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Akai AX60 and S612 Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 11th November 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Akai AX60 and S612

Really surprised this interfacing isn't more popular. Finally got a cable to hook these guys up and it really is more interesting sonically than you might think just to be able to run through the AX60s filter, envelopes, vca, and have the LFO and VCF/VCO mod function on your otherwise fairly primitive samples. I've been using it the last couple days to process drum loops and also took a boring sample of the bass and accomp patch from the Korg PSS-50...then doubled it somewhat out of tune (using the overdub function of the S612), cut the top of, ran it through the AX60 filter, set to unison, and mixed in a little bit of the tri/saw waveforms...
Old 11th November 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 

any chance of posting a video?

very few of this around...only two vidoes of the akai synth with sampler that i know of...


2:45


and this one
Old 11th November 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kslight View Post
Really surprised this interfacing isn't more popular.
well there s612 only seems to come up on ebay about once a year. lol
Old 11th November 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squatski View Post
well there s612 only seems to come up on ebay about once a year. lol
Not in my experience...I just bought my S612 a couple months ago and watched several auctions before deciding on the one I got (near mint with disk drive and disks). I don't think its all that uncommon.. Ironically I paid more for the S612 and disk drive than I did for my AX60 (CL find at $33...)...

Quote:
any chance of posting a video?

very few of this around...only two vidoes of the akai synth with sampler that i know of...
Possibly...I guess I'm not normally the type of person that does gear videos though...
Old 12th November 2012
  #5
Gear Head
there are several akai samplers that the ax60 can be used with, but i don't see them on ebay very often, and they're always at inflated prices. not worth it for the amount of effort needed to work with those old vintage samplers and disks.

there's a mod floating around that lets you use any outboard audio source via standard audio connections, so that you're not stuck with that proprietary akai interface. i haven't tried modding my ax60, though, since i lack the soldering skills.
Old 12th November 2012
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightmorph View Post
not worth it for the amount of effort needed to work with those old vintage samplers and disks.

there's a mod floating around that lets you use any outboard audio source via standard audio connections, so that you're not stuck with that proprietary akai interface. i haven't tried modding my ax60, though, since i lack the soldering skills.
I think they (at least the S612) are very quick and immediate to work with...and though I have the disk drive I tend to not bother...I usually just sample something, record the part...move on. Repeatability maybe a bit of a pain in the ass...but I wouldn't consider taking mine on the road anyway so no reason really to save my samples on anything but the recorder..

Creating a cable to let outboard run into the AX60 wouldn't be hard at all...you would just need the cable (easy to find on eBay...they are used for marine boat receivers of all things) and cut one end off and solder 6 1/4" connectors. Easy money.
Old 12th November 2012
  #7
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Talking about old AKAI gear, I have been looking for a VX600 for years now:

Old 12th November 2012
  #8
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
The S612, S700, S900, S950 racks all have 'voice out' and the X7000, and X3700 keyboards also have this feature. It's funny you mention the VX600 synth, as it also has this port but it's used for a different purpose (though in theory you could use it to run the VX600 through the AX-60's filters if you wanted).

The AX-60, AX-73, and the 73's rack counterpart VX90 have the infamous 'sampler in port'

I agree the S612/AX-60 combo is damn cool but it's also very fiddly and doesn't work well in a large MIDI setup. You have to initiate sampler mode on the synth and then mono mode on the sampler and occasionally they stop talking to each other for no real reason.

If you think about it, the synth/sampler combo actually creates a MIDI feedback loop of a sort -- you have MIDI notes incoming on the keyboard, which get passed to the sampler. The sampler in turn plays a note which is sent to the specific output and channelled to the equivalent note in the synth's voice input and the two sounds are mixed. The problems arise because sampler MONO mode forces a specific MIDI channel to be used for both the synth and the sampler -- it makes it a PITA to integrate into an existing setup.

I'd say the S612 is more useful on it's own than slaved to the AX-60, and of course alternating between modes means some jiggery pokery (button pushing and cable swaping). Thankfully it's now feasible to own *2* S612's and not be considered a gearslut.
Old 12th November 2012
  #9
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Been wanting to grab an AX60 for some time now but they simply dont come up for sale here in the UK.

I've seen just the one on ebay UK in two years.
Old 12th November 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
Talking about old AKAI gear, I have been looking for a VX600 for years now:

why are all his videos so bad quality? did he use a camara phone or something?
Old 12th November 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Also looking for the AX60. Damn rare piece in europe it seems. :-(
Old 13th November 2012
  #12
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by squatski View Post
why are all his videos so bad quality? did he use a camara phone or something?
VHS
Old 13th November 2012
  #13
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dougt's Avatar
 

I have a couple of those special AX60/sampler cables available...
Old 14th November 2012
  #14
Gear Guru
any Roland guitar-synth cable works.
Old 26th November 2012
  #15
Gear Addict
 
Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
I agree the S612/AX-60 combo is damn cool but it's also very fiddly and doesn't work well in a large MIDI setup.
No, strangely the combo prevents you from that, the manual explicitly states that you shouldn't run any other midi into the AX60 while using the voice in cable. However, I found a way to work around it, by hooking a midi and cv sequencer with gate out into the arpeggio sync of the ax60...

BTW, I've found that by combining the two filters in different positions, you may produce great formant filter effects. Also, I seldom use the "vcf vco mod" except with the s612, where it really comes into play. Small adjustments of the mixer, vcf vco mod, key follow, resonance and lfo set to vcf produces the sort of results you'd normally only come across in modular systems. I almost find something new.

A lot of people seem to think that the combo is basically just for running the s612 through another filter, without realizing the full potential of this combo...
Old 27th November 2012
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougt View Post
I have a couple of those special AX60/sampler cables available...
Nothing real special, these are on eBay all the time for marine stereos...where I got mine.
Old 27th November 2012
  #17
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forbidden Planet View Post
No, strangely the combo prevents you from that, the manual explicitly states that you shouldn't run any other midi into the AX60 while using the voice in cable. However, I found a way to work around it, by hooking a midi and cv sequencer with gate out into the arpeggio sync of the ax60...

BTW, I've found that by combining the two filters in different positions, you may produce great formant filter effects. Also, I seldom use the "vcf vco mod" except with the s612, where it really comes into play. Small adjustments of the mixer, vcf vco mod, key follow, resonance and lfo set to vcf produces the sort of results you'd normally only come across in modular systems. I almost find something new.

A lot of people seem to think that the combo is basically just for running the s612 through another filter, without realizing the full potential of this combo...
You know, I've owned this combo for years and never thought to use it in that way. I'm pulling out my S612 and AX-60 as I type this. Thanks!

The way I saw it, the S-612 was more like a second digital oscillator. My application was more along the lines of a 'poor man's DSI Evolver'.
Old 27th November 2012
  #18
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
any Roland guitar-synth cable works.
Yeah, you can't go wrong with the Roland branded cables. Not all 13-pin DIN cables are created equal though. Some, like the ones used for marine and ham radios don't have all the pins connected and a few others cross pins between connectors. Just because it has that 13-pin connector on either end doesn't mean it's the right cable.

The only one's I've found to be totally foolproof are:

*Official Akai cables (rare as hen's teeth)
*Roland Guitar Synth cables -- expensive as all hell though!
*Kenwood CD changer cables -- I've had the most luck with these, and they are probably the cheapest option.
Old 27th November 2012
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Yeah, you can't go wrong with the Roland branded cables. Not all 13-pin DIN cables are created equal though. Some, like the ones used for marine and ham radios don't have all the pins connected and a few others cross pins between connectors. Just because it has that 13-pin connector on either end doesn't mean it's the right cable.

The only one's I've found to be totally foolproof are:

*Official Akai cables (rare as hen's teeth)
*Roland Guitar Synth cables -- expensive as all hell though!
*Kenwood CD changer cables -- I've had the most luck with these, and they are probably the cheapest option.
That's right. For some reason, my Kenwood cable works perfectly with the s612, but I had frequent dropouts with the s900. Some of the pins didn't seem to match, with the result that some of the voices dropped out...
Old 27th November 2012
  #20
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forbidden Planet View Post
That's right. For some reason, my Kenwood cable works perfectly with the s612, but I had frequent dropouts with the s900. Some of the pins didn't seem to match, with the result that some of the voices dropped out...
I've not owned an s900 but it's a 8-voice sampler and likely outputting the extra two voices on pins that either aren't connected on the AX-60's sampler port or are grounded.

Which brings me to my biggest question -- If the 6-voice s612 and s700 models were made to work with the AX-60 and AX-73, what the heck was the 8-voice output used for on the s900 and s950?
Old 27th November 2012
  #21
Gear Addict
 
Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
I've not owned an s900 but it's a 8-voice sampler and likely outputting the extra two voices on pins that either aren't connected on the AX-60's sampler port or are grounded.

Which brings me to my biggest question -- If the 6-voice s612 and s700 models were made to work with the AX-60 and AX-73, what the heck was the 8-voice output used for on the s900 and s950?
That is probably the reason, yeah, and the output is there, but it is not even mentioned in the s900 manual, which is indeed strange.
Old 27th November 2012
  #22
Gear Head
 
Jez4prez's Avatar
 

I was interested in purchasing a S612 a couple of months ago on ebay, but it ended up getting like 30 bids on it and I couldn't justify spending that much on one. I've noticed the prices on them are getting higher & higher recently. I blame threads like these lol
Old 28th November 2012
  #23
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alexp's Avatar
They really are fantastic machines. I LOVE mine.

alexP
Old 28th November 2012
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jez4prez View Post
I was interested in purchasing a S612 a couple of months ago on ebay, but it ended up getting like 30 bids on it and I couldn't justify spending that much on one. I've noticed the prices on them are getting higher & higher recently. I blame threads like these lol
Yeah I've noticed that. Even I felt like I overpaid...I paid $200 for a mint S612 with disk drive and disks... High eBay price but I couldn't wait any longer for one to show up locally....and it came with all the original manuals and stuff which is kinda cool, and not all beat to hell. Ironically I paid substantially more for the sampler than I did for my AX60, but I have no regrets...very funky gadget.
Old 28th November 2012
  #25
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AstroZon's Avatar
 

I have an Akai AX73 and S900 sampler. It's fun to play around with it, and the sky's the limit on sounds. I don't have any audio handy, and I just tore my studio apart to make way for a new desk.

I post something when I get it all back together.
Old 28th November 2012
  #26
Gear Guru
I don't think I'll be happy until I have like 8 s612's.

Btw - the Roland cable I got was cheap .. but it's super long which is annoying..

I notice the s612 sounds a bit dirtier thru the AX-60.. anyone else notice this?
Old 28th November 2012
  #27
Gear Addict
 
Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
I don't think I'll be happy until I have like 8 s612's.

Btw - the Roland cable I got was cheap .. but it's super long which is annoying..

I notice the s612 sounds a bit dirtier thru the AX-60.. anyone else notice this?
You got it
Old 28th November 2012
  #28
Gear interested
 

Ah this brings back memories...

The great part about the AX-60 was the VCO mod which just mangled the sound. Chorus thickened things up, too although added a bit of hiss.

Unfortunately I wiped all my tunes of the time or I would post some.

I always wondered why these features weren't copied remorselessly.
Old 28th November 2012
  #29
Gear Addict
 
Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ33 View Post
Ah this brings back memories...

The great part about the AX-60 was the VCO mod which just mangled the sound. Chorus thickened things up, too although added a bit of hiss.

Unfortunately I wiped all my tunes of the time or I would post some.

I always wondered why these features weren't copied remorselessly.
And you haven't even mentioned the insane unison yet, nor the fact that you can pwm any waveform, and that it is bitimbral - including the option to split the keyboard with the sampler on the one side and the synth on the other, or just two different synth presets.
Frankly, I think the fact that it doesn't do creamy sounds well is the main reason why this beast is so overlooked.
Old 28th November 2012
  #30
Gear Addict
 
Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstroZon View Post
I have an Akai AX73 and S900 sampler. It's fun to play around with it, and the sky's the limit on sounds. I don't have any audio handy, and I just tore my studio apart to make way for a new desk.

I post something when I get it all back together.
Hmm, the AX73 is 6-voice too, so there goes the theory about the 8-voice s900 not working in combo with the 6-voice AX60. So possibly, I have a faulty s900 since the s612 . Tell me - how do you set up your s900 internally to combine it with the ax73?
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