Roland S-330

Roland S-330 Image

The S-50 was Roland's first professional keyboard sampler from the mid-eighties, which also came in the rackmount S-550 form. The S-330 is a compact, 1-unit rack-module with most of the features of the S-550 slimmed down into a more affordable package! By today's standards the S-330 would be considered limited and lo-fi, however for its time it was a powerful instrument which can still prove useful for many music applications today.

Sample memory here is the same as the S-50: 750Kb which yields up to 28.8 seconds at 15kHz. That is half the sample memory available in the S-550. Sampling specs are unchanged, with variable sample-rates from 30kHz down to 15kHz at a 12-bit resolution. The S-330 has room for 32 samples or "tones" and 16 patches in 2 banks. Roland has a vast S-50 compatible sample library of sounds ready to be loaded via the built in 3.5 inch disk drive. Samples of your own can also be saved to disk.

When used with an external CRT monitor, editing samples is a breeze and quite sophisticated. You get waveform drawing and smoothing, auto-looping, tuning, multi-stage envelopes and you can quickly adjust loops and samples. There's an RC-100 Remote Controller with an Alpha Juno type alpha-dial for easier programming control. And the DT-100 Digitizer Tablet from the S-50 for drawing waveforms is also compatible when connected through the RC-100 controller. There is also the SYS-333 sequencing software which offers basic drum machine type sequencing.

New to the S-550 were the realtime Time-Variant filters as used by the LAS-type Roland synths. These filters (and amps) are more digital, more in-depth, more precise and were included in the S-330.

While there are hundreds of modern samplers that will give you precise crystal clear perfect sounds these days, something like the S-330 can give you the audio equivalent of Sepia tone to your samples, coloring them with its unique mid-eighties technology from a time when affordable sampling was coming of age.

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16 Visitor comments
max
March 10, 2009 @ 9:14 am
Well before I open the case .....I noticed if I didn't overload the memory
and I loaded the sys discs carefully and sequentially there were no crashes. If I worked through the OS haphazzardly I experienced crashes. Very easy to use but also very particular about its operation.
once I created a split this machine rules. A distinct character signature sound
max
March 9, 2009 @ 11:31 am
Thanks Dan for the tip My s330 started randomly crashing. I will try this maintainance tip. I also have a service manual if anyone would like a copy. My mouse's left click is stuck tooo uhgggg
max
February 6, 2009 @ 10:27 am
I have been turned on to these for some unknown reason(CRT) just a hunch I think and to polyaural to clarify your comment are you saying that you wouldn't use gates software or you are looking for compatible software. I have CPU's w/ music quest drivers that work for sale and they are easier than usb driven systems, How does the midi fare on these S doggies?
polyaural
December 3, 2008 @ 3:55 pm
I own 3 of this beasts. They sound great. They have a characteristic warm sound. They have real Filters (you know this sweet little TVFs from other instruments like the D-50 and others). They can be hard and soft. I've got some Stratocaster samples which let the house rock. The last one costs me 25 Euros! Get a Monitor, try to find a (MSX compatible) mouse, and kick those DAW samplers to where they belong: in trash. (If you are in DAWs: My S-330 is build in 1989. This was the time, Billyboy Gates comes up with Windows 2 and Win 3 was close to the door. My S-330 runs fine today, but how can I find a computer running Windows 2 applications? And is this what I want? What will you do with your VST-Instruments after Microsofts next step into the future? I know. You're clever. You buy hardware instruments :-)
Jens
October 31, 2008 @ 7:29 am
Nice sampler and at that time very sophistcated.
I've just bought one last month and it's easier for me to operate than my Akai S-2000. I think it sounds great even compared to my Akai.

The price 45$ I gave is really cheap I think.
Can recomend it for people who are into Vintage music.

You do not need th mouse, but I think a small screen is a must for using this sampler.

Still great value for little money:o)

Jens
Lab Technician
 
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 16 voices
  • Sampler - 12-bit, 30kHz, variable
  • Multitimbral - 8-parts, 8 outputs
  • Memory - 750k-byte, 28.8 seconds total sample time
  • Filter - TVF: Time Variant LAS digital filters
  • Arpeg/Seq - SYS553 sequencing software
  • Keyboard - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987 - 1988

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