You like it old school?? Akai S900 MIDI Digital Sampler, just serviced at Synths When. $999!

  • Type: 12-bit Digital Sampler
  • Year of Release: 1986
  • Sampling Rate: 7.5 kHz to 40 kHz
  • Bit Depth: 12-bit
  • Polyphony: 8 voices
  • Memory: 750 KB (upgradable to 1.5 MB)
  • Maximum Sample Time: Approximately 11.75 seconds at 7.5 kHz, 1.56 seconds at 40 kHz
  • Outputs:
    • 8 individual outputs (1/4″ jacks)
    • Stereo mix output (1/4″ jacks)
    • Headphone output (1/4″ jack)
  • Inputs:
    • Mono audio input (1/4″ jack)
    • Trigger input (1/4″ jack)
  • Control Interface:
    • MIDI In, Out, and Thru
    • SCSI interface (optional expansion)
  • Display: 2 x 16 character LCD
  • Editing Features:
    • Waveform display and editing
    • Sample truncation and looping
    • Keygroup mapping
    • Velocity switching
  • Effects: Basic filtering and envelope controls
  • Disk Drive: Built-in 3.5″ floppy disk drive (720 KB)
  • Dimensions: 19″ W x 5.25″ H x 14″ D (483 mm W x 133 mm H x 356 mm D)


  • Classic 12-bit Sound: Known for its gritty, warm sound, the S900 is a staple in hip-hop and electronic music for its distinctive sampling character.
  • Real-Time Control: Extensive MIDI implementation allows for real-time control and sequencing.
  • Flexible Outputs: The 8 individual outputs allow for detailed mixing and processing of different samples.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Despite its age, the S900’s interface is relatively intuitive, making it easier to navigate compared to some other vintage samplers.
  • Expandability: Upgradable memory and optional SCSI interface for connecting external storage devices.

Notable Artists Who Use the Akai S900:

  1. DJ Shadow – Known for his innovative sampling techniques, DJ Shadow has used the S900 in his early work, including the groundbreaking album “Endtroducing…..”.
  2. RZA (Wu-Tang Clan) – The RZA utilized the S900 for its unique sound, contributing to the raw, gritty aesthetic of Wu-Tang Clan’s productions.
  3. Aphex Twin – Aphex Twin has been known to use the S900 for its distinctive sound quality in his complex and innovative electronic music productions.
  4. The Prodigy – Liam Howlett of The Prodigy has used the S900 in the production of their early tracks, leveraging its powerful sampling capabilities.
  5. Fatboy Slim – Known for his big beat sound, Fatboy Slim has used the S900 for its sampling versatility and sound character.

General Appeal:

  • Hip-Hop Producers: Valued for its classic 12-bit sound, which is synonymous with the early hip-hop aesthetic.
  • Electronic Music Producers: Used for its unique character and sampling capabilities, adding a distinctive texture to electronic music tracks.
  • Vintage Gear Enthusiasts: Collectors and musicians who appreciate the historical significance and unique sound qualities of vintage samplers.

The Akai S900 is renowned for its role in shaping the sound of 1980s and 1990s music, particularly in the realms of hip-hop and electronic music. Its gritty, lo-fi sound and robust features continue to make it a sought-after piece of equipment for producers and musicians looking to capture that classic vibe.

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