Author Topic: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!  (Read 2995 times)

Offline nickbirkby

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Hello all, i have been offered a Roland DM80-8 hard disc recorder by a closing down studio ( for free!!)
This is one of the very first hard disc recorders from the early 90's. I didnt even know they made a recorder like this so long ago!

Reading the manual it says:  "The DM-80 can be run using a Macintosh computer and the Roland Track Manager software, thereby eliminating both the remote controller and fader unit"

Im not sure whether the unit has its remote control, but hopefully it should as the unit cant really be used without it.

Im wondering if the software still exists? Anyone heard of this? Or know where to look?
Thanks, Nick

Offline mrhappy

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2017, 06:17:24 AM »
Can't say no for THAT price!! ;D

Offline MacOS Plus

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2017, 10:09:49 AM »
  Looks like that software came along too early to make it to the internet.  Amazingly Roland actually has the manual online in PDF format though - http://cdn.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/DM-80_OM.pdf.  What I did note while reading through it was you needed an additional interface unit when connecting it to a computer to translate between Mac serial and the DM-80 control bus.  Without that the software isn't going to do anything.

Offline IIO

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"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
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Offline Knezzen

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2017, 11:03:04 PM »
IIRC Cubase Audio on the Atari and Cubase Audio on the Mac supported these (connected through MIDI between Cubase and the DM80).
Might be worth a shot.

Cubase Audio can be found here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/cubase-audio-20

Offline nickbirkby

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2017, 07:27:05 AM »
Thanks for the interesting info! Yes I spotted that interface- it doesnt look like something one would find easily. I will look at Cubase Audio and see if I can find the manual. I was idly wondering if Sounddiver might control it but thats probably wishful thinking :)

I suspect the controller is there as it cant work without it. I am going to the studio on Friday morning so will know then...

I think gear like this might be collectable one day. Perhaps fairly far into the future though. :)

Offline IIO

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 01:11:39 PM »
of course you could also replace the thing with an iphone 2, which is also only 25 USD and requries less energy and space.
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline IIO

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2017, 01:12:15 PM »
and its 24 bits and has more memory :P
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline ssp3

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 08:17:04 AM »
Hello all, i have been offered a Roland DM80-8 hard disc recorder by a closing down studio ( for free!!)
This is one of the very first hard disc recorders from the early 90's. I didnt even know they made a recorder like this so long ago!

Reading the manual it says:  "The DM-80 can be run using a Macintosh computer and the Roland Track Manager software, thereby eliminating both the remote controller and fader unit"

Im not sure whether the unit has its remote control, but hopefully it should as the unit cant really be used without it.

Im wondering if the software still exists? Anyone heard of this? Or know where to look?
Thanks, Nick

Hi Nick,

I not even heard about it, I actually used it many moons ago. And I have a copy stored on one of my MO disks somewhere.

Best,

Offline MacOS Plus

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 12:25:38 PM »
@ssp3:  It would be great if you can find and post that software.  Perhaps we can help save many of these recorders from being tossed in the dumpster.  BTW, as per your username, are you a SonicStudio Classic user?  It would be nice to have another one here on these forums.

Offline ssp3

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 05:57:06 PM »
@ssp3:  It would be great if you can find and post that software.
Sure, but that might take some time. My both DM-80s are stored away and so are the software backup MOs.
Quote
Perhaps we can help save many of these recorders from being tossed in the dumpster.
I highly doubt that there are so many around. Maybe a handful, not more. These machines were very expensive back in the day and, due to their closed architecture, not that popular.
There are no tools to read the disk contents on the Mac (or PC), for 8 tracks two drives are needed which are connected in some sort of RAID configuration. 2GB (or was it 4GB?) drive size limit and so on.
On the plus side, they sounded very good - much better than anything available at that time (1990), topped, perhaps, only by some very high end gear. And, they were standalone..
Quote
BTW, as per your username, are you a SonicStudio Classic user?  It would be nice to have another one here on these forums.
Yes, I am.

Best,

Offline MacOS Plus

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 07:33:15 PM »
Quote
BTW, as per your username, are you a SonicStudio Classic user?  It would be nice to have another one here on these forums.
Yes, I am.

  Cool, I've got far more of that gear than anything else, too much really!  All types - SSP/USP,  MediaNet copper/fibre, Nubus/PCI, and just about every accessory in multiple.  If you ever have any questions, PM me.

Offline splitpoint

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 02:27:48 PM »
I have a DM-80.  To connect to a mac requires a piece of hardware (roland IB-1) in addition to the software, good luck finding one.

For storage the DM-80 can address 4GB disk space total per scsi buss and I've successfully used Seagate ST-15150n as well as Syquest Syjet with mine.  Remember your disks can only add up to 4GB per buss for a total of 8GB.  You can backup data to a scsi 4mm DAT drive.  I had an old exabyte 4mm for mine before the tape drive bit the dust.

The basic model is 4 tracks and can be upgraded to 8 tracks.  Most of the ones I've seen in the last 20 years have the 8 track upgrade.  The DM80r remote is required to use it if you aren't using the IB-1. The DM80f remote is optional. 

One kind of cool feature is that you can use it as a phrase sampler.  Each track can be assigned to a midi note and you can play it back using the keyboard.

As a very early Hard Disk recorder it is slow to use and kind of cumbersome but was cutting edge for it's time. 

Offline ssp3

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Re: Obscure Mac software for a Roland DM80 hard disc recorder? Circa 1993!
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 05:08:00 PM »
I have a DM-80.  To connect to a mac requires a piece of hardware (roland IB-1) in addition to the software, good luck finding one.
Actually, IB-1 is nothing more than a simple MIDI IN/OUT on 2 x 5 pin DIN connectors to MIDI IN/OUT on 1 x 8 pin DIN connector translator. ROLAND DM buss IS MIDI, just different connector.

I borrowed a IB-1 from a friend and reverse engineered it back in the '90s. There was nothing fancy inside, just a bunch of 74xx logic chips.

At the end I took two Midiman Mini Macman interfaces (one for each DM-80) and simply soldered 8 pin DIN connectors parallel to existing 5 pin ones with a couple of wires. Simple and elegant, no IB-1s needed.

And, by the way, with similar trick one can use DM-80 fader unit as MIDI controller. Just add PSU.

http://www.mes-musik.de/Roland-IB-1-DM-Buss-to-Midi-Converter-fuer-DM80




Offline widdly

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I found some treasure today. Its the manuals for the DM80 and also the software.  The huge box for the single floppy is just silly.

It is of no use to me.  If someone wants it I can mail it to them.  Otherwise I could upload the software if someone can explain how to do that using modern PC's and a USB floppy.