Roland SP-808 / SP-808EX

Roland SP-808 Image

The SP-808 GrooveSampler was originally released in 1998 as an all-in-one phrase-sampling music workstation. It was released as part of Roland's Groove Gear. The updated SP-808EX (pictured) adds a cool new translucent design, many enhancements, and is now dubbed the e-Mix Studio. Essentially the SP-808 is a phrase sampler with a pattern sequencer, hard-disk digital multitrack recorder, high quality studio-effects, and more! Both machines are geared towards sampling musicians, remixers, broadcasters and DJ's.

The original SP-808 (GrooveSampler) can play up to four stereo samples simultaneously. If that seems a little thin, you can always bounce the samples down with any mixing, editing and effects you may have applied, opening up those tracks for more samples. It samples at 44.1 and 32 kHz sampling-rates, with a maximum sample time of 25 minutes of stereo 44.1 kHz sampling! Sample via analog or digital inputs, the SP-808 holds over 1,000 samples! Its sampler has a full set of editing features and some nifty tricks to make sampling very easy! BPMs of loops can easily be adjusted to match song tempo. All samples are stored/read directly from the 100 MB Zip Drive rather than internal RAM memory. AIFF and WAV audio formats are not supported as Roland is using their own proprietary sample storage method to maximize sample space on ZIP disks.

Studio quality effects include a filter, reverb, delay, pitch shifting, distortion, phaser, compression, Karaoke mode, and many more effects. There's also a D-Beam controller to tweak pitch and volume - Theremin style. Effects are realtime tweakable, but only one effect can be used at a time, so it pays to resample your sounds with effects processing to use more effects.

Recording is also pretty easy. Once you've filled the unit up with all your samples, they are available via the pads labelled 1 - 16. Like the VS-880, arm any of the four tracks you want to record to. Hit Record and trigger samples from the sample pads, add effects, adjust levels and do some panning. Songs can be recorded in real time or step time. The multi-track section has some nifty features of its own to make it quick and easy to use.

The SP-808EX (e-Mix Studio) has a virtual monophonic synthesizer for use with the step-sequencer and D-Beams. It also has new vocal and guitar multi-effects, a 10-band vocoder, Voice Transformer and Mic Simulator, plus dozens of DJ-oriented groove effects. A larger 250MB Zip drive replaces the original 100MB Zip for expanded sampling/multi-track recording time, up to 61 stereo minutes, compressed. Expansion options include the OP-1 interface (6 analog outs, 2 digital I/Os, SCSI) or OP-2 interface (XLR I/Os, digital I/O, SCSI). For use live or in the studio, the SP-808 offers a complete music production package!

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56 Visitor comments
sotiris
April 28, 2014 @ 10:03 am
Thanks very much
Finally the disc came out...
Thanks again
SailSonar (on ebay)
April 27, 2014 @ 11:01 pm
sotiris,
Assuming you have the internal drive.
Get access to the back of the drive.
On the back left upper corner there is a hole just a bit bigger than a paperclip...
Use a paperclip or something else that will fit in the hole to trigger the manual release on the drive.
If you have an external drive same thing back upper left corner

Hope that helps
sotiris
April 27, 2014 @ 8:11 am
Please can you help me the disc stuck inside the zip drive!!!
What can I do? Is it possible to make reset the sampler?
If anyone knows please tell me
Ben
April 23, 2014 @ 1:43 pm
@tokiri
The "d-beam" is a method of controlling different parameters made by Roland. It works via an infra-red led and a photoresistor, having kind of a theremin effect. You operate it by assigning a certain effect or what have you through the on board menu and then waving your hand over the sensor. One interesting feature that you mentioned is that you can run a line through the machine and control an effect assigned to the d-beam thus having a theremin type setup without an actual theremin (though the same technology is used as a cheaper method of control for DIY theremins and whatnot).
tokiri
August 1, 2013 @ 8:58 am
@1.
" Fun if connected on synth audio outputs and used as a multi Fx by the D beam. "

Can you (or someone) elaborate on what this means/how you do it? I'm new to the world of hardware synths, but I'm thinking of buying one of these. I want to use it as like an effects unit and/or a midi controller for another synthesizer. Would this be an appropriate/possible usage for an SP-808? Would it just require midi and audio connection? Thanks so much!

This machine looks amazing, especially for the price. I find the d-beam feature really fascinating and can't wait to play around with it.
 
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  • 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.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 4 Stereo Voices
  • Sampler - 44.1kHz and 32kHz sample-rates, holds up to 1,024 samples (16 pads x 64 banks)
  • Sequencer - 64 songs, 2000 events per song
  • Filter - Filter effect: lowpass resonant, low boost; Isolator effect: isolate hi, mid or low bands
  • Effects - GrooveSampler: 99 preset patches, 99 user patches; e-Studio: 25 algorithms, 149 preset patches, 149 user patches
  • Memory - 100 MB Zip Drive (250 MB in e-Mix Studio)
  • Keyboard - None
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT, MMC, MTC, MIDI Clock
  • Date Produced - 1998 - GrooveSampler; 2000 - e-Studio

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