Category: Samplers

SMDI sample transfer over MIDI

Electron Sysex Tool

I’ve just found excellent little program for windows and mac
Elektron C6 SysExManager / local copy: mac windows

This software can upload wav and aiff samples to ANY hardware sampler that supports SMDI transfer protocol by MIDI cable! Designed for hardware machines but works with old samplers also!
I tested it with Yamaha A5000 and it works great! It uploads all selected samples one by one!
I’m sure that this utility will work with Akai, EMU or other hardware samplers.

This soft has Turbo Mode which can be set up to 8x.
You must experiment and find maximal value yourself because every sampler has own limit.
My Yamaha accepts maximal available speed Turbo X8 with delay 10ms.

Loading samples this way is still slow, but when you have to transfer short drum samples or just waveforms
this soft is very helpful. Upload 100kb wave to my yamaha sampler takes about 50 seconds.
Keep it mind that midi is prehistoric protocol :)

Update on 19 Dec: I just tested it with akai s3000xl and it works in Turbo x8 mode. It seems that this tool sends data to akai even faster than to yamaha a5000 because there is no significant delay after transfer is complete.

Akai s3000xl scsi to ide cf mod

Here are pictures of my S3000XL with cf card inside as hard disk.
I used IO-Data scsi to ide adapter from ebay, Ide to cf adapter, 2gb sandisk card, and some molex cables.
I mounted IDE-to-CF adapter on the bottom by using 3 screws. It fits perfect
I also modded power plug as you can see on the picture to get 5v and 12v.
I have 16 partitions, about 500mb available.

S3000xl scsi to ide
S3000xl scsi to ide
S3000xl scsi to ide
S3000xl scsi to ide
S3000xl scsi to ide

Akai s1100 CF card inside (scsi to ide)

I wanted to have hard disk inside my s1100. Real hard drives are not recommended due to risk of overheating. S1100 produces high temperature inside already.

Take a look (click for bigger pictures):
Akai s1100 with scsi to ide cf adapter

Akai s1100 with scsi to ide cf adapter

Akai s1100 with scsi to ide cf adapter

There is second power socket on the main board, the same as for floppy drive, so its easy to make power cable for scsi adapter.

I bought:
1) scsi 68pin to ide adapter (ebay)
2) 68 pin internal cable (ebay)
3) 50-68pin sci adapter (ebay)
4) ide cf adapter (ebay)
5) two cheap metal holders (local store)
6) molex cables (ebay)
6) compact flash card (local store)

Important thing: Internal scsi socket in s1100 and s1000 is probably wrong, i don’t know why, maybe hardware bug.
If your scsi device won’t work, try plug socket in backwards!
So cutting or filing cable plug may be necessary.
I’ve cut 50 to 68 adapter to fit backwards.

I have about 520mb space available which is max for s1000/s1100 and max 17 partitions.

I tired few CF cards and only two works: Transcend 1gb and Pretec 16gb. Sandiks, Kingston cards were not recognized.

Now it works perfect. Any questions?, please leave comment. Thanks!

Yamaha A4000 / A5000

Yamaha a5000

Very nice piece of vintage gear :) This is probably the most powerful and advanced hardware sampler. It has so many possible modulations, parameters to choose and it has great midi implementation. 24 bit DA, 20 bit AD, 128voices of polyphony, 6 powerful fx blocks + many different great filters, up to 128 MB of waveform memory (expandable by 72pinn simms). The little brother A4000 has 64voices and 3 fx blocks. You can use IDE or SCSI hard disks and drives. A5000/A4000 can read cd-roms or floppys from akai S-series, yamaha tx16w, E-mu EIIIx and Roland S-760. Imported data includes keymapping and looping only. You can import wavs or aiffs from fat32 (Windows) drives also. Unfortunately there is no software that converts different format programs to yamaha. But! you can use AWave or Chickensys Translator for reading or just load akai disks.

Very nice feature is that you can use a4000 as realtime FX processor, 3fx or 6fx (a5000) at once!
FX list is huge, very good and unique effects. You can route FXs to any output. For example You can send one FX to main out, second to digital out, and third to sub out :)

more info at

Manuals, Docs:
A3k_faq_2000-05-31.pdf (for A3000 but it may be helpful)
A5000 Guide to Accompanying Disks.pdf
mastering_the_music_website_lifecycle.doc (found @ a4000 yahoo group)

Latest A4000/A5000 OS 1.5:
a4k150up.hqx (for Mac)
a5k150up.hqx (for Mac) (update by midi files)
jomox sysex dumper – use it for midi os update | local copy: mac pc info

Tools, Editors:
NiceWave2-00.exe (soft for akai for scsi sample transfer, but useful for yamaha too)
C6 SMID sample dump utility free tool for uploading samples via midi (mac and windows) / local copy: mac windows
SysExDumper_3.0.1.dmg (for Mac)
YamahaVoiceEditorA5K_MacOS9.sit (for Mac)
akbrowser.dmg (for Mac)

28.10.20015 update:
I found some stupid limitations. For example. You can’t set panning by key.
Even Akai s1000 had this feature. There is control key to pan function, but it pans whole channel not individual notes.
Second limitation is filesystem blocks. Even if you have 8gigabytes hard drive you can have only 8 partition max.
Every partition has limit of volumes and files. You can’t use whole space for many samples, you will fill all available blocks very fast.
So you can’t use 8gigs of space. You can’t transfer all content from factory cd-roms to internal harddrive.

The best solution is to have scsi CF reader and few 1-2gb cards for all factory samples.
Loading samples from cd-rom is very slow so its much better to load it from harddrive or cf card.
IDE CF readers do not work in most cases because Yamaha is very picky about cf-cards connected to IDE port :)
But i found that industrial Wd Silicon Drive II 2GB works.

Yamaha a4000 ide cf reader

Yamaha a4000 digital outputs

Yamaha a4000 digital outputs

Yamaha a4000 ide cf reader

Yamaha a4000 ide cf reader

Akai S5000 / S6000

Akai S5000

S5000 is my second favorite sampler. It sounds excellent, very clean and polished. Filters are not very aggressive or spectacular (however with resonance), but you get many types to choose (26 types). Good midi implementation, two lfos with many different waves. It has 64 voices of polyphony (s6000 has 128), max 256mb of memory (by using cheap 72pin simms). Very easy to edit, big screen, you can even plug ps2 keyboard. It accepts scsi removable drives and hard disks. You can get optional usb card for transferring and editing samples. S5000 can read *.wav samples and fat32 disks so even without usb card transfer from computer to S5000 is simple and easy. S5000 *.akp format is very popular, all sample converters can convert to akp. For example ChickenSys Translator or AWave which can even create and edit programs. All you need for transfer without usb card is removable drive in your pc (usb or ide) and second scsi removable drive in akai. Personally i use 2gb scsi jazz drives, but you can use more popular zip drives. S5000 is cheap, you can get it for max 200 pounds ($300). There is optional multi fx board eb20, but honestly… effects sounds very cheap… I prefer effects on old S1100. S5000 has additional 8 outs so you can use external effects (i recommend this).

more info at

manuals, latest os and software available at
or download it from local page here

Akai S3000XL

Akai S3000XL

Akai s3000xl is solid working horse, very popular. It has 12db low-pass filter with resonance, digital outputs, 32mb of ram expandable by cheap 72pin simms, 32 voices of polyphony, decent midi implementation, nice free windows scsi editor – MESA. You can get optional eb16 multi fx board and IB-304F filter board. Filter board adds band-pass, hi-pass or additional low-pass filter + eqalizer. S3000XL can read floppy disks from s900 s950 and s1000/s1100.

more info:

Download manual, sysex implementation, S3000xl How to (thanks goes to Dan from
Operating System 2.0 omniflop image
If you have scsi card on your pc you can use very nice and fast editor MESA – mesa v2.2 and win xp reg fix
NiceWave – scsi sample transfering tool for windows
and visit akai tools for more useful software

Akai S1000 / S1100

Akai S1000

have an S1100 unit. It’s my favorite sampler because of its bright, clear, and good sound and its nice 18dB filter. The FX board is based on the Motorola DSP 56000 chip, which is also a plus. I like the S1100 even more than the S3000XL. However, its MIDI implementation is very limited and it only has 16 voices of polyphony, with no resonance.

If you’re considering getting the S1000, I would recommend getting the S1100 instead. It has onboard digital output, FX unit, and SCSI ports, and it’s faster with louder outputs due to its 20-bit converters (while the samples are still 16-bit).

some infos: Mike Collins S1100 review

more related links: akai scsi faq S1000/S1100 memory jumper settings

s1000 manual: akai s1000 v2 pdf
s1100 manual: a1.pdf a2.pdf a3.pdf a4.pdf a5.pdf a6.pdf
s1100 service manual:
sysex implementation: S1000SysEx.pdf
addidtional manuals: S1000HD.pdf IB-104.pdf

The latest OS for the S1000 is 4.40, which can be found here /files/akai_s1000/, and for the S11000, it’s 4.30, which can be found here /files/akai_s1000/

Please note that this OS can only be written to a floppy disk if you have an internal floppy drive in your Windows PC. It works only with the old DOS system, and won’t work on Windows. However, I have a few instructions on how to save it to a floppy disk:

  • First, download the Windows 98 boot disk from and save it to a blank floppy by executing the downloaded file.
  • Next, unzip the Akai OS .exe file and move it to the boot disk.
  • Restart your computer and boot from the disk, then run the OS .exe file by typing its name.

Plerase visit akai tools for more useful software

Update 17 Dec 2013:
I just found similar tutorial how to put cf inside akai s1100 at Mike Bass Page:

Update 20 April 2014:
I am still amazed by this sampler. I was preparing a library of old-school 8-bit samples from Fairlight CMI, Amiga, Atari, etc. and I can’t believe how these old 10-20kHz samples sound so beautiful on this sampler. The difference in sound between computer programs and this beast is huge.

I was curious about the secret behind this sampler, so I asked Uncle Google what made this piece of old hardware special. After many hours of research, I finally found the answer. It’s the “eight-point windowed sinc interpolation.” Only the S1000 and S1100 samplers use this method. Later Akai units, such as the S3000, use simple linear interpolation, and samples, especially those with a lower frequency than the native (44.1kHz), sound dull and have stronger antialiasing. This eight-point windowed sinc interpolation requires a lot of CPU power, which is why the S1000 only has 16 audio channels and needs more huge expanders.

This was very expensive, so for economic reasons, it was the last sampler with such a beautiful sound.

I also discovered something interesting. When you play a distorted sample (saturated, squashed or clipped), this interpolation tries to reproduce the lost signal and produces even more high tones from a lo-fi saturated sample. This is incredible. I noticed this when I loaded some old lo-fi snare and hi-hat samples with maxed levels and noticed unnatural high clipping.

Now I know why, because of its unique interpolation. It tries to reproduce lost tones. The signal is just interpolated beyond the 16-bit scale and clips. In this situation, the samples need some headroom. This is independent of the gain and volume settings. The sampler just needs the samples to be 0.5-1 dB quieter than the max level because it generates and adds high tones that the sample normally doesn’t have. A 20kHz sample is interpolated and sounds like a 30kHz sample! I don’t know how it works, but it sounds amazing.

If you want to use low-frequency samples in modern DAWs or software samplers, you need exciters, EQ, and other processing for good sound. But your Akai S1000 plays it better without any additional tweaking.

The S1000/S1100 are worth every penny. I am think it’s the best sampler for playing samples.

Akai tools

Akai Tools

Very useful “must have” tools for akai S1k/S3k samplers:

Omni Flop – reads and saves akai floppys and images (Win XP)
Wav2Akai – converts wavs to akai s1000 *.p programs (Win 98, XP)
EMXP – soft for Emu and Akai for reading and saving akai programs or wavs to floppy (Win XP)
Akai Util – reads akai disks and images (Win XP) project homepage
Akai Disk – reads and saves akai floppy programs (Win 98)
Akai Sex – converts floppy disks, programs between s900 s950 s1000 s3000 formats (for Atari ST / TT/ Falcon only!)
AWave – shareware sample converter, program editor, reads and saves in akai s1000 or s3000 formats. Reads akai floppy images from Omni Flop. Also it can read edit and save akai s5000 *.akp format (Win XP)
Chicken Sys Translator – commercial powerful sample converter. Read, save, format akai jaz disks, zip disks, hard drives, cd-roms. Convert many free available soundfonts to akai and save it directly to akai disk! Must have!
C6 SMID sample dump utility free tool for uploading samples via midi (mac and windows) / local copy: mac windows