Vintage Digital & Analogue Studio Effects

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Akai AR900

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Akai AR900 Midi Digital Reverb

Akai Professional Products division was on a high during the 1980s with their dominance of the sampler market, they were on a roll. Having all that experience in sampling, they tried their hand at a high end digital reverb with the release of the Akai AR900, complete with remote control it was good, but failed to set the world alight.

Like many pro audio companies in the late 1980s, Akai were keen to jump on the digital reverb bandwagon. Akai could have gone down the path of trying to compete in the lower end of the multi-effects market with the likes of Alesis, but instead aimed to produce a high quality dedicated reverb, with the Akai AR900 being the end result.


The Akai AR900 provides eight basic reverb algorithms:

  • Large Hall (3.1-16 Seconds/210ms Pre-Delay)
  • Small Hall (1.5-9.5 Seconds/210ms Pre-Delay)
  • Large Room (1.2-13 Seconds/210ms Pre-Delay)
  • Small Room (0.28-4.4 Seconds/210ms Pre-Delay)
  • Plate (0.15-6.2 Seconds/210ms Pre-Delay)
  • Loft (0.83-7.8 Seconds/210ms Pre-Delay)
  • Gated (0.13-0.73 Seconds/225ms Pre-Delay)
  • Reverse (0.4-1.2 Seconds/220ms Pre-Delay)


Akai chose a rather unusual sampling frequency for the Akai AR900 at 39.0625kHz, that resulted in an effect frequency response of 30Hz-16kHz which was enough to give the AR900 a nice clean top end to the effected signal. According to a review by Mu:zines the Akai AR900 is a great sounding digital reverb: “The AR900 is a classic reverb unit which certainly puts most of the current batch of processors to shame when viewed from the point of view of purity and natural quality of its reverb.”

The Akai AR900 is a high quality 16-bit digital reverb with 20 preset reverb programs. Numerous variations may be created by adjusting the pre-delay and the reverb time settings on the front panel. These variations can then be stored in any of the 79 user memories for a total of 99 programs including the 20 presets. Programs may be selected by MIDI, a foot switch, or the infrared remote control accessory.


  • 8 program algorithms, 12 factory variations provide a selection of simulated ambient environments
  • Independent dual 7-band graphic equalizer (100 Hz, 300 Hz, 600 Hz, 1.5 kHz, 3 kHz, 6 kHz, 10 kHz)


A dual 7-band programmable graphic EQ can be used independently or in conjunction with the digital reverb to enhance the reverb sounds. The Akai AR900 with its wide selection of useful programs has numerous applications in both the studio and on stage. A wireless remote control was also available.


Released: 1988

Quantization: 16 bit
Sampling Frequency: 39.0625kHz
Frequency Response: > 30Hz – 16kHz
Dynamic Range: Unknown
THD: Unknown

Dimensions: 482.6 x 47.7 x 300mm
Weight: 4 kg

Akai AR900 Remote Control

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