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Roland S-50 | S-550 | S-330

The Roland S-50 is a sampler introduced in 1986. It has 16 voices of polyphony and operates at 12-bit/15 kHz/30 kHz resolution. The S-550 (1987) is the rack mount version of the S-50, with double the sample memory of the S-50 and non-destructive filters. The S-330 (1988) is a 1U rack mount version of the S-550 with half the sample memory.

Roland S-50

The Roland S-50 was released alongside the S-10, which uses identical converters but has less sample memory and polyphony (and uses Quick Disks instead of 3.5" floppy disks). While its A/D converters and sample memory are 12-bit, samples are converted to 16-bit on output, allowing for more headroom on playback. The time-variant filters in the S-550 and S-330 were similar to the filters in the Roland D-50, and as with the D-50, the S-50 used linear interpolation to transpose the pitch of its samples. The S-50 could be externally controlled with a mouse and CRT monitor, allowing for more accurate sample editing and making it a "poor man's Fairlight." As a bonus to new customers, Roland allowed users to copy the full factory library of sound samples onto their own floppy disks free of charge from authorized dealers.

The Roland S-series samplers were serious competitors in the sampler market at the time of their release, and have been used by Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Jimi Tenor, Johnny Hates Jazz, Kenny Loggins, Kids Incorporated, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Roxette, and Vangelis among others.

This page contains sample libraries for the S-50, S-550 and S-330 in IMG and HFE format for HxC floppy emulators. All archives are complete collections, checked and labeled for accuracy. Many thanks to Keith Meiere for his work in compiling the full factory sound libraries on his S-50 page, which I've included in these archives.  Please note that these sounds require the original hardware to play.

Factory Samples

RSB 501-508 (80 discs)
RSB 5501-5506 (60 discs)

Aftermarket Samples

Elite Series (77 discs).

Missing Sounds

If you know of banks we're missing (or if you have any sounds not listed here), please send an email to:

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Use

Roland hosts startup utility boot disk images on their support page:

SMFW30 is a sound manager for Roland S-series samplers:

OmniFlop is able to extract IMG files from S-series floppies:

The HxC floppy emulator is compatible with the S-50, and is an essential upgrade to its floppy disk drive:

Service

Keyboard Kountry, Syntaur, and Vintage Synth Parts carry replacement parts for Roland S-Series samplers.

More Info