Sequential Circuits Studio 440

Sequential Studio 440 Image

The Studio 440 is like the Grand-Daddy of Sequencing/Sampling Drum and Music Production Machines. You may have heard of the Akai MPC60, MPC2000, MPC3000 and E-mu SP1200 machines. Although some of these exceed the limits of the Studio 440, it is still very much worth checking out! The major difference between the modern Akai MPCs and the Studio 440 is that its sampler is 12-bit. A little lo-fi in comparison to the 16-bit MPC. The Studio 440 also has a slim 520kb memory so you won't have much time to sample anymore than some short percussion and drums.

Similar to the MPC60, the Studio 440 has an analog lowpass filter which is always fun. Unfortunately it is not resonant. The Sequencer is intuitive and quite functional with a capacity of 50,000 notes, 8 separate tracks and a swing function. But unlike its contemporaries, the 440 has some visionary features for its time. MIDI data from the sequencer can be transmitted out so that it can play external MIDI instruments. There is also built-in SCSI for external drives and storage.

The 440 is pleasant to look at, even today. It's simple to use and sounds pretty darn good despite its lo-fi 12-bit sampler. Though an MPC is likely a better buy than the 440 these days the 440 still commands quite a high asking price. It was, after all, one of Sequential's last products. It was way ahead of its time and was also very hip! They are rare and difficult to have serviced - what else would you expect from a Vintage instrument!

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26 Visitor comments
Bencollins
April 12, 2011 @ 11:55 am
The finest sampling drum machine EVER made. One mistake is to view this as "only" a drum machine. It's so much more and many famous artists like stevie wonder have constructed entire backing tracks on the studio 440. They are extremely hard to find and a realistic estimate of fully functioning studio 440's must be as low as a few hundred. I sold mine and have regretted it ever since as they seem to have doubled in price these days.
JMarcos
March 8, 2011 @ 10:47 am
Greetings, If anybody wants to sell? please send to me email: juanmarcos@hotmail.com I will pay very good amount for SCI Studio 440, Juan.
jim40
February 26, 2011 @ 4:53 pm
The Studio 440 is an absolute classic. It also has a very "warm" 12-bit sound with true analog VCF filtering. 8 outputs, stereo panning on the fly etc. Very hard to find as only around 500 were ever produced.
I searched for well over 10 years to find mine and had to part with 1600 euros! (ouch) but to me it's worth every cent as it inspires me to write in a different way from staring at my laptop screen and these things will only get rarer and increase in value in years to come.
Johnny Junior
July 28, 2010 @ 11:36 pm
Aphex Twin have used this!
Hope someday buy one of this toys =)
Mista P
September 16, 2009 @ 5:02 pm
The 440 has a sound that the 60 doesn't get close to, as does the 1200. The 60 has a sequencer that neither of these two machines can touch. The thing I like about the 440 is that it has more sample shaping tools than either. Full ADSR (something the 60 could do with) on both the VCA and VCF (something the 1200 could only dream of), bidirectional looping (which ensoniq picked up on with the EPS), real time recording of volume, pan and pitch (on stereo outs) with dedicated pots, the list goes on and on. If the mpc is a better buy these days (as stated above) I would venture it is because these are as rare as hens teeth..
 
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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.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - This is an original demo of the Studio 440 with its typical sounds and a ReBirth 303 acid-line (to spruce it up).

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Sampler - 12-bit 16-32-44KHz
  • Memory - 512kb; SCSI port
  • Filter - Analog Lowpass non-resonant filter with envelope
  • Sequencer - 50,000 notes, 8 tracks, with adjustable swing (50 - 75%) and more
  • Keyboard - 8 pads
  • Effects - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1987
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Andre Schaefer.

    Thanks to Johan Sahlberg - F L Y H for providing some information.

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