The Boss/Roland SP sampler thread

one month out from parting with my 404 and this thread is killing me, ha. I love the filter on it (in addition to everything else mentioned). wish I had watched some tutorial vids on it prior to like year 6 of owning it because I unlocked so much more once I did.


I was just going through this with my sp303 the other day actually. The only samples that will be saved when doing a backup on the card are from banks A/B only. Which I don’t understand why it’s this way but it is. What I’ve done but can’t confirm works for saving the other samples is just making a copy of the card on my computer after saving samples from A//B. The idea is that if I deleted the samples on banks C/D and later wanted to load them that I’d just copy the backup I made back to the card.

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I was first made aware of the SP-404 at a James Blake gig in 2012. I didn’t really know how it worked but after watching some videos I took the leap and it became my entry in electronic music.

I started out making lofi-beats in the beat battles at SP-Forums using my SP-404sx. Really embracing the lofi-esthetics, the endless resampling that can sculpt any sound into anything – I made a toy trumpet into a “hammond with leslie” once. Later I added a 303 and a Zoom Sampletrak ST224 (“poor man’s sp-1200”). Working on the 303 was frustrating due to the slower memory card, fewer pads and banks etc.

After a few years of forgetting all my old tricks, I’ve just recently gotten interested in making the SPs a part of my workflow again. Preferably as a part of my studio setup to lower the treshold of using them.

Good to see an sp-thread!


Currently I am using my SP404 in a very basic way, it is on the floor by my pedals and I use my feet to trigger transitions in song with my band(and also a vocal sample in the middle of one song).

What inspired me getting one was seeing Animal Collective play an intimate club show in 2007. The way they used SP samplers live was really inspiring, creating a toolset that allowed them to improvise transitions between songs and it even seems that they jammed some song. This was before strawberry jam and they played a lot of new material in an early form. Very inspiring stuff.

There was this kid Spender Radcliffe that called himself Blithe Field that used to have some amazing youtube videos of playing an SP404. He still has a great bandcamp page of albums made almost exclusively “in the box” on an SP and later an MPC of some kind.

What I like about the SP is how active the SP-forum community was in finding workarounds and workflows that really expanded on the functionality of the SP. I love to record some asynchronous loops and just compose stuff on the fly with those phasing in and out of each other. I need to use my SP more.


Thanks for clearing that up. Time to break out the old card adapter thing :slight_smile:

Damn, extreme GAS symptoms kicking in!

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I had a 404sx a while ago and really miss it. Been hunting for a deal on one for a while but it seems like they don’t come up very often. Might have to wait to find a broken one and try to fix it up…

One thing I really liked to do was to use the sample start time as a granular scrubbing effect. If a sample is playing/looping while you change the start time it will automatically restart to where the knob is set. Sounds pretty rough, I think it’s what’s happening with the sample manipulation here (@ 2:50)


That’s excellent - I’ve never (knowingly) heard an SP being used like that before

omg. def need to use my sp more often.

Thinking out loud here, but wouldn’t it be great to have some sort of SP-sequencer on the Norns? I’ve always hated the sequencer on the SP itself.

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“Bible School” is one of my favourite records ever!


Late, but on this now. Lovely! Even better that he made it on an SP - I absolutely love when people use things I know in ways I don’t expect *

  • you could choose to take this into some really dark places but remember that, if you do, that’s on you - I was just talking about a sampler…

I love my 303. The FX are great and it’s such a warm, gooey FX box. I like putting samples of (cold, abrasive) digital pads and “playing” them with the 303. Another thing I enjoy doing, akin to the method above, is taking a long sample (on a smart card) and using the “mark” to loop different sections and using the start and end points to find interesting, complementary rhythms. Something about the 303s amp envelope or something avoids zero-point clipping and is always nice and punchy.

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Maybe you’ve seen these. I’ve found this guy’s use of the Dakim-technique really good. And it’s refreshing to see grooves being made that are something else than boom-bap.

Here he explains it a bit further:

And this one, where he makes a house track through resampling is cool too:


I’ve not come across the Dakim technique but have been listening to the record he did with Fumitake Tamura on Leaving a lot lately and this glimpse behind the curtain of his process is very much appreciated

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fwiw, Dak—though obviously not relegated to this or that piece of equipment—mostly uses an Akai MPC1000.


Effectively the 404sx is only being used as a looper in this scenario, isn’t it? I’m guessing other things could be utilised to do it. I wonder if ENSO could on iOS… I bet Chris would know

This is incredible.

Id scrolled past it cause I thought Id seen it before (whats that venue? edit: Mndsgn’s LA living room). I hadn’t. And I was worse off because of it.


I like pairing my 404 with my octatrack using the cue outs for send/return duties. Allows me to use 404 effects and sample both ways

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I decided to go another direction and put my 303 up for sale.

If everyone could stop posting these awesome links that would be great. :wink:

I’ve convinced myself my newly acquired 2016 refurb’ed Mac can do all that I need…but you punks are giving me second thoughts.


This technique is so awesome. Almost missed it, too. Fantastic stuff.