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Akai S01

Tuesday Jul 30, 2019

“I love this sampler – it’s the definition of simplicity, which is great when you have a very specific purpose for it – mine was drums… Hooked up to my Beatstep Pro, this baby is perfect for triggering sounds that my TS305 can’t create, but still maintaining that lo-fi sound – even sampling loops on the fly is an option if you’re timing’s good.

Nearly all the instructions you need are there in the edit matrix on the front panel – what an awesome navigation design – so simple a child could work it out! With just a few specific bits of info from the manual regarding the certain keystrokes to execute sampling, you’re away – the rest is all there in front of you.

This was my first S01 and, when I bought it, it already had these slightly dodgy Record Level and Main Volume knobs, which are both bent and can be turned continuously past the max volume all the way back to 0, when they should both stop at Max clockwise and at 0 anti-clockwise. This produces a loud undesirable pop/bang when the knob passes the max position in either direction.

Fortunately, the knobs are both firm enough to maintain whatever position one sets them to, yet also smooth enough to be perfectly easy to turn, so they can be set and left just below the max position and will reliably stay there. The Data Entry knob is also very slightly bent, but this doesn’t affect its operation in any way.

When booting up, sometimes it can take a little longer than usual, but I find that simply switching off and on again tends to solve this intermittent issue, as it then boots up properly.

Other than these slight issues, the unit is in good working order – all the keys function well, without any undue pressure required – if anything they’re more reliably responsive than similar keys on some modern equipment. I have tested the input gain knob and switch, as well as the output volume knob, both MIDI inputs work (just remember to turn on your keyboard/controller before booting up the sampler). I haven’t tested the MIDI out or thru or the foot switch jack, but I have no reason to suspect that any of these have issues, as everything else works perfectly well.

Cosmetically, this S01 is in relatively good shape, and has surprisingly little rack rash, although the left rack ear is bent backwards at the top, which would need to be addressed if you intend on rack-mounting the unit.”
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