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SP-404 or KP3?
Old 4th July 2009
Lives for gear
esaias's Avatar
SP-404 or KP3?


I need a box from which I can trigger samples/loops live, mostly in between songs just fill out the gaps etc. and maybe something during the songs. The box needs to have FX so sounds/loops can be manipulated live for better sounding/looking live performance , a MIDI sync would be cool but not neccessary.

I've narrowed down the options to SP-404 or KP3, SP is easier because it has 12 separate pads but KP3 has cooler effects but I don't quite understand where/how the samples are triggered since I've never used KP3.

Do you guys have any opinions/suggestions? The live set-up is otherwise fine, this would be extra box for simple sample triggering.

Old 4th July 2009
Gear Guru
Yoozer's Avatar
The KP3 has the samples as an extra, not as its basis. If all you need is triggering, get the SP.

You sample the incoming signal directly (like a looper) and leave it to the machine to figure out when they stop/start. Triggering is done with one of the 4 buttons below the screen, at least that's what I could deduce from the Youtube videos.

You could also combine the SP with a Kaoss Pad mini if your budget can stretch that way.
Old 5th July 2009
Lives for gear

Definitely try the sp404 and download the manual before committing.

It looks real good on paper but has a lot of limitations -- for example, it doesn't set tempo in 1 bpm increments throughout its whole range. To my ear it doesn't sound all that great either, and once you take a loop out of its original tempo the audio can get downright nasty -- this is not Ableton Live.

There is no MIDI out jack, btw -- so you would have to sync it to another device, no way to send clock from it.

But see what you think. People unload used 404s regularly. I ended up buying a used 606 for about the same money, smaller maximum memory but it's much more professional in its feature set although the audio issues are the same.
Old 5th July 2009
Lives for gear

i tried a 404 - took me like 8 minutes to realize it wasn't for me. doesn't sound great, and trying to manually transfer your own samples in took a loooong time. some people swear by it, but i can't see the appeal. to me it feels like what i read in terms of specs and capabilities is completely different from the unit hands-on.
Old 6th July 2009
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by cl516 View Post
i tried a 404 - took me like 8 minutes to realize it wasn't for me. doesn't sound great, and trying to manually transfer your own samples in took a loooong time. some people swear by it, but i can't see the appeal. to me it feels like what i read in terms of specs and capabilities is completely different from the unit hands-on.


But if you just have to get a 404, also get a card reader for your computer, and do the sample transfer direct from computer to card.

Loading samples into the card while it's in the SP is the bottleneck, from what I understand.
Old 12th February 2011
Here for the gear

Anything else about these. I am looking for a simple hardware sampler.
Old 13th February 2011
Lives for gear
Diametro's Avatar

If you're already using a laptop, consider NI's Maschine ... Will do EVERYTHING the 404 will -- excepting standalone operation with battery power and the built-in mic ... Although if you just consider the controller and laptop as part and parcel, then I guess it will run on battery power, too ... Maschine should run well with other software as the CPU requirements seem low in actual use ...

The thing that really made the 404 unusable and sell it was the lack of a real display ... How the hell am I supposed to remember what all those banks of samples are with a three-digit display (for christ sake my JP8 has four ... !!!) The solution ... ??? Write it down ... !?!!?! I tried and that sucked ... And as others said, it doesn't sound that great ... I don't miss mine at all ... Plus, there are WAY too many shift button combinations that require constant manual referencing ...

For everything Maschine does and how flexible and user-friendly, I really wouldn't mind toting around the lappy to a gig or rehearsal ... In fact, I'm about to import all my old samples from the 404 to Maschine and start over ... Obviously, no storage issues with Maschine ... Also, it has never crashed on me ...

After getting rid of the 404 I was hoping on the Beat Thang --- yeah, really -- but I gave up waiting on the hardware ... It seemed to be everything 404 was and so much more ... But I got a great deal on Maschine, which made it considerably less expensive than Beat Thing, NI is really, really supporting Maschine, and I've had it for six months now instead of MAYBE six months from now ...

The KP3 is not a true sampler ... You can only have four samples available at one time, and loading them is a major PITA ... It's more for capturing and mangling live audio and having the ability to save them for later on ... The sample fidelty is great, but that said, I almost never use the sampler ... I use it for the FX, which really is terrific ... But I'm pondering letting go of my two KP3s as I'm thinking I'd rather do all the FX in the box ... even if it means a temporary setback in terms of what I can do ... (Maschine 1.6 can host instrument and effect plug-ins now ... )
Old 13th February 2011
Gear Maniac

Yeah, Maschine is super fun to use. An even more portable solution is an iPod Touch/iPad running an app like Beatmaker2, NanoStudio, ChipPad...etc. Or both.
Old 13th February 2011
Lives for gear
wax808's Avatar

I had the original SP404 for a time, took it back and got my MPC1000 instead. Then I had a SP555 which I sold to get an SP404sx.

The SX has better sound quality and easier management than the original 404 did. You can now easily copy and move samples around from bank to bank. It's fast and I find the effects sound good.

The remains though that the SP404sx is a niche machine. It could never replace my MPC obviously, and I wouldn't have one as my only sampler.

For what I use it for though it works VERY well. I use mine as a compliment to the rest of my setup. I currently have mine going right into a Kaossilator Pro. I can play pads on the SP404sx and sample what I'm doing real time into the Kpro. It works perfectly for live looping that way.

I also use it to make different beats while mobile. If I make a beat in the SP404sx in pattern mode, then bring it home and slave it to my MPC, the beat will kick off once I press play on the MPC, synced up perfectly to the MPC's clock. The pads that are being played light up, and I can mangle each sound individually or as a whole if I want, pretty powerful stuff really. I like having the MPC and the SP404sx on different sides of a DJ mixer and fade between the beats.

The next step I'm working on now is to use it for one shot samples, lyrical phrases, dubstep wobs, whatever. It should add a lot to my live show if I do it right.

If someone were to ask my advice on having the sp404 as their only beat making machine I would tell them they better be ready to think outside the box and be ready to work within the limitations of that machine. It actually can have a pretty nice Ableton like workflow with each pad having a different progression on it. It's great to compliment an existing setup.
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