Questions about updating original VG-8

Started by TrainWreck, July 13, 2022, 02:37:09 PM

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I have an original VG-8.  I managed to find an S-1 card and updated it to S-1.  The firmware version is now 2.04.

Now I am trying to update it to EX and have run into a problem.

I have read through the forum thoroughly on this topic and have found conflicting info.   Some have said that the VG-8 has less physical memory than the VG8-EX and therefore can't be updated to EX, only to S-1.

This old post implies that a VG-8 CAN be updated to VG-8EX

This post seems rather well informed and the poster says that the VG-8 and VG-8EX  both have the same amount of memory.

" regards to actual ROM and RAM differences between VG-8 and VG-8EX: there are none. Both have 512kilobytes of flash memory for program and presets, and a tiny 32kilobytes battery-backed SRAM chip for user programs"


So I decided to try the EX update and see what happens.  I inserted the S-1 card and prepared the VG-8 to update via MIDI.  I then attempted to play the 4 EX midi files into the VG-8 using Midiox.  The 1st file loaded perfectly then the VG-8 prompted for the 2nd file.  When Midiox reaches the end of the 2nd file, the VG-8 does not prompt for the 3rd file.  It hangs at 52% <BFF00>.  If I play the 3rd file, the VG-8 says there is a Midi error and to power off.  Since the memory is erased I have to reload the S-1 update.

I have seen a reference to a program made by Tim Noonan that helps with this procedure but it appears that it is not in the Downloads section of this site.  Tim recently gave permission to a user to post it but it looks like this hasn't happened yet.

Could someone please confirm whether or not the EX update is actually possible with an original VG-8?

Thank you.   


Thanks for the reply.

After I made the OP, I kept researching and I found Roland's PC SMF Update Application on their website.  They also have the VG-8EX files as well.

Using this utility instead of Midiox, I was able to load all 4 of the VG8EX101 midi files into my VG-8 with the S-1 update.

Now, when I power on the VG-8 while pressing Shift + Play, it says:

Roland VG-8EX
System Version 1.01

Banks C, D and E are present with 32 presets each.

As far as my VG-8 is concerned, it "thinks" it's a VG-8EX. 

I won't dispute that there are hardware differences between an actual VG-8EX from the factory and an original '95 VG-8 updated to VG-8EX v 1.01.  It would be crazy if there weren't improvements.  I'm sure a "real" VG-8EX does sound better than a '95 VG-8.  It absolutely should. 

However, as far as firmware is concerned, you can most certainly load VG-8EX firmware onto an original '95 VG-8 provided you have access to an S-1 card.

I realize the VG-8 is a literal relic at this point and there may not be many people trying to update them, but if there are, hopefully this is helpful.


I, too, am looking for the S-1 update card, either to buy or rent. Thanks all!


Hi @TrainWreck I sent you a private message about the S-1 card.

Have you seen it?