Link Description
Pic 1 Control Surface (Top)
Pic 2 Control Surface (Top)
Pic 3 Control Surface (Top)
Pic 4 ZIP Drive (Front)
Pic 5 ZIP Disks
Pic 6 ZIP Disks
Pic 7 Connections (Back)
Pic 8 Connections (Back)


A sampling and recording workstation which is one-part professional-quality phrase sampler, one part digital audio workstation, the SP-808 provides everything DJ's, sampling musicians and remix artists need to take their songs from concept to completion.

The SP-808 was designed from the ground up to meet the unique needs of modern sampling-based music and remixes. It features four stereo tracks of random-access digital audio recording and 16 assignable sample pads per bank (64 banks total). All audio tracks and phrase samples are recorded using the internal Zip(tm) drive to 100MB Zip disks, giving sampling musicians and remixers up to 64 total track minutes/1024 samples instantly accessible without any load time. This sampling and recording capability is enhanced by the SP-808's built-in effects, which make creative sample- and audio-tweaking easy, and the revolutionary dual D-Beam* controller-a light-sensing controller which can be used to trigger and manipulate samples via users' hand and body movement through its infrared beams of light.

The SP-808 can be thought of as having two "sides": the phrase sampling side and the recording, or "song-building" side. As an integrated workstation, however, it offers a variety of functions designed to speed up all stages of the remixing process. Once a phrase sample has been recorded, for example, the SP-808 automatically calculates and displays the sample's tempo. Subsequent phrases are automatically recorded to the next available pad, and can be time-stretched, resampled and sync'd using a variety of dedicated and intuitive controls.

Once samples have been effected and sync'd, they can be woven into a song using the SP-808's four stereo digital audio tracks and "cut-and-paste" style digital editing. This "side" of the SP-808 works much the same way as a standard hard disk recorder, employing track faders, a rotary dial, and helpful audio locators. To ensure the best possible sound quality, all sampling, effects processing and song creation is performed in the "digital domain" using superb 20-bit A/D converters @ 44.1kHz or 32.0kHz and 24-bit internal processing.

Because effects play such an essential part in remixing and sampling-based music creation, the SP-808 offers 20 onboard effects algorithms including the unique "Band Isolator," which dramatically isolates or cuts a specified frequency range; "Lo Fi" processors for getting distorted sample sounds; a host of analog echo, chorus, phase shifting and flanging effects; and a unique analog synth simulator which includes ring modulation, LFO, TVF filter, TVA amplifier and OSC1&OSC2 controls. Also useful for sample and audio tweaking is the onboard Step Modulator, which simulates a classic Roland analog synth by modulating pitch, LFO, etc. in sequential steps. All effect rates can easily be sync'd to song tempo, and can be applied at any stage in the song creation process.

To control these killer effects, SP-808 users can employ any of three assignable effects control knobs or the revolutionary dual D-Beam Controller. The D-Beam allows users to control sample triggering, pitch bending and selected effects parameters using hand and body movement through two invisible, infrared beams of light. Using the D-Beam, any two SP-808 phrases can be triggered "on the fly," radical pitch changes can be applied, and any two parameters of the 20 onboard effects can be altered in realtime. This feature lends itself to some very creative possibilities and enhanced live performance applications.

With up to 64 minutes of total track/sample time on each removable 100MB Zip disk, the SP-808 makes song storage and remix collaboration extremely easy, and can also serve as a strong basic recording/commercial production workstation. Internal memory per disk is 64 songs; 64 sample banks; 198 effects patches; and up to 1024 samples. Phrase event memory (for song construction) is approximately 2000 events.

Connections to the SP-808 include a 1/4" Mic input, two Line inputs, two Aux inputs, Master outputs, Aux outputs, Phones output and MIDI In, Out/ Thru. An optional I/O board can be used to transfer all audio in the digital domain via coaxial or optical I/O, while a SCSI interface provides unlimited data backup on an optional external Zip drive. The optional board also gives users 6 additional analog outputs (Direct Outputs A (L/R), B (L/R) and C (L/R)).

Roland is a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of electronic musical instruments, professional audio equipment, multimedia products and music accessories.