Roland’s SP-404 MKII sampler gets powerful new sequencing features and effects

When I went hands-on with Roland’s SP-404 MKII back again in October I claimed it was “getting to be” my preferred sampler. Quickly ahead a couple months and it is firmly entrenched in that location. Of course, no piece of equipment is fantastic, and there’s generally home for advancement. So Roland is pushing out a 2. firmware update that only even further cement’s the 404’s location at the prime of my checklist.

Perhaps the most significant addition is a new TR-style (as in TR-808) step sequencer. When the SP sequence has often appealed extra to those people that want the free really feel of are living instrumentation, becoming in a position to punch in a simple 4-on-the-floor kick that is correct on the dollars is constantly pleasant. Which is primarily accurate if your sense of rhythm is only so-so, but it also helps make the 404 extra useful for genres that are all about currently being ideal on the conquer like house and techno. And in some strategies, it can be truly far more versatile than your typical TR-model sequencer since styles can be up to 64 bars (or 1,024 ways) in size. 

In addition to currently being ready to plan beats by manually punching in specific ways, you can also now report to patterns in chromatic method: load up a sample of a one notice and just engage in a melody into a pattern. Formerly this had to be finished by means of resampling, i.e. developing an solely new sample of the melody you performed.

Roland SP-404MKII

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

But wait around, you will find more! Now chromatic sample playback has 3 distinct modes — plain outdated monophonic, legato (excellent for sliding bass traces) and polyphonic — so you can turn a solitary piano note into a chord. And, I can not feel I’m declaring this, but it gets greater nevertheless. Roland has vastly enhanced the time stretching algorithm. Frankly, it was borderline worthless prior to. Now, in addition to the default “vinyl” manner of pitch shifting (just participating in points back a lot quicker or slower), there are two Variphrase modes (these change pitch with no modifying playback length): Backing, for matters with unique assaults like drums and guitar and Ensemble for sustained seems like strings and synth pads. Backing is still a tiny tough sounding, though it handles drums decently adequate. But Ensemble is lightyears beyond what the 404 formerly had, and is key to creating that new polyphonic sample playback method useable.

Now if this was all Roland additional, it would be a rather huge offer. But the enterprise also integrated 4 new bus effects: SX Reverb, SX Delay, Cloud Delay and Backspin. Additionally you will find now a Harmonizer on the enter Fx menu and a 2nd variation of reverse playback borrowed form the SP-303 for individuals that really want to lean into the lo-fi heritage of the assortment. And, on major of all of that, the Skip Back aspect can, at any time, remember audio from up to 40 seconds in the previous the place its prior iteration had a 25 second optimum.

In limited, Roland took what was currently a pretty terrific piece of music equipment and designed it even much more alluring. Now if only they were not completely out of inventory in all places. 

All products advisable by Engadget are chosen by our editorial workforce, unbiased of our father or mother enterprise. Some of our tales incorporate affiliate one-way links. If you obtain anything through 1 of these back links, we may well receive an affiliate fee.