Akai S2800 and S3000 Digital Samplers (part 5)
The opening screen presents you with information about existing samples and offers two recording and three editing pages. Rec1 is the Record Setup page where you will decide matters such as whether your new sample should be mono or stereo, how sampling should be initiated, whether the bandwidth should be 20kHz or 10kHz and other important details. As far as I could tell, the second record page, where recording actually takes place, is identical to the S1000. A meter to the left of the screen shows the incoming level, and a graph of the level is drawn out as the signal comes in. When I first saw the S1000 I was curious about the inclusion of a Meter Off button. I now know that even though this is what it is called in the manual, and that even though it does actually switch the meter off, its purpose is this: in normal use, you can monitor the incoming signal through the S3000 and when a sample is taken it will switch over to the recorded version so you can play the sample back from the keyboard immediately. If you dont like what you hear, press the Meter On button and you will be able to hear the source signal again - the button should be called Monitor On. I think I see the point, but I still wish they would change it to a quick save button so you can protect your samples precious existence without having to go to the disk page.
There are now three sample edit pages rather than two with some interesting extra functions. I should skip over the Trim and Loop pages because they are almost exactly the same as before (but only four loops per sample rather than eight), and still with no undo function for the crossfade loop. Maybe Akai should be checking out the competition on this point. But I said almost exactly the same, if you delve a little deeper you will notice that as you trim, the screen scrolls to follow the start and end cursors. What a small point, but what a big improvement it makes toward ease of operation! I suspect that over a period of weeks of use, users will find similar small improvements that assist operation.
The extra edit page is a goodie. Many is the time I have had a sample which needed a little bit taking out to make it perfect. How often have I wanted to sample a whole length of material and snip out the good bits? Wouldnt life be grand if you could sample a section of vocal and silence the coughs and splutters while leaving the rest intact. The good new is that with the S3000 you can do all of of these things. And you can overwrite a sample, so you no longer have to waste time typing in a new name even if you are confident about what you are doing. What you do, in abbreviated terms, is this:
- Select your sample and go to Edit page 3
- Set a start and end point for the section you wish to modify. These points are temporary and will not change the original sample permanently. Press EXEC (Execute).
- Press Chop (remove the section), Cut (silence the section) or Extract (get rid of everything other than the section).
There seems to be a slight discrepancy between the three options as to whether you can hear the results of your handiwork immediately, which you should be able to, but Im sure the Akai engineers are working on this already. (It might be nice if they can work on some automatic naming system to so you dont have to fiddle about with names so much on something which might only be in use for a short time anyway).
Other new goodies include a normalising feature so you can bring all your samples up to a consistent level (or you can adjust the level manually by rescaling if you wish). The Fade function provides either a fade in, fade out or both. You can do this as part of editing the program, but this will be very handy particularly when you know you will be setting the sample always to play right to its end. Features well known and well liked on the S1000 and S1100 are repeated here, such as Time Scale, Resample and Reverse playback.