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Roland SP-404A

Sampler

  • Mobile sampler with battery or power supply, built-in microphone and external microphone input
  • Can be triggered by the 16-step sequencer of the Roland TR-8 (as from version 1.50)
  • 29 DSP effects, such as Filter, Delay, Unique Voice Effects, Subsonic, Looper and more
  • 3 Controllers for real-time control
  • 12 Trigger pads, and Sub-Pads
  • Uninterrupted effect switching for continuous live application
  • Pattern sequencer with quantisation and shuffle feel
  • Import the audio files from the computer and assign the pads with free Mac/Windows software
  • Sample size: 16 Bit 44.1 kHz WAV and AIFF
  • Connections: LINE-IN (L, R) (RCA), LINE-OUT (L, R) (RCA), PHONES (stereo jack), MIC IN (jack), MIDI IN, DC IN, SD card slot
  • Battery operation with 6x Alkaline (AA, LR6) or Rechargeable Ni-MH (AA, HR6)
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 178 x 257 x 72 mm
  • Weight: 1.2 kg
  • Including "Loopmasters" SD card with over 100 new stereo samples, effects, and one-shot samples and PSU (PSB-1U)
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Audio Examples

 
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Further Information

Polyphony 12
Internal Storage No
Storage Medium SD/SDHC Card
File Format AIFF, WAV
Time Stretching Yes
Effects Yes
USB-port No
MIDI interface 1x In
Analogue Inputs 3
Analogue Outputs 2
Digital Outputs No
Display Yes
Sequencer Yes

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Our most popular Samplers
33 Customer Ratings
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4.6 /5
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Great little sampler!
Rachel89, 08.10.2020
Being new to the sampling world I was a little dubious about purchasing the SP404A, being a musician who is use to playing physical instruments to perform material, the thought of switching to pads to do the same felt rather alien to me. Not wanting to use a computer for live performance and with my tracks heading down a more electronic route, the SP seemed like the best option, so I took the plunge and ordered through Thomann. The ordering process was swift and easy and the item arrived well packaged and protected within the designated time frame initially given. The sampler comes with a manual to help learn the basic functions (definitely read this first) but for more in depth understanding, YouTube is the place to go - it has some fantastic tutorials and people who can help you master this little beast! You can use the onboard microphone to record sounds or connect your phone / vinyl player / external audio devices to record sounds and samples and use the range of onboard effects to turn your sample into something entirely different. You will need to buy your own RCA cable connectors for whatever device you want to hook up though - it comes with a power adapter only. It can hold up to 32GB of samples - this is the max SD card size it supports according to Roland. I bought a SanDisc ultra 32GB and it works well with the SP. You will also need to purchase an SD card reader for your computer if your machine doesn't already have one - to allow you to copy / back up and transfer your samples to the cards. You get an 8GB card with free samples but this will be locked / protected when you first turn on the sampler. Options to disable this are in the manual. If you want to use your own SD card you will also need to format the card within the SP before you add your samples from your computer - again the info on how to do this is in the manual, definitely check it out. I did have issues with getting samples i'd created in Logic (and then bounced to .wav) to be read by the SP without using Roland's 'wave converter' software so definitely download that before you start to move your own samples over - this can be downloaded direct from the Roland website FOC. My favourite thing about this little sampler is the fact you are not limited by sample size / length. You could effectively save an entire backing track to just one pad and play along to it or you could just chop sections of your songs onto different pads. The only thing to be aware of, is the fact that you need to press the pads at precisely the right point - there is no way of pre-setting up pads to automatically activate when you require them to, so if you are playing an instrument throughout you will need to think about how you approach this as you'll need a hand free! As for negative points - the only one for me was getting the end of a sample chopped up in the SP to loop correctly. It is a bit of a faff to get it right as you have to resort to resampling and using the 'Mark' and start / end buttons sometimes multiple times to adjust a sample to get it to flow, but in time i'm hopeful with practice i'll get better. It's a great, iconic, powerful piece of kit and not just for the lofi scene! Also, really digging the new paint job Roland! Happy customer here - thanks Thomann :D
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not the sampler of 2020's
Mr.Küpsis, 09.04.2021
SP 404 has its own charm and quirkiness. The fans of this machine gravitated towards its imperfect features as constraints that provoke creativity. But in isolation from all the fandom around it does it really make sense to buy one? Unfortunately, after more than a year of use I will say no. There are many ways to use this machine but in all those ways there are better and cheaper alternatives out there. It has a ridiculous sequencer it has build in effects that are cool but you can assign them only to one pad as if it is a machine from 80's. And Roland doesn't seem to be interested in making a new sp sampler to compete with other brands so this machine is very outdated. It just sold a lot in 2010's and there is a subculture around it but I think it makes no sense to get one in 2020's.
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Awome effects machine and beats
fnsnz, 22.02.2020
very simple and many limitations to use by its own, very cool effects and sounds can made with this.
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Oldschool workflow
david .., 16.03.2020
I sent this back after playing with it a couple of days.
I had not used a hardware sampler before, but I have plenty of experience sampling with DAWs.
The 404 sounds excellent, the compressor sounds good, and it has the sound that you are probably searching for if you want to produce lo-fi hiphop beats.
The size is quite big but does not feel that heavy or dense.
Chopping samples on this thing takes a very long time. A simple thing as setting start and end points on samples is a more lengthy process than i expected, and a simple thing such as editing samples is very tricky - you need to put on effects, then resample. This means (for example) that there's no way to just pitch a sample up and down without adding pitch as an effect and then resampling your sample manually. You only have one effect per sample. If you want a lowpass filter and reverb, you need to resample.
The workflow just feels oldschool for my taste - If you're considering buying this sampler I'd advise checking out youtube videos of the sound and flow (Ricky Tinez and Accurate Beats have some great videos of the workflow).
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$495
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Available immediately

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