Roland today announced a new sampler, the SP-404A. They claim it’s essentially a further development of the SP303 with more features, more pads, more storage and an elegant new look.
With a maximum 12-voice polyphony, the SP-404A is able to store up to 120 samples and up to 120 patterns, sorted in up to 10 banks. 24 samples can be stored internally, a further 96 on an SD card. Depending on your SD card’s capacity, you can store around 48 hours of stereo audio or 96 hours of mono audio. There’s a bit of preloaded data on the card, which means its full capacity isn’t available to the user. That’s still lots of audio to store, though!
Samples are recorded in 44.1kHz, 16-bit CD quality format and can be treated with 29 effects. The available audio inputs and outputs include line in and out jacks, headphones, microphone, and midi-in. There’s even a built-in microphone for when that inspiration hits and you just need to sample. The SP-404A can last up to 5 hours on battery power and weighs 1.2kg/2lbs 11 oz.
It comes with 29 “Groove” effects such as slicer, delay, isolator, filter and drive for performance tweaking. The SP-404A can also operate as a short looper which allows you to loop a section within an audio phrase. You can alter the position as well as the length of the loop in real time.
The pattern sequencer is capable of recording 8000 events with a resolution of 96 TPQN in real time. So once you get your samples loaded you can really go to town – and then quantize it all back to something rhythmically useful. They’ve taken the “pattern cue” feature of the MC-909 Groovebox to cue up your next pattern. The internal memory can hold 24 patterns of up to 99 bars each.
While it doesn’t strike us as particularly innovative or very well put together, Roland’s new sampler will probably please DJs around the world with its form and immediacy. With an abundance of pads and buttons, the device looks easy and intuitive to use after getting past the initial learning curve.
Alas, Roland hasn’t provided any price or release date information. Hopefully, we’re looking at a powerful and affordable little sampler. We’ll update this post once more information is available.