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
balma
December 9, 2011 @ 6:50 pm
To Benjamin:
Before making the disk clean up, you must locate the cursor of the end of a sample (any sample)
Must press TRIM-Stretch button, press down arrow twice until you locate the cursor on the Lenght (end) of the sample just before making the clean up. That´s a weird stuff.
If you are located on the beginning of any sample, all the samples will be erased. No redo.
benjamin
November 11, 2011 @ 11:14 pm
heyyy i just performed the cleanup disc function to get back some time i had lost after deleting some samples and now i have no time at all. it says no disc space. what can i do?! =(
bossofkaoss
October 17, 2011 @ 8:45 pm
Simple question- without a zip disk in the drive will it give you an error similar to "zip disk error" or something close to that. I found one in a pawn shop but when powered up it gives that error msg. Ther is no zip disk in the drive but nowhere in the manual could I verify this- I don't want to pay 75.00 for a broken sp-808. Any advise on if without a zip disk would it give you an error?

The answer would be that it dosen't function without a zip in the drive and it would say " Plese Insert Zip Disk" but there is no Error message that I've encountered
Soundcloud.com/boss-of-kaoss
nameless133
September 26, 2011 @ 2:20 pm
This machine was also used by Craig Jones from the metal band Slipknot.
h4ndcrafted
August 24, 2011 @ 2:03 pm
I have done a detailed look at all the functions and buttons of this excellent Recorder/sampler here , I f you want to find out what this baby can do and how everything is implemented take a look :)
http://www.youtube.com/user/H4NDCRAFTED#grid/user/0E485669CB157E1A
 
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  • 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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