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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47 Visitor comments
SBDJ
March 3, 2012 @ 10:39 am
I don't really know of too many perfect samplers. But look at it this way.. how many samplers can hold 1024 samples in 64 "pages" a couple of button pushes away?

It's not great a drum sequencer, because of the 4 voice polyphony and Zip limitations, but I use it at the end of my chain to capture the output of all my machines. Effects? Killer. Timestretching? Very good. Sequencer? Well, you have 3 options, all that's missing is a looping pattern mode. Depending on your process, this makes a nice hardware alternative to Ableton.

Pair it with an ESX and never look back.
RobThom
February 2, 2012 @ 11:03 pm
Absolutely terrible machine!

I bought one of these new when it came out, and my experience with it pretty much single handedly convinced me not to ever buy a roland again.

An opinion that would be verified through further interactions with other recent roland pieces that were purchased by friends.

IMO roland has not built a decent piece of equipment since the 80's.

Its absolutely bizarre to me that they have remained so popular.
man123
February 1, 2012 @ 9:52 am
hahaha!..man vse always has ridiculously random estimated values, but this is one of the most laughable ones.
Est. value 1000-1500? These things are barely worth 100 these days.
Virtually all SP-models that came after this one where such improvements they made this thing pretty much obsolete.
sabotage
January 20, 2012 @ 8:19 pm
get the wav converter 2.2 version from the japanese roland site. You'll need to use google translate to get it, but you'll thank me after, as it doesn't corrupt the files like the 2.0 version on the US site does.
tag
January 18, 2012 @ 8:06 am
i have a sp 808 for sale please call 07912608339
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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