*EDIT* Roland A-6 with IDE-to-SD adapter MOD *without using a USB-Zip Drive*

*EDIT* – It’s not necessary anymore to have a USB-ZIP DRIVE. When you have SP-808 formatted SD-cards you can use this file to have the SD-card visible in the WAV-converter program.

Yes, it is possible to install an IDE-to-SD adapter in your Roland A-6 and even in your SP-808 when you convert it to the A-6 Firmware. In this post I will explain all the steps to be taken and pros and cons of this modification.

SIDE NOTE: The Roland A-6 came originally with a 2GB HDD in a special HD-caddy and was upgradable up to 16GB to have 9 hours of recording time. When you open up the A-6 you can easily remove the caddy to install a standard IDE HDD. You can install 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives. The maximum sampling time will ever be 9 hours. So, keep your drive as close as possible to 16GB because the rest of the gigs will not be used.

The following explanation has all to do with the possibility to use your A-6 with a SD-card in combination with the SP-808 Converter program to load WAV-files onto your SD-card. This is more complicated but very nice to have. Read this thoroughly!!


STEPS TO BE TAKEN (technical)

SIDE NOTE: You first have to format the SD-card in a SP-808/ex. You have to install first the IDE-to-SD adapter into a SP-808 which is very easy. Only opening the bottom plate, removing the cables from the ZIP Drive and attaching them to the adapter. When you turn on the SP-808/ex the system asks to format the SD-card. You press ENTER and you’re done. After restarting the SP-808/ex you will notice that it’s not accessible. No probs, for the A-6 it is the correct method.

Create also a SP-808/ex formatted zip disk with at least 1 sample. Can be a second of nothing. Is already enough.

Now let’s start with the A-6.

  • Remove the bottom plate of the A-6 and detached the HD-caddy
  • Cut off the power cable of the HD-caddy
  • Connect a MOLEX-MALE connector to the loose cables
Connect a MOLEX-MALE connector to the loose cables
  • Connect the IDE-to-SD adapter to the A-6
Connect the IDE-to-SD adapter to the A-6
  • Attach the IDE-to-SD to the mounting frame and make sure NO connections are touching the mounting frame
Prevent electrical surges
No contact between IDE-to-SD adapter and Mounting Frame
  • Put back mounting frame and bottom plate
Mounting frame back

STEPS TO BE TAKEN (software)

SIDE NOTE: You need a SP-808 formatted Zip Disk as mentioned above. When you don’t have a SP-808 then you need to transform your A-6 into one. But then you will need a IDE-Zip Drive to make it operational and you will need a sound card with MIDI to put the A-6 OS back on the machine.


  • Connect the USB Zip Drive to your computer
  • Insert the SP-808 formatted disk with one sample
  • Connect a Card reader to your computer
  • Insert the SP-808 formatted SD-card
  • Copy the downloaded file to the folders of the SD-card
  • Start up SP-808 Wave Converter
Wave Converter opened with WINE on MacOS High Sierra
  • The Zip Disk will be visible in the program (92.38MB)
  • The folders of the SD-card will now be visible in the program
  • In Finder/Explorer look for both drives
SD-Card visible in Wave Converter (see memory 466,03MB!)
Samples need to be 44.1 kHz – 16 bits)
  • Use the program to load WAV-files onto your SD-card (44.1 kHz – 16 bit)
  • When done – Eject SD-card
  • Insert SD-card into A-6 and turn on
  • The A-6 will give a DISK ERROR
  • Press ENTER and ENTER again
Disk Error. (Loose Area) Just press Enter
Sure? Press ENTER again

Now you can play with the imported WAV-files on your A-6.


  • It’s a great upgrade of your dusty A-6
  • Easy playing with WAV-files on your A-6
  • You can save your work and create backups on your computer
  • More dynamic use of this strange machine
  • Hundreds of samples can be stored
  • Create a library of several SD-cards with favourite samples


  • You need to prepare a lot
  • You need to have a USB Zip Drive
  • You need to have a SP-808 formatted Zip Disk
  • You need to have SP-808 formatted SD-cards
  • If you transform your SP-808ex you will loose features like the synth, the vocoder, the step modulator and MIDI-compatibilities

For me it’s just great to discover these kinds of possibilities and for sure we will discover more 😀

Thanks and feel free to ask question. For me it’s also a learning curve.

Grtzzz, Roger

Leave a Reply