Zoë Blade's notebook

Akai S1000

S1000 tech specs

Akai S1000
Akai S1000

  • Released: 1988
  • Company: Akai
  • Type: Sampler
  • Polyphony: 16 voices
  • Timbrality: Multitimbral
  • Sample rates: 22.05 kHz, 44.1 kHz
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit
  • Audio out: 8 + stereo pair
  • Control: MIDI
  • RAM: 2 MB — 8 MB
  • Storage: 2HD/2DD 3.5" floppy disk, SCSI (optional)
  • Display: 40×8 character / 240×64 pixel LCD
  • Features: Velocity can offset sample start, timestretching
  • Size: 3U

The Akai S1000 was a 16-bit, 44.1 kHz sampler, released by Akai in 1988. With its high fidelity and large screen, it superseded the Akai S900 to become ubiquitous in electronic music studios. Many bedroom producers made music using little more than an S1000 and an Atari ST to sequence it. Certainly in the UK, this combination was a popular way of producing music in genres from jungle to speed garage.

A seldom talked about feature of the S1000 is that each note's velocity can offset the start of its sample, so quieter notes can skip the louder initial part of the sound, allowing a more expressive use of single-note samples.

Version 2.0 of the S1000's operating system introduced primitive timestretching, allowing a sound's pitch and length to be altered independently of one another. Far from seamless, this distinctive sound became popular in its own right, featured on songs such as Josh Wink's Higher State of Consciousness and Double 99's RipGroove.


Another instrument that I like very much is the Akai S1000, because I think it's probably the most direct sampler at present. You just plug your microphone into the front panel and you can instantly start recording your sounds.

— Jean-Michel Jarre, 1990[1]

The S1000 and S1100 are probably the only pieces of equipment that I'm almost entirely satisfied with. I think they're probably the most beautiful invention in music ever. They're more fundamentally important than piano or guitar. To me they are like time machines. H.G. Wells would have had a heart attack if he'd seen them.

— Youth, 1993[2]

We have five or six samplers, but my favorite by far is still the Akai S1000. It's an old tank now, and the screen has faded so that I almost can't read it, but I know it inside out. It's the most spontaneous thing for making up little tunes.

— Michael Sandison, Boards of Canada, 2002[3]

Notable users




See also


  1. The Synthetic Realism Of Jean-Michel Jarre Sound On Sound, May 1990
  2. Musical Youth Sound On Sound, Jan 1993
  3. Northern Exposure Remix, Jul 2002
  4. Past, Present and Future Music Technology, Aug 1992
  5. Future Talk Music Technology, Jan 1994
  6. SNAP! to tomorrow The Mix, Nov 1994
  7. Sound And Vision Music Technology, Aug 1993
  8. @iamclintmansell Twitter, Apr 2020 "Headache music..my rig was MC-303, with AKAI S1000, an Atari 1040 running Creator which would become Logic. As far gear went this was my set up, & a Roland JV 880. I’d had a Nord Lead too but it got burned out when lightning hit our building & I couldn’t afford to get it fixed."
  9. Machine Head Music Technology, Jul 1991
  10. Recording Moby's "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" Sound On Sound, Feb 2000
  11. Key 1999 Tracks: Mr. Oizo — "Flat Beat" Chal Ravens, 2019
  12. Tune In, Turn On, Chill Out Music Technology, Jun 1991
  13. The Orb Sound On Sound, May 1993
  14. The Heart Of The Bass Music Technology, Nov 1990
  15. William Orbit Sound On Sound, Oct 1991
  16. The Lone Raver Music Technology, May 1992



Deep dives

Samplers: Akai S1000 | Akai S900 | Casio FZ-1 | Roland W-30