Akai S3000XL

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AKAI S3000XL.jpg
Akai S3000XL
Price~£1800/£2000 new,[1] ~£150 used[2]
Technical specifications
Synthesis typeDigital Sample-based Subtractive
Storage memory2MB (32MB upgrade option)
Effectsnone (4 × 50 EB16 option)
Left-hand controlnone
External controlMIDI {In, Out, Thru)

The Akai S3000XL[3] 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 Akai's top of the line.

For adding sounds to the sampler, the S3000XL features a 3.5" floppy drive that reads 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 can 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 can play back MIDI files to external MIDI devices, thus syncing samples with any number of 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 has 8 outputs, and two 1/4" phone connector inputs, allowing for the S3000XL to operate as a hard disk recorder. The interface consists of 32 buttons, eight of which are 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[by whom?] 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, the LCD screen's backlight fades easily and the built-in memory capacity is 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.


  • Akai EB16 'SampleVerb' 4 × 50 effects board
  • Akai FMX008 8MB Non-Volatile Flash ROM
  • Akai IB304f 'ProFilter' filter board
  • Akai MESA editor
  • Akai OS v2.0
  • Akai SHD524 524MB 2.5" SCSI Hard Disk


  1. ^ "Akai S3000XL". Sound On Sound. December 1995. Archived from the original on 6 April 2015.
  2. ^ PrePal, Akai
  3. ^ "S3000XL". Akai Professional. Archived from the original on 28 June 1997.

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