SCSI Host Adaptor Cards

Q) What do I need to connect my PC to my AKAI?
Q) What type of SCSI card/host adaptor should I buy to connect my PC with my AKAI?
Q) What type of SCSI card should I have to use Recycle and (maybe) MESA II PC?
Q) What type of SCSI card must I get to connect my AKAI with my PC and a ZIP/CDROM/HD/MO?
Q) What SCSI card should I buy between an expensive Adaptec 2940A/UW or a cheap 1505/10/15/20 and what is the difference?
Q) Why should I connect my AKAI to my PC?

A) To connect your PC to your AKAI you need a so called SCSI HOST ADAPTOR. This because your AKAI has a built in SCSI interface to communicate with various kinds of devices like a Hard Disk or a CD-ROM or whatever SCSI storage device you want to put on the bus/chain. Mainly, you install a SCSI host adaptor in your PC to use the so called MIDI to SCSI transfer mode. This enables you to dump/retrieve data to/from your sampler with your PC much faster than with normal MIDI transfers - and I mean it when I say MUCH faster: the ratio should be about 50:1 (250K/s)! Now, we must choose a SCSI card for our PC - and this is a quite critical point. Firstly, go for ADAPTEC models and to be more precise the 1505/10/15/20 series and the 2940A one. There are other models that also work (check the list below) but these are the most "centered" and most known ones of all. This means less future compatibility problems and more money in your pockets:) One could think, why Adaptec is a so big and known company, it surely doesn't release second grade stuff! Well, I'm sorry to dissapoint you but there are BETTER and FASTER models even for less money! The problem is, they are not completely compatible in our case (at least for now); but this is not a fault or bug of these other companies, it is just a question of interest in a sector/market - like ours. Next we must decide exactly WHICH adaptor one must buy; and this depends all on what you plan to do with your SCSI bus: will you be planning to install also a fast SCSI HD for, for ex., Hard Disk recording or just your AKAI plus a ZIP drive or simil type removable media just for data storage? Well if your case is the first one then go for a 2940A that is a PCI type of controller exactly a FAST SCSI II controller that can deliver up to 20MB per second at burst or a 5MB per second sustained transfer rate depending on the kind of brand/model HD you attach on it's bus. Just to clear your minds these performances are delivered when the Hard Disk dialogues with the PC host adaptor thus PC formatted and *NOT* with your AKAI; scsi loading and saving speed from your AKAI to any storage device is absolutely NOT influenced by the kind of adaptor you have installed in your PC; so this option is only justified if you also want to speed up performance in your PC enviroment like loading and saving images under windows 95 or as I said before doing some "fluid" HD recording with Cubase for example - not that you can't do it with EIDE drives though. The 2940A costs around 300$ - that is the complete "KIT" containing adaptor, EZSCSI install s/w and flatcable. On the contrary, if you are just planning to connect your PC to your AKAI for sample dumping and don't plan to put in a speedy SCSI H/D for your pc then just go for the Adaptec 1505, the cheapest one of all and works great - infact it shouldn't cost more than 70$! What about the 1510 then? Well it's the same as the 1505 with a slight difference: it has a SCSI 50pin CENTRONICS type connector instead of the DB25 one like your AKAI has on the back - so get the 1505! And what about the 1515/20? Well these have the same performances and practically same chip as the 1505/10 but also have onboard BIOS with some boot options. This means that you can actually boot from a SCSI storage device if properly prepared (ofcourse under DOS/Windows OS) and these devices can be "seen" or recognised by your PC without the AID of any driver but I will get back to that later in the software section; this has nothing to do with your AKAI's MIDI 2 SCSI; ALL these cards behave quite the same way with your sampler.

Q) Will a ZIP ZOOM card work with my AKAI? 

A) Yes it will! If you have OSV2.0 on your AKAI you will not need any other drivers, just plug it in and go through the normal installation procedure in windows 95. Infact it is the cheapest solution for connecting external only SCSI devices like a sampler. If , alas, you still have the old OS1.51 then as long as you have the appropriate DOS ASPI drivers, it will also work but I sincerely recommend you to upgarde to OS 2.0!. The ZIP ZOOM scsi card is actually an Adaptec 1502 (practically a reduced model of the 1505) and it maintains full compatibility with it's "bigger brothers" so you needn't worry about device incompatibilities.

Tested SCSI Host Adapters working with MESA

- Adaptec 1502 (AKA Iomega Zip Zoom card) ISA/DB25 (w/o BIOS)
- Adaptec 1505 ISA/DB25 (w/o onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 1510 ISA/Centronics 50 (w/o onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 1515/40 ISA/Centronics 50 (with onboard BIOS & PnP)
- Adaptec 2904/06 (PC/MAC) PCI/MiniDB50pin (AKA MiniSCSI)
- Adaptec 2920 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 2940A PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
- Adaptec 2940UW PCI/Minscsi 68 (with onboard BIOS) *
- Symbios Logic (Formerly NEC) C810 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (w/o onboard BIOS)
- Symbios Logic C815 PCI/MS50 (Same as C810 but with BIOS eprom chip)
- Symbios Logic C860 PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)
- Advansys 930 (AKA 2930) PCI/Miniscsi 50 (with onboard BIOS)

(*) - This device (and the following applies to any other UW one) is a 16bit Ultrawide model and is not recommended to be used with your narrow 8 bit AKAI. These devices *can* ofcourse be used (disable "wide negotiation" in BIOS setup), but if used with other UW devices such as UW HDs, performance loss will be noted and possible data corruption may occur, not to mention the cost of correct the wide-to-narrow adapters which terminate the 8 unused bits. Please opt for a second normal USCSI narrow controller and use this for AKAI SCSI communication.