Roland W30 SMFW30 Software Upgrade

SMFW30 Last Beta
SMFW30 Last Beta

There is a new release of SMFW30 is coming soon! It’s a Sound Manager for the Roland W-30, S-330, S50, and S-550 Vintage Samplers. Over on the SMFW30 Forums, Miro has released some beta info about the new Roland W-30 Software Sample Editor. I think registration is closed there due to spam issues, but you should at least be able to view the updates. I’m on there so if anyone has any questions, I can pass them along to Miro for you if I don’t know the answer. Above is a screenshot which looks great. This is definitely a welcome upgrade and should hopefully add some new life to the aging but popular Roland W-30.

Hare are some details taken from the forum posting.

Tone Editor
* Import of waves with odd length
* Editing of tone/subtone title
* Editing of all tone/subtone parameters with waveform preview

MIDI Editor
* Correction of SYSEX troubles

Patch Editor
* Basic implementation – Load / Save / Rename and Delete patch

I am really looking forward to this release. Currently I prefer transferring my WAV files to the Roland W-30 via the S-330 and other software connected to it via the computer. However, if I can do everything I need with SWMF30, then that would clearly be the way to go.

Stay tuned for more news and about about the SMFW30 software upgrade for the Roland W-30.

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.

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.