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drum deathmatch Akai Z8 or Yamaha A5000
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
blueNan's Avatar
drum deathmatch Akai Z8 or Yamaha A5000

Hardware sampler thread!

I have an EIII XP as main sampler for bass/subs, instruments etc.
For drums i had a Dynacord ADS - but it is giving me a lot of trouble

So I plan to replace it with:
a) a Yamaha A5000, OR...
b) an Akai Z8
My reflections so far:
The A5 has a nice sound to it, quality. But... would i get more punch / solidity with the Z8 ?
Midi timing is perfect with the Z8. The A5 does well too - just not as perfect.
Z8 has that akai sine bass. While the A5 is bass shy. But I use the EIII for bass / kicks / subs anyway.
I know how they both work and don't mind using either.

So which one can you recommend to go with my EIII/XP... and why?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Whatever you do, dont buy the Z8. Send me the link to it though so I can 'check it out'.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
blueNan's Avatar
Lol i see your preference...
but I am not so sure... the Z8 sounds always sounds a little "hard" to me. And perhaps the A5000 can give me a similar drum service. Or not?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
The Akai's have very clear and clean sound, which is great if thats what you want. You get back exactly what you put into it pretty much. You have to go back a ways down the line to get anything really 'colorful' sounding and youre back in 1990 at that point. EMUs and Ensoniqs are the ones you go for if you want grungy sampling, grab a Z8 if you want like a precursor to Kontakt in a rack box. Those things were pretty rad when they came out but everybody pretty much went for software instead. They came out with the MPC4000 which should've been the king but it just wasnt enough to compete with DAWs at the time. The 4000s sampler engine was the Z engine. It was finally a full featured MPC. Those were the last things what was left of Akai Japan (it had been bought back once already by the owners after the original went bankrupt) put out, before it just became a name that got traded around.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueNan View Post
Hardware sampler thread!

The A5 does well too - just not as perfect.
Z8 has that akai sine bass. While the A5 is bass shy. But I use the EIII for bass / kicks / subs anyway.
I know how they both work and don't mind using either.

So which one can you recommend to go with my EIII/XP... and why?
Both the Z8 and the A5000 are transparent. Character wasn't what people were after back then when all they wanted is high fidelity, not "warmth" or any other bull****.

Furthermore, I don't see how anybody can say that Z8 "midi timing" is better than the A5000, that's preposterous. Yamaha is one of the the inventor of the MIDI spec with many other brands and has issued the best hardware MIDI sequencers on the planet, like the RS7000 (which was one of the only groovebox on the market that had seamless transition between patterns, huh Roland?) or the QY series. The A5000 can play back MIDI files with perfect timing.

So let's not spread unnecessary lies here.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
blueNan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by camus2 View Post
Both the Z8 and the A5000 are transparent. Character wasn't what people were after back then when all they wanted is high fidelity, not "warmth" or any other bull****.

Furthermore, I don't see how anybody can say that Z8 "midi timing" is better than the A5000, that's preposterous. Yamaha is one of the the inventor of the MIDI spec with many other brands and has issued the best hardware MIDI sequencers on the planet, like the RS7000 (which was one of the only groovebox on the market that had seamless transition between patterns, huh Roland?) or the QY series. The A5000 can play back MIDI files with perfect timing.

So let's not spread unnecessary lies here.

Thanks, I know they are both transparent. I have had also the "character" ones.
I just want to know if i can consider the A5 as solid as a drum sampler, as the Z8 can be.

Regarding timing: you can test it yourself as i did before calling lies.

I compared the midi timing in very fast sequences throwing them via hardware sequencer (Cirklon, which has a VERY tight midi specs),
both to Akai S1100 and Yamaha A5000. The S1100 was just flawless despite ANY tempo, while the A5000 had some skepts and oscillations at fast speeds. Also A3000 is famous for midi timing issues, which were later improved in A4000 / A5000.

I put a lot of time in checking these nuances because it is important for me and the music i do.

Again, I am not saying that the Yamahas have any kind of midi "problem".
Just that jitter tends to be lower in Akais.

Last edited by blueNan; 2 weeks ago at 10:18 PM.. Reason: brevity
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
blueNan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
The Akai's have very clear and clean sound, which is great if thats what you want. You get back exactly what you put into it pretty much. You have to go back a ways down the line to get anything really 'colorful' sounding and youre back in 1990 at that point. EMUs and Ensoniqs are the ones you go for if you want grungy sampling, grab a Z8 if you want like a precursor to Kontakt in a rack box. Those things were pretty rad when they came out but everybody pretty much went for software instead. They came out with the MPC4000 which should've been the king but it just wasnt enough to compete with DAWs at the time. The 4000s sampler engine was the Z engine. It was finally a full featured MPC. Those were the last things what was left of Akai Japan (it had been bought back once already by the owners after the original went bankrupt) put out, before it just became a name that got traded around.

thank you
I do like the Z8 / 4000 sound, it is good quality - in 96/24 mod it sounds quite analog.

I have also enjoyed s1100 and s950 and they were indeed more pleasant to the ear than the Z8.
S6000 is also more warm, but not better.
My Dynacord ADS was better than either so i sold my akais. But it went to hell.

So, as i am now a bit tired of repairs, and old akais went crazy in price, i just try to decide bw Z8 and A5 for drums and go back to make music. I use the computer only for multitracking, so for me hardware samplers are something that i use constantly, more than a color...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

The Z8 is silky.Almost glassy.I think they will both sound good.Especially with some onboard effects and filters.A5000 is slow at loading and saving tho(?) Z8 you can have usb computer keyboard and pen drive in the front too.Remouvable controller is very nice.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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gentleclockdivid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camus2 View Post
Both the Z8 and the A5000 are transparent. Character wasn't what people were after back then when all they wanted is high fidelity, not "warmth" or any other bull****.

Furthermore, I don't see how anybody can say that Z8 "midi timing" is better than the A5000, that's preposterous. Yamaha is one of the the inventor of the MIDI spec with many other brands and has issued the best hardware MIDI sequencers on the planet, like the RS7000 (which was one of the only groovebox on the market that had seamless transition between patterns, huh Roland?) or the QY series. The A5000 can play back MIDI files with perfect timing.

So let's not spread unnecessary lies here.
That's some sloppy logic there , yamaha made some rock solid sequemcers but that doesn't mean all their midi gear was supertight .
The motif rack 1 had severe midi issues and I remember my yammie A sampler dropped the occassional midi note.

To the OP , the A series are wonderfull samplers and have great effects , but the rotary knobs will fail on you sooner or later .
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
blueNan's Avatar
thanks,
I think i wiil finally pull the trigger on a Z8
boomproof timing when throwing controllers is a must
and the Z8 is a good and quick workhorse, despite not having the classic akai texture
A5 sounds great though, and it is quick to work with once known
but for this specific application i think the akai gets it
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Nut
 

If your budget would stretch I would consider the MPC5000. It has a very thick almost subtley distorted output on drums that sits really well in a mix, it's nothing like as clean as the Z series, plus it has the feature of being able to load folders of samples straight into banks of pads without you having to manually assign those samples. And you get pads and a sequencer built in.

I note someone above saying the Yamaha A5000 is slow on loading, actually it's a lot faster than the Z8 is from its USB1.1 port no matter what type of key you plug in there. If you put a compact flash into the A5000 you get faster load and save speeds than it ever had natively on internal IDE drives.

As well as that, the A5000 sounds a lot more gritty and vintage for drum samples than the Z8 which is quite Kontakt-like and vanilla. And the A5000 FX are much more exotic than those in the Z8. The only catch is it uses it's own proprietary disk format making it hard to bring pre existing samples into the A5000, compared to the Akais.

However, it's absolutely true that the timing on the A series is not great. The A3000 was sloppy as hell, and the A4/A5000 improved this a little, but it's still not great. If you for example enable an LFO on a long held sample, it starts to affect the timing of all the other samples that are playing, and they go a bit jittery and late. Z8 has no such problem.

If you can find one for a decent price I'd definitely consider the MPC2500/5000, if what you want to do is load up a lot of banks of drum sounds quickly and knock out beats. They even sync fine with daws if you want to work that way. Sadly it seems sampler hard and software choices are diminishing every year, it's like the inverse of the rebirth of synthesizers we've seen in recent years.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 

p.s. If you do settle on the Z8. I would recommend externalising the internal drive connectors, with an adapter. You could connect a SATA SSD and fill it up with samples, but keep it available to be unplugged and plopped into a dock or USB dongle for accessing from the computer. Ak.sys is pretty hit or miss and very slow over USB, and only works on PC these days. Being able to just put the Akai's SSD into your computer temporarily to copy stuff back and forth and do backups is a lot quicker. But connecting a drive to the USB port on the Akai you will be disappointed, it's not even USB2.0 speeds. This is part of why I mention the MPC5000, you just mount it via USB2.0 and its internal drive (and or compact flash) will show up on your computer desktop for easy Finder access.

i'd also probably stay away from Yamaha A5000 unless you find one that has had the encoders fully replaced, as it will drive you mad with encoder strobing as you try to dial in the numbers. My vote = Z8 or cheap well looked after MPC5k.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Oh and Z8 gets bonus points for the detachable screen you can put where is most convenient.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
mp3
Lives for gear
 

Here’s my 10 second breakdown: The Z8 is a straightforward sample playback device, is easy to learn and use, and has that Akai ‘snap’ to it. The AxK is a sample-based synth with a lot of really cool functionality and great sounding DSP but coupled with a learning curve (and infuriatingly ****ty knobs), and has that smooth and sweet Yamaha sound to it.

I kept my A4000 and sold my Z4 if it helps.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 

I think the filters in the A5000 ect will be better.Altho the Z ones are good too.And the A5000 can use 6 quality fx at the same time.Gamechanger !!!!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camus2 View Post
Furthermore, I don't see how anybody can say that Z8 "midi timing" is better than the A5000, that's preposterous. Yamaha is one of the the inventor of the MIDI spec with many other brands and has issued the best hardware MIDI sequencers on the planet, like the RS7000 (which was one of the only groovebox on the market that had seamless transition between patterns, huh Roland?) or the QY series. The A5000 can play back MIDI files with perfect timing.

So let's not spread unnecessary lies here.
It's not cool to accuse someone of spreading "unnecessary lies," especially when there are multiple threads on GS alone with numerous mentions of sloppy timing on the Yamaha A series samplers.

Had you bothered to search Google, you might have avoided this.

I can personally attest to the Yamaha A-series samplers having timing problems under heavy-ish loads.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

If timing is a big selling point you should try the Yamaha TX16w with the Typhoon OS. I mean I guess you’re looking for something slightly more modern so maybe that’s a dumb suggestion. Noticeably tighter timing than all my other samplers and definitely has a character to the sound. I have the A5000 and S6000 and both are noticeably sloppy on busy drums. Never tried the Z8 though.

Do you have an A5000 already? It took me forever to find a decent one in the US and even then the encoders were jumpy despite seller claims they were fine. And maybe the OS is intuitive to others but I can never figure out what I’m doing on that thing.

All that said I actually use a Roland S330 for drums more than anything else cause it’s got a cool sound.
Old 3 days ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
blueNan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbylandry View Post
If timing is a big selling point you should try the Yamaha TX16w with the Typhoon OS.
That is very interesting, i did not know about that OS - i may try at some point.
For now I have settled with Z8, S1000, EMU and a K2000R as my main sound sources. Solid.

I do have a A5000. Mine is ok - got the encoders working with contact cleaner spray.
There is a permanent fix floating here based on soldering a capacitor to the encoder. I have not tried it though.

On midi timing... recapping the psu healed the midi timing issues in my EMU EIIIX.
So it may help other samplers behave -as most of them are +25 years old now.
Old 3 days ago
  #19
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The synth engine on the A5000 is quite powerful, however if you're just triggering drum samples, you may never use it. the Yamaha has some single cycle waves build in, so sometime I just build sounds from that, without sampling.
Old 3 days ago
  #20
mp3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
The synth engine on the A5000 is quite powerful, however if you're just triggering drum samples, you may never use it. the Yamaha has some single cycle waves build in, so sometime I just build sounds from that, without sampling.
The synth engine on the A5000 is useful on drum samples. Not to mention the effects.
Old 2 days ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
The synth engine on the A5000 is useful on drum samples. Not to mention the effects.
no doubt, but to some people "sampler" simply means a drum trigger, and if thats all someone wants the synth engine is worse than unnecessary. in my experience its not a super-fast, sample a hit, assign it to a key, and start playing, type sampler. There are better tools for that approach to sampling.
Old 1 hour ago
  #22
mp3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
no doubt, but to some people "sampler" simply means a drum trigger, and if thats all someone wants the synth engine is worse than unnecessary. in my experience its not a super-fast, sample a hit, assign it to a key, and start playing, type sampler. There are better tools for that approach to sampling.
Sure, there is absolutely a place for straight up sample-and-go samplers. Thing is, I also wouldn't choose the Z8 if that was what I was after.

As for the necessity of the synth engine, even most quickie samplers have filters and amp envelopes. Those features constitute a synthesis engine. The fact that the AxK has more than just those features (LFOs, multiple envelopes, etc.) is mitigated by the fact that you are free to ignore them.
Old 27 minutes ago
  #23
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So good I have 2 heh..
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