Happy New Year everyone!
I was very busy over the New Year Holidays, but found a spare moment to run into one of my favorite used music shops called “Hard Off” here in Nagano-city, Japan. To my surprise, I found a bundled Roland S-50 for $10 bucks! Geez, I’ve been tinkering with my other one for ages with the Static Output problem and so I thought Wow! Might I get lucky and find a Roland S-50 in perfect working order? Well, not quite. I actually found the Roland S-50 to have “almost” the same static output problem as my other one. However, what’s different is that it outputs static across the entire polyphony range instead of just a couple of voices on the my other one.
What came with the Roland S-50 became a bit more rewarding after I found the Roland S-50 to be a bit flawed with the distorted output. Bundled along with it was the original Roland stand sold with the S-50 long ago in Japan. It also had the Roland DT-100 with Stylus pen in perfect condition. Plus the SYS-503 Sequencer dongle along with disks and manual thrown into the mix. Finally, I snagged an RGB cable, but still requires an old monitor which I don’t have. I didn’t think to look for it in the store so I might go back just in case. These days, any vintage GK, RGB, RC cable is valuable in the Roland world.
The Roland S-50 itself is in mint shape. So I also figure I have a spare display, floppy drive, joystick, and other spare part inventory now for the Roland S-50. As I reported back in my earlier articles about the Roland S-50, there is a major static or distorted output issue on many units. What exactly is the cause I am not 100%, but I can say that cleaning the Relay has pretty much reduced if not negated all static output for a short while. There also is a 3-way toggle switch on the back that adjusts the L/M/H level output of the S-50 which when wiggled can cause instability as well. However, I found the toggle switch had no direct connection to the static output as it appears to be a “post” audio leveler adjustment. Something tells me, the issue is likely very simple, but unfortunately I’m not quite at the level of expertise nor do I have all the tools to diagnose the problem. Until then, I feel the S-50 will not see the stage until I can get it more stable.
Beware for anyone looking to buy a used Roland S-50. In my research, I have encountered a significant number of Roland S-50 Samplers with the Static/Distorted output issue. Be careful when buying one because the problem is becoming more of a common one and there is no 100% fix yet. Cleaning the relay helps. I also found turning down the volume and raising the gain on the mixer to help quite a bit as well. I play hard on the keys so the distorted output really stands out when the pressure is on the keys more. If you play softly there is almost no issue at all. Of course it’s rather difficult to jam playing softly…laugh.
With that said, the addition of the DT-100 and SYS-503 dongle are wonderful. If one day I get the Roland S-50 static issue solved, I no doubt will go gang busters with it because I simply LOVE the sound it produces.
Here is a recent video uploaded to Youtube that I found to be an excellent demo of the Roland S-50.