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Roland SP-404 or MPC500 Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 15th December 2010
Gear Maniac

Roland SP-404 or MPC500

I'm having a hard time deciding between the two. Can anybody weigh in on pros and cons? which is more versatile? I'd appreciate any advice. I'd be using this primarily for live performance -

thanks so much - in advance!
Old 15th December 2010
Lives for gear
Deckdaddy's Avatar
Roland SP-404 or MPC500

What are your needs?

I have owned a 404, but sold it for a 303. They are fun samplers, but not anything like a MPC. You can't pitch or tune samples properly, sequencing is a bit tedious and limited, but big plus for effects and hands on easy use. Everything is instant, and you use your ears instead of a waweform display. My 303 and 505 are my travel buddies and for live use, sound effects etc. They can be a bit noisy (constant hiss on output RCAs) and sound quality is more like cassette. The newest 404 has uncompressed .waw instead of Rolands own compressed format and may therefore sound a bit better.

MPC is what I use most tho', as its far more serious. You can envelope and pitch samples, use layers, sequence with tracks, swing and lots of editing. Sound quality is top notch (I use a MPC2000XL, and have owned a 3000LE: loved the sound and hated the editing). Don't know if I would get a 500, but I guess size/portability is a factor as both have the option of running on batteries?

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Old 15th December 2010
Lives for gear
Deckdaddy's Avatar
Roland SP-404 or MPC500

Wow how did I miss the live part? A 404 would possibly be a safer choice. It's flash memory means no load time. Hands on live tweakable effects. I love the tape echo and vinyl sim. compressor. Light-up pads, easy to read display. But it requires that your samples sound like you want going in as you can't envelope (clicks on samples with bass material is annoying. I cant see why Roland can't implement a short fade in/out on their samplers?) I really like the 303 for live use. I have an 808 kit in the internal memory, and diverse material on memory cards. Swap a card and you have a whole different kit with zero load time. Shame that you cant choose a pad and multi-pitch it across the pads of a bank.

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Old 15th December 2010
Gear Maniac

hey man, thanks for the feedback!

they definitely both have pros and cons. I think either would work well in live settings, but its tough to say which is better. The load time isn't so much of an issue since its not the only piece of gear with playback that I'll be using so I can cover the transitions fine.

I sort of wish that one of them could just be a little bit more like the other - and you'd have a great compact solution!!!
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