Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

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Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Bitexion » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:07 pm

Found a Roland S-550 w/ monitor and mouse for sale today at a very good price.
I've never used a hardware sampler before. Is it easy? Can I just plug a mic straight into it and record at will?
Or must it be a line signal from an instrument/preamp? Will it be difficult to load samples into it from my computer? Like sampled strings, drumsets etc and multisamples?

I've mostly only found great reviews of it, it has analog filters and sounds good etc. A cool plus is the monitor w/ black/green text, get that Fairlight feeling almost?

Does anyone have experiences with this particular sampler? Share them, please :)
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby aeon » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:30 pm

Bitexion wrote:Found a Roland S-550 w/ monitor and mouse for sale today at a very good price.


Perhaps the best of the 12-bit machines.

Bitexion wrote:I've never used a hardware sampler before. Is it easy?


The S-550 is easier than many to use, but by no means is it easy overall.

Bitexion wrote:Can I just plug a mic straight into it and record at will? Or must it be a line signal from an instrument/preamp?


It needs line-level input, IIRC.

Bitexion wrote:Will it be difficult to load samples into it from my computer? Like sampled strings, drumsets etc and multisamples?


If the S-550 has SCSI and your computer does, and you have softs to support it, then it will be fast and relatively easy. If not, you will have to use MIDI sample dump, which will be much slower, but given the smaller memory, perhaps not an issue. Again, check your softs to make sure they can do it.

There may also be disk utilities if your computer has a floppy drive.

Bitexion wrote:I've mostly only found great reviews of it, it has analog filters and sounds good etc. A cool plus is the monitor w/ black/green text, get that Fairlight feeling almost?


It has digital filters, not analog. It is a good machine to be sure, but it does require some real effort to be musically useful.

If you are looking for lo-fi sound, well, it only kinda has it. It is about as good as 12-bit gets, which is to say it is somewhere between the fashionable lo-fi with character, and early 16-bit. A no-man's-land, so to speak.

A question for you: do you know how to sample and loop and prepare a multisample set? Such skills will be necessary.

Some links for you:

http://www.s550.net/
http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/programs/PCtoS550/
http://soundprogramming.net/samplers/ro ... land_s_550
http://www.fmjsoft.com/aamain.shtml


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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby tallowwaters » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:11 pm

If the s550 is like the other Roland samplers i have used, there are much easier ones out there.

Piron has one, he could maybe help you.
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby aeon » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:10 pm

http://www.generalconcepts.com/sgroup/a ... Basics.pdf
http://www.generalconcepts.com/sgroup/a ... e_book.pdf
http://www.generalconcepts.com/sgroup/a ... acker.Mode
http://www.generalconcepts.com/sgroup/a ... scsi.cdrom

The S-550 is simpler than their later machines, i.e., the S-7xx series, and that's a good thing in typical use.

But you really have to ask yourself what your intent is, and how you will use it. The cost of using a hardware sampler is not the sale price, but the time it will take to use it.


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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Analog Freak » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:49 am

Oh, and for the record, the Roland S-550 does have a microphone preamp. I've never used it though, I just sample line level sources. The machines are great by the way, I especially like the filters. It has a lot of great features that are fairly easy to use if you take the time to read the manual. The only real downside is that it takes about a minute to load from a cold boot with floppy disks, although I'm sure SCSI is much faster if you can get it working.
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby piRoN » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:44 am

tallowwaters wrote:Piron has one, he could maybe help you.

Nah, I've got the S-50 Keyboard, which hasn't got the filters. It's a fairly limited and difficult to use machine, I really only use mine as a master keyboard.
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Bitexion » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:57 pm

I'm not even sure what I'll be using it for, I've just wanted a hardware sampler for some time, and this comes with the cool vintage monochrome monitor aswell as the mouse. Which I assume will make it a ton easier to program when you get all the menus up on screen instead of fiddling with the tiny buttons on the sampler itself.
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby aeon » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:03 pm

Bitexion wrote:I'm not even sure what I'll be using it for, I've just wanted a hardware sampler for some time, and this comes with the cool vintage monochrome monitor aswell as the mouse. Which I assume will make it a ton easier to program when you get all the menus up on screen instead of fiddling with the tiny buttons on the sampler itself.


It will make it easier to use to be sure. My Roland S-760 would be a Byzantine nightmare without video out. OK, maybe it still is, hehe.

One thing the monitor and mouse will not address is sampling skills as it concerns looping and multisampling. If you know this stuff already, Bitexion, forgive my mentioning it again. These skills are essential to getting the most of any sampler if you are doing your own sound design. In the case of the Roland S-550, you certainly will be.

I humbly suggest that you think about what you might use it for. A hardware sampler is a significant investment in terms of time, and if you value yours, your purchase of the S-550 will be with goals in mind. Of course, it could be the pleasure of using gear, and I can understand that. ;)

In the end, the only reason to recommend a hardware sampler at this point for studio use is because it has a sound character you like. That is why I own a Roland S-760 and Yamaha A5000 - because I really like the way they sound and what can be done with them. In terms of usability, they offer no advantage over other solutions, and in truth, have some serious disadvantages.

Good luck - I find building one's own sample library, no matter the scope, to be quite rewarding.


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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby micromoog » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:38 pm

i'm using a S-550 since 1988.

The fairlight for the poor man :D
a very charming instrument, if you don't expect a "post production" machine you can ha ve a lot of fun with this sampler.
Understand it as a simple synthesizer with "reloadable" waveforms.
It gives the samples it's own color and sounds really great.

Wavedraw is pretty cool... 8)
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Spadz » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:51 am

Hey Bitexion, I was wondering if you got the S-550? And if you liked it.
I'm getting one tomorrow night with monitor, mouse, HD, 500 floppies, for 250$ Canadian.
It felt like a good price. Anyone thinks I'm getting screwed?

I intend to use it mainly for creating eletro drum sounds, since I guess it must be grittier than me E4.

What do you people who have one do with it?

Thanks all
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Bitexion » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:41 pm

No, I had decided to get it, mailed the guy, and he had sold it earlier that day :(
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Spadz » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:56 pm

Crap! Too bad...
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Bitexion » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:17 pm

Yeah, I was looking forward to making music out of my own farts, but there you go..
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Spadz » Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:36 am

Must sound great on a nice low fi sampler. I will be getting it tomorrow night instead.
I never used my E-Synth for fart music, but I'll make sure to try that on the S-550... :lol:
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Re: Sniffing on a Roland S550. Experiences?

Postby Bitexion » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:08 pm

Just remember not to sing in the mic just after you fart on it. Ass to mouth is a nono.
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