In [this tribute](http://www.stonesthrow.com/news/2006/04/fantastic-voyage) to J-Dilla on Stones Throw's official site, Karriem Riggins says, "They brought him a little Boss [SP] 303 sampler and little 45 record player.....That's what brought him through to make a lot of music that we hear on Donuts."more
At the 0:01 mark, you can see the camera go from a blur to a more focused view. In this view, we catch a glimpse of Alchemist using the SP 303. It’s hard to make out at first, but you can see the classic SP pads, and it looks like there are only 2 rows of pads (8 pads total). This looks like the SP 303.more
Panda's favorite sampler. "I've been using the Boss SP-303 almost exclusively (besides drums) for three years or so now. I think it's about time to move on, at least focus-wise. But it's been my favorite thing to use without a doubt." - Panda bear (Noah Lennox) for Pitchfork, February 15, 2007.more
This cheap sampler is really perfect for old-school Hip-Hop type beats. The bitcrusher gives some nice grittyness, the vinyl simulator is great too. The 26 effects are really where this unit shines. The built-in sequencer sucks, but at least it's there. I sequence using my MPC 2000XL, and the SP-303 compliments it very well.
The prices on these and the 404s have been shooting up lately, (probably because of the whole lo-fi hip hop scene that's gotten so popular lately) but they are so worth it. I think I paid around $265 for mine, which was probably a little too much, but I had been looking for one for a while. The sequencer on it is pretty terrible, but I just use it as either an FX box to color my samples before they go into my MPC-2000, or sequence it with the MPC. I borrowed a 404 from a friend a while back, and while it's basically the same as the 303 with more memory and a couple of extra FX, one thing the the 303 has over it is the long/lo-fi sampling modes. The 404 only has the lo-fi mode, which gives that really crunchy SP-1200 sound, but the 303 also has the long mode, which gives it just a bit of downsampled crispiness, which sounds great on drums. I haven't even mentioned the vinyl sim, godDAMN, just perfect on drum breaks.
perfect little sampler! effects are great and the sound is really good on this machine. only wish it that it had batteries. but then, you got the 404 aswell. the design of the 303 also is perfect!
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It has it's faults (sequencer isn't particularly intuitive), but some of its limitations make for some kick ass creativity. I can spend hours and hours just playing on this thing.