The Akai S950 is not too hard to upgrade, and there are not too many options. One upgrade that can be important is to increase the amount of memory that your S950 has, since it can triple your sample time. Before you start though, make sure you don’t forget to unplug the Akai S950 from power. You don’t want to accidentally fry your S950 or yourself.
You can get access to the memory ports to install by taking the bottom off. To make life easier I normally draw a small picture and place the screws onto the picture so that I can put the same screw back into the same spot. This helps so that you don’t accidentally put the wrong screw into the wrong spot and accidentally strip out the metal.
Though as you can see in the picture above, I just place the screws by the holes. This was okay, but if you’re worried about dropping a screw inside the electronics then definitely get yourself some paper and a pen and draw it out.
My S950 didn’t have any memory upgrades, so it was running with the default 750kb of memory. In the picture above you can see that I installed two additional memory boards to get memory up to 2.25mb, allowing for a maximum of 63 seconds sampling time at 7.5khz sample frequency. When installing the boards I made an effort to make sure that I aligned the memory card to the port and pushed with some reasonable force, but I was trying to be careful enough to make sure I didn’t bend any pins.
This upgrade is not too hard, so as long as you are handy with a screw driver, and not too clumsy, I would say this is something an average person should be able to do without too much effort.
Oh the joys of owning older gear. Q2 on my MPC was super sketchy. Loading up the JJOS v3 test menu showed Q2 was going from a range of about 300-500, and normal operation is 0-1000. Another fun problem was that moving Q1 was also making a subtle change to Q2. That’s definitely not supposed to happen!
I figured there were a few things to try in order to resolve this.
It might just be that the Q-Link board was horribly damaged, and needed to be replaced. A quick look on http://www.mpcstuff.com showed that this was going to cost a bit in order to go this route.
The fader could be gunked up with dust, and just need to be blown out. The older gear gets, the more dust it picks up, and a lot of pots, faders, and tact switches might need to be sprayed with DeOxit, blown out with air, or otherwise freed of gunk.
The cable that connects to the Q-Link board might have gotten oxidized, and in desperate need of being reseated.
I figured I’d start with the low cost solutions. It’s honestly not that hard to pop the MPC 1k open, so I figured I’d just get a closer look. My strategy was to disconnect the cables to the board in case of a bad connection, and blow the fader out with some compressed air. While I can say that using your breath can help this suffers from two problems… first is that if you’re allergic to dust you may get a face full which isn’t so great, and second the moisture in your breath can do long term damage to electronics. The moisture might seem like a “so what”, but the older your gear is, the less time you want to spend repairing it.
Before putting the case back together, I figured I’d give it the good old JJOS test. Fortunately after reconnecting the cables and blowing out the fader I was back in business. Always a happy day for an easy fix!
I’ve got a few tact switches that feel a bit sticky from time to time. This probably indicates the possible need for a switch or button replacement. I’ll worry about that later though.