BOSS SP-303 Dr. Sample

BOSS SP-303 Image

The BOSS SP-303 Dr. Sample offers DJs and musicians a compact, portable phrase sampler with CD-quality sound, 8-note polyphony, 26 onboard effects and a realtime pattern sequencer. Definitely a step up from the SP-202, with full 44.1 kHz sampling, double the polyphony and much greater sampling memory and effects processing, but still just as compact and easy to use.

Use the SP-303 to sample sounds and loops or grooves (the highest sample time is about 200 min. with a 64MB SmartMedia Card and a sample rate of 11 khz). Then trigger up to 8 mono samples at once. Create songs from your loops and phrases (up to 99 measures). There are 26 effects like reverb, flanger, delay Voice Transformer, distortion, Slicer, Isolator, Lo-Fi, and Vinyl Simulator plus filter Cutoff and Resonance. The Resample feature allows you to make new samples of your sounds with the effects you've applied.

The SP-303 is an inexpensive alternative to more expensive samplers in a compact package perfectly suited for DJs and live on-stage performers. Plenty of quality specs without too many bells & whistles to get you bogged down.

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22 Visitor comments
December 19, 2011 @ 8:14 am
great machine.
the sp-202 also got battery power (which i would like also in this model),
but for me this is not a real problem.
cool for FX processing live and the lo fi sound is so dirty... love it!
very easy to learn and use.
October 15, 2011 @ 10:16 am
My first sampler, have some real fond memories of this thing. Control over the blend of the pitch shifter allows you to make complex choir-like sounds from simple loops. However, the internal memory is PAINFULLY slow to read/write to, to the point where I eventually gave up on using it, meaning I could only work with 16 samples live - far too few. I sold it and got a Zoom ST224, which has a lo-fi sound and crappy effects, but a much more sensible memory/patch system, far more features and even stereo 1/4" outputs - how refreshing. Does Boss/Roland really think that only DJs use these things??
July 26, 2010 @ 9:45 pm
Also used by Four Tet. Just picked up a 303 for $150. I previously owned a 404 for a couple years, sold it. I don't consider this a downgrade, just getting a sampler back in the works. I had a lot of fun with the 404, but the 303 is a bit more basic which is a plus for someone who is easily distracted like me. Some of the functions requiring the cpu seem a bit slowerg. The sound is just as great as the 404; and I see what people mean when they it is warmer... Less high end and less tinny overall. I'm building a midi rig and plan to have the 303 triggered, and possibly an effects send. My studio is budget but well conceived, and plan to make sure this sampler is effecting and triggering samples. Missing a few effects from the 404, but all my favs are here. DJfx was cool, but you once you hear it, it all sounds similar. Also, like that this is less showy than the 404, IMO. "I'm the operator with my pocket calculator."
March 8, 2010 @ 8:57 pm
I would just like to say that if you're looking into buying one of these, do it! I've made so much music with this device that just looking at the picture makes me smile. The effects are top-notch. My favorites would be the "octave" (excellent on guitar/bass) and the "filter + drive" (very wicked). It looks cool, has light-up pads, and sounds amazing (on any setting). My only two problems with the SP-303 would be the lack of any real sequencer (Korg ES-1) and the fact that you can't tune/pitch the samples (Zoom ST-224). Still, the quality of this machine is undeniable.
January 30, 2010 @ 6:35 pm
This sampler has become a legend over the past decade. It's been used by Panda Bear of Animal Collective, Madlib, MF Doom, Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Ed from Radiohead, Geoff from Portishead, Grizzly Bear, and countless other indie bands and hip hop artists. It's a classic!
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 3.18 (215 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - Demo of the SP-303 in action. From Future Music CD issue 110.

    Manual - Roland has made manuals for most of their products available as free PDF downloads.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Oscillators - None
  • Sampler - 44.1 kHz (standard), 22.05 kHz (long), 11.025 kHz (lo-fi); 31 seconds to 202 min
  • Sequencer - None
  • Effects - 26 effects including Filter + Drive, Pitch, Delay, Vinyl Sim, Isolator, Reverb, Tape Echo (+19 more!)
  • Memory - 32 samples (16 intern, 16 SmartMedia 3.3V Card); up to 112 samples backup
  • Keyboard - 8 touch pads
  • Control - MIDI IN
  • Date Produced - 2001
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Roland-US.

    Reviewed August 2008.

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