|The S-330 is the second sampler in Roland's product lineup, the first being the S-50 and S-550. The unit doesn't have the RAM and polyphony of today's high powered samplers, but still has a home in my studio due to its unique sonic character and user interface.
The S-330 is housed in a compact, although rather deep, one rack space chassis. A two line thirty two character backlit LCD is provided for loading sounds and for small tweaks at gigs. The unit has one megabyte of RAM, divided into two banks, and writes to standard low density 3½" disks. Supported sampling rates are 15kHz and 30kHz, and while the AD and DA converters are 16 bit, samples are stored as 12 bit words. Dynamic voice allocation is available, as are modes reserving polyphony for each of the eight parts. Eight polyphonic outputs are provided, which are infinitely better than the monophonic outputs on samplers of the same era. Interestingly, the front panel volume knob is really an encoder, and controls the volumes of all eight outputs in the digital domain. A nice grungy digital resonant filter is available, and more intensive filtering can be done destructively at the sample level. The S-330 also has chorusing and flanging effects available, but at the expense of halving polyphony. Editing on the S-330 is impossible without an external monitor, for which Roland provided both RGB and NTSC composite connections. A mouse input is also provided, although the RC-100 mice lived short lives, so are becoming increasingly rare. The S-330 and its sample libraries can be heard all over MTV's Liquid Television and Aeon Flux animated series. When I find more time, I will post disk images of my sample library.