Why is the 8Meg Flash RAM option so expensive?
At first I thought the expansion was ridiculously expensive at some $400 for 8 Meg when you could buy 8 Meg RAM chips for a few dollars and even Flash memory for digital cameras is very low. Then I suddenly realized the expense. It is not cheap to manufacture Flash that meets the speed requirements of the sampler.
Normal Flash memory for digital cameras is very cheap, but it is also very slow. Too slow in fact to use in sampler in which you need a few microseconds to get an entire sample to playback without delay. Regular memory is quite fast enough for nearly instant response but it loses it's contents when power is turned off. So, you have to manufacture memory which retains it's contents without power and is just as fast as regular memory. Cheap manufacturing and cheap parts are not used in this process.
Emu uses similar technology to create the sample chips in the Protues line of rack-romplers (B-3, Xtreme Lead, Planet Phatt, etc) and has made it even available to users. They allow you to use their Ultra Line of sampler to create presets for the above line of sampler and romplers and sell you the memory chips to do so. The price on theirs is about $300 for 16Meg. Sorry to say that it is much cheaper than Akai's.