Roland S-330 adds sample memory to W-30

Roland S-330 Digital Sampler
Roland S-330 Digital Sampler

Roland S-330 Score! Last week I noticed a used Roland S-330 at my local second hand music shop in Nagano city. At the time I decided not to buy it because they were selling it for $125 and I thought that might be too much. I was surprised today to go back and see that the price had been knocked down to $35, so I decided to grab it and run to the counter!! LOL. After getting it home and plugging it in, I found everything about it was in excellent and almost new condition. I wasn’t able to get a Roland MSX MU-1 Mouse or an RC-100, but thats ok.

I figured I could use the Roland S-330 as a sort of memory “upgrade” for the Roland W-30 which means I would use them together. You can’t use W-30 sample disks directly for the S-330, but you can convert or use Roland S-50 and S-550 disks. Using the SMFW30 and SDISKW software I can create just about any disk I want. Plus I can import WAVs with ease. In addition, I have MIDI Quest XL with the Roland S-330 instrument file and so far it works great with connecting to the Roland S-330. From the back of the Roland S-330 I have a connection to my Toshiba Flatscreen Digital TV and via B&W it works great for a monitor. Using MIDI Quest though I may not need it. I also don’t need the mouse as I can either use the Roland S-330 editor or the front panel buttons.

All of the System and Utility Disks work great. I also have a Roland SYS-333 S-330 Director-S disk, but no hardware dongle. I am currently looking for a working version of the Roland S-330 Director-S software which I’ve heard exists. At least I know it does for the Roland S-550.

The Roland W-30 workstation teamed up with the Roland S-330 is a pretty good combo thus far. Both have the same sound engine which is why I think they go well together. I have editors and am able to import Wav files without any issues, so I think it should be pretty fun jamming with these two machines for the rest of the summer.

Update: I ran across this great youtube video about how to use the Roland S-330 has an actual programmable synthesizer or close to it. This is really cool!

The video shows how Roland S-330 can be used without samples, as a stand-alone basic virtual synthesizer.

First I load the OS, then I sample 400ms of silence, then I use the ‘wave draw’ function to draw my waveform and loop only what’s showed in the wave window (that is, most of the sampled data won’t be used). The TVF (Time Variant Filter) is the most interesting part. It also offers an 8-stage envelope. With the patch parameter you can set the unison mode and use the detune for a fatter sound. What you see here is what is output from its video socket, and what you hear is what is output from out #1.

I plan to give this a try once I find a way to externally control the Roland S-330. I’m currently trying to locate a mouse.

Check out Synth Japan forums for more discussions.


23 thoughts on “Roland S-330 adds sample memory to W-30

  1. I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Peter Ullrich from the Yahoo Roland Samplers User Group for helping me to find out how to toggle “System Exclusive” on and off via the front panel of the Roland S-330 Sampler.

    By default, the Roland S-330 Sampler has System Exclusive functionality turned off. In order to use the Roland S-330 editor in Midi Quest XL, you need this turned on. The following procedure allows you to access both the System Exclusive parameter and Device ID for modification.

    MODE / 4 times down (=>MIDI) / EXECUTE / EXECUTE (=>MESSAGE) / 1 times right /> 8 times down (=> EXCLUSIVE) / Edit on/off via DEC/INC / 1 times down (=>DeviceID) / Edit via DEC/INC

    Now I am able to use the Roland S-330 patch, tone, and wav editor just fine.

  2. To any Roland S-330 or S-550 users out there. If you have or come across a working version of the Director-S software, please send me an email. I know they both exist, but most likely are stuck on old hard drives or floppies by former Roland S-Sampler Users. I need the version that can be used without the dongle. I am also looking to buy any of the following at a good price. Again please email me if you wish to part with some of your old Roland gear.

    1. Roland MU-1 Mouse
    2. Roland RC-100 Remote Controller
    3. Roland DT-100 Drawing Tablet
    4. Roland SYS-333/SYS-553 Director-S Package for S-330 with dongle
    5. Roland RGB Cable for connecting to Monitor

    Thanks in advance!

    Jim Atwood

  3. Another follow-up to my post above. Here are some questions that I am still trying to find answers to with regards to the Roland S-330 Digital Sampler.

    1. Can any MSX-compatible mouse be used with the Roland S-330?

    2. Can the Roland S-330 Floppy Drive be used with the Roland W-30?

  4. Hurray! I contacted some Japanese music friends in Tokyo about finding and acquiring an SYS-333 and SYS-553 package. Today they called me back and said they had found one of each fully intact including the Dongle, box, software, and manual. Awesome! So it looks like I won’t be needing the cracked versions of either the Director-S SYS-333 or SYS-553 even though I did manage to find them. They worked, but it’s great having a legitimate package now.

    Update: The Director-S Sequencer Software for the Roland S-330 works great. I had to read the manual a tiny bit, but so far I’m making some nice sequences. It’s definitely a great addition to the Roland S-330 setup.

    1. Andy

      Hi Jim! I signed up today on Synth Japan but I’m waiting for my account to be activated. I sent you a PM about the cracked versions of SYS 333 and 553. I need them! Can’t find them anywhere!

  5. Rick

    From reading your post, seems like the benefit of the W-30 has been leveraged out since the addition of the S-330. You are using the W-30 for the keys – I guess you can layer both instruments.

    1. Hi Rick!

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I find the Roland W-30 and S-330 compliment each other pretty well. The only major problem with the Roland S-330 is that there is no SCSI. I use zip, MO, and CD-roms with the W-30 to store all my samples and patches. It loads really fast, but with the S-330, I’m confined to just the floppy. I wish SCS4Samplers had a CF Card reader for the Roland S-330 like the S-760 but not yet. The S-330 and W-30 samplers use a Floppy Drive that is wired differently.

      You’re limited with these older samplers, but for me, I find the limitations liberating as I enjoy the challenges bring. It’s fun getting creative with these older machines.

      Have a nice week!


  6. i own an S330 with most of the accessories (paid $150 for it in Boston and the guy threw in a bunch of disks and an Alesis HR-16 in 1994) i don’t have the HR-16 anymore. if you’re s330 starts to crash and reboot then just clean the processor chip with electrical oxidizer and it’ll stop doing it (learned that the hard way when i should have read the S-Group emails). workhorse 12bit sampler with the ability to do digital wave. sample them and you an instance multi oscillator synth. this youtube video explains it. i have a Korg Poly800 so i stopped programming like this however. i also found a W30 for 100 bucks. the seller didn’t know it was a sampler. thought i played “piano” sounds. the backlight needed to be replaced but i haven’t turned it on since after moving my whole process to Ableton Live. Although today i recently decided to find some Roland Jupiter or Juno patches online which is how i came across your blog. Salute!

  7. Dave

    I’m green with jealousy that you picked up such a wonderful machine for so little. I had one in the early 90s and miss it greatly. Obviously the 12 bit sampling + tiny memory isn’t much these days, though the filters were nice.

    But the crowning glory of it was the Director-S sequencer. Apparently it was a near-clone of the Fairlight CMI’s legendary Page R sequencer. Its pattern method of composition seems restrictive and primitive by modern standards but it imposed a discipline to composition that, for me at least, was very productive.

    If you ever want to sell it, I’ll happily give you $50, resulting in a tidy $15 profit for yourself. 😉

  8. I found a work around to my problem with getting floppy image files off my Univers of Sounds Roland CD-Rom Volumes 1 and 2. It’s more work but it gets me a 100% working disk file. Here are the steps using a Roland S-330 Sampler. ( This will work on an S-50 or W-30 also as I have tried this on all my samplers. )

    1. I first use SMFW30 to export the floppy image from the CD-Rom using the CD Editor in SMFW30.

    2. I then use Kontakt 5 to view the CD-Rom and export the WAV files found in the floppy image. I like Kontakt 5 because it saves the WAV files with the Original Key in the filename. Anything earlier doesn’t work as well.

    3. I then use SMFW30 again to load up the exported floppy image and using the Tone editor I make note of the WAV files loop points.

    4. Using SMFW30 I then copy the floppy image to a floppy disk and then load it up into my sampler. It is at this point that when playing back the files they will all have static in them.

    So … I do the following:

    5. I take the WAV files I exported with Kontakt 5 and transfer them one by one to the Roland Sampler using PCtoS550 software. I then take the loop point notes and enter them manually into the Sampler. They get overwritten during the transfer. All of the Performance and Keymaps stay intact which is cool. Basically this overwrites the static samples with the clean samples exported from Kontakt 5.

    6. I then save the newly loaded data along with the performance data onto the floppy disk using the Roland Sampler.

    I now can playback the CD-Rom copied image perfectly on any Roland S-50, S-330, or W-30 Sampler!!! I tried this with the Liquid Stack Floppy Image and it sounds BEAUTIFUL!! All of the 6 patches for Liquid Stack work perfectly as well.

    Yes, it’s a round about way to do things, but I can at least get the floppy image files off the CD-Rom using SMFW30 CD Editor and then transfer the WAVs using PCtoS500. SMFW30 adds static to the original WAV files so I unfortunately can’t use SMFW30 for the entire process.

    Another important note is that Kontakt will allow you to audition the samples but NOT the patches. A particular floppy image on the CD-Rom may have 5-6 patches and the only way you can get those to work is to get the data into the Roland Sampler. You can use Chicken Translator or Awave Studio also to extract WAVs and audition them, but not the patches. You need the S-330 for example to audition the patches.

    If you ever get that CD Editor and Tone Editor to eliminate the static then that will open up the door for hundreds of files I have for export. Right now I plan to export only the ones I really like. At least now I can get the samples onto the S-330 in their original form and boy do they sound wondeful!!!

  9. Just picked up my second Roland S-330 for $10 bucks! Wow! These are great samplers.

    Here are some links I found that may be useful for some.

    Roland S-330 Quick Start

    Roland S-330 Software

    Roland S-330 Menu Structure

    Roland S-330 Hardware

    Roland S-330 Concepts

    1. hi jim,
      thanks for linking 🙂 i see the traffic from your site coming in.
      i made the manuals public so more people can benefit. these are really great samplers!
      i also make a link back to your blog from te pages.
      gerd – tinyloops

  10. manila

    Hi Jim, I have a collection of sequences and samples on floppy made on the W30, but no W30 anymore! Will these floppies play on any other sampler?

  11. Francois

    Hi Jim, thanks for sharing your experiences, it’s not the first time i’m landing on your pages, but today i have a question 🙂 Is the S-330 useable standalone, without Monitor/Mouse (like the S-760 for example)?

  12. Scott

    Thanks for providing all this information. I am a user of Director-S on my S-330, though I’ve never been able to save songs (no dongle). In your journeys have you ever come across a “cracked” version of Director-S that does not require the dongle? I’ve read about such things but it has never materialized to my knowledge. Would love to know whether or not its real.

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