Synth Site: Akai: S20: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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kevlon from cali writes:
Man, I bought one of these things just for fun.. Turns out its pretty sweet. While alot of people probably like to look at waveforms while chopping, I really enjoy just using my ears. This little monster provides the ability to copy and chop samples relatively fast. Even though it has no fx, eq, or filters you can always incorporate whatever you please. Even if you don't, it can still get busy and make some dope tracks. They are cheap, and if you are looking for that sound I'd grab it.. Rather get this for under a hundred than buy a mpc 2k. Just my 2 pennies.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-29-2011 at 01:29
noggin a part-time user from austin, tx writes:
its a strange machine, but good at what it does, but with some very real problems.

the main problems are, as already mentioned, no real way to back up besides floppy. and yes, at the fully expanded 17meg of ram (it comes with 1mb standard), saving to floppies REALLY sucks. especially if you are using it as a phrase sampler, those things really take up some space. average full on songs for me when i was 16 using this thing as my only unit would take 3 or 4 floppies. they load pretty slow, but i gigged with it and just kinda sat around and waited while they loaded. hey i was young and it still worked pretty awesome.

another bad thing is the 'sequencer'....if you can call it that. this is really the most useless feature on this thing. its not a sequencer like youve come to get used to, its simply an event recorder with seemingly no regard for tempo or step, or even accuracy as to when you record what event. i even tried to bypass the lack of programing, and i programmed my stuff in a computer editor and then hit play into the s20, and tried to record the precise computer sequence. the akai still mucked it up, timing was just horrible. sequencer - forget it. destroy that button.

the last bad thing ill say is there are no 'banks'. you get 16 samples, thats it. with 16mb ram, a couple banks would have been nice and really useful.

now the good...THIS THING IS AWESOME! im not kidding, when i was 16 this was my ONLY piece of gear, and i used the hell out of it. the MIDI on it is actually QUITE AWESOME... i really think the reviewers who say it isnt havent even bothered with assigning samples to midi. yes you can hit one button and then send midi notes that basically map to the different buttons on the unit (kinda cool...especially reverse button)...or you can map yer samples to keys, channels, etc, and then you can utilise velocity (very editable), chromatic tuned sampling (most mpcs dont even do this right out of the box).

the ways you can edit your sample are more than youd expect, although NO FILTERS. still you can adjust the attack, release, and looping. for phrases the looping is very easy because you can input a bpm and number of measures and then the s20 does all the calculations for you (imagine that, a machine doing math for you...more of them should).

the sound out of this thing is typical akai quality...what you put in is almost exactly what you get out. this was my first experience where i noticed that my gear, even a low end 32khz sampler, sounded WAY better than my computer (keep in mind though, this was pre-2000 and vsts and all that). still, the sound is very good, definitely usable, and believe it or not, i think the 32khz thing really colors the sound in a nice way. some people will say im just being ignorant when i say that because 32khz is less than 48khz, etc. well you can follow the numbers or use your ears, and this thing at 32khz sounds great... dont forget an mpc60 using 12bits (not 16 or 24) still sells for $1000 because of that sound.

for the second hand price of these things, wow, you will at least do well to try it out. i think it would work best as a compliment...for a dj to throw out loops, one shots, or for a band not necessarily wanting to shell out a lot of money and time in learning a sampler. of course, there are those creative little bastards who can take it to other levels. its full fledged enough to be your only piece, if you are patient and basically dont have anything else and will make anything work.

i bought mine new and that kind of sucks, but im probably not going to ever sell it. i love it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Apr-10-2006 at 13:59
toby a hobbyist user from Australia writes:
Bought it off ebay for US$120 and it arrived with a blown fuse, not recognising the RAM and not formatting disks. Luckily all this was very easily fixed.

Hooked up to my decks and a sequencer I am now madly creating layers of loops and beats into the wee hours of the morning. Loads of fun!

Make sure you get it with the 17MB though or you really wont be creating very much at all.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-22-2005 at 14:07
Phantom Center a part-time user from USA writes:
I personally enjoy this little gem, I find that it's easier than most samplers for what i do, I can get in and out with ease, It's as easy as find a sample press record, set level and choose one of 16 buttons and you're done, exspecially for loops, thers usually no need to trim and no tedious pages to scroll, it doesn't make an easy job hard and it reproduces vinyl superbly. as for the floppy, it's 2005 I think the floppy has had its chance, at this point if you're serious, you'll find ways to maintain your work. at a going price of $200 you cant get a better deal on a good soundig sampler, exspecially an Akai.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Feb-11-2005 at 19:05
SAM a hobbyist user from US writes:
Nice inexpensive ($100 in 2002 at SamAsh)little sampler. Easy to obtain the full 16 meg card. PLEASE NOTE: My S20 was giving me a problem saving and reading the floppies. Replaced the 3.5 inch drive with an ordinary CompUSA 3.5" drive. Reads and writes perfectly now. Gives new vitality to this little unit!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jun-15-2004 at 17:47
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