Roland SP-808 Groove Sampler About: This is one of the many gifts from the Roland for Liam. I don't know if Liam has used this.. he prefer more old stuff made before 1980, but this one is really cool toy for anyone, so maybe he can find some use for this machine too. Gear info: The SP-808 Groove Sampler is the first product of its kind a sampling and recording workstation which is one part professional-quality phrase sampler; one part hard disk audio recorder. Developed to meet the needs of a growing "remix" and sampling-based music market, the SP-808 provides everything DJ's, sampling musicians and remix artists need. Remix-orientated phrase sampler/hard disk audio recorder w/8-tracks (4 stereo) digital multitracker -16 assignable sample pads per bank (64 banks total) -Internal zip drive records all audio tracks & stores all samples on removable 100 mb zip disks. 64 minutes/1024 samples can be stored on a single disk. -Automatic tempo calculation and display plus resampling time stretch functions. -On-board effects (reverb,chorus & delay effects plus "Lo-fi","Wah","Isolator", & synth effects -D-Beam controller -Realtime effects control (3 assignable knobs) -Can also be used as a digital multi tracker recorder. eatures: Professional remix-oriented phrase sampler/hard disk audio recorder with 8 tracks (4 stereo audio tracks) and 16 assignable sample pads per bank (64 banks total) Built-in ZipT drive records all audio tracks and stores all samples on removable 100MB Zip disks; 64 minutes/1024 samples can be stored on a single disk for instant access Automatic tempo calculation and display, resampling functions and time stretch functions Onboard Roland reverb, chorus and delay effects including Delay RSS, Space Echo and Flanger, as well as Distortion, "Lo-fi," "Wah," "Band Isolator" and analog synth processing Onboard Step Modulator effect simulates a classic Roland analog synth, modulating pitch, LFO, etc. in sequential steps Revolutionary dual D-Beam* Controller allows for effects and sample control via hand and body movement over infrared light beam Three assignable real-time control knobs for effects control Can be used as a basic digital multi-track recorder Four analog outputs standard; optional I/O board transfers all audio in the digital domain and provides 6 additional analog outputs Backlit LCD, buttons and LED for use in low-light settings Relase date: 1998 Type: Sampler/sequencer/hard disk recorder/virtual analogue synth/effects processor ALL IN ONE!more
This was my first "real" piece of music gear that wasn't guitar-focused. It got me through a late-90s live performance obligation that required some live sample triggering and manipulation, but it proved to be an unworthy studio hub during my first year of ownership.
The FX were fun, the flashing lights were fun, and the layout was straightforward enough, but I recall the (MIDI) event timing was noticeably sluggish, even to someone as inexperienced as I was at the time... and, if memory serves, it only got worse when more FX and disk-streamed tracks where added at the same time.
I'm lucky to have sold it while the original SP-808 still being produced; I remember being relieved that the eBay auction closed for only a few bucks below list price... at least my (ultimately) bad decision didn't cost me too much $$.
If you see one at a yard sale, skip it. This is NOT an SP-202/303/404 on steroids, it's a 90s Roland VS-series multitrack recorder taking on more sampling and sequencing duties than it can successfully handle.
The effects and editing of the effects is much more extensive than a SP404 or 303. However, the effect when applied to the sample bank applies to all samples, as opposed to being able to choose single samples for effects like the 404. You have mute groups on this, clicks can be pretty noticable tho. Sequencer is basically useless and too often produced a "DISK BUSY" type error. There is a vari-speed option which is like playing all sample at a fixed slowed down rate on tape, changing frequency response and all, as well as sample time, and of course pitch and speed. Resampling is your friend here. I always felt like I could give my drums character using this unit with all the effects and eq.
Picked this up at a time when I needed a sampler and was about to become unemployed, so it was a bit of a desperation purchase. And as it turned out, it really wasn't the sort of tool I needed. I eventually ended up getting an SP-505 and a Korg ES-1 to replace it, and between the two of them they do what I need better than this thing does. And my SP-808 has been stored away in a box for about 12 years.
That's not to say that it's not useful or powerful, though. It's got some great capabilities, great effects and such. But it has a bit of a split personality. It's best thought of more as a studio workstation, rather than just a sampler, yet it's designed for live performance. And it uses a zip drive and zip disks, which can develop the click-of-death issue from being moved around too much.
the sampler is awesome, just dont expect the mpc workflow. the sequencer is actually a 4track recorder and the pads are super small. also, it works with zip discs and its very hard/impossible to switch to hdd or cf.
great for remixing, awesome customizable fx, dbeam is fun but useless in dark clubs, can be upgraded to the EX software.