Positif Synth School

Positif Synth School – Recreating the sound of Akai S-950

I’ve been longing for an s950 ever since I heard it in this very nice sampler shootout: 


I specially love de 25Khz sampling setting of the s950, it reminds me of early Oizo tracks, a sound that i think is very, very classy.

Funds are tight so I tried to emulate it to convince me that I don’t need yet another piece of gear. In order to emulate it I took the original files from the sampler shootout and used a long forgotten plug that I had in my arsenal (www.toneprojects.com/products/plug-…itex-stx-1260/) to give it some textured lofiness.

The key to achieve this sound is finding the right cutoff points of the high roll off and low roll off filters in the “tone” section. Here i cut everything below around 50 hz and everything above about 8k. Theres also a little bump in the filters (read peak resonance), that gives it perceived fulness/presence at the cutoff frequencies to conteract the cuts. This is a similar technique as the one used by the Voice of God from Little Labs, wich we studied previously here: Positifpositif – Positif-synth-school-vol-7.

So now you know why people like the sound of vintage samplers. Whats really happening is that the sound is being filtered by these in order to tame the aliasing artifacts caused by the low sample rate. These in return gives sometimes a pleasant punch to drums due to the resonance bumps of these anti aliasing-filters.

Of course, you don’t even need the Sonitex plug to achieve this. You can use a lowpass and a hipass resonant filter (bundled with most daws) plus a little bit of saturation and compression from your favourite plugs. All you really need is a bit of patience and ear training to achieve similar results without much effort.

Also it’s interesting to note that not only this is cheaper than buying a hardware sampler. It’s also much more convenient and less time consuming than loading a sample to one of these old beasts, and it also let’s you apply these treatments to much longer recordings that the original samplers.

All in all, worth the effort in my opinion.