|Polyphony||Yes (16-voice polyphonic)|
|Left-hand control||Combined Pitch bend and modulation switch|
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 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.
- Liam Howlett of The Prodigy used the W-30 as his main songwriting device until 1997's The Fat of the Land and on-stage as a master keyboard until 2008
- Steve Hillier of Dubstar programmed the entirety of the band's first album Disgraceful on a Roland W-30. It was retired for the band's first European tour in 1996
- W-30 / S-50 / S-550 Homepage - Samples, DIY's and Reference Materials - A Website Dedicated To The Original Roland Samplers - http://llamamusic.com/s50s550/s-50_s-550.html