Akai samplers are one of the best samplers in the world.
Because of his DSP superior AD-DA converting, the sound quality
is still better than most PC soundcards ! One of the best is the
Yamaha SND Factory, also a DSP systemcard. In the coming years
the quality will become better for PC soundcards and I'm waiting
for the first AKAI PC soundcard.
But for now even when you have Cubase VST it is real handy to have also a hardware sampler in your midi setup. Today a lot of cards work with sample sets, but it is not always working fine. Sometimes it's to difficult like the Terratech EWS card. The software for this card is often bugging and not user friendly. The sound quality is suburb and you can stream the sample set to a stereo wav.
The Soundblaster live has better working software but the sound quality is bad. If you have a hardware sampler with digital in/out you can also stream it to a PC with a digital 'coax' in/out without loss of sound quality. So that's why you still need a hardware sampler. A lot of people have one or more soundcards, software synth's, sample sets and wavetable's, all in one machine. And you may buy yourself a fast (1-2 Ghz) computer and still find a lot of system crashes and incompetent midi drivers that will outrun your system. The newest soundcards like the 'power sampler' have a hardware midi chip to overcome this problem. I think that together with this special developed software, it's the best sampler emulation set I know. Buy it......,but it will take some time before the PC will become a reliable music workstation (mark my words)..... June 2000...MNX2010