Large images ..Available from 09/21/1986 until 12/12/1987
A rackmount 12-bit sampler with 8-part multi-timbrality and 16-voice polyphony. The S-550 is basicially a 2-space S-330 with 1.5MB of internal memory over 4 discreet sampling blocks. Original key version is the S-50.
Among Roland's line of early keyboard samplers, - the S-xx series, the S-50 would be considered the professional model. Still, by today's standards it would be considered limited and lo-fi. However for its time it was a powerful instrument which can still prove useful for many music applications today. It offered a full 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch sensitivity and 16 voice polyphony, great for live and studio performances. It's easy to use, has an external CRT monitor support for large graphic editing and disk-loadable samples and operating systems (version 2.0 or later is best).
Though editing is a breeze, it is quite sophisticated especially when using an external CRT monitor and the DT100 "digitizing tablet". You get to draw waveforms, auto-loop, tune, edit the multi-stage envelopes, edit digital filters and quickly adjust loops and samples. There is even a SYS503 sequencer that is a simple but very useful tool. Of course most edit parameters, excluding the sequencer, can be modified and tweaked via the Alpha-Juno type alpha-dial.
It's too bad that such a nice looking and well designed synthesizer is home to a tiny 512k-WORD sample memory (756k-byte sample memory). And with 15 to 30kHz variable sampling rates at a 12-bit resolution, the sound quality is almost nice. Roland has a vast and nice sample library of sounds ready to be loaded via the built in 3.5 inch disk drive. Samples of your own (up to 28.8 seconds at 15kHz) can also be saved to disk. The S-50 version 1.0 allowed for 16 samples or "tones". Version 2.0 expanded to 32 samples or "tones". Sampling modes include manual, auto and previous. Rack-mounted versions of the S-50 are the S-550 and S-330.
Audio Outs: 8
Audio Ins: 1
Memory: 1,50 Mb
Sampling Rates: 15kHz 12 bits / 30kHz 12 bits
Upgrades: SCSI interface