Synth Site: Akai: S20: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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buzz aldrin a hobbyist user from California writes:
Okay, I bought my S20 over a year ago as my first sampler. I thought it was much better than the Boss SP-202 (which was the second cheapest sampler), mainly because you could store samples on floppies. Originally I thought the sound quality was good, and not having any samplers in the past, I was content with my purchase.

Then the cruel reality began to set in. The sequencer is worthless (mentioned by most already). So I bought a sequencer. I found that the manual's claims that the S20 is velocity sensitive are blatant lies. I have yet to encounter an S20 user who can confirm that it is, and I know plenty who can complain that it's not. Also, the S20 is very inconsistent at receiving midi signals. You may as well give up if you want to use it as a drum machine. Notes will skip on rolls or hi-hat patterns faster than 8th notes. The supposed 8 voice polyphony will sometimes feel more like 4 (and I ALWAYS sampled in mono). My Emu ESI-32 (which is great) does not suffer this problem, so I know it's particular to the S20.

Unfortunately for me, I bought the S20 new. At under $200 it might be worth it as a simple phrase sampler or add-on for resampling phrases off your main sampler or computer, but other than that I guarantee you will outgrow the S20 quickly, if it's your main sampler. I recommend to new users to look around four a good rack sampler with effects, SCSI, and better editing. It's amazing what one can do with something for just $100 more.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-06-2001 at 16:54
gregory a hobbyist user from usa writes:
this is really the best for the price, in my opinion. the one thing i hate, though, is the lack of either individual outs or internal panning of sounds. the only way to get around this would be to pan your sounds while you sample them in stereo, which sounds so convoluted i haven't tried it. it really is useful midi-wise. one trick for getting 44.1khz: send a 44.1 sample from your pc to the s20 via midi sample dump. the sample will come out pitched down. pitch it back up 5 steps and 55 cents and you have 44.1khz. i do think it's a great tool if you get it used with the upgrade.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jul-26-2001 at 15:21
Jason from USA writes:
I was pretty blown away with the S20 when I first got it. Upgraded to 17MB and now have 267 seconds of sampling, I have never used that much for one song.

Easy to use and Edit, I wish there were effects on board though. I have recorded from vinyl, cd's,videos and DVD's all work well. Recording guitars was a bit of pain, you hear this popping sound when the sample loops, but try the start/fine editing tool.

Very good for the price, got mine for $200. Formatting disks take way too long. Download the AkaiDisk program for PC use with samples. Works O.k. with a little hiss.

I have yet to hook up a sequencer to it. I think the Roland Midi Controller PC300 should work fine. Find one on eBay for the best deals, get it with the 17MB!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-09-2001 at 14:45
Stefan Koopmanschap a hobbyist user from netherlands writes:
now that I finally know how to use the S20 with an external sequencer (rm1x in my case) it's awesome. but I couldn't find out how to get the MIDI controlling to work using the manual. in the end another owner of an S20 told me how to do it.

but those problems overcome, it's a bloody nice machine. it does what it should do (play samples) and using disks and AkaiDisk you can easily edit samples on the computer before using them in the sampler.

very very nice. good machine. works awesome.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Apr-05-2001 at 08:30
Kyran a part-time user from UK writes:
After reading Aikido's post I should say that all my favourabe comments below about sequencing with the s20 refer to using an *external* sequencer. The in-built sequencer is almost useless - it just records what keys you hit & not very acurately either.

posted Friday-Dec-22-2000 at 05:47
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