The rest of the front panel is pretty much the same as the S1000, except more modern looking. The LCD is a touch brighter and clearer, and there is a backlight on/off switch combined with the Display Contrast control. This apparently helps preserve the longevity of the LCD. Around the back we find two inputs and two outputs, available on balanced XLRs and jacks, and eight individual outputs. Professional users of course always like to see XLR connectors, but I do have to award Akai a minus point for their adoption of pin 3 of the XLR as their hot connection - contrary to the recommendations of standards setting bodies, the AES and EBU. As well as audio connections there is the usual trio of MIDI sockets, and three blanking panels. Expansion options for the S3000 include a SCSI card, which you will need if you want to store your samples on hard or optical disk (which you will, very soon after purchase), a digital interface card allows digital input and output and also storage of programs and samples on DAT. The final slot is for a SMPTE card which will be necessary if you want to use the Cue List function to play back samples synchronised to timecode. I did say final slot, but after making an undercover investigation - under the cover of the unit that is - I found a fourth slot whose function is currently a mystery to me, there is no provision for its access from the outside world. While Im inside the S3000 I should also mention that memory expansion is available from the standard 2 Megabytes up to 32 Meg. If the S3000 was a bathtub, 2 Megabytes would be about enough to get your feet wet, so I think youll be investing in an expansion soon. Unfortunately, Akai have made the unwise decision to use a proprietary card rather than standard SIMMS modules which are cheap and easily available. Obviously Akai think that theyll make more profit this way (and of course they are perfectly entitled to do that - all Akai users will want to see the company go from strength to strength). Unfortunately, third party developers will see most of that profit and the user will only suffer inconvenience. Akai should rethink their policy for future product ranges.
That covers most of the physical changes between the S1000 and S3000. Other changes of course include improved audio specifications and capabilities, and new software features and enhancements. I think I need to cover these under a new heading...Come on the FREE COURSE TOUR