Yamaha A3000 Editing and Importing Sounds

Yamaha A3000 Sampler
Yamaha A3000 Sampler

Recently I installed a new internal SCSI Flash Card Reader into my Yamaha A3000 Sampler Version 2. You can find the card info here: SCSI Card Readers

The SCSI Card Reader works very well and I have it currently set to SCSI 0. I have also removed the original Floppy Drive and have not needed to use a Floppy since the removal. I also have attached a made in Japan I-O Data CD-RW Drive to SCSI ID 4. This also works excellent for loading up Sample CDs. I found Akai and of course Yamaha CDs to load up well. EMU CDs are difficult and I first need to convert them to Akai format to work.

I have had this Sampler since 1998 or 1999 and really didn’t find much use for it at the time although it was very popular to have here in Japan. I found a great deal on a used A3000 V2 and had to pick one up. Adding the CF Card Reader and finding an effective CD-Rom drive have really opened doors now with the Sampler and I’m finding some renewed interest with it. I particularly like the framework of Partitions, Volumes, Banks, and Samples when working with the A3000. The effects or reasonably good and I find the memory to be ample when working with Multisamples especially with Synth and Drum sounds. For straight up piano and rhodes sounds I continue to use my Fantom XR or Yamaha ES Samplers. I think for Analog Synth Emulations for example, the Yamaha A3000 works very well. Sonically it’s pretty powerful and easy to trigger.

I started out using the popular software bZone 1.0 for editing programs, banks, and samples on the A3000. I also used Adisky for importing Wav files and creating Yamaha A3000 CD-Roms. These programs were installed and running on my trusty old Windows 98 computer which works great. I was able to setup everything and it ran “reasonably” well, but ultimately the setup had too many bugs and froze on me way to much to really get anything done on the Yamaha A3000. SCSI on the A3000 is slow, but my goodness nothing is slower than buggy software and frozen computers. So I researched other solutions and found an alternative that works far better “for me”.

Basically now, I use Extreme Sample Converter (ESC) to convert other format Sample CDs such EMU into Akai format. I then use Translator to import the converted Akai files and create an Akai Disk Image. Nero is then used to burn an Akai S1000/S2000 disk to later import into the A3000. It works very well! I then simply do my editing on the Yamaha A3000 itself because quite frankly it’s faster than using any software editor solution I’ve found. When I say faster I also mean it’s 100% bug free and never freezes.

I also use Awave for identifying the Root Notes, Pitch Values, and Key Ranges of the original patches from other Sample CDs as well for reference. It works great. I also use ESC ( Extreme Sample Converter ) to audition sounds directly from the computer. When I find EMU sample programs I want, I simply create a new custom Akai converted disk. So, using the computer to audition multisamples and find what’s worth tweaking on the A3000 saves time as well. Unfortunately there is no “all in one” software solution. ESC is good for auditioning and converting between formats. Translator is good for burning to a particular CD-Rom Format. Awave is good at providing quick details of how a multisample is mapped, plus it provides great tools for resampling if required.

Below are some brief notes of how I import various program/voice files such as Akai, Roland, and EMU into the Yamaha A3000 V2 Sampler.

Importing EMU Disks of all kinds.

1. Load EMU III Disk into Extreme Sampler Converter.
Source Format = EMU 3/4, ESI, Emulator
Destination Format = Akai S5000, S6000

2. Create an Akai S1000/S2000 Virtual Disk in Translator and add the presets From ESC.

3. Burn the Akai img to CD-Rom with Nero.

4. Turn on your Yamaha A3000 and load up the CD-Rom. It should show you the Partitions and you can select the programs from within.

5. Import the programs/voices you would like which will import the samples into banks and map them.

In the case of EMU Sample Disks I always have to tweak the following for each sample:

a) Key Mapping ( Use Awave or ESC to determine original key ranges )
b) Root Note ( Usually correct )
c) Pitch adjustment occasionally. I turn fine to “0” and adjust coarse as needed.
d) Loop Points may need to be adjust on a sample or two. It’s easy actually and off only by a fraction.

6. Add 1-3 effect blocks depending on what you think the multsample needs. I usually add EQ first.

7. Save the Program to a partition/volume on your CF Card.

Importing Akai Disks of all kinds.

I find “unlike” with EMU disks, I can pretty much import Akai disks without any problems. If I do encounter a problem, I just run through the steps I wrote above. Importing Akai disks into the Yamaha A3000 V2 is pretty easy and trouble free. Note that if you “convert” from another format to Akai it can cause more problems such as with EMU to Akai as mentioned above.

Importing WAV Files.

With WAV files I found burning them into Akai format to work the best. I could import them into a bank very quickly in bulk and then assign key ranges on the A3000. It found it to be very fast and effective. Way better than bZone … waaay better!!

I know there are other Sampler Hardware Solutions out there. I also have a Roland W-30, S-330, S-760 Sp-606, Sp-808, and Fantom XR Samplers. Plus I have a couple of Korg Triton and even a Yamaha RS7000. I primarily am into MultiSample hardware units rather than loop phrase samplers though.

I find the Yamaha A3000 pretty intuitive, easy, and fun sampler to work with ONCE you figure out your own best workflow. For me, I think using the conversion software packages out there along with good ole’ fashion manual button programing to work very well with the Yamaha A3000.

I’ll update this article with more info as I dive in further to the Yamaha A3000 V2.

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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!

Roland S-760 Digital Sampler in Japan

Roland S-760 Digital Sampler
Roland S-760 Digital Sampler

Today I managed to locate a used Roland S-760 Digital Sampler at a remote used music shop near Nagano City here in Japan. The unit was in excellent condition and it had the manuals, but no disks. The gentleman at the counter said it was junk and I said to myself “Are you kidding?”. He sold it to me for $35 because he said he couldn’t get it to work without the disks. I wanted to say if he had heard of the internet at all, but instead I slapped down the cash and walked away with a fine Roland S-760.

At home I found some english manuals in PDF format from Roland and then later found the System OS 2.24 disk needed to fire it up. Sure enough, the Roland S-760 started up beautifully and I was all ready to go. I even noticed I had the OP-760-1 board in the back and the memory fully expanded at 32MB. Amazing!! I still don’t have a Roland MU-1 Mouse yet, but I did manage to install SoundDiver 3.0.5.2 for Windows which has the Roland S-760 and S-330. I connected the Roland S-760 to SoundDiver and everything worked great!

A friend of mine had several Rhodes samples which I loaded into the Roland S-760 and they sounded fantastic! I then connected an MO Disk Drive to the SCSI on the back and saved the samples to an MO disk. I also saved the system, but I am not sure if you can boot off an MO or other drive with the Roland S-760 yet. I know you can with the Roland W-30. The MO drive was very quiet and fast when both saving and loading files I thought. So after I boot up the S-760 using the Floppy, I can then load up all the different Rhodes Performances rather quickly.

It’s been a fun couple of weeks. I never thought I could score a Roland W-30, S-330, and S-760 all for $200 in near mint condition. Indeed I have to work with SCSI and older gear, but the sound quality is really really good. I also find it a lot of fun playing around with older gear as well as someone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s just amazing at how little people will take for this stuff here in Japan. If you check out the rest of my blog, you’ll notice all of the great deals I’ve been finding lately.

Check out Synth Japan forums for more discussions.

Please check out the comments below for updates on this post.