriers to putting in an HD: the power, and mounting. there is an internal scsi connector. there's apparently a mounting bracket you can get from akai europe or from some company in germany. maybe you could also rig something up. it's just some bits of metal right? :) there's no internal power connector for the disk -- you'd have to attach your own to the power board. this is presumably not too difficult, but i didnt want to risk it.

I installed a 3.5" HD in my S3000XL a couple of weeks ago, and it seems to work fine. Mounting was the most difficult part. I installed the HD on a metal mount and fastened that into the three holes between the main board and the power supply (you suggested the same method). I used the power supply connectors on the main board (5 brown wires: - -12v / 0 / +12v / 0 / +5v). Installed SCSI termination on the drive. I'm not sure if this method is safe for the sampler (extra heat, power consumption etc) but it seems ok, and I had no troubles so far. There's only one problem. The HD has SCSI ID 5 so the S3000XL tries to boot the OS from the HD. But it does so before the HD is ready ("HARD DISK READ ERROR"), so I have to wait a few seconds and load the OS manually.
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My display is fading, what can I do to fix it?
Display poblems can be solved by simply asking a tech to remove the display plate behind the screen and install a new one. When you do this your display is as good as new.

This is a problem generally found with LCD displays and to extend their life-time you should turn off the display (by pressing the contrast button) when you don't need it.
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My sampler wants me to contact Richard. What do I do?
There is a system error on the S3000XL when using M.E.S.A.(v1.3 - Mac) which occurs when trying to switch over to the edit mode (single, multi or sample). The sampler says a system-error occured and advises you to
'Please let Richard know the actions you performed to obtain this page. Press F8 to continue.'
I've experienced this (hundreds of times) while using my Recycle! 1.6 and S3000XL. I discovered a very 'unprofessional' way to work around this.
A couple months ago, I had this happen to me while working on something with a very tight deadline. Out of anger and frustration, I spun the data wheel when I saw this message and everything came out in fine order in the 3000. Sometimes Recycle loads garbage into the new program you've just transferred and the new samples go into the last program created prior to the transfer. I've found doing this ridiculous data wheel thing can clear that up, too (about 60-70% of the time). Good luck you'll need it, it seems.
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How can I control resonance from an external controller?
Load a sound in. Go to the filter screen in edit prog, set rez to full. Opposite the rez, set rez source to mod wheel, or whatever source you would like to change the rez with. Set to this parameter to +50. Draw a modulation curve in your sequencer(or use your modwheel) with a sound playing, fine tune to suit your taste, and there you go.
You can use mod wheel, bend, pressure, or several other sources (LFOs, etc.), and if using a sequencer, you can map whatever you want to one of these sources. See page 100 and beyond of the manual. You can also send the output from the first filter to the second, and create more dramatic effects. Pages 70 - 72 of the manual give you a good run-through of modulation sources. In MESA, go to either the filter page, or the S2 overview to adjust filter modulation.
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Where can I get manuals from?
They are available for download at http://www.akai.com/akaipro/Manuals.html. These may be more up-to-date than what you already have, and cover the EB16 effects board.
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