MY AKAI Z8 sampler Review



soundonsound My Akai Z8 I started with the Akai S2000 (look also on my S2000 site), for me it was now the time to find a more modern sampler, with USB. I was grown up with Atari & SCSI, but my negative experience with SCSI sample Transphere, made me buy a MPC1000. I had an idealistic idea of a sequencer in combination with a sampler, but I found out that the MPC1000 not received multi timbale midi at all, so you canít use it in combination with Cubase. That program I make my compositions, so I sold my MPC and bought the Z8 Sampler, very cheap. It gets everything you need on a sampler and is one of the best samplers ever made by Akai Professional.
It was off course a second hand, because theyíre not for sale for a long time now. Because the sampler was used in a theatre production, and was incomplete, it cost me only 325 euros, that is not much, for a complex and advanced sampler like the Z8. The sampler was complete with expansion memory & separate audio output board. And also a 40 gb Harddisk, what become later on a big problem for me (see hardware). Incomplete because the last owner lost the connector wire (see hardware) to the removable front, no manual and the harddisk were broke. (I find out later) But still very cheap. Before I start experimenting with the sampler, I backupped the harddisk data, for analysis. I reset all intern data of the sampler and formatted the internal harddisk. In the mean time I was studying the manuals and soon find out the same sample set structure is nearly in every sampler the same. But this sampler is special, working with this sampler I get the feeling that the developers really worked out the concept.

The hardware architecture of the Z4 & Z8 are the same, the removable front of the Z8 is the only different, the Z4 with full expansion is the same as the Z8. Thatís why I only focused here only on the Z8.
Every detail is worked out and a has a clear purpose, there are no unnecessary feathers or functions with no purpose. The result of long way of developing Akai samplers. The effect section is a little to complex for my taste, but the filter section works fine for me. Also there is no function to save intern data or effect settings, so not very practical. Only in save all/song all the parameters will be saved. But that you will use only in combination with the Z8 intern sequencer. The complexity of all Z8 parameters is poorly supported by some backup possibilityís.
The high sample rate of 24 bit 96 kHz is nearly not used in my sample sets, a lot of theme are coming from the S2000, others from old Akai sample Cdís. So in practical there are to little samples of that quality in circulation. So I work in 16 bit 44.1 kHz the most used sample rate for sample data and off course the audio CD bitrate.
z8zzz The biggest benefit of this model is the USB connection; now dropping samples en programs is easy en also very important, reliable. In the old days working with SCSI was very unstable, many times sample data went corrupt. This system works perfect, if not, something will be defect, and must be repaired or replaced. The sampler is now more than 10 years old so all the Z4/Z8 samplers are without warranty. This means that we can experiment with other hardware to update the sampler. Still buying the Z4 with separate update kids will cost in total more than buy a complete Z8. On Ebay people sell there sampler in small peaces, because it will pay more off. The respect they have for this peace of inventgenuity is all ready gone. For me this peace of equipment is like new and with for me new possibilityís. ..... MNX2010 April'13.