Roland S-330 Manual

Hardware | Concepts | Quickstart | Menu structure | Software


Try to get a mouse. It enables you to draw waves and envelopes, which is super cool.

In the 80's, Roland made a deal with Philips. Philips made mice for MSX home computers. So you need an MSX mouse: the Philips SBC 3810. An old PC serial mouse won't work, although the connector is exactly the same. I tried it. It didn't fry the S-330, but also maybe I shouldn't try this again.

Do not search ebay for "Roland Sampler Mouse". Sellers know. And you will pay too much. Search for "MSX mouse" in stead. Try to buy from people who are selling their old MSX computer stuff. Got mice for cheapo this way in 2011.

The mouse does not give you a mouse arrow on the screen, like you are used to. The mouse just moves the cursor to another field. Nothing fancy looking.

The RC-100 controller

You can miss. The difference with the buttons on the RC-100 with the ones on the front of the S-330 itself is, that you get speed-buttons to switch instantaneously to any of the 6 Modes (saves you one click), and as a bonus you get a dial for increasing and decreasing values. However, the front panel buttons on the S-330 in combination with the mouse are just fine.

There is also even a sketch pad (like a Wacom). They are hard to find, and a mouse is still fine.


For color, you can use an old Commodore/Amiga monitor, the 1084. But you have to solder an 8-pin DIN plug. Unfortunately, the wiring on the S-330 is different than the wiring on the 1084 monitor. Buying two 8-pin male DIN connectors from an electronic shop, sacrificing a VGA-cable (they contain enough wires and are shielded well), sorting out the wiring on both ends and soldering took me 5 hours. Still the image sync is off when the screen is split into text and graphics.

An old monochrome screen will do also. You only need and RCA male-to-male connector.


The S-330 only works with 720K diskettes.
There is:
- a system disk, to boot the S-330 with
- a utility-disk, for creating and editing samples

For some reason, I got hold of a disk where the utility and system disk are merged into one diskette. That's handy.

Sequencer SYS333

There is also a Sequencer disk, the SYS333. It used to come with a "copy protection" dongle, which you had to put into the mouse port during saving. I thought I found one version on the net that does not need a dongle, but unfortunately it turned out I did not. The SYS333 software is a pattern based sequencer, much like other Roland x0x synths from the 80’s (except for the 202). You build your song from the patterns. You can use realtime recording to create each pattern. See page 50-65 of the manual. The resolution of the notes is the same as for the 202: 192 pulses for every 4/4 measure. You can also use punch in/out.

To make backups of all the diskettes (=important), you can use the freeware Windows program "Floppy Imager" from Anders Rundegren.

System Disks can be downloaded from
Go to: Sgroup > Sgroup archive > os (here's the SYS333, needs dongle) > S330 > (here are the system and utility disks)

Floppy Image also on generalconcepts
Go to: Sgroup > Sgroup archive > utilities > pc > floppyimage


You can get it on the Roland FTP site.


The S-330 has a big resemblance to an Emu SP1200 drum machine/sampler as a low price alternative. The specs are actually nearly the same, so that's not a crazy comparison.

More information

You can also visit the blog of Jim Atwood, he has a whole page dedicated to the S-330.

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