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The AKAI S20 ships standard with 1MB of RAM. Typically when you buy these the sellers will have removed the RAM for use in other systems, or maybe just never had the full 16mb in the first place.

For most, 1MB of RAM is just not enough. Or it is, but you want to start sampling in stereo or at full resolution. Your defiantly going to need it.

You can upgrade with a 16MB stick of RAM (Must be NON-PARITY - Details soon!) and with the addition of the on-board 1MB of RAM, you can have a total of 17MB of RAM.

You can refer to the table below for information on sampling time, and at what frequency, stereo or mono how much time the RAM upgrade will give you.

This is a guide on what RAM specifically you need (This is important), where to get the right RAM and how to open your AKAI S20 and install that RAM.

AKAI S20 RAM SPECIFICATIONS (Taken from the Manual)

akai s20 memory diagram

Mentioned above, you need a specific stick of RAM. The RAM must be what it called "NON-PARITY". This is an older type of RAM that was commonly used in Macintosh computers.

If you use anything else other then the NON-PARITY RAM, nothing will happen. Thankfully. No damage will occur, your AKAI S20 will just not recognize the RAM stick.

One way to tell if a stick of RAM will work or not, is to just try. Remember it has to be 16MB or less. I am not sure if you use a 32MB stick if the machine will only address the 16MB or nothing at all. This seems to be a very picky piece of kit. Some machines can have problems if the incorrect RAM is used, like the ASR-10 will have severe overheating issues if you use standard RAM as opposed to NON-PARITY (There NEEDS to be an article addressing this issue).

When in doubt follow the manual.

You can also identify NON-PARITY RAM as it usually has lots of IC's (the little black chips) as opposed to a couple thin IC's

Here is a photo to show a difference between what works and what does NOT work. The RAM you would buy online labeled for "MPC 2000" or "MPC 2000XL" will not work here. A stick of that shown in the photo even.


Let's get started!

Things you will need:

1.) AKAI S20


Clear a nice clean workspace for yourself. Take your AKAI S20 (make sure it's unplugged from everything okay?) and flip it over so the bottom panel is facing up toward you. Remove all the bottom panel screws. These are the ones that surround the perimeter of the machine, usually in black.

bottom panel screws

The silver screws are what hold the Floppy Drive in place. Do not remove these.

floppy screws

Make sure when you remove your screws, that you have a place to set them, where they will not get lost.

screw cup

This is what the screw cup is for. Good habit to get into. You can see in the photos above there is a screw missing. Most likely the previous owner lost a screw when opening this machine up.


With all the screws on the bottom panel removed (except for the four holding the Floppy Drive in place) you can now lift the plate and slide it forward and set it down.

Do not force the plate, as the Floppy Drive is connected to the main circuit board via two cables. You do not want to rip these cables off the board.

If you don't have enough room, you can simply unplug the two cables from the Floppy Drive (on the Floppy Drive side, not the board side!) and set the entire bottom panel aside.


This is the RAM slot, where your new stick will go! The off-white slot is your RAM slot.


If there is already a stick of RAM there, and when you boot your AKAI 20, the screen reads "R     0" then this is a non-working or non-compatible stick of RAM and can be removed.

If there is a non-working stick in place, gently push the silver clips on either side, away from each end of the stick, and the stick will pop forward.

You can then gently lift it out of the slot, and move forward with the guide.



Get your stick of RAM. You will notice that one side is flat, and the other side has a notch in the corner.

Looking at the RAM slot you can get an idea fairly quickly which way the stick of RAM goes into the slot as you will see a flat side, and a side with a raised part.

These are designed this way, so there is no risk of inserting the RAM backwards and causing any damage.

In our case, we will want the side with the corner, facing the right side of the RAM slot.


Now the way RAM inserts in this type of slot, is not how you would do it in a PC computer. With most older equipment, you will find this type of slot. You have to insert the RAM at an angle. As you see here, your RAM will stay when inserted at an angle. It does not have to be held.


Now with the RAM sitting in the slot at an angle, hold one corner and from the center of the stick, you can push it (tilting) forward and it will click into place.


If seated correctly, you should see two plastic nubs poking slightly through each of the holes on either side of the stick of RAM, and it will be standing completely straight, clicked into place


Now that your RAM is in place, set the bottom panel back over the AKAI S20, and screw all your screws back down in place!

Then you can set your machine back to where you usually keep it, plug it in and turn it on.

If done properly, having the correct and working RAM, you will see this at boot. Rather then the "r    0" you were greeted with before


And that is it! You now have the 16MB RAM addition, plus the 1MB on-board memory, equaling a total of 17MB of RAM



0 #3 Nikolas 2016-03-24 22:17
You're most welcome. One edit though, I was wrong about the RAM I had installed, it is in fact a 4mb so I assume 4mb and 16mb are correct.
Mashiro Shiina
0 #2 Mashiro Shiina 2016-03-24 21:35
Great addition! Thanks!
0 #1 Nikolas 2016-03-10 03:28
I wanted to add to the knowledge base on upgrading RAM. The manual states that the sampler will only accept 4 mb or 16 mb, but I bought mine with 3 mb installed and it seems to read/record just fine.

Also, all of the early S series Akai samplers can accept both FPM or EDO RAM, though none of them will actually utilize the quicker function of EDO.

Speed requirements on RAM upgrades are 70ns or higher (remember that the lower the number, the faster the speed ns=nanoseconds).

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