Roland W-30 Music Workstation Found!

Roland W-30 Sampler Workstation
Roland W-30 Sampler Workstation

Yesterday I picked up a “mint” condition Roland W-30 Sampler Workstation from a used audio shop here in Nagano City, Japan. The W30 was in mint condition with all the manuals, system disks, and sounds disks. Not only that but the manuals and disks were practically not even used as they were in pristine condition…amazing! Also included was the KW30 SCSI kit manual and floppy disk. Inside the chip was indeed installed. A case was also included. The entire package I bought for $80 which I thought was a great deal considering the KW30 chip was installed with all accessories. The manuals were in Japanese of course, but I can read Japanese so no problem there.

At home I was able to scrounge up an old 4.36GB SCSI hard disk which I was able to connect and sure enough, the Roland W-30 was able to communicate with the HD. I then was able to format the HD which took about 30 minutes and it indeed formatted to max capacity of 80MB. I then tested saving and loading various sounds and everything worked very well. I also tested an IOMEGA 250MB Zip drive with a 100MB zip disk and the Roland W-30 would not communicate with it at all. Some have had success with the Iomega Zip 250 drive, but from my experience it doesn’t work. I saw a Fujitsu 100MB SCSI Zip drive at the same used audio store for $5 bucks so I’ll probably pick that up for testing. I’ve heard that SCSI 100MB Zip drives will work fine.

The Roland W-30 boots fine with the Floppy Drive, but since I had the Hard Disk working I thought I would try to boot from the HD. This did not work despite following all sorts of instructions and trying different methods. After research and testing, it appears I need to find a different HD that can boot the W-30. Although my HD works for saving and loading sounds, it does not work as a boot drive.

I also was successfully able to tape the left hole of High Density Floppy Disks and format them as DD disks without any problems using Windows 7 Professional. I used the Sdiskw software to then load and create sound images from sources on the internet. I was able to establish a very simple workflow to transfer soundsets found on the internet to the Roland W-30 using the Sdiskw software. The only issue however is that I have yet to find a way to load and transfer WAV files. Most likely though I will simply sample directly using the inputs of the Roland W-30. The computer drives me crazy with regards to music and so far the Roland W-30 has been very simple to work with on it’s own.

Why did I buy it? The price was a bargain for this popular 1989 Keyboard Workstation. The sound is really ( I mean really ) good with the right samples and their is some functionality you can’t get on some of the newer samplers to date. For my purposes, the Roland W-30 is a real gem. For example I found a great Hammond Sample today and it was a blast playing that on the Roland W-30. Yes, the memory is limited, but honestly if I want backtracks I just use my SP-606, Roland X Series, or Korg Triton to do that. I basically wanted a keyboard that I could sample sound bites and then have fun editing and playing them expressively on the keys. There is so much you can do with the keyboard, sequencer, and editing functions.

The Roland W-30 is such a joy to play. Everything on my W30 works flawlessly and the condition is mind boggling. Somebody must have just locked this up in their closet for the past 20 years. Japan is such a great place to find used vintage gear I must say.

As I discover new uses and techniques for the Roland W-30, I’ll be sure to post comments to follow-up this article. Right now I would like to find a Hard Disk to book the Roland W-30. I would also like to have a Zip drive that works as well. With that said though I do have an HD that is saving and loading sounds. Plus my Floppy drive works great with the possibility that I might pick up a backup drive from Route66. I also would like to find a work flow for loading my own wav files from the computer, but for now I’ll just record direct. That should suffice for now and it might even be the best and fastest way to do things.

Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to comment or email if you have any specific questions about the Roland W-30 Music Sampler Workstation. I am so glad I bought it!

Does the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator work on the Roland S-330 and W-30 Samplers?

Roland S-330 – YES!
Roland W-30 – YES!

Check out Synth Japan forums for more discussions.

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100 thoughts on “Roland W-30 Music Workstation Found!

  1. Importing WAV files from PC to Roland W-30 Workstation

    Today I finally figured out the problem with importing my own WAV files to the Roland W-30 Workstation. I am using Adobe Soundbooth CS4 to edit my wav files and save them into Windows PCM format at a sample rate of 32000, 16-bit, Mono. The special software I use for importing the wav files is SMFW30. It didn’t work at first, but then I discovered a patch update in the developer’s forums that updated the tone editor. After I added the patch, I was able to successfully import WAV files very easily to the Roland W-30. I now just need to get a response from the developer so that I can register the software. It’s the only thing that works at the moment and you only get 10 launches in the trial version.

    By the way, when importing your own WAV files to the Roland W-30 you need to make sure your [38. Patch Param Map] under Sound has the Out Level adjusted to something other than 0. Otherwise you are not going to hear anything…laugh. It’s amazing putting in a cool WAV sound and then having it auto map across the keyboard. The sound is sweet and makes for some really cool and different sounds, not to mention the ease of manipulating the sound using the keys. The sound holds pretty well across 3 octaves I’d say so far. Fantastic!!!

    I should also note that you can easily arrange and manage individual WAVs using the SMFW30 software. You can save tones to WAVs and then load them again creating multiple tone disks. Then you can create patches within the Roland W-30 or the SMFW30 software but I have yet to try this due to my copy being unregistered at this point. So far though, it is incredibly easy and much faster than I thought importing my own WAV files and creating patches for the Roland W-30. With the Roland W-30 it’s not about cramming a ton of loop based samples into the machine like many current samplers on the market, but rather finding that ONE cool sample and mapping it across the keyboard to create a really cool “hook” or “groove” with.

    I was totally blown away at how I could work with just one single “good” WAV tone I imported and almost immediately be able to create something musical to jam in the band. It really reminds me of all the cool stuff the 80’s synth and sample based bands would play and now I have a better idea about how they got up and running right away. I have several other samplers, but NONE have been so easy to use and jam with almost immediately then the Roland W-30. I think that is why I bought it and for that reason it certainly doesn’t disappoint. I can’t believe it’s now 2010 and this sampler workstation was released in 1989!

    1. Hi Jim.

      Jim I wonder if you may help.

      I have an old dance sample cd called X-static Goldmine Volume 1. Very popular early ninties.
      Anyway what I am trying to do is take these wav files and convert them using smfw30 so i can use them on my roland w30.

      I am totally lost with this.

      Would you be able to instruct me how to do this, (an idiots guide) maybe even bulley pointed.
      It would really help. My email address is jasoncooke1999@hotmail.com

      Look forward to hearing from you.

      jay

      1. Hi Jay,

        I’m out of town at the moment, but I can direct to a software program that will do what you are trying to do.
        http://smfw30.svetlik.be/index.php

        I would start there and then if you continue to have troubles there are other options with a higher cost that also work.

        Next week I’ll be back at home and can add more info and/or answer any further questions you may have. Thanks!

        Jim

  2. This evening I was in luck and scored an Epson Iomega 100MB Zip drive for $5 at the same used audio shop where I purchased the Roland W-30. I thought it was a Fujitsu drive but it actually was an Iomega with an Epson logo on it. I brought it home and plugged it into the W-30 and it communicated with the zip drive just fine. I was also able to get this far with the Iomega Zip 250 drive, but it was when I tried to format the 100MB disk that I got communication and drive capacity errors.

    With the 100MB Epson Iomega Zip Drive I was able to format a disk successfully to a capacity of 80MB. Thus I can now use zip disks to save and load song or sound data. Awesome!! That pretty much wraps up another point on my list of things to get working with the Roland W-30.

    The final thing on my list is to find a Hard Disk that will allow me to boot the system from SCSI. I’ve heard this can be done, but frankly it might be very difficult to find a drive that will allow me to do this. I may just end up using floppies for boot or system stuff, while using the Zip and 4.3 HD for saving and swapping data. The speed of loading samples from floppies, zip disks, and when using the hard disk is actually pretty fast.

    All in all, I feel great that I was able to get a working zip drive and Hard Disk to store and load samples. I also know the Roland W-30 can use the CD-5, but at this point I won’t be needing one and probably couldn’t find one even if I tried, although Japan is probably a great place to find one. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

  3. Here is a couple of updates users of the Roland W-30 might find useful.

    First, I have been trying to contact the developer (Miro Svetlik) and register a copy of the SMFW30 software. Today I sent a paypal payment so hopefully he’ll respond, otherwise I’ll have to file a claim and get a refund. I have heard of other users having communication problems, so hopefully everything will be ok. I have also registered at the SMFW30 forums, but you have to be approved by the admin Miro Svetlik, so communication that way might be difficult as well.

    The main reason I need the SMFW30 software is to simply and easily import WAV files into the Roland W-30. The trial version allows me to do this, but it only allows 10 launches. I have found a work around by uninstalling the program and deleting all directory and temp files which takes a few seconds. Then I install SMFW30 again and it resets itself. Thus I can probably run the program indefinitely this way to get my WAV files imported. However, I would like to try the “patch editor” and pay the guy for his hard work. My recommendation right now is to simply uninstall and then reinstall SMFW30 to get 10 more uses. Altogether it takes 30 seconds to redo everything which is fine.

    Another note regarding the replacement floppy drives for the Roland W-30. I contacted Route 66 Studios yesterday about the drive and they said they were out of stock. However, they claim more drives will be in stock in a couple of weeks. I’ll probably snag one when they arrive to protect myself from not having one should my current drive fail. I would love to get the SCSI hard disk bootable, but that may take a while.

    For those trying to contact Miro Svetlik about the SMFW30 software, here is some info to help. He has not responded to any of this info, but it’s listed on his website so I’ll post it again here for easy reference.

    Miro Svetlik (frankies)
    frankies@inmail.sk
    miro@svetlik.be
    be.linkedin.com/in/svetlik
    miro.svetlik.be

  4. Today I successfully managed to get my Japanese IO-Data R230 MO drive to be recognized as a Hard Disk for the Roland W-30. It didn’t work previously, so I decided to fiddle with the jumpers located inside the drive. After some trial and error I was able to get the right configuration for it to communicate with the Roland W-30. I am even able to format any MO disk I put in there although the format limit is 80MB of course.

    The only problem is that I still cannot get the Roland W-30 to boot via SCSI from any of the Zip, MO, or Hard Disk solutions. I can save and load data with all three no problem now, but none of them will boot. Thus I am still completely reliant on the Floppy Drive System of the Roland W-30 for booting purposes only. That means the days are numbered until it eventually breaks down. My only hope is to try other old drives with a bootable Hard Disk being the best hope. I will definitely be picking up a second Floppy Drive for backup purposes as well.

    Getting the Roland W-30 to boot from an MO or Hard Disk is EXTREMELY difficult and RARE. Some say it can be done and while I do believe them, it’s total luck if you have success. At this point, I recommend stocking up on appropriate Floppy Drives as there is no concrete criteria for finding a working bootable Hard Disk or Mo drive for booting via SCSI. I feel I am really close, but as of yet, no dice.

    Stay tuned for further updates in my adventures with the Roland W-30 Music Workstation.

      1. I just checked SCSI4Samplers and I don’t think it supports the Roland W-30. The following Roland Samplers are only supported: Roland S-770, XV-5080, DJ70 MKII, VP-9000, G1000. Here is the info page: http://scsiforsamplers.com/mcdiske.asp .

        I have bought an internal drive like this for my Triton Classic and they work great, but unfortunately, I don’t think these SCSI drives work with the Roland W-30. This is either due to lack of testing or perhaps there is some technical problem. I’m not sure.

      2. Rick

        Forgive me, I did not look at the bottom of that page to see what was compatible. What luck, no W-30 :).

        I’ve feel like on am on a Floopy Island and can not get off. All day I’ve been looking in how to get sounds/patches from the internet back into the W-30. I even cranked up an old laptop which has DOS. Then the belt broke on the mico floopy drive. Are there not utilities for a modern day operating system? I am using Windows 7 and XP.

      3. Hi Rick,

        Actually, all day today I’ve been moving floppy disk sounds to the W-30 and saving them onto zip disks. Basically I have an Iomega 100MB Zip drive connected via SCSI to the back of the Roland W-30. I have to boot with the floppy, but after that, the Iomega Zip drive takes over and loads any future OS data needed as long as I have the W-30 on of course. What I do is use the software SDISKW v1.6 to load W-30 .OUT files and save them to floppy. I then put the floppy into the W-30 floppy drive and save them to the Zip Drive. I can save 64 floppy disks to each Zip disk which is the max if correct. I have completed to zip disks, so effectively, I’ve reduced 128 floppy disks to 2 zip disks. The zip disks are also much faster than the floppies for loading samples. You can also do this if you connect an MO drive or an HD disk drive as well. I simply chose Zip disks because I had a ton of zips from my Roland SP-808. I’ve also tried MO and that works great too.

        It’s a tiny bit tedious to transfer the floppies to Zip Disk one by one, but once I’m done, I should not have to do it again. If I want to also transfer WAV files, I use SMFW30 to import WAV files. I can also convert AKAI and E-MU files to WAV for import using “Extreme Sample Converter”. Thus, I’ve been able to successfully transfer just about everything provided I watch the memory. I really like Akai and E-MU samples because they are small and work well for multi-samples. You can also sample directly with line-out from the computer as well.

        If you need more specifics, please let me know. – Jim

      4. Rick

        Thank you for that bit of info- quite helpful. I downloaded it and ran it on my XP. Now I am getting connected to the outside world. Be nice if that app worked in W7. I would be willing to donate for the upgrade. Will be on the lookout for a Iomega SCSI.

        Question: How do you know if you have the SCSI chip installed (upgrade)? I unscrewed the cover plate and I see the SCSI socket.

      5. Hi Rick,

        All of the software I mentioned does work on Windows 7, although I think I have them running in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode as administrator. If you right click the start file you’ll see a compatibility tab where you can set how you want to run the software. Note also that I am running Windows 7 Professional on my computers.

        With my W-30 I knew right away I had the SCSI chip because I had the special boot disk and manual that went with the package when I purchased it. Otherwise, you’ll have to crack open the back and see the chip or plug in a SCSI drive and test. Note that you must boot with the special SCSI boot disk. I use version 1.07 which is the latest. In fact, you could start out by booting with that disk and then plug and SCSI device into the W-30. Then run the SCSI utility to check for an ID. That would probably tell you if the chip is working or not. Keep in mind that not all drives work. I have found most success with 100MB zip drives or 230MB MO drives that are SCSI.

        Hope this helps.! – Jim

      6. Rick

        Seems like the sequence of these post are out of order.

        Forgot about running W& in XP compatible mode. I think most will say the W-30 has SCSI if you see a SCSI socket, which is really misleading. Seems like the system test would also reveal if there is a SCSI connected. When I unscrewed the cover plate and saw a SCSI socket I said to myself, wow SCSI.

  5. I have a few updates regarding my progress with contacting Miro Svetlik with regards to registering SMFW30. Apparently he is on vacation this week, but will send me a registration code next week when he gets back. He was a very nice guy and I’m looking forward to getting my copy registered so that I can check out the patch editor and get to work on importing some WAV files I have collected and created.

    I contacted a company called “Floppy Drive Solutions” regarding Roland W-30 replacement drives that they apparently have in stock. I can get one shipped to Japan for under a $100 which sounds great. I want to get a backup floppy drive for the W-30 to ensure a long life out of the workstation. I’ll update this blog later once I get a reply that confirms the availability. As I mentioned above, I was going to grab one from “Route 66 Studios”, but they don’t have them in stock until a couple of weeks. I also read some very nasty reviews about “Route66 Studios” which kind of spooked me a little. Hmmm. Australia is closer to me anyway so I’d like to go with “Floppy Drive Solutions” if they have a replacement floppy drive in stock for the Roland W-30.

    Next, I got a line on an LCD Screen backlight bulb for under $50 to Japan that will replace and fix any future LCD screen problems that may arise. I don’t have any problems now, but the installation of a new backlight bulb is pretty easy with basic soldering skills. Supposedly it’s the backlight bulb failing that causes the screen to fade. I’ll now have a spare to protect myself from future problems with the LCD. Awesome! The company is called “Midi-rakete” in Germany and they are very nice people!!

    Finally, a friend of mine here in Japan sent me several fantastic Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond Organ, and Clav samples for the Roland W-30. He custom made them and boy do they sound great. The key action is just fine for me and now I can do some really cool EP playing with the Electrical Piano sound sets on the Roland W-30. The Rhodes is brilliant and it took him a long time to get the sizes down while retaining a good sound. With the MO or Zip drive attached I can swap EP sounds really easy now.

    More updates to follow!

  6. Today I bought a replacement floppy drive for the Roland W-30 from an Australian company called “Floppy Drive Solutions”. They were very quick with their email response and also very friendly. They said they had the Roland W-30 replacement drive in stock and ready for immediate delivery. Plus the price at $74 was very reasonable. Right now my Roland W-30 has a working drive already in it, but I thought I should get a backup while they were still available and reasonably priced. The W-30 is completely reliant on a working Floppy Drive unless you can find a hard disk or MO drive to book from via SCSI. I have tried numerous drives and quite frankly it’s a crap shoot, so I thought I would just buy a replacement floppy drive and get back to playing music. I hate spending too much time away from playing and getting stuck fixing electronic gear. I’ll now be able to enjoy the Roland W-30 for many years hopefully before having to worry about it crapping out due to floppy drive failure.

    Note that Route Route 66 Studios also offers a Floppy Drive replacement but I wasn’t too impressed with their email service. I hate one line replies that imply they are too busy to speak with me. Plus they mentioned it might be two weeks or more before they had another shipment of drives in which could eventually turn into more weeks, months, etc. I also got a kick out them telling me to “check stock” beforehand which I thought was the point of my email in the first place. Not a good impression. Plus I saw a few really negative reviews about them on the Internet, but of course they could be isolated incidents. Living in Japan, I’ve dealt with several companies out of Australia and I feel better working with a company ie “Floppy Drive Solutions” a little closer to where I live.

      1. Rick

        This allows you to shuttle files on a floppy, back and forth to your PC/MAC. Whereas most modern day PCs/laptops do not accommodate for mico-floppies.

      2. Rick

        Correction:

        This allows you to shuttle files on a floppy, back and forth from your PC/MAC to the W-30. Whereas most modern day PCs/laptops do not accommodate for mico-floppies.

    1. Rup

      Hi Jim. I´m writing from Argentina, and it was a real pleasure to find you on the web.
      I think your blog have a lot of enthusiasm and dedication, and I must admit that yours opinions create a sense of confidence to a lot like me (beginners without much experience or technical knowledge).
      I appreciate a lot your advice on how and where to buy a floppy drive replacement for my w30.
      I sent an email to route66 a month ago and still not get ANSWERS to know if they have one available for me. Nor do I find the Australian Company “Floppy Drive Solutions” on web..
      I am very discouraged, because here in Argentina repair possibilities are few, and official services do not provide a good support.
      I appreciate all your help and willingness, in advance.
      Thank you so much!!
      Rup.

      1. Hello! Unfortunately I am not sure where you can get a Roland W-30 floppy drive replacement these days. Route66 and Floppy Drive Solutions are either out of business or not suitable. I usually use Ebay for such items but lately a Roland W-30 drive has become scarce. The good news though ( and my recommendation ) is to get the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator. It’s the same price as a floppy drive replacement, but you’ll be able to use SD cards and create literally hundreds of floppy images. I use the HxC in my Roland W-30, S-330, and S-50 samplers. I honestly don’t use the Floppy drive anymore. http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/

        I’d forget the Floppy drive and just get the HxC. It’s a much better solution.

        Jim

  7. Here are some updates this week on the Roland W-30.

    The Roland W-30 backup drive I recently ordered from “Floppy Drive Solutions” has been shipped. The service and communication has been excellent so far. I’ll take some snapshots of the drive once I receive it.

    I also got the registration codes for the Roland W-30 SMFW30 editor version 2. It is interesting to note that for my copy of Version 2.x, once registered, the patch editor does not work. In addition, the tone editor allows me to load a diskimage and modify the wavs, but I cannot edit anything else.

    I then found a copy of the older version 1.x and found that version to be better. My registration codes even seem to work for it, so I’ll be using version 1.x instead of version 2.x. The patch editor and other tone editing functions work in SMFW30 version 1.x for Windows 7 so far.

    This week I’ve also been working on some custom patches for the Roland W-30 using SMFW30. My workflow is working great and I’m happy to be able to import my own WAV files to create my own construction kits. The Roland W-30 is a lot fun.

  8. Jesus Garnica

    Dear Jim Atwood.
    20 years ago I was a teenager and tried to do something in music.
    Some friends who had a band acquired a Roland W-30.
    I had in my hands a few times and left me impressed.
    Leave the music and I devote to other things in my life.
    After 20 years I wanted to get to play around with the music.
    I am thinking of buying a W-30 but I’ve got the same questions that you:
    As decouple the life of W-30 disk?
    How to update and upload audio files of various formats?
    It was very heartening to know who tell him about you and your W-30.
    In Japan there are more units of W-30?
    You can buy online?
    Believe me, I envy you for having succeeded in such good condition.
    It is essential to keep the information on suppliers of replacement parts.
    Well, I say goodbye offering congratulations and Greetings from Colombia.

    1. Hello and thanks for visiting my blog.

      At the moment I am uncertain about the total life expectancy of the current floppy drive in the Roland W-30. I bought it in mint condition and so far it’s working very well. As I posted above, I also bought a backup drive from “Floppy Drive Solutions” for $94 which includes shipping to Japan. These two drives should hopefully last me quite a while. I also have a hard disk, zip drive, and MO drive that will work for storing samples so that should also take pressure off the floppy drive. In addition, I just recently picked up a second hand Roland S-330 that “may” have the same floppy drive. All in all, I have found several ways to replace the floppy drive so I’m not too worried about it at the moment.

      The best place to find a used Roland W-30 is probably on Ebay right now if you want one quickly. Yes there are probably several more in Japan, but they are most likely in Tokyo. I’ve been checking out my “used gear” watering holes in Nagano city for about 2 years now and this is the only time I’ve ever seen a Roland W-30. You can also check Yahoo Japan Auctions too as they always have great deals on used gear in Japan. Another couple of sites are Rakuten Japan and Ishibashi Japan. Both sell used goods. Right now in Nagano city, I have only 4 special places I go to for used music gear. I go to each one about once per week which is why I tend to find good deals. The turnover is very fast and high, so I have to be quick and frequent. It’s fun.

      Good luck with finding a Roland W-30. There’s more out there I know! Enjoy!

  9. Just found out there is a book or manual of sorts titled “”Decoding the W-30 Workstation”” that appears to be quite useful. I’m currently trying to track down a copy of it.

    I also recently found the Roland S-550 L-CD1 CD-ROM with a ton of sounds on it that can be used with the Roland W-30.

    I’m currently also trying to track down a working Roland CD-5 if possible. I know that’s a tall order, but it would be cool to have one of these.

    Sampling on the W-30 is a breeze by the way. I’m having fun sampling with a couple of RnB and Jazz Construction kit CDs from Big Fish Audio. I really don’t need that much sampling time to get some excellent and unique stuff out of the Roland W-30. You just have to get yourself out of “Loop” and “Backtracking” mode and open yourself up to creating interesting multisample sounds. It’s fun!!

    1. AndyC

      Hi, * Welcome * to the world of the Roland W-30!
      It’s great to find such enthusiasm on the web for this great keyboard. I’ve had mine since the ’80s and never want to let it go. I have since bought other keyboards e.g. Korg Triton Studio and use soft samplers/synths, but I always go back to the W-30. I know it’s limited, but the limitations seem to force me to be more creative. I have used several CD-ROM drives with the W-30, the key, I seem to remember, is getting a SCSI drive that allows the UNIX sector size of 2048 bytes to be set (instead of the DOS 512 sector size), i.e. Plextor or Yamaha drives. I am also trying to find a long term replacement for a hard drive, preferably using CF or SD cards, with some IDE/SCSI converters. I have had some success, but no booting. The booting problem seems due to Rolands Boot ROM code, see http://www.milton.arachsys.com/nj71/index.php?menu=2&submenu=4&subsubmenu=2&page=2 there is some information there that perhaps someone could use to patch the boot ROMs to increase the number of bootable devices. At the time Apple Mac drives were compatible, but I also found Amiga computer SCSI drives were also compatible (as they were usually the same drives).

      1. Hello Andy, Thanks for the great comments.

        Despite some small limitations, I absolutely love the Roland W-30. I grew up with a Yamaha DX-7 and Roland D-110 back in the 80’s but never had a sampler. The simplicity of the W-30 is what draws me to it and I find that the sample memory is not that bad if I stick to using older Sample CD roms where most samples were small and 16 bit anyway. In fact I have found great use for older E-MU and AKAI stuff. It’s been great. I also like how easy it is to create and use multi-samples. Honestly I haven’t dived into the Sequencer yet, but with it being linear, I understand the pitfalls. However, I’ll probably enjoy that too.

        Right now my biggest agenda is to find a working CD-ROM for the W-30. I do have zip, mo, and hard disks that work, but it would be nice to use a CD-ROM. Second, I would love to find something to boot the W-30 with via SCSI, but I know that may be a tough mountain to conquer. At the moment, I am having much success using 100MB Zip drives to/from the PC and W-30. That works very well and all I have to do is boot the W-30 once per day wth a floppy. I like how the zip drive takes over and runs OS utilities rather than having to access the Floppy. I also have a backup floppy drive so everything should last for a few years with medium use hopefully.

        In any event, I really like the W-30, S-330, and S-760 series of Samplers. It’s also nice to see people having success with the W-30 too. Thanks again for the comments. Much appreciated. – Jim

    2. hi jim

      yes i have this book decoding the roland w-30.
      it is rare. very rare infact as it has been out of print since 1991. i tracked down a copy from a rare book shop in the states. i live in the u.k.

      if you want i can scan it as a pdf and send it too you. its great and makes sense.

      i bought my w-30 in april and have set myself a few tasks. At present i am recreating a prodigy track “charly from scratch”. The only sample i have taken from them is the break beat drum loop, the rest i have recreated from scratch using my own located samples and tinkering with the w-30.

      there is an awesome option to change the sample once recorded and loop and set to alter which plays the sample forward the backwards and back to front.

      it’s awesome to recreate those early 90’s rave “hoover” sounds. took me bloody ages to work that one out. i can send you an mp3 of that too so you can tell me your comments.

      how easy is smfw30 for wav conversion?

      j

      1. Hello Jay! Thanks for the comments.

        I actually found a copy of “Decoding the Roland W30” on Amazon a couple of weeks ago. I received it in the mail a few days ago in fact and I’ve been reading it a bit. It’s a nice supplement to the manual so far. Thanks for the offer of scanning it to PDF though.

        That’s cool you’re doing some Prodigy stuff. Awesome!

        Unfortunately, SMFW30 doesn’t work as well as I would like it too. I’ve had some problems with some samples getting corrupt. There’s also a bug where you can only load Bank A and not Bank B, so you’re limited with the number of samples you can import. I actually found a much better way to import WAV samples using my S-330. I use a software program called “PCtoS550 v2.1” to transfer WAV files to the S-330 via midi. It transfers really fast and I can get both A&B banks loaded perfectly with high quality samples. I then just save to disk and throw it into the W-30. It works fantastic and I now have zero problems with importing WAV files. I just hope my S-330 doesn’t crap out. It’s by far much easier than SMFW30. Miro is currently working on the SMFW30 bugs and should have an update hopefully soon. I’ll go back to it if he fixes the bugs, but until then I’ll stick with the S-330 trick.

        Do you have the SCSI chip in your W-30?

  10. Rick

    Just a week ago I purchased a W-30, also, in mint condition. The solution I am looking for storage/file transfer is mounting a USB adapter on the SCSSI socket.

    Question: I have 2 manuals, the original Roland and one from a 3rd party and can not figure out how to create a phrase loop (not a sample loop).

    1. Hi Rick,

      I”m not sure I know exactly what you mean by phrase loop. If you are sequencing, there is no looper, rather the sequencer is linear for the Roland W-30. So you need to copy the phrase over and over for the length of the song you want.

      I usually set my sample loop to “one + forward” or “alter” and then use the sequencer to set the trigger note for the sample. However, I have to copy the trigger phrase for many measures because you can’t loop phrases on the W-30. The sequencer is good, but the loop phrase feature was a little ahead of it’s time I think.

      1. Rick

        Ouch, no sequencing looping? I am not a looping use, however this is of great value if I need to loop. Also no Undo feature within the sequencer. :(.

      2. Nope, unfortunately no sequence looping. I see what you mean about “undo” with the sequencer. You’re right, there is no undo so I usually record on separate tracks so that I don’t mess up the entire composition. However, this still means you have to effectively redo the track if you make a mistake, or use step mode and edit your steps. I’m not sure, but one might be able to edit events.

      3. Rick

        Unfortunately, that drives in the last nail for me. Took a week (majority of the day) to find my way around and now this.

        As for hardware opposed to software, I, like you, like the hardware and dedicated controls. There is also no or little latency issues to worry about. I want a workstation and will have to pay lots for a used one. Honestly, this W-30 looks like it just sprang out of a factory box.

        Thank your for your assistance, your post and responses have been most helpful.

    1. Indeed I find I have to remember old settings if I make a mistake so that I can dial back in the original settings. My workflow at the moment is to use SMFW30 for importing WAV files tweaked in “Extreme Sample Converter” for example. I then import the WAV files into the W-30 and tweak further if necessary. I also find myself just resampling the WAV file directly into the W-30 which is sometimes easier if I’m all hooked up. Either way, I have a backup copy of the original WAV file.

      There isn’t an undo function, but I still can move settings back to their original form “IF” I remember them. LOL

      I basically grew up as a kids using the Yamaha DX-7, Alesis MMT8, and Roland D-110. For some reason I enjoy tweaking old hardware. There are frustrating limitations at times which brings me back to newer hardware, but I find old and new are both fun.

      If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask anytime. Thanks! – Jim

    2. AndyC

      Hi, perhaps you could reserve the last sequencer track as a temporary track backup when editing and assign the sequencer “Copy” page to a Function key for easy access and copy the track before making changes? It may be a bit long winded, but could be worth a try. If you need to copy back, it’s worth double checking you have the right destination in case another track is inadvertently overwritten.

      1. Rick

        Andy, how creative on saving a duplication of a track before editing. What an effort in justifying the continual use of the W-30 :).

        I think the smooth sounds and this beautiful anodized brushed black-satin finish keeps me interested. Now if we had an earthquake, the first assessment I would take in damage control is my classic guitar and this here sexy looking W-30. Is this not sick? I mean I have a loving family dog and loved ones here.

  11. I’m currently working on a forum to make posting comments easier and to better organize discussions. I understand there are Yahoo Groups and individual sites, but my experience prefers good ole’ Vbulletin for discussions. I’ve been meaning to supplement my blog with a forum and now I’ve gotten around to getting it online. Please feel free to comment here or on the forums. Thanks! – Jim http://synthjapan.com/

  12. Hi Jim,

    I came across your blog while looking for information about using a Zip drive with a Roland W-30. Glad to find I’m not the only one still using this great workstation, although I use don’t use the sampler as it functions solely as a mother keyboard and sequencer.

    One interesting upgrade I’ve been thinking of trying is to install a floppy drive replacement that takes alternative media such as SD cards. There are several different manufacturers that provide these, and they appear to be principally aimed at industrial machinery or (bizarrely) automated knitting machines.

    The one that looks most promising is from Italy: http://members.fortunecity.it/blackvisionit/emufdd_en.htm. If I get the time to order one and try it out I’ll post a follow up.

    Regards,

    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      I know another gentleman who is investigating something similar about using floppy drive replacements with SD cards. A couple of things that make me wonder about this though are (1) most floppy drive replacements are based on PC specifications I think. The Roland W-30 if correct
      doesn’t take standard PC floppy drives that are wired the same. (2) The issue of drivers is another potential problem. The drivers in the Roland W-30 are rather old and quite limited. Thus I’ll be very curious how your research turns out. A possibility might be to contact the developer at SCSI4Samplers who in fact builds custom CF-Card readers to replace floppy drives for the Roland S-760. I actually bought one for the Korg Triton Classic which works great, but again the Triton uses floppy drives more in line with PC drives as with the Roland S-760. It’s a great idea though and I’m hopeful a solution will be found in due time. Thanks very much for the comments! – Jim

  13. Daiman

    Hi Jim,

    Excuse, please, my poor English.

    I do not know whether their problems are solved with the bootable disc.
    The SCSI interface W-30 (and hard disk!!!) is the venerable old version 1 (SCSI-1) (or possibly SCSI-2 – all SCSI-2 devices should be compatible with SCSI-1).
    In the W-30 it is SCSI hard-coded to SCSI ID 7.
    Not everyone hdd is able to bootable (compatibility problem?).
    When you connect the drives, the system of identifying them as ID0, ID1, ID2… according to how you set with disc ID jumper. This is the principle that always boot the latest drive in the system.
    For example, two disk drives is boot the second disc ID1.
    When you format the SCSI disk, system will be transferred automatically from the floppy to SCSI-disk. You can also transfer the system from “HD Utility” menu.
    External SCSI’s must always be terminated – the last device in any chain must be teminated, for example with jumpers “SCSI Terminator On” on last hdd!!!
    Power on the HDD about 10-20 sec before you power on the w30. Otherwise the scsi-controller might not find the HDD and not boot.
    The ZIP drive system can not boot, unnecessary work on trying to.
    Do not be afraid to experiment with the setup disks (jumpers as UNIT ATTENTION, INQUIRY COMMAND…, but AUTO SPIN UP must be enabled!), but some are not fully compatible with W-30.

    Regards

    Daiman

  14. you can loop on the w-30, but you have to set the loop start and end point first, its, rock hard. and there are no undo options what so ever so just keep saving the song and sounds to disk before you try anything major.

    1. I just read about the looping in the Decoding W-30 manual. I’m going to try that this weekend. Now that I have may WAV importing issues solved, I can work on sequencing. Thanks for the tip!!

  15. Dex

    Hi Jim,
    while we’re waiting for the new version of Miro Svetik’s SMFW30, have you checked out the Neuromancer’s Sampled? It’s freeware sample editor with ability to read native S-series sample disks. Most of the links to Neuromancer’s web site are dead, but you can find the program (v2.0 from 1999.) here:
    http://www.sonicspot.com/sampled/sampled.html

  16. alberto

    Hi Jim, i just bought the same Workingstation as yours, the Roland w-30 but it doesn’t come with any diskette system, except for the manual, do you know a site where i can download all the disks system and disks sounds? Please advice, Thanks a lot, Greetings from Mexico!!!

  17. Mr Murf

    Hi Jim,
    I have an old W30, not in such great shape and my system disc does not work (stop loading). Do you know where I can find another system disc or is it possible to send me the software via email or a disc copy snail mail (postal)? I use a Mac with the latest OS if that makes a difference. I’m desperate for help with this.

    Thanks,
    Murf

    1. Gary Walker

      Error code 10 usually means there’s a physical problem with the floppy drive. I had that error a couple of years ago, and for me the problem was a my son put a coin in the drive. Once I’d removed it, it worked fine again. I would say check your floppy drive for “foreign objects”.

  18. leon

    Hi Jim;
    As you can see that; we are several with the same problem:replacement of the diskdrive W-30! Can youfind for us a definitive solution by giving us the correct adress where we can order this please!!
    thank’s a lot!!

    1. I think right now there is no solution that I know of other than “Floppy Drive Solutions” or “Route66”. Both seem to either be out of stock or not running. Ebay also seems to be quiet. You might have to wait while unfortunately until something surfaces. If I find anything I’ll post here for sure. Thanks!

      Jim

  19. leon

    Hi Jim;
    Thank you for your response!
    Then; how do you think about the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator? Could you recommend me to order this for my W-30?

    1. The HxC Floppy Drive Emulator looks promising, but you’ll have to take a risk and give it a try. There is no 100% proof that this will work on the Roland W-30. If you are going to test out different emulators and take a chance, I would recommend the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator as the place to start. I heard it works on the Roland S-50 which is similar to the Roland W-30. To my knowledge, nobody has tried the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator with the Roland W-30, so it’s a gamble at best.

  20. leon

    Hi dear Jim;
    Please i want you to spend a fex minutes to visit and give your advice about this product:

    FlexiDriveP4

    Media: SD Pendrive
    Format/Capacity: 1.44Mb
    Format function: Yes – FlexiFormat application for Windows – included.
    Application: Music, Keyboards, Consoles,
    USD 265.00-
    Delivery time: 3 Days.
    TESTED ON YAMAHA, ROLAND, KORG, CASIO keyboards and sequencers.

    Just send an email to info@floppyemulator.com,

    1. Hi Leon,

      Honestly I don’t believe “ANY” of the Floppy Emulators work. Unless I see some photos and hear some concrete discussions by some reputable people, I really don’t even consider any of the Floppy Emulators out there. The Roland W-30, along with the S-330 and/or S-50 samplers have some pretty unique floppy setups. A lot of emulator companies “Guess” or say on Paper that is “Should” work, but again until I see proof, I won’t buy anything.

      Indeed I would love to test these floppy emulators and prove it for myself, but these emulators cost a lot of money. I do have the time, but not the money to shell out for all these emulator companies. The HxC Floppy Drive Emulator looks promising and I’ve come close to testing that but again there is no “proof” that it works on a Roland W-30. At this point despite what the developer says, it’s still speculation 100%. Believe me, I would love to have a working alternative to my floppy drive on the Roland W-30 and especially for my Roland S-330, but it’s just not out there right now.

      So, I’ve been keeping an eye on the forums and groups hoping one day to hear some evidence. The HxC Floppy Drive Emulator might work though and if I were to give any of these emulators a try, it would definitely be the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator first. It’s starting to look like it could work. If you want to take a risk, then go for the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator. If the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator doesn’t work, then I would say “Nothing” else will for sure.

      Hope this helps. – Jim

  21. leon

    Hi Jim;
    Thank’s a lot for your advice! Really those products are very espensive and i could purchase another keyboard with this amount!!

    Hard; but the battle continue!!

    Have a good day!!

    1. leon

      Hi Jim;
      I wrote to you last time in order to congratulate you for this good news with your Emulator because we will have now the definitive solution if this item works well with all our dead keyboards!
      Good bless you for your research!!!

      NB: I have seen the last message about the backlights; thank’s a lot!!

      1. Hello Leon,

        I haven’t received the Emulator yet, but when I do, I’ll definitely update my post when I get started. I plan to test the SDCard HxC Floppy Emulator with both the Roland S-330 and W-30 first. I’ll update you as soon as I get everything going of course. Thanks for the kind comments.

        Regards,

        Jim

    1. leon

      Hi Rick;
      No problem! We will have good share in many others subjects! Let Jim test his Emulator and we will find a very good solution if it works well!!

  22. leon

    Hello Dear Jim;
    What about the Emulator Brother!
    Do you think that they will respect their time to deliver the item?
    God bless you!
    Have a good day!!

  23. I haven’t received the Floppy Emulator in the mail yet. That’s to be expected though because this week is “Golden Week” in Japan with the Post Offices closed for a few days. Golden Week is a week long Spring Holiday in Japan. Hopefully it will arrive by the weekend and I can start testing things by then. I’ll update my blog asap once I get the emulator and start work for sure. Thanks! – Jim

  24. I just received the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator yesterday for my Roland S-330 and W-30 Samplers.

    Progress Report:
    Does the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator work on the Roland S-330 and W-30 Samplers?

    Roland S-330 – YES!
    Roland W-30 – YES!

    1. leon

      Hello Jim! I am very happy when reading your last message! Thank’s a lot! So i think that the next weeek i am going to order too an Emulator! But i do not know the procedure to order it. To avoid trouble i want to get the same model like yours. How am i doing? The second problem is that i am living in Africa. Do you think that they will send this without problem?
      Help me please!!!

  25. leon

    Other thing Jim:
    I’ve seen two kind of Emulators: the first is cased in a black box and the other without case! What is the difference?

    1. The HxC SD Floppy Emulator in the black box is the same thing but with the enclosure. I didn’t want to pay extra for the enclosure so I got the one without it. The one with the enclosure would still work with the Roland W-30. If you remove the Roland W-30 floppy drive it “may” be able to sit nicely on top of the sampler with the enclosure. I don’t know. I didn’t want to go through the entire hassle of removing the W-30 floppy drive, so I simply ran the ribbon cable and power connector out the back of the sampler. I suppose the enclosure could add some protection to the emulator. Either will work though as they are the same emulator.

      1. leon

        Hello brother Jim;
        Can i get from you some good news with your Emulator? Is it working well? Are you getting out of your sorrows? Don’t forget inform friends about this bt the forum!!
        Have a good day!!
        Regards.

      2. Hi there,

        Yes, the Emulator is working great with my Roland W-30 and S-330. No problems to report thus far. I’m actually having renewed fun with it. I haven’t posted on the HxC forums because quite frankly I’m not a fan of the admin over there.

        So far everything is going great. I’m more than happy to answer any questions or inquiries about the HxC SD Emulator and the Roland W-30/S-330 on my blog here. No problem.

        Thanks!!

        Jim

    1. Steve

      Hi Jim, I hope you don’t mind me contacting you for help again??!!
      I have downloaded a trial version of SMFW30. I have successfully installed it, and I have plugged in my USB floppy drive. I then put one of my W30 2DD disks in the drive, clicked the ‘floppy’ button on SMFW30, then ‘Read’.
      All I get with any disk I try to read is ‘The disk in drive A: is not formatted properly. Please check the disk and format if necessary.’ When I click ‘Try again’ it says ‘Floppy is not formatted as DD (Double Density/720kb)!

      I had this problem ages ago when I used the DOS version. I’ve looked in the help files, and from what i gather, when I click on ‘Read’, I should then be able to see what’s on the disk?!

      I hope you can help me Jim as I’m pulling my hair out here!!

      Thank you in anticipation!

      Kind Regards, Steve.

      1. Hi Steve,

        I understand your problem pretty well. You can properly format a floppy disk in either the computer or the W-30 and you will still get this message at times. It drives me crazy too. If you are getting this error I can only suggest some alternatives to try that have worked for me.

        1. I tend to have lots of issues with SMFW30 so I sometimes try SDISK instead with often good results.
        http://w30.svetlik.be/sdiskw/

        2. I also will try using SDISK but in DOS on a win98 machine that sometimes works as well.

        3. I also have a MAC and use SMAC which works better than SDISK on Windows at times. I’ve cracked a couple of disks using SMAC.
        http://www.milton.arachsys.com/nj71/host/komputermatrix/w30/w30diskmakers.htm

        4. My most successful solution is to use the commercial software AWAVE STUDIO which works very well for me. I attached a screenshot here of a Roland W-30 disk I put in my USB floppy drive just now and tested. It always works great. If a disk doesn’t work with AWAVE STUDIO then it’s usually corrupt and I need to then consider using “OmniFlop” below.
        http://www.fmjsoft.com/awframe.html

        5. My last resort is usually OmniFlop. This requires certain hardware and parameters so it’s a bit tedious but when you have things available and setup it can rip just about any floppy image for later repair or editing.
        http://www.shlock.co.uk/Utils/OmniFlop/OmniFlop.htm

        Those are my best suggestions off the top of my head. If you encounter this problem a lot, then you may need to experiment with how you originally format your floppy disks. I’ve read ( although I can’t remember where ) that formatting disks in the Roland W-30 first can be good and/or bad. Perhaps formatting on your PC is better and then writing material to disk on the W-30 is better. Again, with some experimentation you should be able to find out the best way to initially format your disks.

        With all that said, it’s still possible to have a completely corrupt floppy disk.

        Roland W-30 Awave Studio

      2. Steve

        Hello again Jim. Wel I’ve spend a ridiculous amount of time now trying different ways to convert my W30’s disks to WAV with no luck whatsoever. I even got my old IBM laptop and put DOS 6 on it, then tried SDISK and SMFW30 in DOS mode. I got the programs to work fine, but they would not read ANY of my disks. It looks like I will have to do it the old fashioned way, and play the samples in real time across to my PC, cut them up, then edit them for Kontakt. It’ll take a while, but I just don’t seem to be getting anywhere with these software progs!
        Many thanks indeed for your help though Jim. You have a great knowledge with this stuff, I’m just sorry that my crazy disks won’t play ball!
        All the very best, Steve.

  26. I have this book already called “Decoding the Roland W-30”. It’s a very good book.

    I noticed there is a copy for sale on Ebay right now. Just search the following title to find it:

    DECODING THE ROLAND W-30 BASIC OPERATING & TWEAKING

    Decoding the Roland W-30 Basic Operating and Tweaking

  27. leon

    Hello Jim;

    How are you? Long time ago! Are there some good news from your researches? I made a contact whith Lotharek and already ordered an Emulator but things are not fast as expected! My bank and his take too much time to achieve their procedure. What is not good for me! But i know that it is there the only one way to get it and all that i can do now is to be patient!! Don’t forget me brother!

    Have a good day!!

    Leon

  28. I came close today with finding a suitable external CD-Rom Drive for the Roland W-30 but unfortunately it didn’t work. I have a couple of Panasonic LF-1700 CD-Rom Drives that have work with every old hardware sampler I’ve thrown at it like Yamaha and Akai. So, I thought perhaps it might work with the Roland W-30.

    I hooked up the Panasonic LF-1700 and I had no problems with the Roland W-30 recognizing the Drive. It didn’t freeze on me once! Like the Roland CD-5, there is a cartridge that works with the LF-1700. I was able to insert my LCD-1 Rom Disk and thought for sure it would take it. Unfortunately I got a “Hardware Error” message.

    If I place a different disk in the drive I would get a “Not a Roland Cd-Rom” error. My Roland LCD-1 CD-Rom works with everything else, so I can’t imagine that formatting would be the problem. Thus it’s back to the drawing board with finding a CD-Rom drive that is compatible with the Roland W-30.

    https://jimatwood.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/akai-s2000-sampler-connections/

  29. leon

    Hello;
    Long time!!
    After two, i just got my emulator this morning! So i want you to help me to get it working on my w-30! Can you give me step by step the whole procedure?
    Great regards!!

  30. Brady

    Hi Jim!
    I too have a W-30 and see that you lucked out with finding one in mint condition for a great price. Congrats! Mine is original (yes, I’m that old!). Trying to find a way to copy/transfer the numerous sound diskettes into my Mac to work with Cubase. Have you tried this or anything similar? Any tips you can share?

    Thanks!
    -Brady

    1. To use the W30 sounds disks without the Roland W-30 you need to first extract the WAV files. D-SoundPRO 3.5.1 for Mac, an old OS 9 app works great. It’s also possible Chicken Translator for Mac might work too but I haven’t tried it. SMFW30 works great on a PC. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult I think if you can’t get the proper OS going with the software I mentioned. There may be other ways, but the above software works great for me so I haven’t tried any other. Hope this helps. Thanks! – Jim

      1. Brady

        Long time for my follow up, but here it is! I’m not too techy, so what is the best way to pysically connect my SCSI port to the Mac to then extract the WAV files into D-soundPRO? Is such a cable available to go from SCSI to usb or firewire? I don’t have a separate diskette drive, so I’m hoping to transfer straight from the W-30’s disk drive and banks straight into D-soundPRO on the Mac.
        Thanks!

  31. Darryn

    Hi..I am just seeing if there any midi editing software out there than runs or looks as the same as the sequencing on the w-30. I still use the w-30 a lot but would rather see it on a bigger screen like on my pc and be able to use in windows…
    any ideas? Thanks…

    1. Hi there,

      To my knowledge there are no software sequencer packages available dedicated to the Roland W-30. However, the W-30 can load song data from MRC-500/MRC-300/Super-MRC floppy disks. I’m not familiar with the older MC sequencers, but if they are able to load midi files and then save to MC format, then you could easily load those disks into the Roland W-30. This way, you could use any sort of midi editor on the computer and just save to midi format and then import into an MRC sequencer for saving to MRC format. It’s also possible that there might be some sort of software available for converting midi to MC format directly. The key is to get the data into a format that the Roland W-30 can read. The MRC-500/MRC-300 format seems to be the key. Super-MRC would be better yet because the Roland W-30 can save to Super-MRC format. It CANNOT however save to MRC-500/MRC-300. All of this is in the W-30 manual. There is an answer to your question, but it likely will mean either buying and testing an MRC-500 device with the Roland W-30 OR finding a separate program that will work with MRC song files. I haven’t done this myself yet, but likely I would check out the MRC sequencers and manuals to see how they handle “if at all” midi data formats.

      Jim

    2. Take a look at the MRM-500 System software program for converting midi files to/from MRC-500/MRC-300/Super-MRC formats.

      The MRM-500 System is a software program that allows you to convert Standard MIDI File songs into different
      Roland sequencer formats and visa versa.

      http://www.rolandus.com/support/downloads_updates/eula.php?FileName=mrm500.zip

      You can also download and read the MC-500 or MC-50 manuals to determine how they load and save MRC formatted disks. Once you figure out a conversion workflow that suits you, then you can take that disk and the Roland W-30 should load the files.

      *****************
      I. Preparing your MRM-500 Disk: Creating a Configuration File

      You can save a Configuration File on your MRM-500 Disk, which determines the MIDI File Format (0 or 1)
      and software type (MRC-300/500 or Super MRC). You will probably only need to do this once.
      MIDI File Format 0: All of the MIDI data is contained in a single track (this is the most reliable with all products).
      MIDI File Format 1: All of the MIDI data is contained on multiple tracks (works with many computer-based
      sequencer programs, but not completely reliable with all products).

      MRC-300/500: Used by MC-300 and MC-500.
      SUPER-MRC: Used by JV-1000, MC-50, MC-50 mkII and MC-500 mkII.
      IMPORTANT NOTE – All the above products should be used with Double Density Disks only.

      1) Put MRM-500 Disk into disk drive, then turn on power. When loaded, the window will show:
      1 MRC > MIDI File
      2 MIDI File > MRC
      2) Hold SHIFT and press MODE. Press [2] on the 10-Key Pad, then press ENTER twice.
      3) Select a MIDI File Format (0 or 1), then press STOP.
      4) Press [2] on the 10-Key Pad, then press ENTER.
      5) Dial software type (MRC-300/500 or SUPER MRC) and press ENTER.
      6) Eject disk and set protect tab to WRITE position (blocking the hole). Re-insert disk.
      7) Press ENTER, then press SAVE.
      8) Eject disk and set protect tab to PROTECT position (hole is clear). Re-insert disk, then press STOP.
      (Proceed to the next section, but ignore Step 1.)

      II. Using the MRM-500 System: Converting songs

      1) Put MRM-500 Disk into the disk drive, then turn on power. When loaded, the window will show:
      1 MRC > MIDI File
      2 MIDI File > MRC
      2) Dial the type of conversion you want, then press ENTER.
      3) Insert the disk to be converted, then press ENTER.
      4) Dial the song you wish to convert, or select ALL SONGS to convert the entire disk. Then press ENTER.
      If you select ALL SONGS, the original disk itself will be converted. If you choose one song, the unit will
      convert it, then prompt you to do the following:
      a) Insert a Standard MIDI File, MRC or SUPER-MRC – formatted disk, then press ENTER.
      b) Confirm or change the song name, press ENTER, then SAVE.

      When the above steps are completed, the song(s) will have been successfully converted.
      IMPORTANT NOTE – MIDI Files are generally larger in size than the original MRC Song Files, therefore, you may
      encounter a situation where there is not enough room on the disk to complete the conversion. If this is the case,
      the window will show ATTN! NO DISK SPACE, PRESS STOP. You will need to first press STOP, then erase any
      songs on the disk that you do not need or switch to another disk and proceed to save the song data.
      *************************

  32. Matt

    Hi Jim,

    Have appreciated your page here as a W-30 resource.

    Could you comment on the load speeds of the SCSI vs. the HxC SD floppy emulator? The benefit of the emulator seems to be that you can boot straight from it (no more mechanical drives!), but I’m imagining that sample load times are much faster from the HD?

    thanks!

      1. Matt

        Hi Jim, thanks for confirming. Is the load time from the SD drive any faster than when using floppies? I have read the emulator speed is about the same as the original drives.

  33. After getting an ancient Apple external CD-ROM to work with my W-30, I’m finally able to access all those S-50/S-550 sample disks on the Roland L-CD1 CD. 165 Floppies worth. Whew! It’s been a long wait. Compatible SCSI gear (that still powers on) for old Roland samplers is a rare breed.

    I’m compiling a W-30 and S-550 CD-ROM compatibility matrix. If anyone is using a CD-ROM with their W-30 or S-550 please post the make and model you are using. The one working with my W-30 is an AppleCD 150 with a Sony CDU-541-25 internal mechanism + caddy. It doesn’t play audio CD’s but I can live with that.

    http://llamamusic.com/s50s550/Roland_CD_Mechanisms.html

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