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Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...
Old 11th September 2019
  #1
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🎧 5 years
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...

Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-protective-panel.jpg

I wanted to create a new thread specifically for the new XD-280 "plug & play" standalone USB memory stick based disk emulator solution I am due to release for the AKAI S612 sampler...

The XD-280 is basically a custom disk interface allowing a suitably programmed and configured HxC Gotek floppy disk emulator to plug into the S612 without the need for the bulky MD-280 drive chassis.

The Gotek drive (pre-fitted with OLED display and Rotary Encoder options) sits on rubber feet on top of the 612 (or to one side) and plugs in via a 34-way ribbon cable to the XD-280 interface. The interface module itself plugs into the Disk Drive Socket on the rear of the 612 via a gold plated edge connector pcb and firmly mounts on several existing screw holes on the rear panel using a set of metal self-tapping standoffs.

The main XD-280 pcb is fairly complex - this is not simply a passive adapter as the interface has to replace much of the electronics in the MD-280 as well as correctly map the Gotek pinout to the interface for QD applications and provide regulated and current limited power to the drive (there is insufficient power available from the Disk Drive Interface socket so the 9 Volt socket is utilised). The mechanical arrangement is a little tricky too due to the way the interface has to pick up on several existing mounting points and the disk drive edge connector itself on the rear of the 612 so its a bit of a 3d jigsaw.

In order to keep things tidy, the Gotek drive is slightly modified to permit power supply via the ribbon cable so that a second power cable is not required.

Using JF del Nero's superb new QD disk support firmware on the XD-280 system is simplicity itself - you simply select the drive image (on a USB stick) you want to use and use the Save, Load, Verify buttons on the S612 as normal. Speed of loading/saving is the same as the real thing but this is pretty quick on a 612 (about 7 seconds). At 200K a disk image, they can be easily and very rapidly backed up, transferred and even emailed on a PC to-from the USB memory stick.

The prototype batch of pcbs are now in production with the aim to have the first systems available in early October. In order to ensure known working systems of the same specification are leaving the door, the first few XD-280 systems are likely to be complete systems including correctly specified/upgraded/programmed HxC Goteks with OLED and Rotary Encoder upgrades. Going forward, I also plan to provide the XD-280 interface on its own as an option for those who want to source and modify their own Gotek drives.


The New XD-280 Sample Library:

Whilst testing the proof of concept system I started making some brand new sample disks for the 612. This has already grown to 150 disk images for the XD280 Disk Emulator Interface which I will bundle with the system.

The plan is that anyone who wants an XD-280 drive system for their 612 will receive a memory stick pre-loaded with a new library of sample disks and will be able to download any new samples that are added to the library.

Because I have a vast amount of sample data from my own commercial libraries to draw on, this library is likely to get pretty large over the years and the hope is that it will include disks specially tailored for the Front Panel Animator ie. multiple waves/perc/FX with offsets for sequencing with the FPA.

At some point in the near future I will put together a demo of some of the first few samples from the library in action.


Early Adopters:

I will setup a page on my website on the FPA, FDM and XD-280 retrofits for the 612 but in the meantime, if anyone wants to be an early adopter of an S612 Gotek/HxC solution or has any questions, feel free to PM me.


A Quick Test Recording of the New XD-280 Library:...


Just finished a quick segued recording of some samples in action loaded up by the very first prototype XD-280 from the new sound library for AKAI S612 to be pre-loaded in the form of over 150 new disk images on the new drive system...

Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-hideaway-xd-280-019.jpg   Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-000-008-complete.jpg  

Last edited by EF86; 15th October 2019 at 01:03 PM..
Old 13th September 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Its now looking like the new S612 sound library to be bundled with the XD-280 drive emulator will initially release with at least 150 new instruments

Its been quite interesting returning to making small single-shot samples after so many years of making uber large multi-sampled instruments. There is quite an art to making a single shot sample sound good across the keyboard!

I will also include some samples that work well with the Front Panel Animator such as filter sweeps and evolving sounds that can be walked through under midi control during arpeggiation etc..

Last edited by EF86; 9th October 2019 at 12:57 PM..
Old 23rd September 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
XD-280 IS ALIVE!!!
I built the first prototype XD-280 drive system today... and it just plugged in, screwed in place and worked out of the box!!!

Just finished a quick segued recording of some samples in action loaded up by the very first prototype XD-280 from the new sound library for AKAI S612 to be pre-loaded in the form of over 150 new disk images on the new drive system...



The interface will be protected by a cover plate which is something I need to sort out in the near future.

The system will be available to the first early adopters in October.
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-sn-000-cropped.jpg  

Last edited by EF86; 9th October 2019 at 12:57 PM..
Old 23rd September 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
congratulations, too bad i donated my s612 to a friend whom i will never see again

Old 24th September 2019
  #5
Deleted 0ea68bb
Guest
pretty exciting. Might even convince me to sell my 2nd 612 whose filter I bypassed.
Old 24th September 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
EF86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Already had a fair few enquiries on XD-280 - its starting to look like the first 19 systems are going to go pretty rapidly.

I will hopefully setup an area on my website for the S612 upgrades in the near future with more details. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions or PM me.
Old 25th September 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Some more piccies of the prototype XD-280 Module. The final version will be protected by a thick Plexiglas/Perspex panel.

The module plugs in to the Disk Drive edge connector on the rear panel and screws into place picking up on 5 existing screw holes in the chassis.

The top connector carries the data and power to a slightly modified GOTEK drive reprogrammed to emulate Quick Disks.

XD-280 Module no.000 has been running for several days now and is already being used to further extend the new sound library that will be bundled with the XD-280 drive emulation system for the S612.

Typical loading/saving times are less than 10 seconds and each disk image is 200K so it will be very easy to backup and email them.

On the prototype I am using a temporary mounting solution - I am awaiting some special metal standoffs that self-tap into the existing chassis screw holes and then the module fits onto them with M3 screws.
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-sn-000-cropped.jpg   Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-sn-000-edge-con-hi-res-scan-lr.jpg   Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-sn-000-hi-res-scan-lr.jpg  
Old 27th September 2019
  #8
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🎧 5 years
The XD-280 Drive System for the 612 is now up and running and the first 11 systems out of the initial batch of 19 have been snapped up faster than I was expecting.

If anyone is interested in one from the first batch best to PM asap.

Been using the first system almost continuously for several days now whilst developing the new sound library to be bundled with the XD-280 and its working beautifully. Been having great fun wheeling some of my mountain of vintage labgear out to create some interesting new tone colours and textures for the new library

BTW I am open to offers for combinations of FPA, FDM and XD-280s as several have already been asking.

By the time the first production intent batch is underway I will create an area on my website for the 612 retrofits. At the moment I am keen to get systems out to early adoptors to help put these early units through their paces and iron out any potential foibles. This is the approach I used with the early FPA Modules and it was very helpful.

All early adopters are welcome to free support and upgrades.

Lead times will be approximately 3 weeks excluding shipping.

Rackmounting Solution:

If there is enough interest, I will have a powder coated 1U rackmount panel fabricated to permit the GOTEK drive (or possibly two) to be neatly mounted above the S612. This would need to be tooled up with a local supplier and a minimum order quantity satisfied but it is perfectly doable. Anyone interested, please let me know. Naturally such a mounting plate might be of use to other GOTEK and HxC drive users in studio applications.
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-making-xd-280-library-250919.jpg  
Old 1st October 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Now well underway busily building the first batch of 19 XD-280 S612 Floppy Drive Emulator Interfaces with 001 thru 004 coming to life this morning
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-001-004-build.jpg  
Old 1st October 2019
  #10
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🎧 5 years
S612 Disk Emulators 000 thru 004 now built, tested & working!
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-000-004-complete.jpg  
Old 4th October 2019
  #11
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🎧 5 years
S612 Disk Emulator Interfaces 000 thru 008 now built, tested & working!

Will be ordering the Gotek Drives and HxC bootloaders to go with them very soon.

The first batch of Perspex/Plexiglas protective top covers are currently being laser cut.
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-000-008-complete.jpg  
Old 6th October 2019
  #12
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🎧 10 years
Extremely interesting!!
Price?
Old 7th October 2019 | Show parent
  #13
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EF86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juno6 ➑️
Extremely interesting!!
Price?
Ballpark is 180GBP excluding shipping. This is for a complete working XD-280 system including a pre-upgraded Gotek drive with HxC bootloader/QD firmware, OLED display and Rotary Encoder as well as the XD-280 drive interface, mounting hardware and a memory stick loaded with my new S612 sample library.

Please note to everyone this is not likely to drop much over time because the quantites are so low that they are pretty much being built to order and I can't really achieve any economies of scale.

Last edited by EF86; 7th October 2019 at 02:56 PM..
Old 7th October 2019 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Not expensive if that includes the hxc drive.




Quote:
Originally Posted by EF86 ➑️
Ballpark is 180GBP excluding shipping. This is for a complete working XD-280 system including a pre-upgraded Gotek drive with HxC bootloader/QD firmware, OLED display and Rotary Encoder as well as the XD-280 drive interface, mounting hardware and a memory stick loaded with my new S612 sample library.

Please note to everyone this is not likely to drop much over time because the quantites are so low that they are pretty much being built to order and I can't really achieve any economies of scale.
Old 13th October 2019
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
The first 20 laser cut protective top cover plates for the XD-280 interfaces are arriving today - will post a piccy when the first one has been fitted

The first 10 Gotek drives were reflashed with HxC bootloaders and loaded up with the new QD firmware.

These units are fitted with white OLED displays and white activity LEDs.

The pre-production batch have been going very quickly - there are only a small few left now so if anyone is considering being an early adopter it won't be long before they're all reserved so best to PM me asap if you want one.

The first main production batch will follow for sure but it may be a fair few weeks before they are available.

The new instrument library has been growing nicely too - the drive systems will be bundled with at least 150 new sampled instruments to play with.

Wow how have things changed - each S612 disk image is 200K - the XD-280 Drive Systems will be shipped with 16GB memory sticks..

that is enough space for 83,886 S612 Sample Disks!!!
Old 15th October 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
The new laser cut protective Plexiglas panels have arrived today for the S612 XD-280 Drive Emulator pcbs and they look really smart. They are simply held in place with 5 M3 screws.

Won't be long now before the first 10/20 systems will be ready to go

Spent most of yesterday writing the self-installation manual. It takes less than 15 minutes to install the XD-280.

There are now 4 systems left over from the first batch of 20.
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-protective-panel.jpg  
Old 20th October 2019
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
I have been hard at work building the first 20 S612 XD-280 Drive Emulator Systems with the first 18 interfaces now built and tested. The final two will be going on the frame this evening.

Please note to everyone who has also asked for various combinations of my other S612 upgrades that those will quickly be following but naturally they will need to wait until the bench is clear of the XD-280s.

10 out of the 20 Gotek drives have arrived and have been modified and reprogrammed for use with the XD-280 system with a further 10 units arriving next week. All of the ribbon cable assemblies have been built for the first batch.

All in all, the XD-280 systems have been going together very nicely with little to no modification to the original design.

There are now just 2 systems still awaiting reservation from the first batch. If anyone is interested then please PM me as it may be a few weeks before the first main batch is in production.
Attached Thumbnails
Introducing the XD-280 Disk Emulator for the AKAI S612...-xd-280-001-thru-016.jpg  
Old 23rd October 2019
  #18
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🎧 5 years
All 20 systems are now built and tested along with their modified Gotek drives.

slight amendment.. there are actually 3 systems still awaiting reservation if anyone is interested in a disk emulator for their S612.

Its taken me a surprising amount of time and effort to pull these first systems together - they have gone together very nicely but it is likely to be a while before the next batch is available as I clearly need to look into outsourcing some of the build in future to streamline it.
Old 1st November 2019
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Almost all of the self-installed early adopter's XD-280 S612 Floppy Drive Emulator systems were despatched yesterday bar three which included Filter Defeat Modules as I am currently awaiting the delivery of some more blue Mode Switches.

I will send out emails with the tracking numbers to everyone concerned.

There is now just ONE system left over from the first batch - although I have now placed an order for another batch of pcbs, please note that it will be several weeks before more systems will be available so if anyone is contemplating having a system it is best to contact me now before its gone.

These systems have gone out pre-loaded with the first official release (v1.0) of my new S612 sample library and I have to say I am very happy with how its turned out. I fully intend to continue to expand the new library through future updates but at this stage I'd rather wait for feedback from new owners which will help me to determine which types of sound I should concentrate on going forward.

I look forward to receiving feedback from all early XD-280 adopters

UPDATE: The last one has gone now - well unless I just might be tempted to part with the second of the two systems I have kept back for my studio... I'd need some arm twisting though...

The first of the next batch will emerge in around 4-5 weeks...

Last edited by EF86; 1st November 2019 at 05:45 PM..
Old 8th November 2019
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Just finished installing XD-280.
This system just gave a whole new life to my s612.
Old 9th November 2019
  #21
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I also bought the QD-280. It works perfectly with my V1.3b S612. All V1.3b parameters are also saved. The oled display is gorgeous, it's of course small but super clear. Installation was a breeze, instructions are like it was made by Ikea. With the protective glass I almost wish this mod was visible from the front haha.
Old 9th November 2019 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nilsvdp ➑️
I also bought the QD-280. It works perfectly with my V1.3b S612. All V1.3b parameters are also saved. The oled display is gorgeous, it's of course small but super clear. Installation was a breeze, instructions are like it was made by Ikea. With the protective glass I almost wish this mod was visible from the front haha.
What info is actually saved? Also, i though 1.2 was final OS? Is 1.3 the special one?
Old 9th November 2019 | Show parent
  #23
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 0ea68bb ➑️
What info is actually saved? Also, i though 1.2 was final OS? Is 1.3 the special one?
Yes, v1.3b requires a hardware mod. Parameters like how much velocity opens the filter or affects volume are saved.

Akai S612 OS1.3b
Old 10th November 2019
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Very many thanks to everyone for their very kind feedback on the S612 XD-280 drive system - it is very encouraging that the first systems have installed with such ease.

I have received a new batch of pcbs and will be busily building another 30 XD-280 systems in the run up to Christmas so I am able to take reservations

The hope is that I will also be able to expand the XD-280 sound library by then too.

I need to set up an area on my website for further details on the S612 XD-280, FPA and FDM Modules together with installation & user manuals and S612 sample library updates. That will take some time so in the meantime anyone interested in further details or reserving a system of their own just let me know.

Last edited by EF86; 22nd November 2019 at 03:37 PM..
Old 10th November 2019
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Another happy customer reporting here

I had gotten used to not being able to save any samples from my S612; it is amazing to now save and load from a USB stick with such ease!

The installation instructions are excellent.

The only suggustion I have at this point is perhaps change from the - cleverly designed! - electronic contraption on the back and a loose HxC drive, to a cable from the back running into a 1U 19 inch enclosure housing both the electronics and the drive.

And the sample library is a nice bonus, but for me the fun of the S612 is creating my own samples.
Old 11th November 2019
  #26
WJS
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I received mine last week and fitted it yesterday which was extremely easy. Loading samples works perfectly and because of the small file sizes they load much quicker than on some vintage samplers (FZ1, I'm looking at you).

Now I just need to start building up a library of my own on this thing!
Old 22nd November 2019
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Again, very many thanks to everyone for their kind feedback on the S612 XD-280 QD drive emulator system

I have now got parts in to build another 30 XD-280 S612 Drive Emulators - the first 4 have been built from the new batch with 3 that can go at pretty short notice should anyone wish to have their own system.

The XD-280s are very simple to install with a few basic tools - you can go from a stock diskless 612 to a system loading samples from the new library on a memory stick in less than 10 minutes.

As well as the new S612 XD-280 drive emulators, the FDM Filter Bypass Modules and FPA Modules are still very much available (these require good PTH desoldering skills and a heated solder pump).

If anyone wishes to supercharge their 612 - just PM me...

Last edited by EF86; 3rd December 2019 at 09:56 AM..
Old 3rd December 2019
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
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🎧 5 years
Just received another batch of laser cut cover plates so everything is in to continue building the next batch of XD-280 Drive Emulators for the S612.

Added a few more samples of the Rhodes Chroma and the first set of drums (CR78) to the library hoping to add several more in the coming weeks
Old 3rd December 2019 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
EF86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kicksalot ➑️
Another happy customer reporting here

I had gotten used to not being able to save any samples from my S612; it is amazing to now save and load from a USB stick with such ease!

The installation instructions are excellent.

The only suggustion I have at this point is perhaps change from the - cleverly designed! - electronic contraption on the back and a loose HxC drive, to a cable from the back running into a 1U 19 inch enclosure housing both the electronics and the drive.

And the sample library is a nice bonus, but for me the fun of the S612 is creating my own samples.


I must admit I've been very much enjoying making new samples for the 612 library ever since I've been able to rapidly save and load them back up without having to resort to MIDI dump.

A number of people have asked now for some kind of drive rack mounting solution - the hope was I could find a simple 1U rack mounting plate for a 3.5" disk rather than a full enclosure which I have but I've not yet ordered one to try out. A fully enclosed solution would be nice but much more expensive. Both solutions would look the same from the front of the rack anyway.

As for the interface itself - I'm not really happy with the concept of remote mounting the XD-280 interface in such an enclosure as it sits directly on the Z80 processor bus so the idea was always to keep the interface as close as possible to the S612 and solidly mounted to it. The original MD-280 does have the interface in the enclosure but it has a buffer ciruit built into the big plug-in edge-connector assembly which would be costly and bulky to replicate.

I will order an example and see how it goes.
Old 11th December 2019
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
EF86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I am currently well underway building another batch of four XD-280 drive emulator systems for the S612 so if anyone wants one in the relatively near future just let me know.

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