Synthesizer Keyboards 
Synth Modules Drummachines Samplers Effects / Recording


Year Name Type Comments
1985 Akai S612 Rack Grainy oldschool sound, a lot like SK1 and VSS30. Easy to sample, but hard to make smooth loops with faders (S-10 is much better with short sounds). No attack control, which limits its use. Best for vocals and glitchy fx. MD280 diskdrive works with Roland brand Quick Disks, just overwrites them in Akai format.
Mic input used by Michael Brauer (Coldplay) for distortion on the bass, very recognizable sound.
1997 Akai S20 Desktop Great sounding piece, easy for using multiple sounds, all 16 lights dancing with beat. Nice resampling, lofi. Lacks balance control, you'll need stereo sampling for that.
1985 Casio SK1 Mini Keyboard My first instrument (as Realistic Concertmate-500), building complete songs overdubbing cassette tapes. Sampling at 9kHz 8 bit, which sounds like old AM radio, max 1.4 secs. Lovely flute and brass presets.
Has great sequencer with step mode, including chords (4 note poly), you can replay these notes using the "one key play" feature, great for otherwise unplayable things, fast hammering chords etc. Should have had MIDI out for this. Polyphonic portamento is crazy.
1990 Ensoniq EPS-16+ Keyboard Workhorse, quite clean sounding, many options, fantastic effects (DP2). Waveboy made fx disks that even made it a realtime processor from audio in, and vocoder. Its internal sequencer is very hard to use with just 3 buttons, I used Kawai Q80 instead. Has good analog filters, not resonant.
 2000 Korg ES1 mkII Desktop Champagne coloured box with the perfect interface and sequencer. Found it great for Linndrum sounds. Delay is nice, reverb is much tighter than on ESX-1, which cannot be set as short. Lacks attack control of samples.
 2003 Korg ESX-1 Desktop Pink? My main drummachine, also bassline sequencer. Stock tubes should be replaced, for more present sound. A bit noisy. You can tweak any sound quickly beyond recognition and further mangle with combinations of modulation and fx chains. Reverb is like cheap stage type, which can work for claps, also improves with basslane VST.
 1986 Roland S-10 Keyboard Quick, easy editing, very good sound quality, great bass. Magical Detune function, amount can be set to respond to key velocity, very musical. You can dissect vocal samples with an ultrashort loop, going back and forth with afa-dial, the S612 cannot do this as well.
 1987 Roland S-220 Rack Spiced-up version of S-10 with multi outs. Compatible with S-10 sysex, so it takes short .wav sounds over MIDI, best use PC program "S10 manager". With this, just like S10, Quick Disks are not needed at all for saving and loading.
 1987 Yamaha VSS30 Mini Keyboard Toy sampler like SK1, with unspiring internal sounds, but crazy editing. Line-in sampling sounds worse than SK1, less bass. Less precise sampling start and looping, although it can edit loop length but result not as good. Very overpriced nowadays, quickly resold it. S612 is good replacement.