Roland M-128 / M-256 / M-512 and Akai BR-16 / BR-32 compatible multi-bank replacement cards

Project Summary

Since August 2014, we have been prototyping replacement cards for the legacy Roland memory card system. These cards work as replacements for the Roland M-128, M-256 and M-512 cards as well as the electrically identical Akai BR-16 / BR-32 cards. By means of bank switching, a single card can pose as sixteen M-128 / M-256 cards or eight M-512 cards. The card does not require a battery as it is backed by MRAM. The progress of this project has been documented and discussed on the Vintage Synth forum.

The first batch of cards was sold out pretty quickly in 2017, and since then we have sold several more batches. We have always done this in our spare time, and now in early 2022 it is finally time to move on and put an end to this project. Yes, this means that you will no longer be able to buy any memory cards from this website. Please don't ask - there is no hidden stash and we cannot send you "just one more card".

However, as promised before, we have open-sourced the entire design data for the memory card and the test jig we use so you can build your own card from scratch! All the required information for building a card can be found in the linked GitHub repository.

We used to sell our cards for 79€ plus shipping, so you should be able to build your own card at a similar cost. Beware of overpriced offers on the used market - nobody ever had to pay more than 79€ for one of our cards, and we don't think that you should pay much more either.

Unable to build your own card, and cannot find a used one? Stay tunes, our friends at WaveReX are working on their own Roland MRAM card. It will be different from our product, but work in a similar way. If you are a bit more patient, you may be able to buy a suitable replacement from their store.

Thanks to all of our awesome customers who have bought a memory card in the last 5 years!

Compatibility list

While the card design is as close to the original cards as possible, there is a small number of devices that is not compatible with our replacement cards. Please review this list before building your own card. Other devices will most likely work as well (in particular if they are similar to the tested ones), but are not tested.

M-256? M-512? Which card do I need?

Please look up in your synthesizer's manual which card you should use. For example, in the JD-990's manual you will find that it requires an M-256 card. Some manuals mention a letter suffix (e.g. M-256E), which you can ignore. While you can use a larger card (e.g. M-512) in a synth that recommends using a smaller size (e.g. M-256), you will be wasting some memory. Both M-256 and M-512 cards will work with synths that require M-128 cards.

An exception to this rule is the JV-1080: We have been informed that while its manual only mentions compatibility with M-256 cards for storing 64 patches per card, it is in fact also compatible with M-512 cards, allowing you to store 128 patches per card instead. In this case, you can use both the M-256 and M-512 variants, but will probably find the M-512 to be more useful.

Manual / FAQ

We have assembled a small manual with some instructions and a list of frequently asked questions, you can download the manual in PDF format (last update: 2 October 2021).

Card Prototypes M-256 replacement in Roland D-50