The Akai S-2000 is a direct declination of the Akai S3000 but to reduce the cost of the machine, the interface has been revised and implemented in its simplest expression … That is to say a minimum of button , and a tiny (ridiculous) screen …
However, no compromize about the sound quality which is impeccable, like all the Akai series « S », and we find the classic structure of S3000 models, keygroup, keyzone, …
It is a rather basic stereo sampler providing only two audio outputs (extensible to eight audio outputs using the IB-208P expansion board) and may use up to 32MB of RAM (the S2000 was sold with only 2MB soldered on the mother board).
The polyphony is 32 notes (pay attention if you use stereo samples, as a -L & -R samples, the polyphony will drop down to 16 notes). The Operating System is located on a floppy disk (don’t loose this disk because the sampler wouldn’t be usable) and is needed when you boot up machine. It must be said that nevertheless the operating system loads very quickly.
The extension capabilities are minimum, with a single SCSI port on which you may connect an external 100MB ZIP drive (which is my case) or a CD-ROM player.
The S2000, like generaly all the Akai series « S » samplers, does not color the sound. I’ve already read an astronomical amount of nonsense about it in many forums … But after all, anyone can say what it wants. Nevertheless, from an electrical & physical point of view, if one analyzes the source signal and the sampled result, it is clear that there is no phenomenon of phase, equalization or compression applied on the samples ….
The sample format is proprietary, but the S2000 can import the .WAV file format (and even the AIF format) widely used nowadays almost everywhere.
The akai sample format uses 16 bits, 22/44.1 khz (mono or stereo).
The filter is a classic resonant LPF 12dB that behaves in a classic way. There are also two LFOs and two envelopes (one for the filter section, the other one for the amplification section), which allow to create some complex and interesting sounds !
Finally its only handicap is its really very limited interface . But once you’re accustomed with the menus, and the dozens of submenus, the access is fast, however it requires hours and hours of practice. If you want to spend time on sound research, one can quickly be demotivated to waste time looking for where a function lies, rather than exploring the potential of the machine itself !
On the digital processing side, we find the classics: time-stretching, truncation, looping, pitch shifting, reverse sample, … Unfortunately the realization of a perfect loop is not easy due to the lack of graphical representation of the sample. As with the older S900 or S950 models, it will be necessary to use only numbers and perform many tests before finding the right place to produce the ideal loop point.
Initially I used this sampler as a beat box device… It was a time when I had not yet 32MB ram loaded in :)
However, since I was able to extend memory to its maximum, I use it intensively for lots of usages … So much so that I use it primarily in relation to the S5000 which nevertheless offers a far better interface as well as more advanced features. There is a very immediate side with the S2000, once you know where to go within the dozens of sub-menus. Moreover, it seems to me that the sound has a better dynamic than the same sound coming from the S5000.
On the electronic level, we’ve very good components such as the Mitsubishi 5220 & 5128A amplifier circuits and the PCM69AP 18-bit D/A converter (see the PDFs above).