Synth Site: Akai: S20: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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HELiX a professional user from Boston, MA, USA writes:
As long as you get it at $150 at the most, your getting a good deal. My floppy drive never worked on mine, but this is a great piece of equipment for getting ready for the studio.

If you have a tight schedule at the studio later, you can cut up your samples and have em ready on floppy in your S20. I use it for sample editing and getting samples ready for my ASR10 or MPC2000.

The only bad part about this is it doesnt have an SCSI port. But you can get the Akai S2000 if you want that. But the thing it has better then the S2000 is that it doesnt need a rack, so its easy to use without a stand on your lap or table. Also very portable.

5 Out Of 5 if its under $150(USA Dollars).

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-30-2004 at 19:26
LoHr writes:
ok i herby retract any positive commentary i may have said about this sampler in a previous post..

my first impressions of this unit were good, seemed very straight forward easy to use little box, and it is...

BUT the ability to have an expandable ram to 17 MB with only a 1.44 MB floppy for storage is just plain stupid. it takes nearly 20 floppies to save a fully expanded s-20!! AND if you have a single sample that is larger in size than 1.44 MB, you have to save it onto multiple discs. a single 15 or 20 second sample is larger than the disc storage size capabilities.

Another thing i absolutely HATED about this sampler is that is HAS NO internal memory storage!! If you shut it off, or if it crash's or if the power goes out your screwed, it wont save.... i find it very convenient to be able to just turn a sampler on and start playing back some samples, NOT having to wait for 20 minutes while the samples load off the floppies EVERY time i turn it on...

ALSO, after only owning mine for about 3 months now (and using it in a smoke free, climate controlled studio about 5 times) the internal operating system decided to take a shit. this sampler was brand new unopened boxed when i got it so improper treatment is not at fault for its current behavior. when i power it up, the LCD display flickers (scrolls) all the numbers like it usually does when turned on and looking for the ammount of memory installed. it freezes there and never finds out how much memory it has, hence it never finishes loading and will not operate. I even removed the 16 MB simm expansion thinking that may be the problem, it wasnt. it still wont load even without the expansion.

Did i accidentally touch an internal component causeing it to fry or cease functioning while installing the simm? NO. i was very careful. Besides, that would not explain why it would continue running for a few months after the installation..

it just up and died... i like my cheep ass midiless, 24 second, editableless Gemini DS-2024 better than this.....

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-28-2003 at 18:33
Rod a part-time user from US writes:
The S-20 is a cheaper version of the Remix-16 When the Remix-16 came out in 96 it was selling for $1000. Akai realized that was too much dough for most DJ's so they wisely produced the slightly simpler plastic version of the Remix-16 the very next year and called it the S-20 for only $500. Its a cool unit and while I prefer the original heavy-duty Remix-16 to the S-20, the S-20 is a cool product for the money. Today you can get a fully loaded S-20 for only $150.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-18-2003 at 17:44
LoHr from usa writes:
i just snagged a mint condition unused s-20 off e-bay for $150. it still had the original box, all the original paper works, the original 4 akai discs, and even the styrofoam inserts! it didnt have the 16 meg memory expasion, but i happen to have a 72-pin simm 16 meg expansion in an old dead win 95 computer i had collecting dust in my closet, i ripped it out the comp and installed it into the sampler and BAM!!! it works perfectly!!! so i got a pretty damn good deal.

this sampler is SOOO easy to use. i figured out how to install the simm, load discs, record samples, delete samples, recording a sequence all without even having to look inside the manual. not once! and did all that within the first 30 minutes of receiving it in the mail!! this is an EXELENT phrase sampler, its dead easy to use it has alot of memory with an easily instalable 72-pin simm, and the sound quality is exelent. i think it could have used some regular 1/4" in's and out tho, having only dual rca's is kinda limiting, but for the price there were being marketed for, i cant complain too much. i used to praise my Roland MS-1 phrase sampler, but that is junk in comparison to this!! as for the previous poster (wynn), he must be on some some reeally shitty drugs cause the remix 16 is ancient, its sound quality is fairly poor, and the memory of the remix 16's has a terrible tendency of self-deleting when its turned off. i do agree that a metal case for this s-20 would have been nicer tho....

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-07-2003 at 18:27
Kyran a part-time user from UK writes:
Buzz - you are wrong about those limitations

(except what you said about the internal sequencer, it really is almost useless)

But as for external midi control - yes I can confirm that the s20 is velocity sensitive and will respond to even the fastest/shortest gate midi messages without fail.

The problem comes is you use the lame 'NOTE ASSIGN' method for midi control, where midi notes are supposed to trigger the pads on the machine - it gives you no velocity, inconsistent response time other problems - avoid this method.

You have to set up Midi Channels, Program Numbers and Note Ranges for each sample to get decent midi response. (What did you think all those parameters were for?!).

Like I said before - the manual is of limited help here, but you should be able to work it out.

I'm going to write up steps for getting set up for external sequnecing/midi control on the S20 & will email it to anyone who requests. Roland might not have had to pull the machine so soon if they'd written a decent manual.

People should experiment more - when you see a load of parameters on a machine, find out what they can do before writing the thing off! I worked all this shit out in a couple of evenings & it was my first time using midi gear.

Kyran

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-26-2001 at 06:58
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