The AKAI S612 – The Best Sampler AKAI Ever Made?

Is the AKAI S6512 the best sampler the company ever made?

That’s the question tackled in the latest video from Espen Kraft.

“When the Hi-Fi home system producer Akai entered the music tech/gear business with the Akai S612 sampler, and the Akai AX80 and AX60 back in 1985/86, no one new what to make of it. Not even Akai themselves. I don’t think they knew how successfull their samplers would be in the years to come after this.

This was also the only sampler they’d ever produce that was in black.

The 612, in essence 6 delay lines with sampling functions, was streamlined the year later with the grey S700.

Both have a analog filter, non resonant, but where the S700 is a menu driven sampler, the S612 uses knobs and faders for adjusting parameters and that is very, fast, intiutive and simple. No Akai sampler for many years after the S612 did this.

Unfortunately it does not comply to the “standard” MIDI Sample Dump protocol, so with a faulty Quick Disk drive like most of these have today, you have to use some old Atari or MAC to transfer sounds to and back from a computer. Or fix your quick disk system.

The demo track I start off with (Tell Me) is made entirely of sounds coming out of the S612. I’ve multi tracked it of course and additional effects are being used.

It has that 12-bit, slightly gritty sound I love.”

11 thoughts on “The AKAI S612 – The Best Sampler AKAI Ever Made?

    1. I know that you used to be able to find them at office stores, as there were some word processors that used them.

  1. Gigasampler before, and Kontakt huge libraries then, in some manner killed this kind of sound designing and thinking…

  2. Back in the S612 era we had no love for the coloration imposed by low-resolution sampling. The Mirage, the S612, the S900 and the Prophet 2000 were actually the beginning of a race among hardware manufacturers to bring an affordable, “transparent” 16-bit sampler to market (I believe Casio’s FZ was first to cross that finish line, around the same time as the the Ensoniq EPS-16+ and Akai’s S1000)

    It’s only in hindsight that we realize how lovely those 12-bit samplers sounded.

  3. Cool fun fact, the dynamics/distortion area of Waves Brauer Motion plug-in was inspired by the S612, there’s also a decent fact against the clock where efdemin uses it. Maybe not the “all time best” but absolutely the most immediate design akai put out of their rack units, having few menus and instant controls to shape the sound.
    I’ve considered swapping my s950 for one of these many times ?

  4. Akai S950 the best hardware sampler sorry :!
    E-mu sp 1200.
    E-mu E4XT Ultra.

    All above can do and sound better soz.

    Msinger 🙂

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