Roland SP-404 MKII A Major Update To Classic Compact Beatmaking Workstation

Internet music forums are buzzing today about the upcoming Roland SP-404 MKII, a major update to the classic SP-404 compact sampling workstation.

We have not seen an official announcement for the SP-404 MKII yet, but it looks like it will keep the SP-404 workflow, but improve on it with improved pads and controls; faster project loading and sample import; easy project access via 16 GB memory; and more.

Key Features (preliminary):

  • Bang out beats anywhere with AA or mobile battery power
  • Capture audio from or stream direct to your mobile device via USB,
  • Collaborate with a partner using the dual headphone outputs and mic/guitar input.
  • Edit samples with an OLED screen and zoomable waveform view.
  • Chop up samples by tapping out edit points in real time, or use auto chop to slice samples automatically.
  • Shape samples with envelope and pitch shift
  • New resampling workflow lets you re-record patterns and effects layers for detailed sound design.
  • Skip Back Sampling captures up to 25 seconds of audio from your performance.
  • Process, flip, and twist your sounds with classic SP effects and a selection of new effects, including: Lo-fi, Cassette Simulator, Resonator, Vocoder, Auto Pitch, Guitar Amp Simulator and more.
  • Adjustable input quantize and shuffle for custom swing.
  • Pad Link lets you fire multiple samples with a single tap.
  • Roll button for variable note repeat.
  • BPM-per-bank for instant tempo changes.
  • Organize patterns for different sets and chain them together to automate playback.
  • Load 160 samples across each project for expanded performance and beatmaking combinations.

Official details on the Roland SP-404 mkII are still to be announced.

In the meantime, check it out and share your thoughts on the SP-404 mkII in the comments!

42 thoughts on “Roland SP-404 MKII A Major Update To Classic Compact Beatmaking Workstation

      1. 2 heads are better than one for a single sampler with 2 headphone jacks. I can make the beats and my friend sitting right next to me can listen to it while im making it. No mixer needed, no headphone splitter required. BEST “SMART” idea ever.

          1. I’ve beat up multiple 404’s from the OG to the SX, skipped the A. If you’d like to make an attempt to explain how you will use the dual headphones, im willing to listen or just keep jabbing me. I saw “Pattern resampling” and was all in since I used to juggle pattern recording across a 303 and 404, mangling to get variations rather than resampling live. Just trying to make the point, im not a 404 newb. Saw “Dual headphone outputs” and after reading that full description, from this page and not the other one posted in GearSpace I still thought “Dual Headphones though?”
            Maybe folks will go crazy for 2 headphone jacks. I. can think of a few ways I’d use them, im creative but I wouldn’t actually do it and I dont thin kthey should have spent the resources putting it in this thing. How will you use it? I’m all ears.

            1. If you’re sampling a friend who’s playing the guitar, you can each wear a headphone without needing any additional gear or an adapter that keeps getting lost. It’s practical.

              1. That’s a use. People play guitars and sample them. There’s a lot of practicality in having dual headphones but it’s strange that’s it’s here and not on like every mixer, or another sampler or even an mpc. Imagine if it didn’t have it, I don’t think anyone would be screaming for it.
                But, kudos to you for having a real response, communication is hard for some.

                1. dude, you still didn’t read the description? Good grief.
                  – Collaborate with a partner using the dual headphone outputs and mic/guitar input.

                  Reading is hard for some, apparently.

                  1. Nah, just wasnt going to respond to that cause you’re just so awesome, I couldn’t wait to not answer you. But assume away, I for sure read the dual headphone part, skipped the rest of the sentence, and read everything else and the full product description on gearspace (which I mentioned but you probably didnt read that part).
                    So I’ll be the weirdo with the studio essentials like a mixer, speakers, and an audio interface. 100%, if the dual headphones weren’t included, you’d be screwed. I totally agree with you psynical, even though you really didnt make a point, come to think of it, you havent said anything, just jabs and mostly copy/paste, like debating a Charlie Brown bot. Good Grief.
                    Anyways, had fun! Cant wait for the 404 MK2 so I can find a dude with a guitar so we can rock out with those dual headphone jacks.

                    1. Long thread! But sometimes it’s things that current users _aren’t_ asking for that start something new. Maybe some teenagers in a bedroom will jam together and start a whole new genre.

                    2. It’s just a marketing gimmick, extra headphone out doesn’t cost much. I’m sure they’re hoping people come up with ways to use it. I can imagine something like a dj or beatmaker working with a rapper, but we’ll see…

                    3. Randy has no friends, thus never would need two headphone jacks.

                      It’s cool, friends are overrated anyway. They can call you out on bs


    1. Dual headphones is a great addition. Ex. have a guitar player monitor themselves while someone adds affects on the fly. I’m surprised other units (Maschine, Akai…) never added a dual headphones. And it adds another output.

      1. in fairness to him he’s mostly not wrong

        while this is certainly a nice upgrade to the 404 (a very popular instrument), Roland would rather sell you ridiculously over-priced TR-909 inspired clothing than make anything meaningful to forward their legacy

        1. point is there is no relevant to what you think about roland clothing, or other products.
          buy it, use it, rtfm, than you can say it’s “half baked” if you so want, and most importantly explain why so it will have any meaning to others,
          will never understand why some think their crying have any meaning to others.

    1. they upgrade the screen to oled with so you can edit the waveform, i think it’s one of the biggest screens on a sampler comparing to it’s size, it was not really needed, i hope it will not kill the workflow of working with your ears.

  1. I’ve always thought about getting a used 404sx to go with my MPC Live. This one looks like it could be amazing. I think I’d wait for this to come out rather than going for a used one now. I think it’s really interesting and improves on the previous ones in several key ways.

  2. i am not a fan of the previous models, but the longer i look at this, the more i can see quite some improvement here.. i am sure to check one out. maybe it fits my workflow

  3. This is no good for 3 reasons,
    You can’t watch tv on it.
    I won’t be purchasing unless these things are ALL addressed in a firmware update

  4. I like the idea of this, the screen would help a lot. I don’t think I’ll be buying one, I tend to use grooveboxes and live synths, my SX works fine for being able to trigger samples the way I need it.

  5. Got a Blackbox which is great, and waiting on my circuit rhythm in the mail. It’ll be interesting to see how this compares. I’ve never tried any samplers from Roland but I did have a tr6-s for a bit and I have a Jupiter Xm. Their very menu divey though which I don’t like. Is the sp404 like this too ?

    1. Not at all which is why its great. Screens add menus or idea that you can cram everything in since…SCREENS. Blackbox is as divey as I want even though I just used it to auto-sample and dig through records recording bits. The MPC Live is ridiculious, does everything, I make nothing. The OG 404 is like the Deluge, single button to do most things, attention stays on the music.

      I remember going from an MPC 1000 to the SP404SX, and chopping samples. Made me realize that slicing with a waveform killed it, made it so easy I just kept making the same beat. With the 404, using your ears and getting the bits you want, you start to focus more on the sounds than the slices, hard to describe. Its kind of like giving 2 kids a box of legos but only one kid gets the instruction manual to build a thing. 1 kids builds the thing, the other builds something unique.
      Check out some 404 beatmaker vids.

    2. I had a sp404 which I sold and got a Blackbox. One of the things I missed after selling the sp404 was the Fx and the pads, which blackbox doesn’t has.
      In my opinion the sp404 is much more fun for performance and as a standalone than the blackbox, but never bought back an sp404 because the lack of velocity sensitivity and it’s sequencer is very basic, but this new version looks like addresses it pretty well. I’m excited about it!

  6. this is very exciting, the 404 is hugely popular with beat makers, actually has a pretty deep cult following from the LA beat maker scene. the fact that Roland has taken this long to update is astonishing, too busy making 808 jackets guess. if Roland was ready to really give attention to this user base it could be rivaling / keeping pace along side what Akai is doing with the MPC line, not in feature set necessarily but just in keeping its specific workflow current, because people have very distinct reasons for using a 404 rather than an MPC, and many of use use both for the different creative directions they take you. i’m paying close attention and am very excited about this one.

  7. This looks great! Portable and powerful! Am excited! Anyone know how many parts multi timbral it is? I’ve been looking on the net but can’t find anything?!?!?

  8. Okay folks, time to put this double headphone thing to bed. The idea comes from the drag scene where ‘stacking’ (placing one wig on top of another) wigs for a ‘fuller’ look is commonplace. Placing
    one set of headphones on another i.e. stacking gives a fuller sound. Glad I could be of assistance here.

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