Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

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Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby thared33 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:01 pm

It was my first time hearing some of them when I got the files that have been posted in this forum. I've never looked into the line of 80s Roland samplers, except that I have a D-50. Can someone help make a list of the samplers from Roland back then? Here's what I kow of so far:


S10
S220
S330
S50
S550
S760
S770
W30

Am I missing anything? Plus Roland had all of those LA-series synths, the D-10, D-50, and the U-series as well, so not really a sampler per se.

I've found some old disk images for the S10, S50, S550, and S770, but none for the others. I saw some 30 or 330 stuff posted here but not sure that's a complete library. I'd like to also get a list of what was released and see if I can find those disk images for all of the samplers mentioned plus anything I'm missing. Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby nathanscribe » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:56 pm

All this is from memory, so you might need to double check some of it:

There was the MKS-100, which I think it was the S-10 in a rack, but might be wrong. It used 2.8" Quickdisks, like other similar units of the time.

Later, in the mid-90s, Roland released the JS-30, which was a DJ-style thing that looked like it should have been a poor-mans' MPC, but didn't quite cut it. Luckily they're pretty cheap now, so might be worth a try. They were originally 8-bit I believe, but were upgraded to 12 or 16 at some point from what I loosely remember.

There was also the MS-1, around the same time as the JS. It was a compact portable thing with very limited features, again probably pocket money nowadays. I seem to recall it using memory cards for storage, but it's been a while since I saw one.

The U series is still worth a pop I think. The U-110 was Roland's first rack ROMpler, and had 4 memory slots for cards with about twenty sounds on each. I've got about a dozen of them, they released 15 in all. When the U-220 came out, they improved the sound quality slightly and reduced the card slots to 2. A couple of the old cards were included in the 220's ROM. There was a keyboard version, the U-20. Editing is limited to evnelopes, LFO and such - basic modulation and mixing of the ROM waves. The interface is horrible, with about six buttons and a 2-line text display, but luckily there's so little you can manipulate, it hardly matters! I like the sound, its a little gritty and has character.

The W-30 is a nice unit. There's a sequencer on board, 8 outputs, and the sampling has a pleasant tone - not as clinical as the Akais. I don't much like Roland's mid-80s combo pitch-mod lever, but otherwise the thing is nice to play. Samples can be transferred pretty easily using disks if you have the right hardware - I have a few hundred NOS 3.5" 720kB disks, and a DOS-equipped laptop with floppy drive to cope with the library (which I downloaded from Sgroup).

There's some compatibility between them. The W-30 can read 550 files, and can convert 330/50 files. THe 760 is a different beast, and I believe the 770 was too.

The W-30's sequencer is compatible with MC sequencer files and Director-S files (which I think came for the 330/550, kind of a Fairlight thing going on). The MC-50 is also compatible with MC-500 files I believe, though I haven't tried it.

The old Roland library sounds are pretty good. I find sampling on the W-30 a bit awkward and convoluted, but it has a certain vibe, and like the Mirage, I keep it around because I'd instantly regret selling it! I've had a few Akai samplers in the past, and despite the popularity of those I never liked them very much in practice. I think the Rolands are keepers.

It'd be interesting to compare them to the Casio and Yamaha samplers of the 80s too.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby thared33 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:18 am

I'm getting some of the S50 stuff to work but not the W30. I got these 3 images for the W30. Are those 3 sample diskettes the only samples ever released for it besides the main OS disk which also has samples?

The only thing I could find were these *.w30 files and I can't get them to work. The OUT files all work fine for the S50 and so on as I'm using chicken translator. My floppy drive apparently doesn't like the HD-DD trick (tape over holes) and it won't read it at all. How can I go about getting those W30s converted into OUTs?

I'd also like to hear more about the libraries that were released for all of these samplers to see what's out there and what I can get :) How many disks each were released for each sampler and can someone link me to the stuff?
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby V301H » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:51 am

The S50 can convert load S550 disks and save to S50 format. Once converted the files will not work with anything else except the W30.

The S770/750/760 can all convert load S550 files. The S760 can also read Akai S1000/1100 CD-ROM's from a SCSI drive and save to Roland format.

Roland also produced the SP700 sample player which could play S770/750/760 samples and read Akai files. Pretty sure it could convert load S550 format, too.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:22 am

Don't forget you need 720kB disks for it to work properly. Regular 1.44MB might not work, or at least will be unreliable.

You can format a disk as 720kB in DOS: go to the prompt and type
Code: Select all
FORMAT A: /U /F:720


Then try saving your files.

For conversion, I use SDISK which I downloaded from Sgroup. Again it runs under DOS, and I don't know if it works properly, or at all, in Windows at the prompt. Might be worth trying though.

For the record, I've converted many disks from the basic library to run on my W30 with no trouble at all.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:37 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Don't forget you need 720kB disks for it to work properly. Regular 1.44MB might not work, or at least will be unreliable.

You can format a disk as 720kB in DOS: go to the prompt and type
Code: Select all
FORMAT A: /U /F:720


Then try saving your files.

For conversion, I use SDISK which I downloaded from Sgroup. Again it runs under DOS, and I don't know if it works properly, or at all, in Windows at the prompt. Might be worth trying though.

For the record, I've converted many disks from the basic library to run on my W30 with no trouble at all.



the term is 'not reliable'. 1.44 disks formatted as 720kb are not going to work very well or for very long.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby D-Collector » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:29 pm

Strange, they have worked for me for years. Just make sure you use a quality brand.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby tim gueguen » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:30 pm

Don't forget the DJ 70, and the upgraded DJ 70 MkII. Both had 3 octave keyboards and a large disk on the right side for doing turntable scratching imitations.

Oddball members of the U20 family were the Rhodes Model 660 and Model 760. Roland owned the Rhodes name at the time, and the two units were basically 61 and 76 key versions respectively of the U20.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby thared33 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:34 pm

I'm more interested in the libraries that were released themselves. It seems Roland released a LOT of stuff back then but finding information on those libraries is difficult. I've got most stuff from Sgroup already, the S50 and S550 stuff, and there was also some S10 stuff. There was some S30/S330 stuff posted on this forum, not sure where those came from and if there are any more libraries/disks for them out there, and I want some more W30 stuff too. All preferably in *.OUT format :D
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby D-Collector » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:37 pm

thared33 wrote:There was some S30/S330 stuff posted on this forum, not sure where those came from and if there are any more libraries/disks for them out there, and I want some more W30 stuff too. All preferably in *.OUT format :D


Those 330 samples I posted were a part of the S-330s system disks, the 330 did not have it's own dedicated library to my knowledge, as it was essentially a scaled down / updated 550 and relied on the 50/550 libraries. I think Roland took that approach with the W30 too.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby thared33 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:34 pm

D-Collector wrote:Those 330 samples I posted were a part of the S-330s system disks, the 330 did not have it's own dedicated library to my knowledge, as it was essentially a scaled down / updated 550 and relied on the 50/550 libraries. I think Roland took that approach with the W30 too.


Yeah that's what I was thinking, maybe only the system disks for the 330 had some original patches. And the W30, it looks like only just those 3 disks plus the 4th system disk has anything. That makes my life easier though, takes forever to hunt things down.

I'm curious about some S10 samples. There are only syx files floating around. I know that there's a library for the S10/S220, just can';t find much info on it.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby thared33 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:40 am

I just read somewhere that the old S50/S550 library actually has the W-30 samples. I was able to get into the W30 files using an additional piece of software, so I'll take a look at those discs and see if/where those samples reside in the main library.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby cornutt » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:16 pm

There was the S-750 and S-770 which were basically the same box. The 770 had a built-in SCSI drive; the 750 only had an external SCSI port. And I think the 770 had a fan, which the 750 didn't need.

Both came with a mouse. There were two cables that would allow you to connect them to an external EGA monitor. I've forgotten the model numbers now, but one cable was for the modern 15-pin VGA D-connector, and the other was for the older rectangular connector with the larger pins. For most of the "Sample 2" screens (where you can do things like jog/scrub samples, and draw waveforms directly), you need an external monitor.

You can also use the RC-100 remote control with the 770/750 (it also works with the 550 and I think the 330). The RC-100 gives you an additional set of function keys, a numeric keypad for direct entry of numeric values, and a fast-scroll data wheel (much faster to use than the one on the synth itself). It also has an extension mouse port. It's on a long cable so you can have the monitor and controls up at eye level on a stand, and stuff the synth in a rack somewhere.

There was a memory expansion board for the 770/750, but Roland must have made very few of them because I've only heard of a few people ever getting their hands on one. I tried for years to order one and never received it.
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby thared33 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:52 am

V301H wrote:
The S770/750/760 can all convert load S550 files.


But is that only for the old S550 CD-ROMs, or can the S760 actually convert load the S550/W30 floppy disks?
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Re: Old Roland Samplers (S Series, W-30, etc)

Postby cornutt » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:18 pm

thared33 wrote:
V301H wrote:
The S770/750/760 can all convert load S550 files.


But is that only for the old S550 CD-ROMs, or can the S760 actually convert load the S550/W30 floppy disks?


Pretty sure the 760 can do that... the 750 manual explicitly says it can, although I've never tried it.
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