New custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 and Akai BR-16 / BR-32 memory cards

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by returnal, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. returnal

    returnal Platinum Record

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    I imagine there are a few people here who own old Roland hardware that uses either the M-256 or M-512 memory cards ... that list of hardware is very loooooong.

    A couple fine fellows have developed, and will soon be selling, new, compatible, custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 and Akai BR-16/BR-32 memory cards. For a D-50 you'd get 16 banks (or 1024 patches) for an expected price of around €80+.

    (It looks sweet too!)
    image.png

    Some compatible hardware:

    Keyboards:
    A-50/70/80/90
    D-5/10/20/50/70/110/550
    JD-800/990
    JV-80/90/880/1000/1080/2080
    MV-30
    U-20/110/220

    Drums
    R-8/70
    TD-10

    Guitar
    VG-8

    You can read more about it here:
    https://sagamusix.de/other/roland_memory_cards/
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  3. Rhodes

    Rhodes Rock Star

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    these are just empty "memory" cards, right ?
    ...I mean, to store Your performances, presesets, settings and things... ?
     
  4. returnal

    returnal Platinum Record

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    Exactly. The Roland RAM cards have become very expensive (when you can find them) and only hold one bank each, so these guys have engineered a better, cheaper option.
     
  5. Rhodes

    Rhodes Rock Star

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    I see...
    I own an A90ex, and was hoping for some revolutionary hack in these cards, that would add maybe some effects and things... :chilling:

    anyway, thanks for the info... they are actually very expensive to buy... in fact, the most expensive RAM in the world, I think :unsure:
     
  6. returnal

    returnal Platinum Record

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    UPDATE:
    The fine people behind the creation of these new multi-bank RAM cards now have an info page up here where you can also sign up to be notified when the cards become available:
    https://sagamusix.de/other/roland_memory_cards/
     
  7. mrpsanter

    mrpsanter Platinum Record

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    Just wondering why it would be so expensive to produce such a memory card in 2017.

    OK I understand that these are rare and hard to find but we are talking about a new development here,not something from 1988.

    Technology wise, I am wondering how much storage is available on this new card: 1 mb? 1 gb?

    Just for comparison sake, one can find a 128 gb micro SD card for around 60 $ today.
     
  8. Saga Musix

    Saga Musix Newbie

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    Hello mrpsanter, I am one of the people behind this project.

    I'm afraid you are comparing apples and oranges here. There are at least two factors that constitute the card's price:
    1. The card does not use flash memory (the technology behind SD cards and SSD drives) but MRAM. MRAM is a form of non-volatile memory (so similar to flash) that is electrically compatible to the SRAM chips used in the old memory cards (unlike flash). So MRAM is awesome and perfectly suited for this project, but also still a niche technology, and for that reason, the 512KB memory chip (yes, you read correctly) alone is about half the material costs. Of course every multi-GB SD card is cheaper these days, and that's because flash memory is heavily pushed by the industry and they produce billions of those chips, making them much cheaper than something than a technology that is almost only used by specialists. If we wanted to back the card with cheap flash memory (like my original idea was), the card itself would be much more complicated to design and would be more likely to not work with all supported devices. Using MRAM, the card design is very close to that of the original memory cards, which tremendously helped in making this card compatible with a wide range of devices.

    2. The second thing is that we do not mass-produce these cards like SD card manufacturers. If we produced a million cards, we could probably sell them for much cheaper, but who would buy them? We are just normal people working on a spare time project for fun, and we cannot pour millions of Euros (and hours) into this card project. We ordered 120 ready-made PCBs for the cards, and at this volume the PCBs alone are 10 Euros each - And that's completely without the memory chip and any other card components. We are not trying to rip anyone off, small-scale DIY electronics projects are simply that expensive.
    You will notice that similar projects for reviving vintage hardware (such as the SCSI2SD adapter) come at a similar price, while being comparably simple hardware, and that's for the very same reason.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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