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As you probably know, notes played simultaneously on a MIDI keyboard are transmitted sequentially down the MIDI cable. This causes a slight but noticeable spreading of the chord. The coherence feature of the S1000 creates a slight delay so that the software can detect a chord being played and it can then output all the notes simultaneously. This particularly useful for piano sounds, and <I>vital<I> for stereo samples. If you use a stereo sample without the coherence on, then it will probably sound alright when played back in stereo, but when played back in mono it will sound dreadful because the two channels will be slightly out of sync and there will be phase cancellation. If you remember that we are even now still living largely in the age of mono, and will probably continue to do so in certain areas (centre cluster PA, fringe area radio reception) for some time to come, then if you use stereo drums or loops without coherence on then your entire track will be messed up.
The S1100 is Akai's 'improved' S1000. It sounds a bit cleaner, has a useful extra 'MIX' page, and a digital effects section, but in virtually all other respects operates just like an S1000 for straightforward sampling purposes. Virtually everything in this article about the S1000 applies to the S1100 too.
The S1000 has eight keys labelled SELECT PROG, EDIT SAMPLE, EDIT PROG, MIDI, DISK, MASTER TUNE, DRUM and OPTION. These mark out the major areas of operation of the unit. When you press any of these, eight further soft keys will come into action, the eight labelled F1 to F8. Their functions will be indicated by the legend along the bottom of the LCD screen. Pressing a soft key will in many cases lead to a further selection of soft keys. If you get lost amongst the pages, just press the SELECT PROG button and you're back to where you started.