There is little reason to buy overpriced “pre-configured” floppy emulators for most studio gear. Aside from Lotharek HxC, most other floppy emulator units on eBay are simply inexpensive Gotek units flashed with a freely available operating system firmware known as FlashFloppy and configured with sound disks, and other content freely available here and elsewhere on the Internet.
It’s easy to do it yourself! Be confident!
– Buy a cheap Gotek which preferably matches the color scheme of your synth/sampler/sequencer.
– Get a USB-A to USB-A cable to allow installing the FlashFloppy firmware.
– Optional, but highly recommended: Buy a 128×32 OLED module to replace the 7-segment display in the Gotek.
– Although almost any USB drive will work with the Gotek, SanDisk Fit is the perfect physical size and capacity for floppy drive emulators.
HARDWARE & FLASHING
Warning: As of Spring 2021, this video and flashing method have been rendered obsolete due to an unavoidable manufacturing change. It is still possible to flash new Goteks with FlashFloppy, but this video only applies to old Gotek hardware with STM32 chips.
Download the Gotek FlashFloppy EZ Installer Bundle v0.50 (for Windows and macOS), read the instructions, and follow along with this video.
Warning: Gotek hardware which was released in Spring 2021 or after have Artery chips, so refer to the video directly below.
Please refer to the Gotek OLED installation guide, if planning to install that highly recommended optional display upgrade.
CONFIGURATION & PREPARATION
After installing FlashFloppy, make sure the Gotek jumper is set to S0. Make sure the floppy ribbon cable is in the proper orientation when connecting it to your audio gear. This is usually red stripe toward the floppy power connector, but not always. FlashFloppy is generally successful at reporting when the ribbon cable is improperly reversed, so do pay atttention.
Next, add the proper CFG file corresponding to the synth/sampler/sequencer. The configuration file must be named ‘FF.CFG’ and be placed in the root folder of a FAT32 formatted USB drive to be used with the Gotek.
Important: Download the stock display configuration for Gotek units with the original 3-digit numeric displays, and the OLED display configuration for Gotek units which have been upgraded with an aftermarket OLED.
S900 (stock display) or OLED
S950 (stock display) or OLED
S1100 (stock display) or OLED
S2000 (stock display) or OLED — also, OS v2.0
S3000 (stock display) or OLED — also, OS v2.0
S3000XL (stock display) or OLED
S3200 (stock display) or OLED
S3200XL (stock display) or OLED — also, OS v2.0
DSM-1 (stock display) or OLED
DSS-1 (stock display) or OLED
Korg N364 (stock display) or OLED — also, Factory Disk
Note: N364 typically needs S1 rather than S0 because of the 26-pin to 34-pin adapter!
MV-30 (stock display) or OLED
S-330 (stock display) or OLED — also, System Disk v1.03
S-750 (stock display) or OLED — also, System Disk v2.25
S-770 (stock display) or OLED — also, System Disk v2.25
XP50 — to be added
SEQUENTIAL CIRCUITS (SCI)
HFE/IMG FLOPPY DISK IMAGES AND LIBRARIES
Lastly, add all the disk files (typically HFE, but raw format is generally supported) you want. OLED supports folder structure and descriptive file names, standard Gotek display units do not.
Note: For testing purposes, start with one file named ‘DSKA0000.HFE’ (or DSKA0000.IMG) which is placed in the root folder of the USB drive (along with FF.CFG). Then add further disks.
Hint: Use this website’s search feature to find disk libraries for most of these machines, or browse the SAMPLE LIBRARY.