Zoë Blade's notebook


S1100 tech specs

  • Released: 1990
  • Company: Akai
  • Type: Sampler
  • Polyphony: 16 voices
  • Timbrality: Multitimbral
  • Sample rates: 22.05 kHz, 44.1 kHz
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit
  • Audio in: stereo pair
  • Audio out: 8 + stereo pair
  • Control: MIDI
  • Synchronisation: SMPTE timecode
  • CPU: 16-bit NEC μPD70216GF-10-3B9[1]
  • RAM: 2 MB — 32 MB (8 MB ×4)[2]
  • Storage: 2HD/2DD 3.5" floppy disk, SCSI
  • Display: 40×8 character / 240×64 pixel LCD
  • Features: Velocity can offset sample start, timestretching, digital effects
  • Size: 3U

The Akai S1000 was a 16-bit, 44.1 kHz sampler, released by Akai in 1990.

The S1100 took the very successful S1000, added digital effects, digital outputs, and separate DACs (the S1000 multiplexed a single DAC across all its outputs), and had higher quality ADCs. In other words, it was higher quality, and no longer needed outboard gear. As long as you don't mind menu diving, you can do more with it, a MIDI sequencer, and nothing else. It also has SCSI as standard.

Most notably for film and video, it has SMPTE timecode in and out, so it can be used to play sound effects that you can cue up in a list.

Rather ambitiously, version 2.0 of the S1100's operating system turned it into a stereo direct-to-disk recorder... but not an especially good one. It's better to use it as a great sampler.


The S1100EX was essentially a second S1100, minus the user interface. You can use one to double the polyphony or timbrality — and outputs — of an S1100. Or you can daisychain together up to six S1100EXes to a single S1100 for a ridiculously opulent setup, at least for its time.




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[3]

Notable users




  1. "S1100 service notes" Akai, Nov 1990, p. 11
  2. "S1100 service notes" Akai, Nov 1990, p. 1
  3. "Musical Youth" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Jan 1993, pp. 64—69
  4. "The Streets Of San Francisco" Kean Wong, Music Technology, Jul 1993, pp. 78—80
  5. "Future Talk" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Jan 1994, pp. 16—18
  6. "Message In A Sample" Phil Ward, Music Technology, May 1993, pp. 36—42
  7. "Trent Reznor" Greg Rule, Keyboard, Mar 1994
  8. "Classic Tracks: Nine Inch Nails 'Closer'" Richard Buskin, Sound On Sound, Sep 2012
  9. "Second Course" Future Music, Oct 1993
  10. "The PWEI Akai S1100 MIDI Stereo Digital Sampler" Adam Mole, Molerabilia
  11. "The Lone Raver" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, May 1992, pp. 68—72
  12. "SNAP! to tomorrow" Roger Brown, The Mix, Nov 1994, pp. 84—88
  13. "Warp Factor 8" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Nov 1993, pp. 32—33





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