The Akai S3000XL is a 16-bit professional stereo digital sampler. The instrument has 32 polyphonic voices, and 2 MB of built-in RAM. When the S3000XL was released, it was top of the line.
For adding sounds to the sampler, the S3000XL featured a 3.5" floppy drive that read Akai-formatted floppies, and a SCSI port to link with an external storage device, such as a zip drive a cd reader or an external hard disk for storage of longer, or more samples. The built-in 2 MB of RAM could be upgraded up to 32 with (2x16) SIMM that Akai provided. Iomega Zip drives were very commonly used for storage and backup. This was especially important considering that the device could play back MIDI files to external MIDI devices, thus syncing samples with any number of other MIDI instruments. A great benefit was that during live performance the Akai could take the role of the computer to trigger the other instruments. Other upgrades included various extra cards such as the EB-16 & IB-304f.
The S3000XL had 8 outputs, and two 1/4" phone connector inputs, allowing for the S3000XL to operate as a hard disk recorder. The interface consisted of 32 buttons, eight of which were function keys, three knobs, and a four-key directional pad for navigating the 240x64 display, located in the upper-middle portion of the sampler.
The Akai S3000XL is widely considered to be one of the most versatile and useful samplers produced, primarily due to the large screen, and easy-to-navigate interface allowing for quick and in-depth sampling. However, there were some problems apparent in the S3000XL and other Akai samplers as age dawned on them: the LCD screen's backlight faded easily and built-in memory capacity was not so wide.
Akai S2000 is a stripped down, economic version of s3000XL featuring only 2x16 character LCD display, no internal SCSI connector fitted and was usually sold with no options installed. Regardless, it is functionally identical and accepts the S3000XL options listed below (sans internal hard disk) also including the IB-208P 8-channel output board, standard in S3000XL.
Although Akai has discontinued production and product support for the Akai S3000XL, many units can still be found working in recording studios around the world.
Standard S-Series features
32 voice polyphony
Digital resonant filters
Assignable Program Modulation (APM) for flexible sound control
Powerful DSP features including Timestretch
MultiMode for easy multitimbral setup and layering
MESA Remote Control/Librarian Software for Macintosh
RAM expansion (up to 32MB) with standard SIMMs
Standard MIDI File player
Clear, easy-to-learn user interface
Compatibility with E-mu and Roland sound libraries
Powerful expansion options
EB16 (SampleVerb in the US) 4-channel, studio-quality,
multi-effects board IB304F (ProFilter in the US)
DSP board for expanded filtering + EQ
Up to 16MB of non-volatile Flash Memory
8MB RAM standard
Large graphic display
Stereo Mix + 8 individual outputs
S/PDIF digital I/O