In [this interview](http://www.stonesthrow.com/news/2005/05/mad-skills) with Mad Skills, Madlib talks about drum machines he uses: Madskills: "Are there certain pieces that you feel more comfortable around, that you tend to use a lot?" Madlib: "Just these little box machines, like the (Roland SP) 606 and the (Boss SP) 303. I like the 606, 'cause it has a gang of effects on it."more
cons: 8 note poly, only 4 tracks, small lcd, no 16 level pitch, can't resample patterns, weak time stretch.
pros: Linux compatible. audio/midi interface. can be used as a midi controller, EFX from the gods!! has mute groups. (the only SP that does.)
to understand the attraction to the Roland/Boss SP-Sampler series you have to know what an SP is: just enough midi/sequencing to get by as a sequencer, just enough audio routing to be a sampler.. but an effects engine beast. consequently where SP's fail you as a sampler you have to make up for those failing with the effects. it forces a lot of creativity out of you.
almost all of its weakness have a workaround involving the efx's: you can't resample patterns but you can resample the delay buffer, if the wet and the echo are all the way up you can get a whole bar in there.
if I want 16 levels, I can resample a button pressed 16 times while changing the pitch effect with a knob before auto-chopping across the pad bank. add to that: this thing is an audio interface, i.e. sampling directly from youtube.
windows 7 requires a hack to get working that can be found at the sp forums. more than worth the $250 i spent on it.