Roland S-760 Digital Sampler in Japan

Roland S-760 Digital Sampler

Roland S-760 Digital Sampler

Today I managed to locate a used Roland S-760 Digital Sampler at a remote used music shop near Nagano City here in Japan. The unit was in excellent condition and it had the manuals, but no disks. The gentleman at the counter said it was junk and I said to myself “Are you kidding?”. He sold it to me for $35 because he said he couldn’t get it to work without the disks. I wanted to say if he had heard of the internet at all, but instead I slapped down the cash and walked away with a fine Roland S-760.

At home I found some english manuals in PDF format from Roland and then later found the System OS 2.24 disk needed to fire it up. Sure enough, the Roland S-760 started up beautifully and I was all ready to go. I even noticed I had the OP-760-1 board in the back and the memory fully expanded at 32MB. Amazing!! I still don’t have a Roland MU-1 Mouse yet, but I did manage to install SoundDiver 3.0.5.2 for Windows which has the Roland S-760 and S-330. I connected the Roland S-760 to SoundDiver and everything worked great!

A friend of mine had several Rhodes samples which I loaded into the Roland S-760 and they sounded fantastic! I then connected an MO Disk Drive to the SCSI on the back and saved the samples to an MO disk. I also saved the system, but I am not sure if you can boot off an MO or other drive with the Roland S-760 yet. I know you can with the Roland W-30. The MO drive was very quiet and fast when both saving and loading files I thought. So after I boot up the S-760 using the Floppy, I can then load up all the different Rhodes Performances rather quickly.

It’s been a fun couple of weeks. I never thought I could score a Roland W-30, S-330, and S-760 all for $200 in near mint condition. Indeed I have to work with SCSI and older gear, but the sound quality is really really good. I also find it a lot of fun playing around with older gear as well as someone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s just amazing at how little people will take for this stuff here in Japan. If you check out the rest of my blog, you’ll notice all of the great deals I’ve been finding lately.

Check out Synth Japan forums for more discussions.

Please check out the comments below for updates on this post.

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25 thoughts on “Roland S-760 Digital Sampler in Japan

  1. This evening I hooked up an MO Drive to the Roland S-760. I then saved the System to an MO disk hoping that it would boot off that when powering up again. To my surprise the Roland S-760 booted directly from the MO disk and it was quite fast. This will definitely take the pressure off the Floppy drive. Awesome!

    It was also nice to see that I can convert my W-30 files using the Roland S-760.

  2. Hello Jim,

    I was about to confirm that you can boot from a hard drive or any other support but just noticed that your endeavours already led you there.
    I am happy to see that some people still see value in the S-760 and how much of a “sleeper” this is. I have a few of those units at home (including one brought back from Japan) and it is still very much as good as a sampler can get, at least soundwise.
    I guess you can find a MU-1 mouse quite easily in Japan but you should check also the MSX-compatible mouses (older computers that were pretty popular in Japan) as the Roland mouse is a rebadged Philips mouse for MSX.
    Have fun with the Roland Samplers. I would also love to have a W-30. If you want a keyboard (smaller size though) with the S-7xx sampling guts, you should check out the DJ-70 (mkII preferably, as it can have more memory). The S-770 is also more comfortable to work with, with the bigger screen (but I see you use sound diver).
    A fine mod for the S-760 is to buy a SCSI compact flash reader and then you do not have to worry about a hard drive or a floppy that may both fail.
    Contact me if you want to chat more about this.
    Xavier

  3. Thanks for the comments and info Xavier. Indeed I’ll send you an email about details redarding the SCSI compact flash reader mod. I would be very interested in how that’s implemented.

    So far I’ve been able to boot without any issues with a CD-RW drive I have hooked up and as mentioned above, I have an Olympus MO SCSI drive (MOS332S) that boots as well. I haven’t tried a Zip drive yet though. I’m curious if that will boot since it won’t with the Roland W-30 although it will store samples and patches.

    On another computer that is running a solid version of Windows 98 SE, I have successfully burned my first CD-Rom for the Roland S-760 which includes the System Files. I also burned a Rom for the Roland W-30 as well. I used the software “Disk2File” to rip images from MO disks and then Nero to burn the images to a CD-RW. The Roland S-760 read both without any issue. The Roland S-760 had to utilize the Convert Load command of course when loading with the W-30 Rom. The entire process was quite fast on Win98. I know some people prefer WinXp, but I run other Win98 programs that require Win98.

    With regards to importing WAV files to the Roland S-760, that is a tiny bit tricky, but I did achieve some successful results. The following methods I have tried or plan to try.

    1. I used SDISKW to import WAV files and then burn to a Floppy Disk. I was then able to load convert using the Roland S-760 and the samples sounded awesome! If all else fails, this will definitely work. I then save the files from the Roland S-760 back onto an MO drive.

    2. I was extremely surprised at how excellent and fast the Roland S-760 samples off of Sound CDs that I have. I had a blast sampling a Big Fish Audio disk the other night and found that to be the easiest way to get samples in the machine. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and it really kept me playing the keys for the better part of the night.

    3. I also installed an old version of Recycle, version 2.0 to be exact on Win98. I also have version 1.7, but 2.0 should be fine. I plan to test a WAV transfer using SCSI later this week. I know it might be slow, but I haven’t tried it yet and want to see how it goes.

    4. Finally, I tried a “demo” version of Chicken Translator to create a CD-Rom of Wav files, but the program just sucked big time. It didn’t work at all!! Perhaps it’s because of the demo being too limited, but I’m not going to pay $150 bucks on software that I can’t prove works with the Roland S-760. Perhaps someone (other than the author chickenesp) can comment on their experiences with the program. I know it works great on Chicken Translator Developer Computers as I’ve been told. Right now it simply doesn’t work for me.

    All in all, the Roland S-760 is a very fun machine to work with. I’ll continue with updates later this week. Stay tuned!

    • Hi Jim,

      I really enjoy reading your synth and sampler blog. I recently acquired and s760, I would like to know the exact procedure to import a say a drum loop in wav format into the s760, somehow I am missing a step using sdiskw, can you please help a noon out. Thanks a million in advance.

      Mark

  4. I also forgot to mention that I found the disk image (nero .nrg format) of the hard to find Roland L-CD1 CD-ROM. On this 22 year old disk you’ll find the total Roland factory library for the S-550. I burned the image and it loaded just great with the Roland S-760. You can use this also with the Roland W-30. FANTASTIC stuff!!

    • Hi again Jim,
      I have most of the official Roland library for S-760 as well. I have two Roland S-550, one with the SCSI option and I would be interested in the L-CD1 image. I will come back to you with a list of what I have for the S-7xx. I think it is probably better to talk about official CDs via email.
      I use a hard drive and a zip drive with the S-760 and I have been able to boot from both.
      Xavier

      • Hi Xavier,

        Actually the link where I got the L-CD1 image from is located here: http://rutgerverberkmoes.com/2010/03/13/roland-l-cd1-disk-image/ . It looks like it’s on a guys public site. Whether this is ok or not, I’m not sure, but it looked open to me so I grabbed it. The Image works great. Perhaps you could shed some light as well on whether this is an important disk or not. I actually think it has some nice stuff on it. Thanks!!

        Jim

        P.S. If you have problems downloading it, let me know.

      • Any idea where I can obtain Roland CD Sound Libraries for a the S-760, I just obtained one with the mouse and optional video card expander. Thanks for any pointer.

  5. Hey Xavier, you said you were able to boot from a zip drive. That’s great info. I’d like to go with zip drives over the MOs so it’s great to hear you can boot from a zip drive. They all work well though (CD, Zip, MO, and HD). Thanks!!

    Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      just quickly went through your other synth posts.
      Very interesting to me, I have a Juno-60 sitting in my office, in my cupboard the Juno-106 clone chips are waiting to be installed and I have QY-10 sequencer as well. I understand we have both seen a lot of the same issues. I also noticed the video that you put up in a S-330-related post. I have researched about the Sysex programming in order to have live control over the TVF cutoff and resonance in the S-760 but I have not been able to experiment so far. I think something can be done but I still wonder if the changes would only be taken into acount at the next re-trigger of the sample or really adjusted live.
      I see that you are a pro photographer. I would just like to share with you a picture that goes into the “people” category. I took it in Kanazawa last April. It is technically flawed but it really was a cute moment.

      Regards from sunny French Riviera
      Xavier

      • Good morning Xavier! Thanks again for checking out my other posts. This blog is becoming a sort of diary I think for my experiences thus far with the gear I’ve posted. As I work with each one I post my thoughts to help log what I’ve encountered.

        The photo you sent is great. Candid people shots are the best I think and you nailed that shot very well, especially with their expressions. I see that scene a lot lately with one of my daughters now who is attending the first grade here in Nagano city. I have two girls ages 4 and 7.

        The Roland Juno-60 is a great synth. I’ve only been able to find a used Juno-106 and Juno-6 in my area. I believe the Juno-6 has the same or similar “guts” as the Juno-60 minus some functionality. If I ever see a nice condition Juno-60, I’ll probably pick it up. With regards to the Juno-106, the voice chip replacements are becoming routine so those are going back up in price now. I sure learned a lot about soldering when I worked on that project.

        Wow! The sunny French Riviera sounds great! It’s rainy, hot, and humid here in Nagano city, Japan at the moment. August is not my favorite month in Japan. Fortunately my work is a “home office” job so I don’t have to go out into the humid weather that much. I remember taking the trains in Tokyo and Yokohama for many years sweating to death in my suit and tie. Then I’d freeze on the train with the pumped up air condition….LOL

        Take it easy! – Jim

      • Hi, when you have your clone chips installed into your 106, I would be interested to buy the old 80017A chips. Please email me if you would like to sell them.

        thanks,

        Sonic7

      • Sorry! I’ve already rejuvenated some of my chips and am holding on to them for backups. Roland Juno 106’s are plentiful in Japan and when I find one at a good price I’ll probably use them for that. It’s great you can fix them now. Thanks!

  6. With regards to converting WAV files to the S-760 format, I received a reply from JMD who has a Roland S-760 and runs the following website: http://jm1200.free.fr/index.php?r=6

    I asked about his process of burning CD-Roms and he gave a great response. It sounds like he converts a WAV file to Akai S1000 format and then “convert load” into the Roland S-760 rather than using Chicken Translator which I’m starting to loathe because it just doesn’t work for me. I’m excited to try this new direction.

    Note JMD has an example Roland S-760 Rom image that burned and loaded great into my S-760. You can check it out here if you want some additional sounds. http://jm1200.free.fr/index.php?r=7

    Below is an excerpt from his email. His English is good but it may be slightly broken since JMD’s native language is French if correct.

    As I remember, to build it, I used :
    A Roland S760 + CDROM Drive + an external SCSI Hard Drive (for mastering the CDRom)

    A computer (windows) with a scsi card + a CDRom burner

    1. I sample and coarse loop on PC

    2. I transfer the samples to the S760 thru CDRW in Akai S1000 CDRom format (easier than Chicken translator S760 conversion)

    3. I worked the samples and patches on the S760 and save it on a drive dedicated to mastering the CDRom

    4. On the PC, I read a binary image of the Hard Drive (Raw ISO)

    5. I burned the Raw ISO on a CD

    Thus it seems converting from Akai S1000 and then importing into the S-760 might be worthwhile to check out. This might mean though that one would have to convert the WAV file first to Akai S1000 format and then “convert load” into the S-760.

    I’ll also be curious how this compares to transferring WAV files using Recycle as well.

  7. EXCELLENT! I just test the Akai S1000 conversion process for the Roland S-760 without any flaws at all. Superb!

    I took a construction kit form a cool Big Fish Audio CD entitled Syntron-X wihich is kind of a retro 80’s synth pop sampling CD http://www.bigfishaudio.com/4DCGI/detail.html?1374. It’s really cool if you’re into 80’s syth vibes. I grew up in the 80’s so I love the 80’s synth era.

    I first converted the stock WAV construction kit from the sampling CD into Akai S1000 format and burned an Akai CD Rom which is actually fast and easy. I then put the CD-Rom into the Roland S-760 and used “load convert” to get the samples into the S-760. Samples, Partials, and Patches were automatically created. I then was able to create a performance or modify the patches quite easily.

    Presto! I played back all of the samples from the construction kit and instantly I was jamming on a Synth 80’s pop tune taken from the Big Fish Audio CD. The entire process from burning the Akai S1000 rom to loading the construction kit into the Roland S-760 took about 15-20 minutes. It takes this much time to create the Akai CD Rom and then convert everything to the Roland S-760. I used a CD-RW so I burned at 4x speed. It could be faster if I use CDRs for burning perhaps.

    The conversion process from the Akai S1000 format to the Roland S-760 was absolutely flawless. I pretty much use Big Fish Audio CDs exclusively because of the quality and style of music I like. So I am happy that the sound quality is pretty much perfectly preserved to my ear. Sampling purists might beg to differ, but for me it’s fantastic.

    I can now save my construction kits, multi-samples, or one-shots to a Zip or MO drive and then create a Roland S-760 CD Rom no problem. Getting WAVs into the Roland S-760 couldn’t be easier for me. Note that it’s probably essential to have your internal RAM memory upgraded to the max at 32MB if you want to load in construction kits and such.

    As I mentioned, Big Fish Audio is the bomb with regards to sampling CDs and so I’m excited about doing everything I want with this now, but I also will be curious how conventional Akai S1000 disks will work from other vendors. This opens up more possibilities for select samples or multi-samples from Akai.

    So for now, I’ll be converting Big Fish Audio WAVs to Akai S1000 format and then “convert loading” them into the Roland S-760. It works beautifully.

    For my next project today, I’ll be attempting to load an Akai S1000 authentic Fender Rhodes Collection into the Roland S-760. If that works, I’ll be in La La Land!! LOL

    I would love to hear about WAV conversion processes from other Roland S-760s. Please comment if you have a conversion process that you might find easier, better, or just as good. I’m trying to establish a solid workflow. Thus far converting from Akai to Roland S-760 is the way to go it seems.

    Happy Sampling! – Jim

    P.S. I forgot to mention that all of the “loop points” were retained perfectly in the conversion process.

  8. Hi,
    An almost brand new Roland S-760 for sale.
    Memory expanded to 32 MB. Multiple outputs card installed. iOmega Zip 100 drive supplied with OS. Original OS/Sound disquettes supplied too.
    Ask for price

  9. Guys

    I’m considering buying a S-760 from Yahoo Auctions Japan, but the condition is that the floppy drive does not work. Would it be possible save the system to an external storage device (MO or ZIP) once the unit is turned on?

  10. Hi Donovan
    I had the same problem saving S7XX series disk images to floppy disk. Use HD floppies formatted in you s760. Download a program RawWrite v0.4.0.0. from the internet, extract to a folder on your PC hard drive. This program is totally free and it works perfectly. After trying many other programs, this one appears to be the only one that can speak to your problem. No problems when loading disks into the S760.

    Send me your e-mail because if have many resources on the Roland series you might be able to use.

    Just make sure you select File Type-All files, then it reads the .OUT files of the Roland disk images.

    This will surely help. Good luck.

    Can’t wait to hear from you.

    Regards

    John
    Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa

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