general w30 questions
Q: I am just about to buy a 2nd hand W30. What should I watch out
for?.... how can I check if the thing is fully operational...... ?
A: There's a test mode you can use to check all the controllers, the
key panel and the memory:
Press F1 and F2 similarily while powering on the W30. The display will
show "** W-30 System Check Program **" and a menu. If not, try again.
Everything from then is quite self-explanatory;
* In key test mode you just press any button you like (preferably all
of them in order) and they become black on the display, showing that
they work. Note: all buttons with lamps should light up when they are
pressed, AND the left arrow button next to the tempo button should make the tempo button light glow red.
* The memory test just calculates (or something) that the memory is
functioning and displays OK or an error.
* When using the controller test, just make sure that all controllers
respond _porperly_ to what you're doing. (control increased, value goes up, decreased, value down quite obvious really...) Also, make sure that the pitchbender moves easily in both directions.
Other things to check:
* Play through all keys at least twice
* Bring a pair of headphones (with large plug) and examine all the
outs (8+phones). To do this the W-30 must be set in multi mode (the guy who's selling should know how to do this). Watch out for crackling. My W-30 has a nearly non-working phone socket, quite annoying thang...Remember though: that the 8 regular outputs are mono and should only sound in one of the headhone "ears".
* Check the contrast and sampling level knobs (on the back), and make
sure they move smoothly and seem to be securely fastened in the machine. Also turn the contrast into all-black to check for "dead" LCD pixels. Also make sure that the mains cable sits tight in the machine.
* If possible, load some sounds to check that the diskdrive is fully
This is all I can come up with, but I hope it will help you with your
purchase. And remember, if something is just a bit faulty, but still seems to work, try to cut the price a bit rather than cancelling it
all...however, this is just my opinion; a flaw-free machine is a better guarantee not having to repair it
Q: How much should i pay for one?
A: In the US, as of 3/99, any price between $400 - $600 USD is good, usually closer to the $400 range. personally i wouldn't pay more than $500 unless it had the SCSI upgrade. Anything less then $400 for a
*working* w30 is a steal - grab it!
In some countries it is nearly impossible to get a W30 for less than about $600 USD. check your local conversion rates and weigh how much it is worth to you!
Q: I need a manual .. where do i get one?
A: Honestly the manual is extremely vague and redundent, you can
figure out a lot w/out one, but at some point you're probably going to
need one. here's what one fellow did:
I am new to the world of W30 but I needed a manual so I called roland
at 800 386 7575 they sold me a copy of the manual for 12 bucks and a
threw in a info pack and a ****SYSTEM DISK** * for free. check them out you may get what you need.
other than that good luck :)
Q: What do TVA and TVF stand for?
A: TVA = Time Variant Amplifier
TVF = Time Variant Filter
Q: Does the w30 have ADSR? What are all those steps in the TVA?
A: Instead of saying ADSR (which is close but not quite right nor as confusingly snazzy) or handy 8-segment envelope generator for controlling loudness/filter cutoff frequency, Roland said Time Variant Amplifier (TVA) Sometimes other synths have AHDSR (where H is for Hold) envelopes, but until now I never came across any sampler (or synth for that matter) which has envelope generators as flexible and versatile as on the W-30. This is a feature I REALLY MISS on my other samplers ..
The great thing about it is that you can freely set the sustain point
wherever you want (it has to be BEFORE the end point, off course, so
step 1 to 7 are possible when your end point=8), and you can do whatever you want with up to 8 envelope points. Because this is NOT standard, there are no names for this really, the manual refers to all of them as 'break points'. This is where it all comes confusing and more complicated, but I hope I can give some examples which can help you. None of them can be done on a standard ADSR envelope.
The first row is the number of the breakpoint, the second row is the
RATE (127=fast, 0=slow), the third is the LEVEL (127=max, 0=min). In the bottom right corner of the screen you can set the sustain and end points (and zoom in or out the graphical display).
Example I - TVA envelope simulating delay (three taps)
       
127 77 127 77 127 77 127 77 Sus 1
127 0 127 0 127 0 127 0 End 8 (Zoom 5)
The TVA envelope does the following: it starts playing the sample
instantly (rate=127) at maximum level (=127), and because point  is set as the sustain point, it stays at maximum until you release the note. Then it fades out to silence and quickly rises to maximum level again, this is repeated 3 times. When you vary the values from 77 to another value you control the 'delay time', when you set the levels to [127 0 63 0 31 0 15 0] for instance, you get a more realistic delay, but you'll have to twiddle around with the rate values a lot more to keep them in a steady timing. The fun thing is that you can do without both steady timing and realism really, as long as it sounds musical and grooves, you can use the standard stuff to do the standard stuff, and use the W-30 to make people wonder how you did it !
When you set the sustain point in the example to , you get a pretty
weird effect also: it plays a 'double note', and repeats it when you
release it (a 'double-double-note' !).
Example II - TVA envelope simulating noise gate
       
127 30 127 82 82(127 127 127) Sus 4
127 120 121 0 0 ( 0 0 0) End 5 (Zoom 5)
Adjust the rate value of step  which acts as 'hold time', and the
rate value of step  (and ) to control the speed of the fade out
(decay rate=82 to sustain level=0 after the 'hold' time of 30).
This is very useful for samples with a click or pop at the end, when
you don't want an instant decay to 0, because the 'fading out' effect
takes away too much volume out of the middle part of your samples. I use it on practically all my percussion and effect samples, when I didn't use the TVA for some other trick.
Example III - TVA envelope simulating gated reverb (this sounds best with a
sample which is either looped or has reverb sampled in it already)
       
127 70 88 65 (82 127 127 127) Sus 2
127 95 7 2 ( 0 0 0 0) End 4 (Zoom 5)
...or with even more control over the 'gate'
       
127 50 73 33 20 127(127 127) Sus 2
127 20 15 8 3 0 ( 0 0) End 6 (Zoom 5)
These examples are all with the TVA envelope, but the same goes for
the TVF envelope, which is even more versatile because you also can set it negative, and you can control the first breakpoint's ('attack') rate by velocity as well.
Q: How do i add flanging to a sound?
A: the w30 has no onboard effects BUT: a trick for flanging:
play the sample (or tone) twice at the same time, time the second a
little bit later. This gives a flanging effect. Also you could assign
the LFO to the pitch of a tone (just one, not the other), but just let it make slight changes. that way you also can create a flanger like effect.
Q: Does the w30 support realtime control of Resonant filters?
A: No, unfortuantely. However see the "other miscellaneous data"
section for a hardware controller that some people have made. :)
sampling with the w30
Q: how do i get rid of the littel "blip" noise at the end of my
A: The problem you encounter is coming from the fact that when you
sample data stops, the sample value drop suddenly from a non zero
value to zero value and apparently, the interpolation algorithm Roland uses 'gasps' at this situation. To overcome this, you have to ensure the transition gets 'smoother'. To my knowledge, there are two way:
1) You have a PC:
You use the conversion tools (wget/wput), load the
sound in your favorite editor and fade out the end so that _at least_ a few samples are at zero value. Then you re-use the conversion tools to put it on you W-30 disk.
2) You have only the W-30:
Truncate the sample and then go to Tone Edit -> Loop and set the End of the sample just one step forward with the step set at 114, or just some hundred(s) of bits after where it's been truncated. Do not truncate again, just leave it there. Try playing now and MAGIC !!! The glitch is gone... :)
High Accuracy Method:
Go to SOUND->TONE->LOOP->GRAPHIC. Prss F1 two times to get into Type3-view. Then Press F3 to get a view of the end of the sample. then just stear the End Pointer to a place where the sample hits the middleline (use Search Mode +1 for the most tactful adjustment). If necessary also use the two different zoom-functions (F3 & F4) to get a good look of the sample (max zoom use to be the best). Truncate the sample, then move the end-pointer a little bit more in to the truncated area (to the right)... And now the blip is gone. This method is a bit similar to your second alternative but a little more precise...
Run the sample through a Highpassfilter. Set the Frequency to about 0.3-0.4 and the Level Adjust to 127. After doing this take a look at the end of the sample (with max zoom), then you see that the filter has done a nice fade to the middle-line. Move the End Pointer a bit to the right of the fade and, voila the blip is gone... ;) You can test to change the Frequence a few steps up or down to get another result. Now you may say that an HPF will change the caracter of the sample but with the frequency set to such a low value the change of the sample will be nearly unnoticeable.
Q: Is there a limit to the amount of sub-tones, one can make from an
original tone? I saved the Sound Set to disk but when I tried to Load
The Patch (LOAD P.) the LCD said cannot execute. What am I doing
A: You are only limited by the number of empty tones in the sub area
(the 1-33) however make sure that the original sample is in the patch! when the original tone ITSELF (for instance: a whole breakbeat of 2.0 seconds) is NOT included in the patch, it is impossible for the W-30 to use sub-tones, because they must refer to the original. A sub-tone uses NO (additional) memory for its wave, only for the paramaters. So when you for instance have cut a breakbeat in 16 equal parts (where the length of each 16th fragment would become 0.125 sec) and ONLY put those 16 sub-tones on a patch, the W-30 tries to load the paramaters, finds no wave data to refer to (the original tone is not included), so it will integrally load the (original) wave data (e.g. the W-30 automatically converts a sub-tone to an 'original tone'). This process is repeated for every sub-tone, because the W-30 is 'too dumb' to know it's loading the SAME original wave data into EVERY location assigned to the sub-tones ! In my example this would result in loading 16 x 2.0
seconds = 32 seconds ! (and you probably KNOW it only has 14.4 seconds, so the W-30 will refuse to load the patch)
(TIP: put it on a secondary tone in 'normal' patch play mode, which
only uses the primary tones, so it won't be in your way by taking up
space and (possibly) accidently playing it)
Q: My sample is too quiet - can i fix it?
A: If you have a sample with a too low volume-level and want to make the level higher. Then mix the same sample into another. If you set bouth Source1 Level and Source2 Level to 127 you get a increasment of +3dB (double level).
Q: Can i get rid of the background "hiss" noise?
A: If you have a sample with a unwanted low frequency noice in the background, remove this with the Highpassfilter.This method is very effective if the sample is taken from i.e. a vinyl-record that have an very low frequency of noice in the background... The Lowpassfilter in the W30 isn't the best one but can be used to remove highfrequency noice. To combine the Lowpass and the Highpass you can achieve the result of a Bypassfilter... The hardware filters of the W30 can be very useful. Try to find out how they work and you will notce that you can do many nice things with them... ;)
Q: What's the best wa to truncate the middle of a sample?
A: If you want to truncate a part in the middle of the sample, then copy the sample to 2 different positions. Then cut the first one just before the place of the part you want to remove and cut the other sample just after the part you want to remove. Try to cut in a place where the samples fit together. Use zoom-function to get best result. Then combine the two samples into one. This method is very longwinded but it works pretty good if you don't manage to move the sample to your computer...
the kw30 and SCSI
Q: What is the kw30?
A: The kw30 is Roland's upgrade kit for the w30, comprised of a SCSI
controller chip which enables the built in SCSI port. the full kit
should come with a 1) the chip 2) the new kw30 OS 1.07 boot floppy
3) instructional material.
You will have to buy the chip or upgrade kit third party (Roland no
longer carrys this kit or even the chip - don't waste your time
calling, all of us already have :) If you can find the chip by itself
great, the kw30 boot disk is on the net here: http://w30.msoft.it/
And as for the instructional material goes don't worry - it's pretty
much shit :) the installation is easy enough - you can find detailed
Q: What size/kind hard drive can (should) i use?
A: You can use any size drive, but the kw30 can only recognize and USE
up to 80 MB .. so using a drive any bigger than that will be somewhat
a waste. the sizes you'll use will be either 20MB, 40MB or 80MB disks.
and you can chain devices so if you only have a couple 20's is still
all good. as far as what make/model i believe the manual recommends
Apple brand drives and one or two others but really kids, SCSI is SCSI
- i've got a couple weird old drives who i don't know wtf manufactured
them but they work fine.
Q: Can the kw30 use Iomega zip disks for storage?
A: YES. the zip is treated similarly to any other external SCSI hard
(IMPORTANT: Only the SCSI-enabled ZIP and the ZIP plus will work with
your W30. Needless to say, the USB ZIP is not, and will likely never be comatible with the W30)
Q: Can the kw30 boot off of Iomega zip disks?
A: No, sorry - you will still have to boot from floppy or an external
(note: if anyone has the "why" on this let me know -- i'm not sure
myself only that it doesn't work)
Q: Does the kw30 accept either the PC or Mac Zip Drives?
A: The W30 *will* work with the Mac or PC version of the ZIP. As far
as ZIP disks go, you could use either MAC100 or PC100 Iomega ZIP disks
- the only difference is that the PC100 is preformatted for PC and the
MAC100 is preformatted for Mac; the W30 will STILL need to reformat
either before it can use them!
Q: After setting the 80m HD to address 0, do you or don't you need to
terminate the drive?
scsi works like this:
+---| cable .---.
you have a controller (card) which in this case is the
w30. This one automatically has ID0, and is terminated.
both ends of the scsi chain have to be terminated, so if
you have only one hard disc, be sure to terminate it.
EXTERNAL SCSI's MUST ALWAYS BE TERMINATED - regardless of system,
make, model or usage - the last device in any chain must be teminated.
extra bonus tip: Power on the HDD 10 sec before you power
on the w30. Otherwise the scsi-controller might not find
the HDD (sometimes).
Q: How do I transfer the OS/System Disk to the SCSI drive so that the
W30 will boot from the SCSI drive?
A: When you format the SCSI disk, system will be transferred
automatically from the floppy to SCSI-disk. You can also transfer the
system from "HD Utility" menu.
Q: Can I burn CD's of my samples to use with an external CD drive?
A: Yes. You can use the program written by Gabor Pikacs available at: http://www.c3.hu/~pikcsi
The latest release can combine up to 4 HD images.
Q: Can you copy a W30 CD directly to the PC, to burn a CD-R?
A: Yes, as raw data.
technical and hardware
Q: How dificult is it to build an own new W30, with a new Software
and new features?
I think a new electric with fdd 1.44 MB support or with scsi support
and general midi and dos format support and with 8 or 16 MB sample RAM
would be great. Is that only a dream or could it be reality?
A: I'd like a real laser gun like Han Solo has.
Q: My buttons are spongey/bad. I've cleaned the contacts but i think
the button is failing to trigger them.
ok. open the case.
go to the board were the buttons are...
get it out. and remove the "buttons"
now, get some hq tip-buttons, from the side they look like this:
the '('-s are the metal "wires" for connecting. it. from top they look
| o |
where '^' and '.' are the wires again. bend them over like this:
| o | _._ side
|___| top __|___|__
and solder them inplace of the original platic calculator type of
Q: is anyone on this list sucessfully using their W30 to control a
tb303 with a MIDI interface?
A: I used a selfbuild midi-dinsync24 kit to convert the mtc signal to
din-sync 24. It is one the analogue heaven archives somewhere.
(http://www.hyperreal.org/ -> analogue heaven)
Its really easy to build. have fun.
Q: I need to open the w30 to service it -- is there any thing I should
know before I venture into the abyss?
A: Like any other electronic device, make sure you are properly
grounded before you start disassembling the synth. Next, make sure you have your replacement parts/chip/whatever BEFORE you even think about servicing the unit yourself - this will cut down on the time the unit's "guts" will remain exposed and prone to unexpected mishaps (I've seen it all to often). Next, you will need a decent soldering iron, about 1 foot of 60/40 resin core solder, solder wick, and a lot of patience. Needless to say, When you open the unit make sure to clearly document the location of each and every screw you remove. Words of caution from an experienced W-30 user.
- word man :) - dev
Q: How do i convert a sample disk i got from the archive to a w30
A: you'll need to get a disk converision utility - the most common for the PC being SDISK. Other utilities are available for other platforms:
- Mac (68K): SMAC
- Amiga: W30-SampleUtility
[all available from http://w30.msoft.it/]
Q: How does SDISK work?
A: SDISK is a tricky one. a couple major points: SDISK only recognizes
FD floppies. HD (that's HIGH DENSITY) floppies WILL NOT WORK :) sorry.
so you got 2 options: score a bunch of FD floppies from a local swap
meet or computer junk store/thrift store, catalog, they're floating
around .. OR ... fool SDISK by formatting a HD as an FD. Point 2 about
SDISK is that it ONLY functions in full DOS mode - using the MS-DOS
window will not work because Windows doesn't give programs the full
drive access that SDISK needs. so you got to reboot in DOS.
Here's the step by step:
1. download SDISK and put it in an easy directory to remember. also
put the unzipped w30 file you want to convert in the same directory.
2. get your floppies ready, formatted for the PC. if you've got some
FD's but as Mac 800K disk you'll have to format them for the PC.
3. Reboot in DOS. if you haven't formatted then type at the prompt:
FORMAT A: /u /f:720
if you've got HD disks the trick is to put a piece of tape over the
second hole (opposite the disk lock hole) and type exactly the same
FORMAT A: /u /f:720
congratulations you've just fooled a computer!
note there is heavy debate over this topic, some people swear by it,
others curse it. personally i've had to use a lot of HD disks out of
necessity and i've only had maybe one disk go bad, but sometimes using
HD's will cause the drive to read improperly or more slowly. from a
technical standpoint you are actually forcing the disk to write on two
tracks per every one needed, hence the drive actually has to do TWICE
the work to read all the data. use HD if it's all you have but FD will
insure longer life for your disk and a faster load. i got lucky and
bought up 300 FD floppies at a swap meet for 1 cent a piece :)
4.so you got your floppy situation worked out, go to the dir
containing sdisk and exe the program:
5. you're going to love this interface, it kicks ass, total DOSdom :)
type the letter "d" for details first. when it asks for "New Filename"
type the name of the file you wish to convert FROM (the one you downloaded, "drum_smpl.w30" or whatever) hit return. it asks for the drive, default is A: so hit return.
6. now type "w" for Write, the data is written to the floppy in the drive and a little progress bar shows you the status. and THAT's IT! :) type "q" to Quit.
7. now as an afterthought if you load this disk it will work just fine
on the w30 BUT it will read slower than disks formatted by the w30 --
it's formatted 720K for the PC remember? so load the disk into memory,
reformat the disk with the w30, and then RESAVE back to the disk.
voila, a perfect harmonious union between data and storage medium. :)
if you hadn't noticed already, SDISK also converts to the inverse - a
w30 file to pc file. simply hit "d" again, when it asks for new
filename type the name of the file that you want to be CREATED from
the w30 disk. hit return. the drive is A:, hit return. now type "r"
for Read. that's it, the w30 disk is read to the filename you entered.
this file can then be zipped for putting up on the net or whatever
else you felt like doing with it.
Q: How does SMAC for the Macintosh work??
SMAC is actually a collection of task-specific conversion programs for the following types:
smac:SAM_2_Roland makes Roland sampler disks from images.
smac:Roland_2_SAM makes images of Roland sampler disks
smac:SAM_2_tones stores individal samples as AIFF, SFIL, Snd2, TONE, sfil, Š
smac:SAM_2_cat let you view content of disk, makes database input
The SMAC documentation should be found with the software distribution package, it is also available online temporarily here:
As of this date i BELEIEVE that SMAC is 68K only software, (i haven't got it to work on a PPC, but 68K users report no problems) the exact extent to which all 68K processors are supported i have yet to determine, but the documentation suggests all 680x0 chips - and there are supposedly 2 version: "a" is color "b" is for b/w macs.
*note: tones_2_SAM was never fully developed and is not included among the SMAC programs. Fear not, a shareware prog. called D-SoundPRO can do what t_2_S does and more.
* another note: d-Sound Pro is a great Mac sound utility and it writes w30 format disks, this program also has a lot of other great sampling
features, i recommend it, you can FTP it from the AMUG apple archives. it's some where in the "/graphics_sound/sound_tools" dir.
Also, according to the prog's author, you will always find the last version of D-SoundPRO at:
Q: Can I convert PC WAV samples to the w30 format?
A: Yes. use the WAV conversion utility, WPUT, available here: http://w30.msoft.it
Q: I'm having trouble with WPUT - i can see the samples when i load them, but i can't hear them.
A: If you see samples and hear nothing, check the Loop points carefully! Usually, they are too close when this happens.
Another tip: when you load the sounds into the w-30 you must reformat the disk and save the sounds again. One user reports that whenever trying to use SPUT with the S-50 it will crash unless the samples are resaved after formatting the disk for the S-50.
Q: I'm using a software sequencer and the w30 seems to be "off beat."
A: If you are syncing your W-30 with a computer syncquencer (SP), make
sure your computer is set for 96 pulses per quarter note (PPQ), like
the W-30. And make sure your not feeding back to the W-30 via Midi In
or Thru from the computer.
Q: How do i transfer midi sequences from my computer to the w-30?
A: Save the MIDI file as a SMF (Standard Midi File) and load it into the W30
Plug in the MIDI OUT of your computer into the MIDI IN of the W30. Set the W30 as the slave device (SONG PARAMETER | CLOCK EXT) press record on the W30, then press play on your PC sequencer...save the file on the W30, you're done.
sites & archives
1) The FTP site is OPEN for anonymous UPLOADING!
2) I have programmed, since a long time ago,
a web catalog application that can index all
the files on the web or ftp site;
unfortunately, the index is empty and needs to be
filled manually; that is, the files must be catalogued
by some volunteers... since I have no time for that...
the task may be divided into pieces...
3) You can EASILY make the w30 web server to deliver ANY
file on the w30 FTP or WEB site to your email at
Because of point #1, I would like to deny administratively (I've not done that yet!) the posting of messages with attachments, for two main reasons: first, anyone who has a slow dialup link and is not interested in a particular attachment, he would not be obliged to download the long message (for example here in Italy we have very slow and expensive links because of our national Telco's monopoly); second, in this way we could avoid accidental posting of worms or other possibly infected files, since I have a periodically updated antivirus on my server.
I think that a correct procedure for sharing any precious w30
resource (sound disk or any other file) should be:
1) The great W30 owner, who wants to share with others his
resource, uploads anonymously the file to
maybe uploading also a same-name.txt file with description
2) The great W30 owner posts a message to the w30 list (with NO
ATTACHMENTS), announcing the availability of the new file,
reporting the name of the file, etc.
3) Anybody who is interested in the file may download it from
the ftp site.
4) If the link is too slow, anybody who is not able to get
that file in a reasonable amount of time, may choose to
let the server send it to his email address using the
specifying, for example,
as the resource to retrieve.
5) The web site master may decide to move the file to an
"official" directory, and add it to the file index.
other miscellaneous data
LFO: Low Frequency Oscillator
The LFO is like a controller, it doesn't generate any sound but it can
be used to modulate parameters, like pitch, filter or amp. It's a waveform that u can set the speed, delay, shape, intensity......and then it controls the parameter u set it to, ex: u can make it do a filtersweep, or make it raise the pitch....
I have for you tip for realtime control of W30 Resonant filters. You
-1 big stereo jack
-1 Potentiometer about 500 kilo Ohm
-and 1m of minimal 3 line cable (shielded)
then you must connect these 3 parts like on the "schema.bmp". Put Jack
to the EV-5 hole and check in the hacker mode (Controllers) if value
(EV-5) changes when you turn with pot. If yes try this with some
Aftertouch sounds. With my W30 this works fine!!!
I did the same with a 100 kilo Ohm linear potentiometer and tested it
by setting the EV-5 to control master volume. This too works.
This is the pin layout on SCSI chip the MB for the W30 regarding the
1 RST 25 D3
2 CS 26 D4
3 A1 27 D5
4 A2 28 D6
5 A3 29 D7
6 A4 30 INTR
7 S07 31 RST
8 SO6 32 BSY
9 DG 33 DG
10 SO5 34 SEL
11 SO4 35 I/O
12 NC 36 C/D
13 SO3 37 NC
14 SO2 38 MSG
15 SO1 39 REQ
16 DG 40 DG
17 SO0 41 ACK
18 SOP 42 ATN
19 DPQ 43 RD
20 DP 44 WR
21 D0 45 DREQ
22 D1 46 DACK
23 D2 47 CLK
24 VSS 48 VCC
built by c-trl design : <email@example.com> | <firstname.lastname@example.org>