Picking up where Roland’s popular SP-303 sampler left off, the new SP-404 is built on a foundation of more: more features, more voices, more pads, and more memory. The SP-404’s sleek, silver look is new to the SP family, and it surpasses its predecessor by offering battery-power compatibility, a CompactFlash slot, and a built-in microphone for quick, stress-free sampling sessions. Just turn it on, aim, and record — no cables and mics to connect. Then get down to the business of making beats and patterns, and add extra color with the great effects built into this little powerhouse. Even with all the bonus features, the SP-404 is still amazingly affordable.
Roland SP404A Sampling Workstation Features
Two Sampling Modes
- 12 large pads, three control knobs, jumbo display, same friendly operation as SP-303
- 29 effects, including new Subsonic, BPM Looper, and more
- Built-in microphone for quick sampling
- CD-quality sound
- Expanded sampling time
- 12-voice polyphony
- Realtime loop recording
- Sample-editing tools
- Import/export WAV/AIF via CompactFlash card slot; supports up to 1GB card
- Runs on battery or AC power3
The name Roland is synonymous with ‘great sound,’ and the SP-404 doesn’t disappoint. The sampling and playback quality of this instrument, affordable as it is, is crystal-clear Compact Disc-grade. You can record audio directly into the SP-404, or import/export industry-standard WAV and AIF files via CompactFlash card. Fear not, lo-fi lovers — the SP-404 also provides a Lo-Fi sampling mode, so you can scorch, roast, and crunch your audio if desired.
Realtime Pattern Recording
After the SP-404 is loaded with the audio of your choice, the fun begins by creating custom beats and tracks via onboard pattern sequencer. This easy-to-use sequencer allows up to 8,000 notes to be recorded in real time. For perfect playback, your pattern data can be quantized to the note value of your choice. Up to 24 patterns, each 1–99 measures long, can be stored in the internal memory simultaneously. On CompactFlash cards, you can save 96 additional patterns with 8,000 notes of recording capacity per card.
Quick Sampling and Editing
If you need to capture audio fast, the SP-404 provides an easy, efficient sampling engine; just connect an audio source or external microphone — or use the built-in mic. The SP-404 can house up to 24 samples in memory simultaneously. On CompactFlash cards, you can store up to 96 samples; if you use a 1GB CompactFlash card, sampling times can be as long as 772 minutes (!) in Lo-Fi mode, or up to 386 minutes long in Standard mode. The SP-404 provides sample-editing tools for setting start and end points, adjusting levels, and more.
29 Onboard Effects
Twist, bend, and animate your audio with the SP-404’s expressive effects, and manipulate them in real time using the front-panel control knobs. Shake the walls with Subsonic. Drive the dancefloor wild with the BPM Looper (grab a region on the fly and loop it) and DJFX Looper (change speed and reverse audio to get a turntable scratch-like sound). Also offered: reverb, flanger, delay, Voice Transformer, distortion, filter, Slicer, Isolator, Vinyl Simulator, and more. Best of all, the SP-404’s effects can be applied to multiple samples simultaneously or live input signals. You can also select the multieffects directly by pressing the MFX button and the corresponding pad at the same time.
Onboard Microphone and I/O
An external microphone can be plugged into the SP-404’s mic input and used to capture audio, but those who want to sample fast and spontaneously will love the built-in microphone. Just aim, point, and record! If you want to sample pre-recorded sounds, simply connect your CD player or sound source to the SP-404’s line input jacks (L, R) and sample away. For playback, the SP-404 offers line outputs (L, R) as well as a headphone output for privacy. A MIDI input connector is provided for controlling the SP-404 externally.
The SP-404 comes equipped with an industry-standard CompactFlash slot that accepts cards of up to 1GB capacity. You can even import WAV and AIF files into the SP-404 via CompactFlash, and vice versa. CF cards are handy, reliable, and readily available on the mass market.