The Boss/Roland SP sampler thread

The good old SP series seems to have some users on this board, so I thought it might be a good idea to gather some tips, info and use examples.

I got a SP-303 a few months ago and mainly
use it as a lofi resampler to accompany my other gear. But so far it only played a background role and I would like to get more out of it, hence this thread. Besides that, the lo-fi sampling mode sounds absolutely glorious and I find it is worth keeping the SP around for that alone.

What I still don’t understand is the internal file structure and how saving/loading really works. Even though I follow the (spare) instructions in the manual, I’m never sure if I really saved my sounds before powering the unit off. On the other hand, there are some lame drum samples on my unit that I now have deleted countless times, yet they still appear on one bank. Also, The memory seems to be full (Ful) way too fast, so some other sounds might be ghosting around somewhere that I don’t understand.

So if anyone of you could share a detailed guide on saving, it would be much appreciated.

Besides that, lets hear how you are using the samplers. I’m dreaming of a super lofi ambient setup with the SP and a varispeed tape recorder for pitch changes.


I don’t have one and never have, but I did have a 505 for a while and there’s an awful lot to like about the series. If people on here are putting them to use, my ears are 100% open


do you have a memory card for the 303? that will give you capacity for longer samples and it’s also faster to save and delete to than the internal memory.

the vinyl sim is lovely (turn down the crackles) for it’s compression / wow+flutter vibes.

the best results i find is from lots of layering and resampling and then running it all thru the vinyl sim or compressor.

i don’t find the 303 to be that useful from a performance perspective, but i do enjoy it as a collage tool.


Yes, I have a 32MB card. But I don’t
really get it. It’s a bit embarrassing. But it kinda confuses me.

And yes, layering can be beautiful on this device.

I also used it in a couple of tracks that recorded in one take (so a semi-performance) but in these I only had one loop running to have full control over it. As I understand it, you can’t select samples/pads without restarting them.

I always quite fancied getting one to use as an effects pedal purely for that - can you run a signal through it directly and have it output via the effect without needing to sample it?

20 characters of yup!


i don’t miss everything about the sp series but they fit my “mind” like a glove (especially in comparison to various mpc or daw based samplers)

had both 303 and 404 for years and my setup for everything from beats to raw ambient noise was a cassette deck, sp404 and computer

nothing like it imho

fav fx were compression, resampling, sub bass, and autowah (irreplaceable)


I have an SP-404 and really appreciate the sample length capabilities. The pads aren’t as playable as I’d like, but do the job. I believe MPC-stuff is going to release a super fat pad upgrade soon though. I have my fingers crossed that they’ll just feel right.


Does that go for all models or just the 303? I’m embarrassed to admit that I never tried it when I had my 505 as the idea hadn’t occurred to me until I’d decided thst HW samplers were no longer for me & sold it!


i need to leave this thread


my fav use case
especially for pitch freq adjustments to tape and resampling to a pad

even if you chose to record the capacity was enough to record whole beatmaking sessions

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pretty sure all models.
i used to have the 505 - that one is awesome. i love that you can see the waveform and do chopping and pitched layouts. same fx engine as the 303.

wow those fat pads look great.


Yeah, it was clearly one heck of a machine but I got offered a chunk of money for it and ended up moving it on before I’d really given it a chance because my mind was on other things (namely: Moogs!)

Big fan of these samplers, have owned almost the whole range over the years, currently only have the 202 left. It has the great 4mb SmartMedia card though :grin:


I’m currently using it as a “front end” for my Norns. OP-1 plugged into the back and a 1/4 cable plugged into the front for guitar/mic/thumb piano etc. I’ve loaded the SP up with field recordings, so I can send some combination of those things into Norns with FX on any combo of them as well. I really think it’s perfect for this and I’ve been very happy with the results.


Rightly or wrongly I can’t think of that unit without thinking of the first cLOUDDEAD series of records


i think some music fans would be surprised by the large format 555 or 606
many great producers have made phenomenal stuff with em

some exhibits:

and i’m pretty sure devonwho was using one for live sets too at one point


Great stuff, recommend this set as well.

He uses the delay on the 505 as a looper of sorts, passing in audio through the Korg microsampler.

i use my 303 on everything i make. all the time. i either use it as an external effect send for ableton or i sample / layer in to it and back in to ableton. i often use the compressor on my master track too. it weaves everything together nicely and if you really push it, you’re in instant lofi boom bap land.

i’ve never used it to perform. i basically think of it as my favorite effects box / texture “maker” ever.


I really really need to stop following this thread. Now I want a 303 and 404…which means I’d have to let some euro go to afford it! Noooooo