Roland W-30

Manufacturer Roland Corporation
Dates 1989–1994
Technical specifications
Polyphony Yes (16-voice polyphonic)
Timbrality 16
Attenuator ADSR envelope
Aftertouch expression Yes
Velocity expression Yes
Effects No
Keyboard 61 keys
Left-hand control Combined Pitch bend and modulation switch
External control MIDI

The Roland W-30 is a sampling workstation keyboard, released in 1989. It features an on-board 12-bit sampler, sample-based synthesizer, 16-track sequencer and 61-note keyboard.


The W-30's "Workstation" title stems from its incorporation of synthesis, sampling and MIDI sequencing capabilities. Although primitive by modern standards, the W-30's onboard sequencer was a practical way to arrange music in lieu of a (typically much more expensive) computer-based system.

Unusually, while sounds are sampled with 12-bit resolution, they are played back through a 16-bit D-A converter [1] which, in theory at least, improves the sound quality. Nonetheless, the slightly "gritty" nature of the samples could be considered one of the instrument's charms.

The W-30 is compatible with the sound library of Roland's S50, S330 & S550 dedicated samplers, which is now in the public domain.


The workstation's back panel features a blanking-plate labelled "SCSI". This allowed the very rare "KW30 SCSI kit" upgrade to be fitted. The KW30 gave the W-30 the ability to behave as a SCSI Master device, and drive SCSI hard drives and CD-ROM players through a standard 25-pin SCSI cable. Copying samples to a SCSI hard drive (maximum usable capacity: 80Mb) dramatically reduces load time compared to the built-in 3.5" floppy disk drive.[2]

Notable Users


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