Roland tone-patch system

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For most of the Roland 80's polyphonic machines, you have to master the "tone/patch" system (for both synths and samplers), as well as the "pattern/track" system (for drum computers). Samplers consist (next to the tone/patch system) of an extra "wave data" system.

Wave data:
(samplers only)
= The sound wave or sample. Wave data can be edited in a destructive (=irreversable) way, like trim, slice, normalize, time stretch.

= For synths: the sound sculpting parameters (sometimes called "timbre").
= For samplers: the above Wave data + the (non-destructive) sound parameters. If necessary, the Wave data can be reused for another Tone to save memory.
For example vco/dco (synth), vcf, vca, modulators (lfo, eg, crossmod, sync), chorus; for samplers: loop mode.

= the above Tone + Extra "Performance controlling functions".
For example keyboard controls (key range, velocity mode, pitch bend range, mod wheel range, portamento depth, aftertouch), main volume, unison settings, shift octave or pitch, detune, output jack assign; for samplers: key assign, patch name, midi assignments.

Implementation example for a few different machines

MKS-50 (=alpha juno 2 synth)




S-330 (=w30 sampler, all of the S-series samplers)

Wave data


+ wave data






Machines that do not use the Tone-Patch system are, for example, simple monophonic machines like the SH-101, MC-202, TB-303.

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