Q) What type of removable media should I buy that is reliable and fast?
Q) What do you think is the *BEST* buy product?
A) On my opinion, the best and cheapest drive that works flawlessly with the AKAI is the IOMEGA ZIP Drive (no I haven't received any compensation for this statement;). It is cheap, light weight, reliable and fast - respect to AKAI SCSI transfer rate comparisons. Infact it is not much slower than a HD used on an AKAI ofcourse. The only little bug I have found is in it's SCSI pin connections: do not use any other SCSI cable from the ZIP to other devices unless you are completely sure that the cable is certified! You won't have problems with your s2000/3000/3200XL because the cable that comes with the ZIP drive is perfectly suitable for connecting it to these devices (standard DB25 M/M SCSI cable), but if you are going to connect your ZIP to an older AKAI like a s1000 that has a CENTRONICS 50pin connector on the back, CHECK YOUR CABLE or you could send up in smoke your ZIP drive in seconds. This is because, unfortunately, the ZIP has a not completely standard connector pin layout so get a 100% certified SCSI DB25 to CENTRONICS 50pin cable! At this point the question arises: why, have you burnt your ZIP? No I have not fortunately; I have discovered this problem thanks to one of my clients (no he doesn't own an AKAI) that connected his drive to a standard centronics connector and all went up in smoke! This happened TWICE so some doubts arose convincing him in buyning another SCSI cable to prevent another fire hazard:)
Ofcourse other removable media work fine: Magneto Optical drives, Syquest drives and I'll have to check out the EZFlyer that could be an even better buy, but for what concerns the best value for your money the ZIP Drive is the best.
Q) Must I "format" removable media before using
Q) Why do I get errors while formatting my ZIP/Jaz/MO media?
Being there several different removable device technologies, one should
really follow the manufacturer's procedure for low level formatting the
cartridge. Some Magneto Optical devices require a custom low level
format utility and should be only "arranged" from the AKAI as the bad
sector handling is correctly handled by it's proprietary utility - so
if you are not sure, just use the arrange function. As most
people use Iomega ZIP disks (and Jaz cartridges) with these AKAI series
I will expand on these devices. Recently (2013!) Alan and Garth from
the AKAI mailing list pointed out that ZIP disks handle the bad sector
detection and marking indipendently from the upper OS. This means that
if you AKAI format a ZIP disk you ultimately won't do any harm to it as
the bad sector handling and the spare sector tracks are controlled by
the ZIP's internal firmware and the upper OS is unaware of any of this
mechanism - at max you will get a read or write error if the operation
times out. However, if you encounter problems with your ZIP disk, move
to a PC or Mac with Iomega tools and use the "long format" command to
reformat the ZIP and see if this helps (in theory it should not as the
bad sectors should be marked and not used again, but I have seen cases
where the cartridge stopped "clicking" after this was carried out).