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Akai ASQ10

Tuesday Apr 11, 2017

asq01 “This is the brain of the legendary Akai MPC60, the result of the Roger Linn collaboration with Akai. The MPC has touch pads and audio outputs. The ASQ-10 is the sequencer section only. No audio. No cool drum samples. Just MIDI. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it: In 1988, Akai also released the sequencer section of the MPC60 as a standalone hardware product in its own right, the ASQ10. As with the MPC60, this was renowned for its solid MIDI timing compared to computer software based systems.

I read about it in Contemporary Keyboard (not just Keyboard) and bought it brand new by special-ordering it from my local music dealer here in Spokane WA. I was moving up from the built-in sequencer of my Ensoniq ESQ-1. I was producing music for video production companies and needed dead accurate MIDI clock timing and the ability to read SMPTE time code, a feat that could otherwise be achieved only with the most powerful and expensive Macs. But it also had 2 MIDI In Ports and 4 MIDI Out Ports! I was running about 7 or 8 MIDI hardware devices and loved the I/O. I used it intensely from 1988 until the Mac LC came out in late 91/early 92. I still used the ASQ-10 for live presentations including an awards show with the Pacific Coast Gas Association Conference in Houston hosted by the now-infamous Enron! You can manually change sequences while everything’s running without any lag or timing dropout. That’s really cool and powerful.

The only drawback now is that it uses a 3.5″ floppy drive. The drive in this unit works flawlessly However, I’ve seen USB replacements on eBay that I’d buy in a moment if I was still using this baby. I’ve included 5 or 6 blank disks that are quickly (well, it takes about a minute!) and easily formatted on the ASQ-10. The backlit LCD display is getting dim but it’s still quite readable. Even when it was new, I set up a small desk lamp to reflect off the LCD to make it easier to read. LCD replacements in all kinds of duo-chrome color combinations are advertised all over eBay too.” Click here to visit listing on eBay

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