The only issue I have here is that the manual is disconcertingly vague when it comes to details over exactly which USB devices are compatible, with the somewhat unhelpful comment, "if you plug it in and it doesn't work, then you know it's not supported".
Checking back with Akai produced a list of devices that are known to be compatible shown on the next page , and presumably this list will be extended as reports come back of what did and didn't function when it was connected up. While technically the internal drive bay is designed to a take range of drives, including Zip drives and other removable media, most users will no doubt stick with supplied IDE drive. The hard disk comes preloaded with a generous 4.
This vast and varied collection gives you plenty to play with and ensures that the Z8 is earning its keep as a sample-playback module even before you load it up with your own stuff. Worthy of special mention is a folder called 'Splendid Piano', which contains a superb set of multisampled acoustic piano sounds, and these do a great job of showing off the Z8's sonic potential.
You'll also need a degree of patience, as this particular folder takes just over seven minutes to load. Although it's certainly worth the wait, it does highlight the fact that while the Z8 may give you the ability to create and use large, complex multisamples, there are always going to be practical constraints on moving the files around physically.
The good news, however, is that samples do load in the background. So if your patience is short or if the audience is growing restless, then you can always quickly load and then play smaller-sized samples while your monster piano trundles into memory.
The EB4JS effects board which is standard on the Z8, but not on the Z4 offers up to four simultaneous effects in a four-buss design that is simple to understand and easy to set up. You can route Programs and Multis to the effects via the four busses A to D but if you want to connect effects in series you can also choose to route the output of one effect into another.
For extra flexibility, the output of each effects processor can be individually assigned to any of the physical outputs. Effects inputs are always in mono and outputs in stereo, so if you configure effects in series then the output of the first effect is summed to mono before being fed to the second though the output of the second effect is still in stereo. While the overall quality is good, and the routing system is flexible, you might argue that the selection is rather safe and predictable, especially if you are into very aggressive processing of sounds.
It will be interesting to see whether Akai develop any further algorithms, as Emu have done with their own effects board see SOS May Like the S and S before them, the basic file currency of the Z8 and Z4 is standard WAV files, making them compatible with a vast range of pre-sampled material. Akai say that they will introduce support for Emu E4 and Roland file formats in subsequent releases of the Z-series OS. Talking of which While the Z8 and Z4 also see the introduction of a new OS, Akai aficionados will be pleased — nay, relieved — to note that this appears to be very much a case of evolution, not revolution.
It's particularly good news considering that, following those disastrous S-series teething problems, Akai's Z-series OS has subsequently proved extremely stable. Certainly in the weeks I was using v1. Clearly no OS is going to be percent right first time, but Akai are taking ongoing support and development very seriously with the Z-series — indeed, as this review was being delivered into the clutches of the SOS editorial team, Akai were about to release OS v1.
This is the current list of drives that Akai have confirmed as being compatible with the Z4 and Z8 samplers. For those new to this, Samples provide the basic building blocks for sounds, while Programs consist of groups of samples with their various filter, envelope, LFO and other parameter settings, plus keyboard assignments. Multis allow you to play one or more programs, with each program being assigned its necessary level, pan, MIDI channel and other values.
There is one piece of news, though, in that along with the traditional keygroup-based programs where typically a sound is assigned across a range of keys so you can play it at different pitches , the new OS now offers a 'Drum' program setup which enables you to quickly assign samples to individual notes. This is a much more logical structure when working with drum sounds and loops, and to my mind is a feature long overdue.
This new Drum program setup is also at the heart of a new Auto Sampling mode — one of several 'intelligent' features that Akai have introduced to try and take the tedium out of sampling on a large scale. Auto Sampling is primarily designed to allow very speedy assimilation of audio sample CDs. In this mode, sampling is triggered when the incoming signal exceeds a predetermined level, and stops as soon as it drops below it.
You choose which key on the keyboard the first sound is assigned to, then all subsequent sounds are added to the white keys in ascending order. In theory, the function allows you to cue up an audio sample CD of say, drum sounds or loops, press Record, then go off and make a cup of tea. When you come back, you should have a keyboard's worth of sounds that you then save as a Program. As a further refinement of this procedure, you can also activate the auto-normalising function, which adjusts the level of each sample after it has been recorded automatically.
In practice, for it to work as Akai intended, you need to take some care in setting up a suitable recording threshold for the range of sounds you want to record, otherwise you can chop the end off some of the more sensitive material best to make the cup of tea once you know all your samples have been safely gathered in A more hands-on version of the above procedure is also available through an Add to Program feature, whereby you manually select the notes to which new samples are assigned.
This works with keygroup-based Programs too, and proves very convenient when you want to take an existing Program and build it up with new material. If you want to record or indeed resample your sounds using the effects provided by the EB4JS board, Akai have made this easy though their 'Quick Effects' feature although of course potential purchasers of the Z4 should be aware that these functions are only available if you have this board installed.
FX mode allows you to apply up to four effects to mono samples and two when recording in stereo. From this menu, you can also edit the effect in question without having to go into the dedicated Effects Edit windows. Command mode involves 12 special Q-FX presets which harness the DSP power of the effects board to get certain types of results with a single button-push.
For example, 'Distance' appears to add a combination of reverb and EQ to make the sound appear further away, 'Robot' adds a comb-filter effect reminiscent of ring modulation, and 'Undersea' applies a swirly flanger effect. Each preset has two associated parameters which can be programmed from within the Command menu, and whether your sample is mono or stereo, you can apply up to two Q-FX presets. I guess some will be more immediately useful than others; you might not always want to make your samples sound like mechanoids on speed.
On the other hand, presets such as 'Distort' create an instant grungey effect which I would imagine will appeal to many. The good thing is that the system allows you to compare effected and dry sample side by side, so you can see what it might sound like before you commit yourself. The Q-FX menu also pops up among the main menu of sample-editing functions, where it functions in exactly the same way as when sampling a sound for the first time. It operated from until It was founded by Simon Ghahary , the designer and founder of Blue Room Loudspeakers who was responsible for the design and identity of the "pod" speaker series.
It was based in Shoreditch, London with an office in San Francisco In , Robert Trunz backed the venture independently with Ghahary at the helm. The record label connected Blue Room Loudspeakers to the forefront of musical innovation through an assembled global roster of talented electronic music artists pushing the envelope with sound. Ghahary also directed and cultivated its unique visual imprint designing record covers, initially with Think electric , adverts, posters merchandise and various collaborations with underground psychedelic artists.
Parties also took place regularly and locally in London with Ahimsaproductions. Sell MIDI file and sample packs for your musical creations. Didgeridoo Samples. Doru Malaia World. Sells sample CDs as well as providing a wide range of free samples to try out. Early Patches. Sample CD of rare acoustic instruments.
Some sounds available to download. Loops and Sounds For Technoheadz Worldwide! Produce sample CDs in. WAV and Akai. TD0 formats. Yamaha S samples are now also available. Endless Flow. A multimedia production company that specializes in creating license free audio loops and sound fx libraries. Some samples available to download. Glasstrax Bigga Giggas.
Sample CDs featuring sample sets customised for Gigga Studio. Samples to buy plus some free samples to download. CDROM sample collections for various synths. GrooveMaker Sample Libraries. Real time remixable groove-generator using random combinations of loops using pre-arranged studio-ready sample collections. New sample loop libraries just released. HipHop Production. One user documents his love hate relationship with his MPC Music Machines: Akai.
Remix16 Page. A new page with links to resources for the DJ Phrase Sampler. Windows 95 software to send any 16bit. S - ElectronicaDub. DRMgen is a java utility that generates cubase drum map files for akai samplers for Cubase 5 for Windows. S - BassAndTrouble. S - Early Patches. Early Patches provide some world instrument samples in S and Soundfont formats.
SXL Home Page. See here for Mac. SG01 Edit Page. If you are using an SG01 you must check it out. SG01 - Mac Editor. VSM Akai Room. VX Page. Acoustic Guitar Collection. Emphasis on creating hiphop beats. Awave - FMJ Software. SND files and much more.
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