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.

Lookup Roland S-330 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland S-330? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

16 Visitor comments
Andy Crystal
September 22, 2010 @ 5:53 pm
A great sounding piece of gear. I can give that 80s character to all my vintage samples now thanks to its non-linear 12 bits sampling capacity. And It's so much fun to use. Fairlight for the poor? May be but I'd never be without.
July 12, 2010 @ 11:34 am
I bought a unit totally destroyed (knobs, floppy) in around USD 90. A very interesting machine. You can use it perfectly without a mouse, but not without an external monitor or TV. Very tedious for programming because you need to load from the floppy all utils that you need (one disk for the OS, another for sampling) If the floppy breaks down, then you will need to use the sampler like a paperweight. Its filters are amazing, sounds incredible, specially for fat sounding basses. You can find S-50 libraries (totally compatibles with the S-330) on Internet. Of course today is only a piece of collection and can not be compared with a Emu E5000 Ultra or an Akai S6000 (some researches do that...), but if you are alone at home and your girlfriend left you, the S330 is an excellent amusement.
November 20, 2009 @ 3:44 pm
Picked up one of these used back in 1995. At the time, i bought an RC-100 (new in box) from Ace in Miami. To this day, i have been able to get the S-330 to work with the RC-100. The manual says to boot the S-330 with a button pressed down (can't remember which off the top of my head) in order to make the S-330 recognize the RC-100. I've obviously done that with no success.

If anyone has any tips or pointers here as to make these two work together, i'd love to hear them.
Mic Romoog
November 19, 2009 @ 12:26 am
above is written:...(the DT100 digitizing tablet from the S-50 is not compatible here)...

It is, you need also the RC-100 - then it works. The chain is DT-100 -> RC-100 -> S-330
May 26, 2009 @ 10:07 am
Dan was right. the crashes only went away totally afer re-seating the removable IC. hasn't crashed since. whew.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.78 (225 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from a Roland product brochure and

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.