Roland VS-840: Upgrade to EX

I received my VS-840 multitrack recorder a few weeks ago and it’s a nice little machine. I am getting started with recording and this will be the heart of my setup. Despite not having anything the plug into it yet I’ve already gotten used to some of its features. However, the total time I can record on a Zip 100 disk on medium-high quality is 49 minutes between all tracks. That means for a simple stereo 2 track recording I can only record about 25 minutes at a time. That doesn’t sound too good because I plan on using this to record long concerts sometimes.

To remedy this, I’m going to add a hard drive to the VS-840. But before I can do that, I had to upgrade the firmware to that of the VS-840’s replacement: the VS-840 EX. The difference between the two is a larger Zip 250 drive and newer firmware with more features. Although Roland offered an expensive upgrade kit for upgrading VS-840 to an EX, the secret is that the EX firmware can typicially be applied to most plain 840s. Luckily, my 840 took the firmware upgrade without an issue and I now have a VS-840 EX sans the bigger Zip drive. The smaller Zip drive is okay though, because now with the new firmware I can install a hard disk. If you’re interested in how I did it, check out my success story on the VS Planet forums.

Now I have to save up for some good microphones and I’ll be set for recording!


6 responses to “Roland VS-840: Upgrade to EX”

  1. Hey.
    I own a VS 840 and I have been trying to figure out how to bypass the zip drive and record to a harddrive (preferably to my macbook’s harddrive, or possibly to an external harddrive).

    You mentioned that you are adding a harddrive to your VS 840. Mind if I ask how you’re doing it?


  2. Hi Reid,
    i was searching for the possibility to upgrade my VS840 & found your post. I have a AL prefix machine but i am having difficulty finding the ZIP version of the 2.05EX upgrade.
    I got the midi SMF from the Roland website but do not have a midi IF to perform the upgrade.
    It would be great if you could point me to where you got the upgrade from or if it is not too much to ask if you could send me the file.
    Anyway, i hope all is well with you.
    Ben Stewart

  3. New guy on the block

    Anyone, please

    I Have a vs840, had a prob with my zip drive, went to local surplus got a 100 meg zip drive. Seemed to fit well, replaced it. Wont talk to sys. Any tips from anyone ?

    From reading some of your threads maybe I should have attempted to do an ex upgrade huh.

    I can read your replies or you can contact me at

    Appreciate all help, cuz I just love this machine.


  4. Hi:
    Searching on net about Zip Drive replacement on Roland VS 840 I founded your experience. This my email, it’s
    for asking you where I can buy a new Zip Drive for mine VS 840… Here in Brazil this is prohibitive…They are asking me U$ 600,00 to put another one….


  5. on a related nite… i have a sp808 ex and an sp808.
    i upgraded the 808 no prob. i can put sp808 ex on zip 100 so u can install on your 808 making it an ex . let me know. ebayers charge for this lol… i sned me 100mb zip i will do it free .
    putting a ide/atapi 250mb zip is ridiculously easy btw..