MAC OS/X + ROLAND SAMPLER 3.5" FLOPPY DISK SUPPORT

Creating And Archiving 3.5" Floppy Disks For Roland S‑50, S‑330, S‑550,
 W‑30, S‑750, S‑760, S‑770, DJ‑70 And DJ‑70MKII Samplers Using
A USB External 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive And The Terminal App

Special thanks go out to Michael Dietel and Jay C. for ideas, testing and troubleshooting!


M


BREAK THE CHAIN

Mac users who want to create 3.5" floppy disks for their Roland samplers have always been at a disadvantage ever since Apple did away with 3.5" floppy drive hardware and support. I have been tied to my ball & chain Windows 7 PC, SDISKW and OmniFlop for years. Until recently, that was the only way I knew how to create and/or archive 3.5" floppy disks for my Roland samplers. I can finally break that chain and I now use my Mac with a USB external 3.5" floppy disk drive. I just kicked my Windows 7 PC to the curb!

The following is a "somewhat" advanced process for experienced Mac users which enables you to take Roland *.IMG and *.OUT sampler disk image files and create 3.5" floppy disks using the Terminal app which is built into Mac OS/X. The same process also allows you to create new *.IMG and *.OUT sampler disk image files from your existing 3.5" floppy disk collection. Both methods are useful for trading your sample libraries with other sampler owners, archiving your old 3.5" floppy disks and creating new 3.5" floppy disks. The key is using the command newfs_msdos with special formatting options and the dd command to make a bit‑by‑bit copy of a sampler Boot Disk or a Sound Disk file. For all you trivia buffs out there, dd is an abbreviation for "Data Definition". It's also humorously called the "Disk Destroyer" because if you have a typo in your command, it's very easy to erase your Mac system's hard drive. The dd command should be used with extreme caution!
IGNORE_DD


Notes:
❖ Not all USB external 3.5" floppy disk drives will work using this method. Most people seem to have great luck with the IBM model shown at the top of this page (IBM Model: FD‑05PUB). I have been able to verify that the TARGUS PA905, IBM MPF82E and DELL FD05PUB will also work


❖ All commands used below were tested on macOS Catalina v10.15.7 and it is unknown if these methods will work on any other macOS versions. Chances are good they will because the "dd" command has been around for decades and its operation hasn't changed much over time


Working with a Mac and Roland sampler 3.5" floppy disks on this page is divided into five sections
For a breakdown of the disk format sizes used on various Roland samplers, see the table at the bottom of this webpage



This Section Is Only For Creating An S‑50, S‑330, S‑550, S‑750, S‑770 Or W‑30 Sampler 3.5" Floppy ‑Boot Disk‑ From An *.IMG or *.OUT Disk Image File
   ❖ This Will NOT Work For The S‑760 (See The Next Section For Creating An S‑760 Boot Disk)

IMPORTANT THINGS

There are two very important things to remember when using this process
  • Using the newfs_msdos and dd commands can disable your Mac's system hard drive if you make a typo. Pay attention and verify you are using the correct IDENTIFIER device number

  • This process will work the best with a blank DS/DD 720KB disk. If the floppy disk was previously formatted using a different size (i.e. 360KB, 400KB, 640KB), all bets are off. It's pretty much hit or miss. I have found that sometimes these previously used disks will work, sometimes they won't. Sometimes a DD/HD 1.44MB disk with tape covering the square density sensing hole to fool the disk dive into thinking it's a lower density 720KB disk will not work


MAKING IT WORK

Locate a Roland Boot Disk image file you want to use. This is usually an *.IMG or an *.OUT file
Something like the S‑550 System Utility Disk v1.13 S‑550 boot disk called S550113.OUT. There are several Boot Disk files to choose from at the llamamusic INFO webpage

Drag this Boot Disk image file onto the Mac Desktop

Connect a USB external 3.5" floppy disk drive to the Mac

Open the Terminal app
     If you can't find it, open a FINDER window, from the dropdown menu
          Go   ➟   Go to Folder   ➟   /System/Applications/Utilities


At the Terminal app window prompt, type
      cd $HOME
      cd Desktop
      ls -l        Special Note: These are both a lowercase "L"
Look to see that your sampler disk file appears somewhere in the directory listing (i.e. S550113.OUT or whatever file you are using)
      -rwxr-xr-x@  1 llamamusic  staff   737280 Oct 31 23:59  1998  S550113.OUT
The three commands above should place you in the Desktop directory. and display your disk image file. If your disk image file is not shown then you are not in the correct directory and/or you did not drag the disk image file onto the Desktop so try again

Once you are certain you are in the right directory and your disk image file is there, insert a blank DS/DD 720KB disk into the USB external disk drive

If a popup window appears, click on the Ignore button

IGNORE_DD
At the Terminal app window prompt, type
      diskutil list
Look for your USB external disk IDENTIFIER. Grab a pen and write down this IDENTIFIER. You will need it later. Mine is disk9 as shown here. Yours will probably be different
      /dev/disk9 (external, physical):
      #:          TYPE NAME     SIZE          IDENTIFIER
      0:                       *737.3 KB      disk9
Next, type the following command and use your IDENTIFIER you wrote down earlier
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
      sudo newfs_msdos -F 12 -f 720 -c 2 disk9
You will be prompted for the main password of your Mac

The disk format takes about 45 seconds to complete

This newfs_msdos command formats the floppy disk using FAT12 and not the usual MS-DOS FAT16
The -f 720 switch tells it to use the DS/DD 720KB disk format
The -c 2 switch tells it to use a cluster size of 2

After it finishes formatting the floppy disk, it will automatically mount the disk but... we don't want it to be mounted
Why? Because the dd command needs to write to a disk which is unmounted

Next, type the following command to unmount the floppy disk and use your IDENTIFIER you wrote down earlier
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
      diskutil unmount /dev/disk9
Now that the disk is formatted and unmounted, we want to create the new sampler disk by using the file you dragged onto the despot

DON'T SCREW UP THIS NEXT PART! NO TYPO'S!!
THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN DISABLE YOUR MAC'S SYSTEM HARD DRIVE!!!
For the command below, change S550113.OUT to your specific sampler's boot disk image filename
     i.e. for the W‑30 it would be W30HDCD.OUT
Also change disk9 to your USB disk IDENTIFIER
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!

At the prompt, type
      sudo dd if=S550113.OUT of=/dev/disk9
You will be prompted for the main password of your Mac

The disk write process takes about 2½ minutes to complete
If successful and everything worked without errors, something similar to the following will appear
      1440+0 records in
      1440+0 records out
      737280 bytes transferred in 134.862005 secs (5467 bytes/sec)
Note: The output shown above is from a DS/DD 720KB disk. The records in, records out and time data is not important. The important thing is the bytes transferred is equal to 737280 bytes

You can remove the floppy disk and see if it boots your S‑50 ,S‑330, S‑550, S‑750, S‑770, or W‑30 sampler


Troubleshooting

If you get this error
      dd: /dev/disk9: Resource busy
or this error
      newfs_msdos: /dev/rdisk9 is mounted on /Volumes/Untitled
try unmounting the floppy disk by typing this command but change disk9 to your USB disk IDENTIFIER
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
diskutil unmount /dev/disk9

Unable to format the disk using the newfs_msdos command from the Terminal window? Try to format it using the Disk Utility app
     If you can't find the Disk Utility app, open a FINDER window, from the dropdown menu
          Go  ➟   Go to Folder   ➟   /System/Applications/Utilities


From the Disk Utility app, right click on the icon associated with the floppy disk and choose Erase
     Make sure you choose the right disk. You don't want to accidentally erase a hard drive!!!

There are some examples of using the Disk Utility app to format a 3.5" floppy disk here

After the floppy disk is formatted, continue from where you left off
     (i.e. Unmount the floppy disk and create the new sampler disk from the Terminal window)




This Section Is Only For Creating An S‑760 Sampler 3.5" Floppy ‑Boot Disk‑ From An *.IMG or *.OUT Disk Image File
   ❖ This Will NOT Work For The S‑750 or S‑770 (See The Section Above For Creating An S‑750 Or S‑770 Boot Disk)

IMPORTANT THINGS

There are two very important things to remember when using this process
  • Using the newfs_msdos and dd commands can disable your Mac's system hard drive if you make a typo. Pay attention and verify you are using the correct IDENTIFIER device number

  • This process will work the best with a blank DS/HD 1.44MB disk. If the floppy disk was previously formatted using a different size (i.e. 1.2MB, 1.52MB, 1.6MB, 1.76MB), all bets are off. It's pretty much hit or miss. I have found that sometimes they work, sometimes they won't


MAKING IT WORK

Locate the Roland S‑760 Boot Disk image file you want to use. This is an *.IMG or *.OUT file but is usually named S760V224.OUT
This S‑760 Utility Boot disk is available at the llamamusic INFO webpage

Drag this Boot Disk image file onto the Mac Desktop

Connect a USB external 3.5" floppy disk drive to the Mac

Open the Terminal app (If you can't find it, open a FINDER window, from the dropdown menu
          Go   ➟   Go to Folder   ➟   /System/Applications/Utilities

At the Terminal app window prompt, type
      cd $HOME
      cd Desktop
      ls -l        Special Note: These are both a lowercase "L"
Look to see that your sampler disk file appears somewhere in the directory listing (i.e. S760V224.OUT or whatever file you are using)
      -rwxr-xr-x@  1 llamamusic  staff  1474560 Oct 31 23:59  1998 S760V224.OUT
The three commands above should place you in the Desktop directory. and display your disk image file. If your disk image file is not shown then you are not in the correct directory and/or you did not drag the disk image file onto the Desktop so try again

Insert a blank DS/HD 1.44MB disk into the USB external disk drive. If a popup window appears, click on the Ignore button

IGNORE_DD
At the Terminal app window prompt, type
      diskutil list
Look for your USB external disk IDENTIFIER. Grab a pen and write down this IDENTIFIER. You will need it later. Mine is disk9 as shown here. Yours will probably be different
      /dev/disk9 (external, physical):
      #:          TYPE NAME                      SIZE        IDENTIFIER
      0:     FDisk_partition_scheme             *1.5 MB      disk9
      1:                 DOS_FAT_32 UNTITLED     1.4 MB      disk9s1
Next, type the following command and use your IDENTIFIER you wrote down earlier
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
      sudo newfs_msdos -F 12 -f 1440 -c 1 disk9
You will be prompted for the main password of your Mac

The disk format takes about 45 seconds to complete

This newfs_msdos command formats the floppy disk using FAT12 and not the usual MS-DOS FAT16
The -f 1440 switch tells it to use the DS/HD 1.44MB disk format
The -c 1 switch tells it to use a cluster size of 1

After it finishes formatting the floppy disk, it will automatically mount the disk but... we don't want it to be mounted
Why? Because the dd command needs to write to a disk which is unmounted

Next, type the following command to unmount the floppy disk and use your IDENTIFIER you wrote down earlier
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
      diskutil unmount /dev/disk9
Now that the disk is formatted and unmounted, we want to create the new sampler disk by using the file you dragged onto the despot

DON'T SCREW UP THIS NEXT PART! NO TYPO'S!!
THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN DISABLE YOUR MAC'S SYSTEM HARD DRIVE!!!
For the command below, change S760V224.OUT to whatever disk image file you are using
     i.e. S760-BOOTDISK.OUT
Also change disk9 to your USB disk IDENTIFIER
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!

At the prompt, type
      sudo dd if=S760V224.OUT of=/dev/disk9
You will be prompted for the main password of your Mac

The disk write process takes about 3½ minutes to complete
If successful and everything worked without errors, something similar to the following will appear
      2880+0 records in
      2880+0 records out
      1474560 bytes transferred in 192.434344 secs (7663 bytes/sec)
Note: The output shown above is from a DS/HD 1.44MB disk. The records in, records out and time data is not important. The important thing is the bytes transferred is equal to 1474560 bytes

You can remove the floppy disk and see if it loads (or boots) on your S‑760 sampler


Troubleshooting

❖ If you get this error
      dd: /dev/disk9: Resource busy
or this error
      newfs_msdos: /dev/rdisk9 is mounted on /Volumes/Untitled
try unmounting the floppy disk by typing this command but change disk9 to your USB disk IDENTIFIER
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
diskutil unmount /dev/disk9

Unable to format the disk using the newfs_msdos command from the Terminal window? Try to format it using the Disk Utility app
     If you can't find the Disk Utility app, open a FINDER window, from the dropdown menu
          Go   ➟   Go to Folder   ➟   /System/Applications/Utilities


From the Disk Utility app, right click on the icon associated with the floppy disk and choose Erase
     Make sure you choose the right disk. You don't want to accidentally erase a hard drive!!!

There are some examples of using the Disk Utility app to format a 3.5" floppy disk here

After the floppy disk is formatted, continue from where you left off
     (i.e. Unmount the floppy disk and create the new sampler disk from the Terminal window)




This Section Is Only For Creating An S‑50, S‑330, S‑550 Or W‑30 3.5" Floppy ‑Sound Disk‑ From An *.IMG or *.OUT Disk Image File

Sound Disks for the S‑50, S‑330, S‑550 and W‑30 samplers all use the DS/DD 720KB format. Creating a Sound Disk is exactly the same as creating a Boot Disk in the section at the top of this page titled, S‑50, S‑330, S‑550, S‑750, S‑770 and W‑30 Boot Disks. The only difference is changing the input filename to match the Sound Disk file you are using




This Section Is Only For Creating An S‑750, S‑760, S‑770, DJ‑70 Or DJ‑70MKII 3.5" Floppy ‑Sound Disk‑ From An *.IMG or *.OUT Disk Image File

Creating Sound Disks for the S‑750, S‑760, S‑770, DJ‑70 and DJ‑70MKII samplers gets a little tricky because these samplers can use both the DS/DD 720KB format and the DS/HD 1.44MB format. Creating a new Sound Disk is dependent on the size of the disk image file you have. Owners of these samplers have created custom Sound Disks in different sized disk formats and uploaded them to various websites. There is really no type of standard size that people use

If the size of the Sound Disk image file you are using shows as 737KB in a directory listing, use the section at the top of this page titled, S‑50, S‑330, S‑550, S‑750, S‑770 and W‑30 Boot Disks. The only difference is simply changing the input filename to match the Sound Disk file you are using

If the size of the Sound Disk image file you are using shows as 1.5MB in a directory listing, use the section titled, S‑760 Boot Disks. The only difference is simply changing the input filename to match the Sound Disk file you are using




This Section Is Only For Creating An *.IMG or *.OUT File From An S‑Series, W‑Series or DJ‑Series Sampler 3.5" Floppy Disk (i.e. Reading And Backing‑Up A 3.5" Floppy Disk)

IMPORTANT THINGS

There are two very important things to remember when using this process
  • Using the dd command can disable your Mac's system hard drive if you make a typo. Pay attention and verify you are using the correct IDENTIFIER device number

  • This process will only work with a DS/HD 1.44MB disk file saved onto a DS/HD 1.44MB sized disk ‑or‑ a DS/DD 720KB disk file saved onto a DS/DD 720KB sized disk. Unfortunately, if the person who created the 3.5" floppy disk has cut corners and saved a DD/DS 720KB file onto a DS/HD 1.44MB 3.5" floppy disk by covering the square density sensing hole with tape to fool the disk drive density detection system, the USB external disk drive might not be able to read it. Yet another reason NOT to cut corners. It's tempting to save money but it's also best practice to only use a DD/DS 720KB sized disk to save a DD/DS 720KB sized file


MAKING IT WORK

Find an S‑50, S‑330, S‑550, W‑30, S‑750, S‑760, S‑770, DJ‑70 or DJ‑70MKII 3.5" floppy disk you want to turn into an *.IMG or *.OUT file

Make sure the Write Protect Tab on the 3.5" floppy disk is in the UP position so you can see through the square hole

Connect a USB external 3.5" floppy disk drive to the Mac

Open the Terminal app
     If you can't find it, open a FINDER window, from the dropdown menu
          Go   ➟   Go to Folder   ➟   /System/Applications/Utilities


At the Terminal app window prompt, type
      cd $HOME
      cd Desktop
Insert the S‑50, S‑330, S‑550 or W‑30 DS/DD 720KB 3.5" floppy disk into the USB external disk drive. If a popup window appears, click on the Ignore button

IGNORE_DD
At the Terminal app window prompt, type
      diskutil list
Look for your USB external disk IDENTIFIER. Grab a pen and write down this IDENTIFIER. You will need it later. Mine is disk9 as shown here. Yours will probably be different
      /dev/disk9 (external, physical):
      #:          TYPE NAME     SIZE          IDENTIFIER
      0:                       *737.3 KB      disk9
Note: The output shown above is from a DS/DD 720KB disk. If using a DS/HD 1.44MB disk, the output will look different

Next, type the following command to unmount the floppy disk and use your IDENTIFIER you wrote down earlier
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!
      diskutil unmount /dev/disk9
Now that the disk is formatted and unmounted, we want to read the new sampler disk and save it as a file onto the despot

DON'T SCREW UP THIS NEXT PART! NO TYPO'S!!
THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN DISABLE YOUR MAC'S SYSTEM HARD DRIVE!!!
For the command below, change FILENAME.OUT to whatever you want the new disk image filename to be i.e. MELLOTRON.OUT
Also change disk9 to your USB disk IDENTIFIER
DO NOT type disk9 unless it's the same as yours !!!

At the prompt, type
      sudo dd if=/dev/disk9 of=MELLOTRON.OUT
You will be prompted for the main password of your Mac

The disk write process takes about 2½ minutes to complete
If successful and everything worked without errors, something similar to the following will appear
      1440+0 records in
      1440+0 records out
      737280 bytes transferred in 80.574414 secs (9150 bytes/sec)
Note: The output shown above is from a DS/DD 720KB disk. If using a DS/HD 1.44MB disk, the output will look different. The records in, records out and time data is not important. The important thing is the bytes transferred is equal to 737280 bytes for a DS/DD 720KB disk or 1474560 bytes for a DS/HD 1.44MB disk


The disk image file you just created can be found on the Desktop

You can verify if a new sampler disk image file for the S‑50, S‑550, S‑330 or W‑30 was created successfully is by using this link

               S-50 / S-550 DOWNLOAD S‑50 / S‑550 / S‑330 / W‑30 Disk Image Reader - v1.2

The only way I know to verify if a new sampler disk image file for the S‑750, S‑760, S‑770, DJ‑70 or DJ‑70MKII was created successfully is to create a new 3.5" floppy disk from the new file and try loading it in the sampler





ROLAND SAMPLER     BOOT DISK FORMAT [1]   SOUND DISK FORMAT [2] MULTI‑READ FDD? [3] 3.5" FDD P/N [4]
S‑50
DS/DD 720KB DS/DD 720KB NO FDD 4261A0K
‑ or ‑
FDD 4261G0K
S‑330 DS/DD 720KB DS/DD 720KB NO ND-352S-A
‑ or ‑
FD-235HF-A527
S‑550 DS/DD 720KB DS/DD 720KB NO FX‑354
‑ or ‑
FZ-357
S‑750 DS/DD 720KB DS/DD 720KB
‑ or ‑
DS/HD 1.44MB
YES FZ-357
S‑760 DS/HD 1.44MB DS/DD 720KB
‑ or ‑
DS/HD 1.44MB
YES FZ-357
S‑770 DS/DD 720KB DS/DD 720KB
‑ or ‑
DS/HD 1.44MB
YES FX-357
W‑30 DS/DD 720KB DS/DD 720KB NO FX‑354
‑ or ‑
FZ-357
DJ‑70 No Boot Disk. This Sampler
Boots It's O/S From ROM
DS/DD 720KB
‑ or ‑
DS/HD 1.44MB
YES FZ-357
DJ‑70MKII No Boot Disk. This Sampler
Boots It's O/S From ROM
DS/DD 720KB
‑ or ‑
DS/HD 1.44MB
YES FZ-357


  [1] This is the required disk size format for the boot disk. All of these samplers must have the required disk size format shown here before it will boot

  [2] Some samplers are able to save their Sound Disks to multi‑format DS/DD 720KB and DS/HD 1.44MB disks

  [3] Some of the 3.5" FDD mechanisms labeled "NO" are actually able to read multi‑format DS/DD 720KB and DS/HD 1.44MB floppy disks
       However, the sampler O/S and/or PCB jumpers override this ability


  [4] These are the factory installed 3.5" floppy disk drive P/N's. Info about replacement 3.5" FDD mechanisms, modifications & P/N's are available at
        --> http://llamamusic.com/s50s550/fdd_tech.html






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