First post, by darry
This is meant to "chronicle" my experience with the Roland VS-880EX . Hopefully, this might be useful to someone else .
I have long (5 years or so) used an Akai DPS-12 multi-track recorder as a mixer for my various sound cards and sound modules . Having run some tests, I have noticed what appears to be low frequency self-noise that peaks at around -60dB in the sub 140Hz range on all the DPS-12's analogue inputs (see Re: Noisy AWE64 recording from any input (line in, EMU8000 MIDI, etc) + upcoming AWE64 comparison if interested), so being the perfectionist that I am, I decided that it might be good idea to finally get a modern, affordable, mixer with a digital (S/PDIF) output (needed for connection to my audio video receiver).
I initially found nothing with S/PDIF output in any sane price range, so I extended my search to vintage multi-track recorders and noticed the Roland VS range . Specifically, I found a nice looking VS-880EX in Japan that looked like it had everything that I was looking for at a decent price . Unfortunately, I only realized when I received it that it did not include the adapter required to mount an internal 2.5
mm" IDE hard drive (which I planned to replace with an IDE to CF card reader anyway). Without the said adapter and IDE drive or a SCSI drive, the unit is useless. Luckily, I was able to locate said adapter and order it (see Re: Bought these (retro) hardware today for details).
While waiting for my adapter to arrive, I decided to do some research on the VS-880EX on vsplanet.com . There, I found some info regarding a way to hook up an IDE drive or an IDE to CF directly to to the mainboard. It seems that the mainboard connector has a 50-pin IDC connector that looks like it should be SCSI but is, in fact, a very strange IDE port . The first 44 pins of this connector apparently carry the same signals as a 44-pin IDE connector ( see http://www.vsplanet.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads … &Number=1005650) . So, being the impatient type, I decided to hook up a 50-pin IDC cable to the mainboard and connect its first 40-pins to an IDE to CF converter using a makeshift gender-changer. I initially powered it externally, but I soon realized that the IDE to CF adapter was somehow being powered from the VS-880EX (possibly through pin 20 of the "IDE" cable ?).
Then, the fun started . I had multiple CF card and two different types of microSD to CF adapters, so surely something would work . Well, yes, but not what I expected . In all cases the IDE to CF adapter was a Startech unit . EDIT : I also tested some SATA SSDs through a JMicron JM20330 IDE to SATA bridge .
a) Kingston 16GB CF card : VS-880EX freezes at boot
b) Sandisk 4GB and 2GB cards : VS-880EX freezes at boot (even setting fixed disk bit on the 2GB card changed nothing)
c) INIC-2051 based microSD to CF card reader (tried with multiple microSD cards 8GB, 16GB and 32 GB) : VS-880EX lets me try to format, but errors out.
d) FC-1307 based microSD to CF card reader (tried with multiple microSD cards 8GB, 16GB and 32 GB) : VS-880EX successfully formats card, but wants to re-format on every boot .
e) Nikon 8MB (not a typo) CF card : VS-880EX successfully formats card and works, even after reboot (would not want to record on it, but for a mixer it's fine).
f) Verbatim 128MB (not a typo) CF card : VS-880EX successfully formats card and works, even after reboot (would not want to record on it, but for a mixer it's fine).
g)Kingston A400 120GB (likely Phison S11 based, did not disassemble it) : has the same behaviour as the Sandisk CF cards, the Verbatim 2GB CF card and the Kingston 16GB CF card (freezes at boot) .
h)Kingston KC600 256GB (Silicon Motion SM2259) : has the same behaviour as the Sandisk CF cards, the Verbatim 2GB CF card and the Kingston 16GB CF card (freezes at boot) .
i) HP S700 250GB (Silicon Motion SM2258XT) : has the same behaviour as the Sandisk CF cards, the Verbatim 2GB CF card and the Kingston 16GB CF card (freezes at boot) .
j) Adata SU655 120GB (Maxiotek/Maxio (JMicron spin-off) MAS0902A-B2C ) : has the same behaviour as the Sandisk CF cards, the Verbatim 2GB CF card and the Kingston 16GB CF card (freezes at boot) .
k) Samsung 860 EVO 500GB (Samsung custom controller) : reaches formatting screen, but I do not want to format . Would probably work .
l) Kingston HyperX 240GB SHFS37A/240G (SandForce SF-2281 based) : reaches formatting screen, but I do not want to format . Would probably work .
My guess is that the issues have something to do with drive size (not the issue) (VS-880EX cannot use more than 4GB anyway). Consequently, I ordered some 2GB microSD cards and a 2GB CF card . I should be able to test those tomorrow . I also got a message that my original Roland IDE adapter is on its way and should be here within 3 days or so, so I will not be needing to "Frankenstein" it much longer with that 50-pin cable and gender changer . If there was a way to force an SD or CF card to return a lower capacity than actual, it would probably make my life easier (any suggestions ?).
EDIT: The behaviour with Sandisk cards is obviously more likely an incompatibility than an issue with size.
EDIT2: Updated tested list .
EDIT4: Updated tested list .