Akai S612 + MIDI Front Panel Animator

Classic sampler with added MIDI control allowing animation of the controls in real time via a sequencer.There were...

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Classic sampler with added MIDI control allowing animation of the controls in real time via a sequencer.

There were around 12 of the prototypes of the Front Panel Animator (FPA) designed and built by Dan Wilson at Hideaway Studios; we had a few to sell and the rest are out in the studios of a handful of early adopters including several heavy-weight names from the world of Electronic Music (modesty prevents us from naming names…). They went quickly.

This machine is one of a handful we’ve had so far featuring a limited first production run of the FPA boards. Each board has been fitted by Dan himself and he has been through the samplers giving them a full service. The feature a metal Hideaway Studio badge on the rear.

This listing is for a 120v model. We can supply or recommend the correct voltage transformers if needed.

CONDITION: This unit is a little scruffier than our usual standard for these modded machines and so it is £50 cheaper. If you want a cleaner machine check our other listings or get in touch. It has had a couple of knobs swapped and one is missing a cap; the sliders also have replacement caps; and it has some rack rash.

For sales in UK/EU the price will include VAT. VAT-free sales are possible to businesses and individuals in the EU (outside the UK) with a valid VAT Number – please get in touch if you wish to buy this way.


Designed by David Cockerell in the early 1980s the Akai S612 was one of the first “affordable” studio samplers on the market. With its 1 second sample memory in max sample rate and ultra basic MIDI implementation the 612 is clearly not able to compete with modern gear on those terms. However, it still has many fans due in part because of its simple useablility and the idiosyncratic manual splicing control permitting the start and end points to be moved and even reversed in real time.

What this feature has been waiting for is a means of animating the controls in real time. The FPA board, designed and built by Dan Wilson at Hideaway Studios allows just this: under the control of 5 MIDI CC channels it controls the Sample Start, End, Filter Cut-off and Vibrato Controls from a sequencer, all this in warm scratchy 12-bit audio with surprisingly fast MIDI response.

As Dan himself says:

“This opens a whole new creative path on this old beast resulting in weird glitchy loops, reversed effects and general chaos…”

You can find out more on the original forum post where Dan first talked about what he was doing: read the Gearslutz Akai S612 Midi Front Panel Animator thread here.

Also if you scroll down you can hear the recordings of Dan’s first tests.

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    Image above is one of the boards in situ. The board is a high quality piece of electronics, the result of considerable work and testing by Dan. The pcb is quite a job to fit as the main motherboard has to be removed from the chassis but is extremely neat in situ and there is literally just one flying lead to another external circuit. The board picks up on a mounting point to the chassis on a metal standoff.

    AKAI S612 FPA Demos:

    One of the things happening in this first one is what Dan describes as an arpeggiator offset effect. It’s about 40 seconds in and he’s sampling an arpeggiated sequence and then playing it back on 16ths whilst moving the start point via CC 20 in the sequencer. When the start point crosses the end point the sample reverses which under sequenced control can get (in his words) “pretty freaky”.

    And in the test below he takes a 2 second sample of Vivaldi and uses the MIDI control to create a continuously morphing sound over 3 minutes.


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