This is a selection of Frequently Asked Questions from the Akai FAQ.
I have picked out those which are useful to S3000XL owners and edited out some of the waffle. To go directly
to a question click on it in the list below. To return back to the list click on the "Back to top" link at
the end of each question.
- How do I get my PC WAV sample to Akai format?
- What sample editing programs are there that work with
- How do I send my Akai stuff across the net?
- What does Teledisk do?
- What does Adisk do?
- What kind of RAM do I get?
- I can't format a floppy with Adisk! I get the message Sector Not Found! Why?
- Is there a way to burn a CD-rom of an Akai-formatted hard disk?
- What CD-drives work with the Akai?
- How can I use my Jaz or Zip drive?
- How can I handle Akai formatted hard drives?
- How do I use my keyboard controller to trigger the S3000XL when I'm using MESA?
- Is hotplugging SCSI devices to Akai machines a Good Thing?
- How do I connect up my PC to the SCSI chain?
- What SCSI cards do I use on the PC?
- Is the EB16 effects board any good?
- Can I put an internal hard drive in my S3000XL
- My display is fading, what can I do to fix it?
- My sampler wants me to contact Richard. What do I do?
- How can I control resonance from an external controller?
- Where can I get manuals from?
How do I get my PC WAV sample to Akai format?
Use SDS (MIDI sample dump standard). This sends the sample over MIDI,
is mighty slow, and doesn't preserve name or looping information. But there's
a free DOS program to do it, called 'sdxsend'. You can find it at
http://alf.uib.no. A few commercial programs do SDS, including
Foundry's Sound Forge.
Use SCSI sample transfers. This requires that your sampler is hooked
up to your PC via SCSI (a seprate problem on its own). It's pretty fast and some programs preserve looping
by sending that along via MIDI at the same time the SCSI dump happens.
A few programs will do this. Steinberg's
Recycle does, but it's not just a WAV editor, it's a pretty neat
loop-editing tool. Most importantly, MESA (available direct from Akai
and on the Utilities page)
does this, along with a ton of other stuff, and it's free!
Use AkaiDisk 2.0 [aka Adisk] to write Akai-format floppies from WAV files.
[see FAQ: What does Adisk do? and the Utilities page]
Dump 'em by audio. Patch your soundcard to the sampler's input and dump stuff
that way. It's fast, easy, and doesn't sound too bad. Of course, if you've got a digital
out then there will be no degredation of sound.
What sample editing programs are there that work with
Steinberg describes Recycle! as "The Ultimate Tool for Sampled
Grooves" but is also very useful for all sorts of challenges and full
of creative tools. Take a look at Steinberg's
products on their site.
Alchemy 3.0 is supposed to be able to load samples to all the major
samplers over MIDI. Alchemy is also set up to record through your computer,
so you can sample with your computer, do the editing there and just dump
the finished sample down to your AKAI.
D-SoundPRO is a shareware Macintosh sample editor. It has had rave reviews
from people on the list. Check it out at
On the PC there are quite a few sample editors such as:
Soundforge and Recyle will transfer samples to/from a PC using SCSI
after a bit of hacking to get around some of the SCSI recognition problems.
(see FAQ entry on connecting up a PC to the scsi chain).
- WaveLab - part of Cubase package
There is a very professional sample editing program for the Atari ST/STe/TT/Falcon
(and compatibles) that works over SCSI with Akai S1000 and up.
For more info, see
How do I send my Akai stuff across the net?
With DOS, at the mo, you can send an Akai floppy disk from here to there
by using Teledisk.
Teledisk can do a raw read of what is on the Akai disk, and can copy it
as an MSDOS file (to your hard disk). Zip the thing and send it across
to your friend over the net. Your friend can then convert the thing from
an MSDOS file and copy it to an Akai formatted floppy using Teledisk at
her end (it seems that the destination floppy should be the same density
(720k or 1.44M) as the source floppy for Teledisk to work correctly). For
more on Teledisk, see the FAQ entry.
If you want to send just a few samples/programs/multifiles across, you
may be better off with just using Adisk to copy the samples/progs etc to
your pc separately and sending that off. For more on Adisk, see the FAQ
What does Teledisk do?
Teledisk can be downloaded from the Utilities section.
It does three things:
- it can do a raw read of an Akai floppy and convert it to an MSDOS format
file onto your hard disk.
- it can read the MSDOS format file and stick it back onto an Akai format
- it can make a copy of a Akai floppy onto another floppy (equivalent
to (1) and then (2))
For both Teledisk and Adisk you should use a healthy 720k or 1.44MB
floppy which you know has no bad sectors. Also, it seems that the source floppy
and the destination floppy should be the same density (720k or 1.44MB).
What does Adisk do?
Adisk is Paul Kellett's brilliant tool for handling Akai floppies on the PC: It can
As for Teledisk you should use a healthy 1.44MB floppy which
you know has no bad sectors. If
you are having problems with Adisk, see the FAQ about Akai-formatting
and Dos-formatting for handling akai hard drives.
- do a directory list of the floppy
- format a floppy to S3000XL format
- read Akai samples, programs, multi and FX files and write them to your
- convert Akai samples to .wav files on your hard disk
- convert .wav samples to Akai samples on your floppy
- and a few other odd things too.
What kind of RAM do I get?
To expand your AKAI's RAM by the book you need 72pin SIMMs exactly:: Single Sided - No Parity - Fast Page 70ns or faster 72pin ones.
Their capacity can be 4 or 16MBytes and can be mixed together but I suggest you not to in order to avoid hardware
If you cannot find Fast Page SIMMS then EDO can work too as long as they match the above
characteristics (except the fast page part of course) but you won't be using they're Extended Data Out characteristic
so don't think you're speeding up your sampler by using them. To be absolutely certain, the only way is to try them
out for at least a weekend by loading all you possibly can in your sampler's new RAM and doing some memory
movements like DSPing, deleteing, reloading without clearing memory etc and keeping your sampler on for many hours.
If all is fine you shouldn't get any "glitching" or strange noises in your samples as result of your operations - if you
do, or even manage to crash the OS, then probably your AKAI doesn't like much those new SIMMs. This
testing period should be conducted for installing FastPage RAM too ofcourse, one can never know of defective
I can't format a floppy with Adisk! I get the message
Sector Not Found! Why?
Try Akaiformatting floppies which you know have no bad sectors. Also,
cleaning your floppy drive might help.
Problem could be a bad sector on floppy. Bad sectors are not a big deal
in DOS, because they get zoned off. If you format a floppy with no bad
sectors in dos, then you will have 1457664 bytes free. If there are bad
sectors then you will have less than 1457664 bytes free.
Try dosformatting the dodgy disk in the windows file manager's formatter,
and see if the pop up at the end says you have 1457664 bytes formatted.
If you don't, then I would guess that that's why Adisk barfs.
You may be formatting non-high-density disks? Try reading
one of the factory disks. If you can't do that you may have a problem with
your diskdrive. Good luck.
Is there a way to burn a CD-rom of an Akai-formatted
To burn your own AKAI format CD-ROM you first have to create a harddisk
with all the AKAI volumes, sounds, programs and stuff that you want to
have. (Remember the max size of an AKAI drive is currently 512MB. A CD
ROM has got up to 650MB)
When you are happy with your drive and think nothing needs to be changed
you can start burning. This is done by a so called SCSI copy (which is
available from most burning software).
A SCSI copy simply transfers an exact image of your source SCSI volume
to the target (the CD ROM). You have to do it this way because the AKAI
format is not recognized by any standard computer file system - but this
way you work on low driver level and your computer simply doesn't care
what sort of data it works on.
What CD-drives work with the Akai?
Here is a list of some that work:
Old NEC CD-Rom drive DO NOT WORK with Akai CDs.
- Pioneer DRU-124x 4xSpeed
- Pioneer DR-U12x Speed (let's say all Pioneer models do)
- Panasonic 2x all models
- SONY 2x/4x all models
- Hitachi 4x
- Toshiba 4x XM-5401 TA
- Toshiba 3401 SCSI
- Toshiba XM5701 12x
- MAC external 2x CD drive (panasonic/matsushita)
- Plextor 12x, 20x and 32x
- Apple CD-300E
- Apple CD-600E
- Apple CD1200 (8x Internal)
- Panasonic LK-MC606BP (Matsushita 508)
How can I use my Jaz or Zip drive?
First things: connections - the 25 pin cable that you get with your
Jaz or Zip plugs straight into your sampler and works fine. If you
are chaining the sampler to more scsi devices, you should really use ribbon
cables - the sampler scsi port is very finicky about connecting up more
gadgets. Remember, the port on the sampler is a SCSI port, not a parallel port,
so do not get the parallel port versions of the zip/jaz drives.
The connector socket on the zip drive/jaz and on the sampler is a DB25
socket - a standard printer port. If you are connecting your pc via a scsi
card to the zip/jaz, you may have a 50 pin port on the pc, and in that
case you need a cable adaptor which converts from a 50 pin scsi to a DB25
You can use you can actually use the zip to do hard disk recording without problems.
One zip gives you about 10 minutes of
16 bit 44.1KHz stereo (cd-audio) sound. The zip is fast enough - just.
You must never "AKAI FORMAT" removable media like ZIPs, JAZs, MOs, Sysquests etc.
This type of media needs specific and particular "treatment" for it's formatting, which is not a global standard
The AKAI "FORMAT" command is intended rather for HD drives, not for removable media.
All you need to do is hit the "Arrange" button and if your media is new, you can even SKIP the bad sector search
process and formatting will take just a few seconds! If you have insisted on using the "FORMAT" button
too many times, you may have permanently damaged your removable media. You can try recovering from
this state by using it's proprietary format and rescue utilities (like Iomega Utils for the Jaz and ZIP) and
see if it comes back to "life".
How can I handle Akai formatted hard drives?
On the Mac:
On the PC:
Use Hiroyuki Ohsaki's akaitools in linux. It's cool, but really
only for geeks at the moment. It handles S3000 type multis, and you can
back-up your entire AKAI zip disk into the Linux operating system. The
latest version of akaitools is freely available at:
How do I use my keyboard controller to trigger the
S3000XL when I'm using MESA?
Tech support at Akai told me there was no way to trigger your Akai sampler
from your MIDI keyboard while in MESA. However, there is a tool available
from a pulldown menu in MESA, a tool called OMS Keyboard. It's a picture
of a MIDI keyboard that can play only one note at a time when you mouse-click
Is hotplugging SCSI devices to Akai machines a Good
[hotplugging: connecting up devices while the power is on]
No! You can blow the interface, and you'll have to take it to the Akai
repairman. On the other hand, some people hotplug all the time and don't have problems.
This seems rather like letting your baby play in the traffic 'cos he
hasn't been run over yet. Why take chances?
How do I connect up my PC to the SCSI chain?
That is, without having to connect and disconnect things, with the idea
being to transfer samples via scsi for editing on the Pc, for example.
You can have two controllers on a SCSI bus, provided you give them different
ID's. See docs for your SCSI-card for details. You have to make sure you
closed all files in one system before opening in the other. Consider it
*highly unsafe*, but not impossible.
For HDR (hard disk recording) you're better of with something like a
2920 or 2940, both from adaptec. If you want to get the most out of a drive
that IOmega controller just won't cut it. For general use it's pretty good,
You should be able to leave everything connected - just take care with
the termination and SCSI IDs and all should work well. A standard setup is:
PC SCSI CARD (terminated) - Internal SCSI CD-ROM - ZIP Drive - Akai S3000XL
What SCSI cards do I use on
MESA is developed on 2940 U/U W cards but they are by no means cheap
nor required, a cheaper option should be fine. Here is a list of tested cards:
- Adaptec 1502 (AKA Iomega Zip Zoom card) ISA/DB25 (w/o BIOS)
- Adaptec 1505 ISA/DB25 (w/o onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 1510 ISA/Centronics 50 (w/o onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 1515/40 ISA/Centronics 50 (with onboard BIOS & PnP)
- Adaptec 2920 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 2940A PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 2940UW PCI/Minscsi 68 (with onboard BIOS)
- Symbios Logic (Formerly NEC) C810 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (w/o onboard BIOS)
- Symbios Logic C815 PCI/MS50 (Same as C810 but with BIOS eprom chip)
- Symbios Logic C860 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
- Advansys 930 (AKA 2930) PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
Is the EB16 effects board any good?
I've had one for quite a while and I'm very happy with it, especially
considering its price. Its effects are very usable in mixes and its interface
is a dream to use. As a similar-cost comparison, I have a Midiverb 4 and
I find the eb16's reverbs much much MUCH better. The Midiverb's reverbs
really suck, so it's not really a fair compairson; I'd say the EB16 reverbs
are somewhere between Quadraverb and Rev7 quality. The eb16's pitch shifter
is also much faster than the Midiverb's.
A few gripes I have about the EB16: 1. Can't send individual effects
to specific outputs. All 4 go to whatever output you assign them. 2. Can't
control delay times with MIDI clock. 3. Only 670ms total of delay time.
But again, for the money, I don't think it can be beat. Having a few
multifx boxes inside my sampler is great.
Can I put an internal hard drive in my 3000XL?
The short answer is: no, you cannot add an internal HD to your S3000XL.
The long answer is: maybe you can.
The deal is, akai has advertised that you can add an HD, but they do
not support it or make it easy, at least in the US. european list members
have added HDs, have even received samplers from akai with drives already
installed. in the US though, they dont know anything about it, they cant
get the hardware to do it, and they are not very helpful.
As the akai comes (as mine came anyway), there's two barriers to putting
in an HD: the power, and mounting. there is an internal scsi connector.
there's apparently a mounting bracket you can get from akai europe or from
some company in germany. maybe you could also rig something up. it's just
some bits of metal right? :) there's no internal power connector for the
disk -- you'd have to attach your own to the power board. this is presumably
not too difficult, but i didnt want to risk it.
I installed a 3.5" HD in my S3000XL a couple of weeks ago, and
it seems to work fine. Mounting was the most difficult part.
I installed the HD on a metal mount and fastened that into the three holes
between the main board and the power supply
(you suggested the same method). I used the power supply connectors on
the main board (5 brown wires: - -12v / 0 / +12v / 0 / +5v).
Installed SCSI termination on the drive. I'm not sure if this method is
safe for the sampler (extra heat, power consumption etc)
but it seems ok, and I had no troubles so far. There's only one problem.
The HD has SCSI ID 5 so the S3000XL tries to boot the OS
from the HD. But it does so before the HD is ready ("HARD DISK READ
ERROR"), so I have to wait a few seconds and load
the OS manually.
My display is fading, what can I do to fix it?
Display poblems can be solved by simply asking a tech to remove the
display plate behind the screen and install a new one. When you do this your
display is as good as new.
This is a problem generally found with LCD displays and to extend their life-time you
should turn off the display (by pressing the contrast button) when you don't need it.
My sampler wants me to contact Richard. What do I do?
There is a system error on the S3000XL when using M.E.S.A.(v1.3
- Mac) which occurs when trying to switch over to the edit mode (single, multi or sample).
The sampler says a system-error occured and advises you to
'Please let Richard know the actions you performed to obtain
this page. Press F8 to continue.'
I've experienced this (hundreds of times) while using my Recycle! 1.6
and S3000XL. I discovered a very 'unprofessional' way to work around this.
A couple months ago, I had this happen to me while working on something
with a very tight deadline. Out of anger and frustration, I spun the data
wheel when I saw this message and everything came out in fine
order in the 3000. Sometimes Recycle loads garbage into the new program you've
just transferred and the new samples go into the last program created prior
to the transfer. I've found doing this ridiculous data wheel thing can clear
that up, too (about 60-70% of the time). Good luck you'll need it, it seems.
How can I control resonance from an external controller?
Load a sound in. Go to the filter screen in edit prog, set rez to full.
Opposite the rez, set rez source to mod wheel, or whatever source you would
like to change the rez with. Set to this parameter to +50. Draw a modulation
curve in your sequencer(or use your modwheel) with a sound playing, fine
tune to suit your taste, and there you go.
You can use mod wheel, bend, pressure, or several other sources (LFOs,
etc.), and if using a sequencer, you can map whatever you want to one of
these sources. See page 100 and beyond of the manual. You can also send
the output from the first filter to the second, and create more dramatic
effects. Pages 70 - 72 of the manual give you a good run-through of modulation
sources. In MESA, go to either the filter page, or the S2 overview to adjust
Where can I get manuals from?
They are available for download
These may be more up-to-date than what you already have, and cover
the EB16 effects board.