Had an amazing day at the used music shop today. I strolled in not expecting to find anything and walked out with a free Roland S-50 Sampler. The sales clerk in the store knew I liked and worked on old synths so he figured I would find a good home for it. The Roland S-50 had several issues which from his perspective seemed hopeless. First, the Roland S-50 had no operating system disk. He didn’t think you could get them and he certainly didn’t know how to get them from the internet and create a new one. The S-50 also was rather filthy cosmetic wise and seemed like it was in crappy storage for quite a while. It powered up beautifully though and I later found out the floppy disk drive works great. There were also lots of stickers all over it which had autographs on them but none were famous. When I brought the S-50 home I gave it a good cleaning and removed all the stickers. It looks good as new now. The sales clerk didn’t think the sampler would sell at all due to the OS and grime so he gave it to me for helping with some English translation stuff.
Later at home I managed to create a new Roland S-50 V2.0 OS disk and the sampler booted up perfectly. I also have a copy of the S-Director Sequencer software for the S-50 in addition to almost the entire collection of S-50 disks. I also found an old CRT monitor to hook up to the S-50 which is essential to further editing of the samples. It came with a cool Roland hard shell case which will fit my second Roland D-50 perfectly. I really like those stock Roland hard shell synth cases. I’ll probably have to later open up the Roland S-50 and give it a good internal cleaning but for now everything works great. In addition, I’ll probably attach the second HxC Floppy drive emulator that I have in order to use the S-50 without floppies. That should be great to rotate through a large number of sample images.
The sound of the Roland S-50 is really excellent. I am a HUGE fan of the Lo-Fi samplers of the later 80′s and early 90′s. I know the Roland S-50 is not the most popular of the bunch, but with my setup and multitude of samples, it suits me well. One thing I really like about the S-50 is that it’s super quite when powered on. My Roland W-30 is noisy with the power inverter that hums when running. It’s annoying to listen to that all day. The S-50 doesn’t have that noise which is utterly fantastic. My early Roland sample gear now consists of an S-50, S-330, S-760, and Roland W-30. All are fun and interesting in their own unique way.