Roland SP-404A: Sampling and Sequencing for Live Performances


Always raising the bar to meet the ever-expanding creative needs of customers, Roland’s SP-404A takes all the goodies found in the SP-404SX and tacks on more sounds, plus a cool AIRA black-and-green color scheme. It can be used in stand-alone fashion, with a TR-8 Rhythm Performer, or with DJ mixers, making it ideal for use in a variety of live-performance applications. It can be used in production studios or in remote locations, thanks to its power options—use the supplied AC adapter or pop in six AA batteries.

As a sampler, the SP-404A combines convenience and versatility. Record sounds at 16-bit/44.1 kHz via its internal microphone, a preferred external mic, or the stereo line input. If you prefer pre-produced samples, load them on an SDHC card, then slide that into the SP-404A’s SD card slot and assign them to the pads. Courtesy of free software, you can even import samples from a computer! Roland has bundled an SD card with more than 100 sounds to spark your inspiration and get you closer to sonic glory.

The built-in Pattern Sequencer allows you to use real-time loop recording to make patterns as lengthy as 99 bars. Quantizing with shuffle capability brings on-point timing to the mix so you won’t have to worry about sloppy tracks. Store up to 120 patterns and trigger them live for on-the-fly variations.

There is a welcome set of live performance controls optimized to deliver fluid manipulation of your samples and patterns. Illuminated pads—12 rubber trigger pads and a Sub Pad—let you quickly play sounds without stumbling through menus. Use the three control knobs on the top of the unit when you feel the urge to tweak parameters and effects.

Speaking of effects, the SP-404A has 29 of them! If you want silky or subtle, go for its reverb, chorus, or delay. When it’s time to grab some attention, try the filter, isolator, or voice transformer. In 17 of the effects, an integrated limited is utilized for protection against overloading and accidental distortion. Don’t worry about dropouts when switching effects; gapless transitions ensure smooth changes.

Whether you’re a DJ, music producer, or beat-maker, consider putting the Roland SP-404A in your toolbox for live sets, shows, and more. Feel free to stop by the B&H SuperStore or visit our website to check it out!

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