NAME

akaitools - tools for Akai S-series samplers

Version 1.4 / August 18, 2017

What is akaitools?

akaitools is a set of utilities for Akai S-series samplers (S1000/S1100/S2800/S3000/S3200/CD3000/S2000/S3000XL/S3200XL). With akaitools, you can directly read, write, format HDDs/CD-ROMs in Akai format via SCSI interface (read only for S1000/S1100 disks). You can also convert other types of sound files (e.g., RIFF WAVE files and Ensoniq EPS instrument files) to Akai S3000 native format.

One of the distinctive feature of akaitools is that it can convert Ensoniq EPS/ASR instrument files to Akai S3000 programs and samples with preserving various information such as MIDI channel number, key split, velocity split, looping information, pans, transposition, tuning, etc. In addition, akaitools can directly read Ensoniq EPS files (i.e., GKH, EDA format), HDDs and CD-ROMs.

Since akaitools does operations on Ensoniq/Akai HDDs and CD-ROMs through SCSI interface, it works quite faster than other MIDI- or floppy-based utilities. Moreover, akaitools is written in shell script and Perl version 5 so that it runs on almost all UNIX operating systems. The core of akaitools has been implemented as Perl modules, so that you can write your own programs with these modules.

akaitools includes the following programs:

akaiformat - create a new file system of Akai format on HDDs
akailist - list the contents of HDDs/CD-ROMs in Akai format
akaimkdir - create a new directory on HDDs in Akai format
akairead - extract files from HDDs/CD-ROMs in Akai format
akaiwrite - write files to HDDs in Akai format
epslist - list the contents of files/HDDs/CD-ROMs in Ensoniq format
epsread - extract files from files/HDDs/CD-ROMs in Ensoniq format
eps2akai - convert Ensoniq instrument files to Akai program/samples
wav2akai - convert RIFF WAVE/PCM/16 bit files to Akai samples
any2akai - convert files in various sound format to Akai format
akaiconv - automatic conversion and writing for various sound formats

History

In January 1997, I have bought a second-hand CD-ROM from a local dealer. It was CD-ROM for Ensoniq ASR series samplers. The sampler I have is Akai S2800 not ASR-10. At that time, I had thought that Akai samplers could read Ensoniq CD-ROMs. However, as you know, Akai samplers cannot read Ensoniq CD-ROMs (only Roland and E-III format are supported). I tried to return it to the dealer, but not accepted.

I looked for a conversion program from Ensoniq CD-ROM to Akai format programs. I found several programs that could help for this purpose: convert.exe and adisk.exe. With these two MS-DOS programs, you can extract wave samples from Ensoniq EPS instrument file and save in RIFF WAVE format, and then write those samples to a floppy disk in Akai format. It actually does, but writing to floppy disk is unbearably slow and data size is limited by the floppy disk size (about 1.4 MB). As an another approach, I tried to convert samples in EPS instrument files to SDS (Sample Dump Standard) format with convert.exe, and then transmit it through MIDI. However, the result was endless MIDI transmission --- it was very, very, very slow. Another problems were that there was no software to read instrument files directly from Ensoniq CD-ROM (I know Ensoniq Disk Manager but it's not free), and that almost all information in EPS instrument files (e.g., loop point, key range, velocity range) were lost in the process of EPS-to-WAV conversion.

Eventually, I have decided to write a conversion program by myself.

Availability

The latest version of akaitools can be found at the following location.

http://www.lsnl.jp/~ohsaki/software/akaitools/akaitools-1.4.tar.gz

Copyright

Copyright (C) 1997-2017 Hiroyuki Ohsaki (ohsaki[atmark]lsnl.jp)

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

System Requirements

To use this program, you need:

- UNIX operating system
- Perl version 5.002 or later
- Akai S-series sampler (S1000/S1100/S2800/S3000/S3200/CD3000/S2000/S3000XL/S3200XL)
- (optional) sox (sound exchange) program

The latest version of Perl can be obtained from various GNU archives around the world (e.g., from ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/).

Unfortunately, akaitools does not work with Perl version 4 since it uses various features appeared in version 5 such as object-oriented programming feature.

akaitools uses several Perl libraries (e.g., Getopt/Std.pm, POSIX.pm and Exporter.pm), which come with the Perl distribution and are installed by default. Make sure Perl in you system is installed correctly. Typically, these libraries reside in /usr/lib/perl5.

The latest version of sox can be obtained from http://www.spies.com/Sox/. If you will not convert sound files other than in Ensoniq EPS or RIFF WAVE format, sox is not required.

akaitools reads and writes Akai HDDs/CD-ROMs through usual UNIX's block device. So make sure your HDD or CD-ROM is recognized by the kernel and is accessible via device file.

akaitools works with S3000 series samplers (i.e., S2800/S3000/S3200/CD3000/S2000/S3000XL/S3200XL) (I have just tested with S2800).

Tested Environments

I have been working and testing on the following equipment.

- IBM ThinkPad 535 (Intel Pentium 120Mhz)
- Adaptec AHA-1460 SlimSCSI
- Linux (kernel version 2.0.35).
- Perl version 5.004_04
- sox version 12.12
- AKAI S2800 w/ SCSI interface and 10 MB of memory
- Logitec LMO-400 (230 MB MO (Magneto Optical) disk)
- Logitec SCD-430 (4x speed CD-ROM drive)

Important Notes

akaitools directly manipulates critical information (e.g., volume entry, file allocation table) on your disk. Thus, akaitools would destroy all information in your disk. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU TO BACKUP ALL DATA IN YOUR HARD DISK BEFORE USING THIS PROGRAM.

If you are connecting both your computer and Akai sampler on the same SCSI bus, DO NOT ACTIVATE BOTH OF YOUR COMPUTER AND SAMPLER AT THE SAME TIME. It might cause serious troubles.

Installation

akaitools uses standard Perl's MakeMaker module. Thus, just type the following commands.

  perl Makefile.PL
  make 
  make install

How to Use

1. First, read the section "SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS" carefully.

2. Find the block device file for the attached HDD/CD-ROM (e.g., /dev/sda or /dev/dsk/c1t0d0p0). Please note that you should use entire disk (e.g., /dev/sda) instead of disk partition (e.g., /dev/sda1).

3. Make sure that you have a read/write permission to the device file corresponding to your HDD/CD-ROM.

4. Set two environment variables to specify device files of Akai and Ensoniq HDD/CD-ROM. akaitools will access these devices by default. For example,

  AKAI_DISK=/dev/sda
  export AKAI_DISK
  EPS_DISK=/dev/cdrom
  export EPS_DISK

5. See the manual pages for each command, or specify -? option for each command to display short help.

Feedback

akaitools has been still under development process. You will encounter various bugs and troubles. If you find any bugs, first check if a newer version exists. If not, please mail bug report or fixing patch to me. I appreciate your comments and/or suggestions.

I had no information about the disk and file formats of both Ensoniq and Akai samplers, so that I have analyzed them by using the binary file editor. But I have no EPS samplers, I have not compared sounds generated by akaitools with original ones. If you have both Ensoniq and Akai samplers, please help me to tune parameters and to write a code to convert filter/envelope/modulation settings.

Besides, I welcome the following information in this order.

- detailed file format of Akai S3000 programs/samples
- detailed file format of Ensoniq instrument files
- disk/file format of Akai S1000 samplers
- disk/file format of Kurzweil samplers
- disk/file format of Roland samplers

Enjoy!

References

akaitools(1), akaiformat(1), akailist(1), akaimkdir(1), akairead(1), akaiwrite(1), epslist(1), epsread(1), eps2akai(1), wav2akai(1), any2akai(1), akaiconv(1)

Author

Hiroyuki Ohsaki (ohsaki[atmark]lsnl.jp)