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Complex Analog Oscillators
In the mid 80’s AKAI released the infamous S900 which was to be one of the first of a new generation of highly affordable professional samplers. The S900 and it’s bigger brother, the S950, became big sellers and completely changed the playing field amongst their competitors with their five digit offerings.
The S900 was a 12-bit machine with a tiny 750K memory and a floppy drive for sample storage. At the time it was a revelation but it’s now really very basic by today’s standards.
12 Bit Crunch with Analog Filters
The infamous 13 pin connector permitted the sampler to be used as a complex oscillator source driving the filter stages and VCAs modulated by the envelope generators.
In short, you get to mix 12-bit digital crunch with the warmth of analog filters!
1938 Novachord #346
This formed the basis of an unusual albeit somewhat clunky hybrid synth…
Sound sources were mostly Minimoog model D but also included 1938 Novachord, 1967 Philicorda GM751, 1978 ARP Omni-2 string section, Roland JUNO-106 polysynth and 3 tube waveshaped 1960’s tube oscillators beating in parallel.
ARP Omni-2 + Novachord
376 samples were captured in this manner for the library.
Complex warm analog oscillator sources transposed over 5 octaves with a touch of 12-bit crunch shaped with classic Curtis VCFs and VCAs!
Some Customer Quotes
“It’s a very well thought instrument, a very useful and inspiring tool. Very user friendly, the GUI shows the essentials, all the needed knobs are here and the presets give a good idea of where this VI goes. The general tone is analog and “tuby” and I could easily find the “hot spots” for the pads to cut through after a little tweaking from the VI knobs. It s really a steal for £10!!!! With such a street price and power it’s definitely a winner !!!”
Claude Samard-Polikar (Musician & Musical Director for Jean Michel Jarre)
“a truly inspiring, deep and unique treasure trove of organic sound. In fact, I got stuck on preset #1, Apollo Strings, and time just flew…”
“I bought S-VX yesterday and am liking it a lot. I have only just scratched the surface but I can see lots of warm, moving tones and plenty of mangling opportunities. Well done. I look forward to more from you. And the Multis inspired me to try out a few of my own – there are loads of possibilities.”
DarkStar, KVR Forum
“just bought this, and been playing around for a bit, and every single noise that comes out of this beast is warm, lush, and straight-up INSPIRATIONAL! i have a suspicion i’ll probably be (over)using this beast for quite some time!”
Funky Lime, KVR Forum
The Sampling Process…
The instruments in the S-VX Hybrid Library were constructed using several vintage analog sound sources acting as complex sampled oscillators feeding the VX90 synth.
32 ten second long raw oscillator sources were captured in 12-bits using a recently refurbished S900 fitted with a new backlight and a (superb!) Lotharek HxC virtual floppy drive. The results were stored on SD card as part of a bank of 79 virtual disks.
Like so many early samplers such as the E-mu Emulator II, the SCI Prophet 2000 and the Ensoniq Mirage, the S900 has sonic character in bucket loads and still has a following to this day.
One feature of the S900 that was often overlooked was a curious 13 pin connector on the rear panel marked “VOICE OUT”…
AKAI had released a small number of polyphonic analog synthesizers during the same era as the S900. These included the AX73 keyboard and the VX90 rack mount. They have often been overlooked over the years possibly due to their rather control-free front panels and menu driven user interfaces. This is a perhaps a little unkind as these instruments feature genuine Curtis VCOs and filters unlike many offerings of the time such as the Juno-106 which was a DCO synth. To this effect they drift out tune with temperature like the best of them!