Forum for all other samplers including Maschine, MVs, Akai S & Z series, Emu, Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Boss, Ensoniq... and even Beat Thang.
User avatar
By NearTao Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:35 pm
Just dropping this here in case anybody tries these upgrades. If you have any experience with PCs or similar electronics build/repair this is not too hard to do. I tried searching online and found the Gotek drive upgrade video to be misleading.

Memory boards went in fine, that was easy.

The Gotek drive was a bit more work. You can remove this through the memory expansion slot and unscrewing the screws that are below the sheet metal. Way easier and less risky than taking the entire s950 apart. The obnoxious part was that on install I was getting “oops” and “unformatted” messages when trying to use the drive. The ribbon cable had to go in upside down from where the tab went into the slot... total WTF, but I figured I would try it backwards before I had to investigate other issues.

If you take this upgrade project on good luck, and may you keep this great piece of gear dropping hits!
By marctronixx Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:01 pm
I don’t venture into the other areas of this site.. seems i should.

Anyway I’ve an s950. Had it since it was released. Already maxed out the ram years ago but now finally decided to get the gotek. I saw a video online of a cat doing the install , but it’s also good to hear your experience. The gotek is in the mail now (seems it may be stuck/lost as its not moved in a few days) and once I get it i will heed your recommendations ...
User avatar
By NearTao Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:18 pm
Going through the ib 105/memory panel on the bottom is much easier, just be careful on tugging the cables too hard, but there definitely is room to manuever. I did it with a non magnetized screw driver and some tweezers to pick the screws up. If pictures would help I can get a few posted here, but it sounds like you got it.

The gotek drive has been great too. Much eaiser to manage, though the loading/saving speeds are not any faster.
User avatar
By NearTao Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:19 pm
For anybody searching on the s950 at some point... I also added the IB-105 for the digital input. I give up on using the coax input to connect the MPC 1k for the time being. I probably need to find the proper cable for this to work, but I am done digging for hardware.

Instead I verified that it does work properly hooked up over fiber to my Triton Studio. I ended up picking up an RCA to Fiber box ( ... UTF8&psc=1) for a little under $13 USD. The reviews aren't great, but most of the complaints are people who want to go fiber to RCA and they got the wrong device for that.

At any rate, if you're looking to get clean sound into your S950, the IB-105 and the adapter I listed offer great quality. Am I going to use it over the analogue input, not in every case, but it does add another option for getting a different sound from the s950. Personally I like the sound of the pitch changes over some of the analogue noise floor, so I'll probably be sampling in a bit cleaner in most cases. We all have our preferences though! Still, if you want that grittier over driven sound, you have to sample through the analogue inputs.

For the moment I'm done popping this thing open, but one of these days I'll probably check out the service manual and see if any caps or connections can be upgraded to lower the noise floor... my s950 definitely sounds a bit noisier on the inputs than I'd like...
By marctronixx Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:09 pm
I opened up the top case and removed the board that sits on top above the floppy drive.
By richie Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:00 am
@NearTao thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. One question I have is why go through all of this if you want the cleanest digital recording of a sample.

The primary reason why people prefer to use the S900/S950 is to get colorization from the analog outs on it which has its own roll off and downsampled sound.
User avatar
By NearTao Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:54 pm
richie wrote:@NearTao thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. One question I have is why go through all of this if you want the cleanest digital recording of a sample.

The primary reason why people prefer to use the S900/S950 is to get colorization from the analog outs on it which has its own roll off and downsampled sound.

It's a good question, that I've asked myself...

For starters I wanted to hear the sound digital quality personally, and figured the IBs are holding value enough that I wasn't likely to lose cash if I wasn't happy with it. The device is still downsampling the source from 16-bit to 12-bit, so you're definitely going to get that conversion. I've definitely had instances where I am getting a lot of noise through the analogue inputs that was not there before, when the system was newer. There is a lot of crackling in the audio, which leads me to believe that some of the solder joints are failing. So a partial answer is, I was up for spending $150'ish for the IB-105, rather than gutting my S950 to check connections and redo solder joints at this time. I probably will do that eventually, but that'd probably end up with a project to replace all the caps as well if they start failing. On the flip side, it's possible that a capacitor is already failed causing the noise.

The other reason I wanted to get the digital inputs was because for me, while I understand the love of the over driven S950 sound, I personally am more interested in the 12-bit character and tonal changes that it imparts than the specific character that the analogue inputs provide. We're still using digital to analogue converters on the outputs which add to the sound, and I've got other ways to impart dirt, grit, and noise into samples, so the analogue input on the S950 is now another tool in the box, and not necessarily the only way I can get samples into the S950.

For fun, I'll sample a few times and post results. I'll post it in an hour or so.
User avatar
By NearTao Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:53 pm
Woof! Well doing these A/B comparisons is fun and educational :)

It turns out that the $13 A/D converter may be noisier, as I just recorded several quite clean samples through the analogue input on the S950, and quite a few noisy samples off of the A/D converter. It will take me a bit longer to get to, but I'll do this off of the Triton Studio as I know that has a clean signal over both analogue and digital. I was doing some comparison a few weeks back and it was fine... but maybe I was fooling myself :)
User avatar
By NearTao Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:33 pm
Alright, first up... here is an autosampled bass through the MPC Live

I played the bass sound from my MPC 1k for both analogue and digital outputs to create three analogue and one digital set of samples. This one sample was recorded as E2, and then stretched down to C0 and up to C4. I did a single step sampling through the MPC Live to make this as quick as possible. The sound is technically mono, but the Live records it as 'stereo'. I didn't both to loop, trim, or anything else... so you'll see there is plenty of silence in the higher notes.

S950 Digital 12db
I recorded a bass sound output to the S950 with the 12db boost to get the audio out at a high level. The MPC 1k can output over the coax digital out, and it outputs at 44.1k. This should be the 'cleanest' recording as the audio output is digital, and you should only be hearing the sound that I played with no additional coloring other than from the digital to analogue converters on the S950.

S950 Analogue Clean
I recorded a bass sound output to the S950 through the analogue in with the audio as close to peak as possible without over driving the signal. The MPC 1k output the sound as a 44.1k analogue signal. This should be the 'cleanest' analogue recording that I can get as there shouldn't be any clipping or other distortion introduced. This sample you should be able to hear some coloring from the analogue to digital input converters.

S950 Analogue Soft OD
Similar to the Clean recording I intentionally set the output to be above the peak to get the over driven sound at amount that sounds subtle, but does give it some extra character.

S950 Analogue Hard OD
Similar to the Soft OD, but I drove the S950 Rec gain to max, and here you can really hear the impact of the analogue.

I'll leave my personal take for the audio out and leave it for an exercise for the listener to decide if they like the sounds here. I'd say there is an advantage and disadvantage to each. For completeness I considered taking the sample into the Live and autosampling it, but I think we all know how modern sampling hardware sounds when stretching audio across a keyboard.

Lessons learned so far.

I'm pretty sure that the $13 A/D converter I picked up is operating at 48k/24bit, and the S950 IB-105 operates at 48k/16bit. Sooooo... if I turn the sound down quite low I'm not hearing digital distortion, but I'm definitely going to say it is not very good, and a pain to further manipulate the samples in the S950 to get it louder. I had a good amount of audio recorded this morning for an organ sound I was going to share, but the digital recording is garbage and I was unable to find a way to rescue it. I might try using the MPC 1k as an output source for the experiment with the organ, but the results were absolutely in favor for the organ recorded through analogue this morning. I am not trying to position it as a sure win for the digital input, but clearly there was something wrong.

At the moment I'm torn if the IB-105 was worth it for the digital input, and I'm definitely not going to use it for an external drive. I'll probably need to play with it more. I suspect the analogue input sounds better today mostly because I let the S950 warm up for quite some time, but I could just be hearing things.

For the moment, I'd say the Gotek drive has been a life saver. I knew that the floppy drive was eventually going to give out, and it finally died a few months ago. At the moment I'm not going to bother converting my floppies into virtual disks, but maybe I'll do that later. The memory upgrade definitely runs a close second, going from 9 seconds of sampling to almost 30 is making a bigger difference than I thought. Right now I am mostly recording sustained notes between C2 to C3 for 20 seconds, and then stretching it across the keygroup in the S950 to record from about C0 to C4. The S950 is ignoring notes below C0, and is dropping notes above C4 about an octave below. I don't recall this behavior, but it is very obvious it is happening when recording at a single step on the MPC Live.

That leaves me with the IB-105 board. I'm definitely going to have to experiment with it some more to see if it adds any value to my workflow. As I said before, I'm more interested in getting clean sounds into the S950 and getting the 12 bit effect than I am over driving the content through the Analogue to Digital inputs. However, for the analogue recordings I did today, they really weren't as noisy as I recall... so maybe it isn't as bad as I remember. Plus I will say, the character that the over drive imparts can be pretty great, and you'll miss the opportunity to hear it if you stick to all digital all the time.
User avatar
By NearTao Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:38 pm
Alright, here's the organ... after I gave it some thought

The root sample is recorded at C3 in all instances, and then stretched from C0 through C4. There's probably a few programs in here that go up to C5, and these notes are lower in the octave... just ignore those :)

S950 Analogue Clean Organ
Similar to the bass, this is as high as I could record without overdriving the signal.

S950 Analogue Soft Organ
Similar to the bass, this seemed to be a pleasant amount of overdrive.

S950 Analogue Hard Organ
Similar to the bass this was full on blast your ears off rec set to max.

S950 Fiber 12db Organ
Errr... this is where I started to question the A/D converter box I picked up. I swear it has sounded better for other sounds, but iPad -> RCA converter -> Fiber -> S950... it just sounds bad. I mean the sound is solid, but there is some serious crackle introduced, and I'm not sure where it is coming from. Also the noise floor seems way higher than the analogue inputs here... but that may just be me.

S950 Fiber Low Organ
My first attempt at just dropping the signal output from the iPad to see if that was causing the problem somehow. It sort of helped, and lead me to believe that perhaps the converter box is outputting at 24 bit instead of 16. I have checked the specs, and all I can find is that it outputs at 48khz... but no idea on the bit rate. It might just be a garbage converter... needs more testing.

S950 Coax 0db Organ
Okay... so with the MPC 1k over coax going so well... I figured I'd give coax a try out of the converter box. Honestly, I still hear a bit of crackling noise, and before I would do a take I wouldn't hear it sometimes. Every... stinking... take... it would add some amount of subtle crackle though. I don't think it is the recording process introducing it... but who knows. Still, to me, Coax sounds way better than fiber, though I don't know why as of yet.

Anyway... just leaving this hear... have fun!