SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator for Roland W-30 S-330 Samplers

SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator
SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator

Today I just purchased an SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator off Ebay for testing with the Roland W-30 and Roland S-330 Samplers that I have. I’ve been pondering whether to to do this or not and finally gathered enough info with my own research on the subject. I feel it’s worth giving it a shot to see if the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator rev. C works with my Roland W-30 or S-330.

The SDCard HxC Floppy Emulator can replace different kind of floppy disk drive and allows you use SDCard media instead of floppy disk. I heard this Emulator will work with the Roland S-50. The Roland W-30 and S-330 are very similar if not the same as the Roland S-50. I really need something more reliable for my samplers and so I thought why not give it a test. I also have a couple of other synths that likely could work with the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator, so all is not lost if it fails to work on the Roland W-30 and S-330. We’ll see!

It’ll be a couple of weeks before I receive the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator in the mail. Please stay tuned for further updates on how I progress with this project. Thanks!

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!
Roland S-50 – YES!
Korg T2 – YES!


47 thoughts on “SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator for Roland W-30 S-330 Samplers

  1. leon

    Hi Jim;
    What a good news!!!
    We are waiting for this test in order to follow you!!
    Now we know that you are a veritable leader!!
    Greats regards!

  2. Update #1: Progress

    I received the HxC Floppy Emulator and am currently installing it first into the Roland S-330 for testing.

    I have power running to the HxC Floppy Emulator. I’m now going to try and format my card and install the OS.


    1. How did you format the card? I have downloaded the emulator software, and a W30 system image, but cant find any info on how to put it together to run off the USB Hxc…..The Hxc is connected and working on the W30, just need to create the system disk.
      Thanks, great blog!

  3. Update #2: SUCCESS with Roland S-330!!!

    I have now managed to successfully start and boot the Roland S-330 Sampler using the HxC Floppy Emulator without the original Floppy Drive. It works great. Whew!

    I now have to test on the Roland W-30 which I likely will do tomorrow. I need to get the kids to the playground today. They are nagging at me.



  4. Update #3: Rotating Roland S-330 Sound Floppies

    Wow! The HxC Floppy Emulator works really well with the Roland S-330 now. I created several floppy images of sounds and transferred them to the SD Disk. The Roland S-330 was able to load flawlessly all the floppies. By pushing the buttons on the HxC Floppy Emulator, I was able to rotate and load different floppy images.

    The Roland S-330 is a joy to play when using an SD card now.

    I now have to test on the Roland W-30.


    1. Olivier

      Hi man, could you please tell me how you got it working? I mean, I have build the emulator it in my S-330 too, All works fine, I have a SD-card inserted, now it asks me for a HLE image….
      I don’t have any of these. Could you help me out with this please? I need to convert images i guess, but with what and how? Are there any Roland S-330 disk images allready available and where?



  5. Cool! Now that the HxC Floppy Emulator works for the Roland S-330, I can safely store the S-330 Floppy drive away. I won’t be needing it now, however, I’m likely to keep it should I ever sell the Roland S-330 and need a working Floppy Drive. The Roland S-330 Drive and replacements are basically extinct. This is why it was so important to get the Roland S-330 working with the HxC Floppy Emulator. It truly brings the Roland S-330 back to life.

    Note that the HxC Floppy Emulator kind of dangles outside the Roland S-330. This solution doesn’t LOOK good, BUT, it works and that’s what counts.

    Tonight I will try to test the HxC Floppy Emulator Drive with the Roland W-30 if I have time.

  6. Roland W-30 Update

    I have now successfully installed the HxC Floppy Emulator Drive into the Roland W-30 and it works just great. The Roland W-30 boots up and I can switch floppy images with no problem at all. Note that when I opened the Roland W-30, I did not remove the physical floppy drive but frankly it’s a nightmare to do so quickly.

    Instead I ran the ribbon cable and power connector out the back between the cover and base of the W-30. When you put the bottom back on the Roland W-30, you’ll see there is some “sandwich” space to run the cables out. I then plugged in the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator from there.

    Both the Roland S-330 and W-30 were tricky to get up an running with the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator in “different” ways. I can now plug-in-play with one HxC Emulator between the two, but likely I will order a second HxC Floppy Emulator now that I know it works great with both.

    I can definitely say the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator works for both the Roland W-30 and S-330 Samplers.

  7. I had a question from the Roland W-30 Yahoo Groups about the speed for the SD Floppy Emulator. Here is my answer:

    To me the speed of the operation is either the same or faster. It definitely does not feel slower to me, especially on the Roland S-330. I just started using it with my Samplers today and so far it’s pretty smooth. I would say it’s faster in that I can have all my floppy images on the SD card. It’s going to be much easier to swap disks now because I won’t have to carry or sift through a bunch of disks. I also have disk images saved to a zip drive which is similar but the zip drive cannot boot the Roland W-30. The HxC can!

    I think it seems faster to me simply because it’s cleaner if that makes sense. Otherwise it’s probably the same.



  8. UPDATE! – I just bought my second HxC SD Card Floppy Drive Emulator. The first one worked great on my W-30 and S-330 so I figured I would buy another one. I have some other gear I’d like to test the HxC with and I noticed that the price is now going up. I’m sure as more old synths and samplers become compatible with the HxC, it will become more popular. It totally brought my W-30 and S-330 back to life. They are like new instruments now. Unbelievable!

  9. robin

    Jim –

    This is a tremendous achievement. Did the unit come with sufficient instruction to configure and install? Do you anticipate posting more detailed, specific instructions on how you modified your W-30?


    1. Hi Robin. Thanks for visiting my Blog.

      Yes, it’s great to finally have a solution that works with the Roland S-330 and W-30 Samplers. The instructions were fine, but keep in mind that everyone can require different sets of instructions based on their level of know how. I can definitely answer any specific questions you might have.

      Thanks! Jim

  10. My second SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator arrived in the mail a few days ago. I successfully was able to test and get it working with Ensoniq EPS Classic which I just bought. I’d say the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator works no problem with old Shugart oriented Floppy Drives.

  11. Gary Walker

    Hi Jim,

    I have a W-30 which I have neglected to use for a while, and I’m really happy to hear that the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator works with the W-30. How does it fit into the existing Floppy bay, as I’d want to remove the old Floppy disk drive?



    1. Hi Gary,

      How you would want to install and have the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator “look” is up to how much work you want to put into it. For my purposes, I left the Floppy drive in place and simply ran the ribbon cable and power connector out through the back. There is just enough slack and space to sandwich them between the bottom and top covers. Of course one could remove the floppy disk drive which will definitely take some time because the way Roland built the W30, you literally have to unscrew and take out “everything” just to gain access to remove the floppy drive. This is one of the reasons why I chose to keep mine in place because during my testing of the HxC, I couldn’t be bothered with all that removal time…laugh. Another reason why I chose to have easy access to the HxC is because it’s very simple to unhook the HxC and attach it to another device.

      If you do remove the Floppy Drive, then it will be easy to run the cabling through that hole in the W-30. How to clean that up and make it look nice, I am not sure. Some people have the “shop” skills to build something, but again for my purposes having it run out the back is fine. My W-30 is only for studio work and not for live shows so it’s not a problem for me. If I were to use the W-30 for live purposes it still would work though and likely I would find some means of attaching it better to the W-30. Hope this helps you decide what to do. Thanks for visiting my blog.

      Jim 🙂

      1. Melvin De Jesus

        HI. im very happy to hear that the emulator workd for the W-30. Can you send me some pics on how you finally connected the emulator from the back side. i was almost ready to sell my W-30 because is not easy to find floppy these days. But you made me keep my W-30. Please provide me some pics to make my connections properly. Thanks for the news.

      2. Hi Melvin,

        When I get a chance I’ll try and shoot a photo of how I have it setup. I can tell you my “main” goal was to simply test the HxC to determine if it would boot the Roland W-30 and load floppy images. It did beautifully. How I chose to connect the HxC is “extremely” ugly to say the least and how the HxC is created doesn’t it make it easy to find a clean solution. What I simply did was run the Floppy ribbon cable and Power connector out through the back sandwiched between the top and bottom cover of the W-30. The HxC simply dangles “rudely” out the back and that’s pretty much all I can do with it. It does make it super easy to swap the HxC with my S-330 or other devices I’ve tested this with. As I mentioned previously I chose to not remove the Floppy because it’s rather a lengthy process and I initially only wanted to test the HxC. I would have hated to go through all the assembly work to find out it didn’t work…laugh.

        All I can say is that the HxC Floppy Emulator works great with my Roland W-30. For me that was all I wanted. I don’t plan to work live with the W-30 and in my studio here having it dangle out the back is perfectly suitable for my purposes. Actually it doesn’t really dangle in that it rests on the table my W-30 is sitting on. So it does have some support. It just doesn’t look “finished” at all which I know will definitely bother some musicians out there for good reason, especially for those who want to gig with the W-30. Perhaps when more people installing the HxC Emulator, there will be more creative “finishing” solutions available.

        Until then I’m just happy I don’t have to rely on the Floppy Disk Drive anymore and can easily swap between W-30 Floppy Sample images very quickly. Note that the Emulator does not load faster, but rather simply allows you to store 100 floppies for example without “physically” carrying 100 floppies with you. It also boots the W-30 perfectly.

        Hope this helps! Thanks.


  12. Roland W-30 HxC photos.

    This photo shows the HxC booting the Roland W-30 with 1.07 OS.

    Roland W-30 Floppy Drive Emulator HxC OS 1.07

    The photo shows how I connected the HxC out the back of the Roland W-30 for testing. Notice how I sandwiched the floppy drive ribbon cable and power connector between the two halves of the Roland W-30. There is just enough room to do this.

    Roland W-30 Floppy Drive Emulator Connection

  13. This video basically shows you how I attached the HxC SD Floppy Drive Emulator to my Roland W-30 Sampler out the back. I did this for testing purposes and because to completely remove the floppy drive in the W-30 requires some time and work and all I wanted to do initially was to see if the HxC would actually work with the W-30.

    Thus you will see that the floppy ribbon cable and power connector of the Roland W-30 can be slipped through the back of the W-30 between the top and bottom halves of the body. I put the W-30 OS version 1.07 on the SD Card and you will see that it boots the Roland W-30 no problem at all. You can then load other floppy images that you have saved to an SD card.

    Note that I have also tested the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator with the Roland S-330 and it works great with that too.

    I used SMFW30 to create my System and Floppy Images. Reading the manual will help you with how what settings to use and how to get the images onto the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator. The Roland S-330 and W-30 do require different setups.

  14. AleksandarK

    Hello Jim,

    I got my HxC emulator few days ago. I am trying to make it work with my Roland MV30 midi sequencer, but it doesn’t work right out of the box. I gave it lot of tries, yet no luck.
    Can you please share with me the way you tweaked HxC config file, converted disk images, everything you did to set it up? I beleive MV30 uses the same floppy controller-drive combination as w-30 and s-330.


  15. Hello everyone!

    I can only verify that the HxC Emulator works with the Roland W-30 and S-330 Samplers. I do know that with any other old Sampler or Sequencer you need to understand the following which should help anyone to get their HxC Emulator working correctly. I believe they all should work but it’s the settings and understanding of how your music device works that’s important.

    1. You need to research the floppy drive that your gear works with. For example is it Shugart? What are the Specs? There are parameters in the HxC Config file that might need to be changed but old floppy drives tend to be different. With the W30 and S330 I basically had to adjust the HxC file to work with Shugart format drives.

    2. The Ribbon cable may need to be reversed or switched when connected from the HxC to the Device. There is a red line or Pin #1 that needs to lineup with the Pin #1 on the HxC emulator. If this is not correct, your HxC Emulator will not work with the device. Therefore you need to know more about your device Ribbon Cable. In addition, if it does need to be reversed, you will need to cut or shave the knob on the plastic connector so that you can twist the cable and insert it correctly into the HxC emulator. Many old devices have their ribbon cables inserted in the opposite direction.

    3. You also need to ensure that the OS image you create works will work with the HxC Emulator. For Roland W30 and S330 products, SMFW30 and/or Disk2Image works well with ripping an OS Floppy Image for the HxC Emulator. I suspect that Disk2Image for example should work with any Floppy Disk OS you have. If the OS Image is not correct than even if the Emulator works it will not boot. You could boot the device regularly and then load a Sound Image to test and then create a Boot image later if you just want to test the functionality of the HxC Emulator. That would work as well.

    Unfortunately I can’t say whether the HxC will work with gear other than the W30 or S330 unless I physically have the device and can test it properly. If you can’t get the HxC to work with your device I recommend to check the above three steps I outlined above. If you still have trouble I’d be more than happy to take a look at your HxC Config file. Just send me a copy and I’ll open it up and have a look to see if there is anything you are missing or that should be checked. Please send me the device info and even better the Floppy Drive Specs and I should be able to understand better how the HxC Config file should be set up.



  16. Ken Elhardt

    As somebody who owns a Roland S-50 with a flakey drive that now can only read the OS version off of the floppy, display it on the S-50 display, and then do nothing else, this HxC looks interesting. Since replacing a bad floppy with this HxC emulator leaves a person with no means of reading actual floppy disks, how does a person overcome that problem? Is there some place online that has images of the S-50 OS disk and sample library?

    Thanks for any info.

    1. Hi Ken,

      You will need to have a computer and use a software program like SMFW30 to create images of your S-50 Floppy Disks. HXC can convert these images to the format needed for the Emulator. All of this is done on the computer.


  17. I guess we have to created a library with W30 sample disks now… i can offer space and access for archival usage.

    Once a description on the floppy media conversion is available i can convert the W-30 floppies that i own.

  18. Hi, I’m going to try this emulator on my 1992 Roland DJ-70, as I have first version, without SCSI port.
    If it works it will be a nice update to 2011 for a nice sampler.
    I’m optimistic as DJ-70 use the same hardware of S-550.

    1. Yes, I don’t think you’ll have any issues installing the Emulator on the Roland DJ-70. Please let us know how it goes and if you have any troubles I may be able to help.

      1. Yes, just considering if buy the boxed version or the raw one, if I’ll buy the raw version I have to relocate display and buttons, just some bricolage t cut the opening in the upper cover of the DJ70.

  19. google rules… while looking for a replacement floppy drive for a W30 i got off of ebay for 50€ i found your youtube clip. suffice to say emulator arrived today and i got it working. going to remove the old floppy drive and figure out a way to mount this in the cavity that once the floppy lived… soon as its done ill post pix somewhere… Also for people that rant as tech savvy as some a tutorial of how to get this rolling with a w30 would be nice as well.. ill do it as time permits. but its dead easy to do… i had mine up and running in about 30 minutes..



  20. hello: jim has been very helpfull,thank you, I get some emulator on ebay and work good with i30 korg and i5s korg, but I do have a s550 sampler Roland, and i think, and this one will try the HXC emulator because the other type do not work, I do think the s-330 is the same sistem of the s-550, I like to know if you have some tutorial in youtube, how did you install the s330 I do Ithink on my s550 mus be the same think, I do not know much about electronic, I sorry I not very good written inglish, i speak spanish, but i can read, thank you for given a life my old instruments.

    1. Hi there,

      To install the HxC Emulator into the S-330 I had to cut the knob off the end of the floppy drive cable and reverse it in the opposite direction. The red line is opposite on the S-330. After I did that it worked great with the S-330. Hope that helps.


  21. Hi Jim,
    I just stumbled across your page whilst looking for info on setting up a Roland s330 with a HxC floppy emulator. Seems like you’ve had great success!
    I was wondering if you were willing to release the settings you used to do this? Ie board jumper settings, control file settings and anything else to get it working?
    That would be marvelous!
    Thanks in advance

  22. Marcelo Torres

    Sorry but i want to know, have you try to write to the floppy emulator? i mean, if you record some sequence in the w30 can you save it to the floppy emulator? or if you create a new sample, can you save it?
    What can you tell about the pin 34 and the ready signal? Some floppys have a jumper for this setting.
    Thanks for your help!!!

  23. Vaughan Famularo

    hi Jim, I found your video too and have also bought the Floppy Emulator for my old W30. I have read your blog but you don’t give much away when it comes to HOW to boot up from a System Disk emulated on the HXCFloppy Emulator.

    I have it identifying the emulator, but I can’t get it to boot. Can you help me how to set the Cfg File???

    Thanks from Oz.

  24. Igor

    Hi Jim,thank you for your comments, I learned a lot on them. I have the same problem-HXCFloppy Emulator at startup says:CFG file not found(

  25. Hey Jim, I’ve been following your hardware adventures for a minute now. i have a question for you. Do you think that this would work on the VP-9000? I too have one, and would love the sd-card access. Thanks, Netm8kr

  26. Richard

    Hi there Jim & followers! Quick question – who has had success with their Casio FZ-1 or 10M unit? I heard that it works fine looking on some web links. Note it is a Shugart bus but runs unusually at the Japanese spn rate of 360RPM (rather than IBM PC of 300RPM). No idea how to set one up but hopefully its easy, assuming it is compatible(?). Cheers Richard.

  27. Eduardo Gebara

    Dear Jim , I read your blog and I’m glad to know that you are attentive.
    I am a lover and user of the Roland W – 30 . I have two .
    In my country , Brazil , support for this equipment is very difficult .
    So I ask you to tell me in detail about the model and the virtual store where you purchased the SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator .
    I need to buy one for myself , but I want to get it right on the first try .
    I am very grateful for helping me with the information .
    My name is Eduardo Gebara
    My Email is :

  28. Guido Frezzato

    Dear Jim I’ve bought hcx floppy emulator on the internet site Lotharek for my Roland s330 sampler. I’ve downloaded all the files following the instruction in all the forums but I’ve got a problem because the sampler start to charge the system but it stops at 6th sector and it doesn’t charge the system, and I don’t know where is the problem. Can you help me? My email address is
    Thanks a lot for helping me.

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