What is S-xxx?

The S-xxx system is a control equipment to control Roland S-Series samplers over a windows PC using the PC screen as video screen for the sampler video output signal, the PC mouse for simulation of the Roland MU-1 mouse and an emulated RC100 panel on the PC screen as a remote controller. It also opens up new possibilities such as using optical and wireless mice and trackballs, midi control of RC100 functions and the ability to control the RC100 functions via a web connection from a laptop, net-book iPad, iPhone or similar web enabled device.

What are the system requirements?


PC running Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or later.
Directx 9.0c or later
1.5  GHz processor
1GB RAM
50 MB free disk space
1 Directshow compatible video capture device
1 S-xxx hardware interface
3 Button or Wheel mouse

How does it work?

S-xxx is able to replace the functionality of the standard MU-1 mouse and RC100 controller by sending instructions generated via the S-xxx, RC100 and WebRC100 software to the Sampler, it does this by using the Roland’s mouse/RC100 communications protocol via an interface device (RC100-USB-Interface) connected between the sampler and host PC. It converts the data sent from the PC's USB port and outputs it to the sampler via the 9 pin D-sub socket found on the back or front of the sampler marked 'EXT CTRL'. The interface contains a programmable microprocessor that reads data via an USB serial converter chip, translates it and sends the correct digital I/O signals so the sampler can understand it.

RC100-USB-Interface hardware

RC100-USB-Interface

The RC100-USB-Interface is based on the open hardware Arduino Nano 3.0 boards. Also our interface hardware schematics are open source and the user has to build his own interface based on our schematics. (If there is really no way for you to build it on your own then we can also offer ready made interfaces).

S-xxx Software

Sxxx Screenshot

Mouse control is achieved by calculating the PC mouse relative movements across S-xxx’s video window and transmitting them to the interface, we call this 'mouse control mode', when in this mode the PC cursor is hidden and the user controls the sampler via the sampler cursor in the video window. Once editing is complete or control needs to be returned to the PC the user simple clicks the middle mouse button (mouse whell button for a PC wheel mouse) to toggle between mouse control mode and normal PC usage.

RC100Controller Software

RC100Controller screenshot

RC100 functionality is achieved in a similar way, a separate program called RC100Controller is used to interpret on screen button presses and PC keyboard input and transmits it to the S-xxx software. S-xxx acts as the hub for communications with the sampler and so it is mandatory that this software is running for communications with the sampler. RC100Controller also allows the user to map key and encoder input to midi note on/off, midi CC and other midi messages, a midi learn facility allows each control within RC100Controller to be triggered by the specified midi event.

WebRC100 Software

WebRC100 Screenshot

Also included is a program called WebRC100, this must run on the same PC as S-xxx and acts as a web server. When running, a mobile computing device such as a laptop, a netbook, tablet PC (ipad for example) and even a web enabled phone can be used to control the sampler remotely by entering the IP address of the host PC and the correct port number.  This will open a web-page representation of the RC100Controller screen on the remote device and the sampler can be controlled via this remote device. The encoder functionality is not available when using WebRC100, but values can be incremented/decremented by using the INS & DEL keys in the same way as when using RC100Controller, and of course numeric values can be entered directly via the on screen keypad.

How to use a web device for controlling your Roland Sampler:

Screenshots of the RC100 controller on the iPad (different keyboard layouts and zoom factors selectable)

RC100 Control in standard mode and default keyboard layout, zoom 8 (click for full size)

RC100 Control on the iPad

RC100 Control in S-7xx mode and Neon keyboard layout, zoom 8 (click for full size)

RC100 Control on the iPad

Screenshots of the RC100 controller on the iPhone 3GS (different keyboard layouts and zoom factors selectable)

RC100 Control in standard mode and default keyboard layout, zoom 1

RC100 control on the iPhone 3GS

RC100 Control in S-7xx mode and Round2 keyboard layout, zoom 1

RC100 control on the iPhone 3GS

Block diagram of the complete setup

Block diagram

Block diagram


See the S-xxx software in action

Video 1

Video 1

select video host:



Youtube Logo

Photobucket Logo


Video 2

Video 2

select video host:



Youtube Logo

Photobucket Logo


Background information / History

The classic Roland S-xxx samplers (S-50, S-330, S-550, S-750, S-760,...) can be controlled via the front panel button and the built in character display but the most comfortable editing can be achieved by connecting a video monitor to the video output and controlling the sampler via a MU-1 mouse, RC-100 remote control or DT-100 graphics tablet.

As standard video monitors that can work with the samplers are quite rare these days and it is getting very hard to find the sampler control units MU-1, RC-100 and DT-100 some Roland sampler users around the world were thinking of solutions to solve these problems.

Some people already use video grabbers on their PC to view the video output on their PC screen. Others designed their own mouse converters that converted a standard mouse into a Roland/MSX mouse (me too...) or just built one of the available mouse converters taht could be found on the web. With these two units a quite confortable sampler control could be achieved but you always have one mouse for the PC and one mouse for the sampler.

The Roland RC-100 remote control has never been cloned or emulated as far as we know. So the only way to have one was to find and buy one. The same is with the DT-100 graphic tablets.

S-xxx V1.0 (developed 2010, based on a 89C2051 microcontroller)

About 2010 Andrew Cielecki emailed me if I were interested in a common project to emulate the Roland Mouse via a PC mouse by the use of an self designed USB interface (this interface used an FTDI USB serial cable and a 89C2051 microcontroller). The PC software showed the video output (resizable but also fullscreen) of the Roland sampler and sent the PC mouse movements to the external USB interface that converted the mouse data into MSx mouse compatible signals so that the Roland samplers could understand it. This first development worked quite fine for us but never found the way to other sampler users due to lack of time. A PCB for the USB interface should have been designed, soldered by hand, programmed, tested and sent to the customers.
S-xxx V2.0 (developed 2012, based on Arduino Nano open hardware)
In January 2012 Andrew contacted me as he remembered that I have a RC-100 remote control unit and asked me if I were interested in a further cooperation to design RC-100 simulator that could eventually also be controlled via external MIDI controllers. After some brainstorming I decided to start this project with him based on our previous project but instead of using the 89C2051 again we wanted to use a ready made hardware for the interface so that the interface hardware manufacturing process could be skipped. We choose the widely available Arduino open hardware platform and selected the Arduino Nano 3.0 to be the candidate for out interface hardware.

The mouse interface is well known as it is the standard MSX mouse interface but we knew nothing about the RC-100 remote control interface that also allows a mouse to be connected to the RC-100. So the first big task was the analysis of the Roland mouse/remote control interface. Our interface and software design is based on the analysis results. The software on the Arduino Nano has to convert the mouse movement data and RC-100 button presses coming from the S-xxx software into the analysed data streams needed by the Roland samplers. As our hardware concept is based on ready made boards that can be bought in electronic shops or via Ebay the only hardware task the customers have to do is to solder a cable that goes from the Arduino Nano pins to a female 9 pin D-sub connector. This task should be possible for most musicians that have a soldering iron and have at least soldered some of their MIDI or audio cables on their own. If some customers neither can't do it on their own nor find a friend that can do it for them then we can offer a special service that delivers ready made interfaces with cables to them. We will charge a small amount for our effort, time and postage for sending it.

You wonder how an interface bought from elsewhere should work with our PC software? It's simple: Our PC software package includes the tools and code for the interface programming task. So after you bought your Arduino Nano you solder the cable to the D-sub connector and install the FTDI drivers (that are also included in our software package). Then you start the PC software but no communication to the interface can be established as the Arduino Nano board is still unprogrammed. Now all you have to do is to select the menu entry "interface update" and your Arduino board will be found on the USB bus and will be programmed with the interface code that is also included in the software package as Intel hex file. This way the interface software could be updated in the case of errors or software extensions.
 
 

Where to buy an Arduino Nano 3.0 board:

1. The cheapest Arduino Nano boards can be bought from Chinese Ebay shops.
    For example there are currently some Nano 3.0 boards including an USB cable at this Ebay shop (click for auction): Rcube_station
    Other shops also sell Arduino Nano 3.0 boards that have no pin rows soldered from time to time like Haoyu Electronics
   
Normally these boards can be bought for about 13.-€ / 16.- US$ (international postage free/included).
    These pictures were takes from auction of these Arduino Nano 3.0 boards that suits our needs:

Arduino Nano 3.0 Set Arduino Nano 3.0 Top
Arduino Nano 3.0 Bottom


2. Buy from the Arduino store. Have a look at the Arduino.cc Nano webpage for the Arduino store link or for further distributors.
   Our interface has been built and tested with Arduino V3.3 - so try to get one of these.
   In these stores the prices go up to about 40.-€ (excluding postage) for one Arduino Nano 3.0 board!
   The newer Arduino Nano 4.0 use a different chip for the USB interface and are not usable!
 
 
 

How to build your own RC100-USB-interface:  


All parts that are needed for the RC100-USB-Interface:
  • Arduino Nano 3.0 board            
          (preferable with unsoldered pinrows!)
  • 1-2m 6 conductor shielded cable
  • female 9 pin D-sub connector    
  • shielded D-sub housing            
all parts needed

                          for the RC100 USB interface
RC100-USB-Interface schematics

RC100-USB-Interface schematics
A closeup view on the Arduino Nano 3.0 board (no pinrows mounted!)

Arduino Nano 3.0 without pin headers
cut the isolator of the shielded cable to the length shown on the picture

cut isolation to length shown
Bend the shielding conductors around the isolator start and prepare wires for soldering

shields and soldered wires
With a little help from a friend...

helping hand substitute
Solder the wires to the pins mentioned in the schematics

solder cable to D-sub pins
Write down the colors of the connected wires and add the Arduino signal names

make pin list with wire colors and

                              arduino connections
All wires are soldered to the pins and the cable shield is fixed between
the metal cable fixture and the metallized housing.

soldering OK, shield fastened
D-Sub housing closed and crews fixed.

close D-sub housing
Remove isolation and shielding conductor on the other side of the cable
(about 25mm from the end) and prepare the sires for soldering.

solder wires on other side
Solder the 6 wires to the correct pins shown in the schematics and on your wire connection note.

solder wires to Arduino Nano board
The Arduino signal names are printed on the top side of the PCB.

wires on Arduino board
Fix the cable with two acble straps on the positions shown in the following pictures.
fasten cable straps
fasten

                            cable straps
Your interface wiring is ready! The cable on the right hand side is the
Mini-B-USB cable delivered with the Arduino Nano board.
To protect the interface from electrostatic discharges when touching it and to protect
the interface from shorts to surrounding electronic or metal parts it is recommended
to mount a transparent heat shrinking tube around the interface.
(Remark: The heat shrinking tube is not shown in the pictures!)

interface is ready!
The four LEDs on the Arduino Nano board and their usage.
The power LED should be on all the time.
The Reset LED is activated during startup and when an interface reset is selected in the S-xxx software.
The receive LED is activated for a very short time during all mouse movements and RC100 panel button presses.
The transmit LED is not actived as the current S-xxx and interface software doesn't use it.

LEDs on interface board
To protect the interface electronics against shirt circuits or damages due to surrounding parts some
kind of housing is needed.
To keep the costs down and to give a look to the onboard LEDs we decided
to use a transparent heat sink tube instead of a solid plastic housing. Even the reset button can still be
used as the heat shrink tube remains elastic.
The suitable diameter of the heat shrink tube is 20mm with a shrinked diameter of 10mm.

interface in heat shrink tube
interface in heat shrink tube
interface in heat shrink tube
Now your interface hardware is ready for programming.
For this you need the S-xxx software as the programming tool is integrated in the software package.
The detailed programming task is described in the following PDF "Sxxx Interface programming manual"
Do you have further questions?
Have a look at our

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - maybe you can find the answer there!


 


Software availability
Now! Personalization of the software can normally be done in a few days and will be emailed to you or a download link will be sent to you by email.
Software deliveries Personalized PC Software installation package
(The PC software is copy protected and can only be run on the registered PC. As you might have more than one PC in your studio/at home you can register up to 3 PCs under your name.).
Demo version and software specialities
Prior to ordering the PC software we highly recommend that you load our demo version th check if your video grabber is able to work with our software and your Roland sampler. You can load the S-xxx demo version as packed RAR-file or as EXE-file (about 16MB each):

S-xxx as ZIP-File
S-xxx demo as EXE-File

If you decide to order the software then you need the Demo software for the registration process as then Demo software evaluates your unite Hardware ID. You can then start the order process direct from the demo software or just copy the registration data for the online order process via our webpage.

Hardware availability  It is intended that you can build the interface on your own.

The project is based on open hardware and so is our interface (
RC100-USB-Interface schematics above). If you are not able to build the interface on your own then we can deliver a ready made and tested interface but this will take some time as the interfaces are not stocked - they will be built on demand. The delivery time will be some weeks as the fulfillment of Arduino orders from China alone takes about 3 to 4 weeks. Then your interface will be customized with the cable and connector, programmed, tested and sent to you.
Price for one software package (can be installed on up to three PCs - a personalized version for each of the 3 PCs is necessary) 
Remark: The software will be sold on a private base only.

Payment accepted per Paypal only.

Email/Download version:
12.50 € (Euro) / 10.-
£ (GBP)  => no postage costs (except your also order an interface)

Software on CD:
13.70 € (Euro) / 11.- £ (GBP)  + postage (or together with an eventually ordered interface)
Special service for customers that are not able to build the USB-RC100 interface on their own: 

Interface hardware with cable, D-sub connector and connector housing, programmed and tested.

36.- € (Euro) / 29.- £ (GBP)

+ postage (see below)

Order will be fulfilled from the United Kingdom or Austria (depending on time, storage of parts,...):

Postage and envelope costs for one interface or interface and software CD (untracked):


Sent from the UK to

United Kingdom
£3.00
Europe
£4.00
Worldwide
£8.00
Sent from Austria to

Austria
3.70 €
Europe 6.00 €
Worldwide 10.55 €

Order now


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my homepage don't hesitate and contact me per email

EMail: Email:usb2msx@hotmail.com