1986: the Akai S900

Mid 80’s: first affordable samplers hit the market which enable musicians to capture and manipulate existing sounds.

The S900 was my first sampler, but I learned to use that thing immediately. Working, especially editing samples, with the small display - in contrast to todays displays or even remote control software like ”˜Ak.sys’ - may be one hurdle to take.

8 voices, 12-bit, 7.5 to 40 kHz sampling rate, 750kB RAM. That doesn’t sound very impressive, but back in 1986, the S900 was the only affordable midi sampler with such features combined with a straightforward user interface.


Many users today might prefer the S900 as a drum/percussion machine. The sampler is 12-bit and this makes your drums sound delightfully harsh and gritty (depending how much you want to abuse the levels)-think 1984 RAP grit. A 909 kick sample on this unit sounds better than the original.

I had 4 S900 units since 1986. One of them ”˜died’ of power supply failure caused by excessive heat. I sold another one.
There are still 2 of them working perfectly in my studio.
The S900 is actuelly a very solid gig instrument, truly built like a tank. it’s heavy as hell.

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Page last modified on Sunday 13 of May, 2007 19:31:12 CEST by 1.0.