My first sampler!!!
At the time, I sold my Roland D-50 to get this. I had to do it. Back in 1990 I caught the "Techno bug", and all I wanted was a sampler. Yes, a sampler: the magical word for keyboardists... only those who could afford one would speak of this mythical instrument... every time I talked to an older and more experienced keyboardist, the conversation would inevitably go to "...so, do you have a sampler?" - and I felt it was time for me to get to the "next level".
In 1990 the W-30 wasn't state-of-the-art anymore, but still packed a good solid punch. In particular, what attracted me to this machine was the fact that it had a very respectable sequencer on-board. I had the sampling, I had the sequencer, I bought the first Zero-G and Polestar Magnetics sampling CDs, I had an analog poly (Korg PolySix) and a digital poly (Casio CZ-1000), and even had an old Alesis MidiVerb II reverb... I had everything I needed to make some cool techno!
Interesting sounds in ROM, although a few of them suffer from aliasing
in the high octaves. The bass samples in particular are great, and so is
the programming in the preset patches.
Roland W-30 audio demos
The W-30 came with a set of four diskettes called "W-30 System". The first diskette contains the Operating System, the other three contain the following demo songs and sounds:
Factory diskette audio demos
Data Disk 1 - Leya's Song - This songs features a great acoustic guitar, and a sampled voice. Note for the young synthesizer lovers: back then, this was VERY impressive! The song features one of Roland's trademark sounds, the "Doo" vox, that will appear in the ROM of many subsequent synths and samplers, and of course, the General MIDI standard!
Data Disk 2 - THE OFFICE .1 - This song showcases what's possible to do sampling everyday sounds at an office: water cooler, typewriters, drawers opening and closing, etc. Again, at the time it was cool!
Data Disk 3 - SWING CAFE - Here we have the "piano" disk. A very respectable piano at the time. This jazz tune is just awesome, and its classic 1960s jazz style keeps it fresh. Also featured, one of the best ROM sounds in the W-30, the bass.
Data Disk 3 - Vignettes W30 - A presentation of good pianos.
You can also load the alternate "Factory B" set of Factory Performance patches from the Factory Diskette:
And then came the Library (click here to visit the S-series Sample Library page)
All samplers are only as good as the samples they are loaded with. Luckily, Roland has always been at the forefront of sound design, and the many talented people who worked on the Roland S-series sample library did a good job for the rest of us. Nowadays, the S-series library is available in the public domain, and there are several sites on the Internet that offer the whole library in zip format. You will then need the S-DISK utility to make the diskettes to load in the W-30. The W-30 also had an add on SCSI port, so if you can find one, you can load samples much faster via CD-ROM.
Roland W-30 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)
Roland W-30 Features
Roland W-30 Manual
Available for free at www.rolandus.com