Roland SP-404 MKII 2.0: new update brings TR-style sequencing and more

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Roland has published firmware 2.0 for the SP-404 MKII introducing TR-style sequencing, VariPhrase algorithm update, new effects, and more.

Hardware samplers are popular tools among electronic musicians. It is the easiest way to work with samples without a computer. One of the most popular is the SP-404, a performance-focused sampler that has influenced many modern music genres.

Last year, Roland fulfilled the wish of the SP-404 community and presented a successor, the SP-404 MK2. Today there is firmware 2.0 which makes the MK2 even more tempting.

Roland SP-404MK2 2.0

Roland SP-404 MKII 2.0

The update 2.0 can be downloaded from the Roland website and brings a bouquet of new features to the SP-404 MKII. The biggest new feature is the new TR-REC recoding mode in the pattern sequencer. You can now enter patterns using TR-XoX-style step recording like on the TR-808, TR-8S, TR-909…

Plus, you can benefit from more advanced sequencing features including multiple triggers on a single step aka substep, chromatic pitch entry, and velocity, all of which can be motion-recorded. Nice that you can switch between modes without stopping playback. So you can work with the right mode in the situation without interrupting your performance.

Besides the new TR-REC mode, the sequencer now has a progress bar, twice the amount of undo steps, MIDI program change implementation for selecting patterns, and the option to exit recording without stopping the entire playback. That’s a big update for the sequencer which makes it much more powerful.

New Effects, DJ Mode Update & More

One of the strengths of the SP-404 MKII is the ability to manipulate samples in real time. One option is to refine the sounds with the built-in effects that Roland has expanded in firmware 2.0. In the MFX engine, you can now explore the new Cloud Delay, SX Delay, SX Reverse, and BackSpin effects.

Moreover, there’s a new harmony effect in the input FX section. Not to forget, you can control effect parameters using MIDI CC messages with firmware 2.0. That opens up many interesting possibilities.

Roland also gave the DJ mode a feature boost. It now allows you to play internal patterns alongside of channel 1/2. These patterns will sync to whichever channel is set to M. It also comes with a new quick loop/roll feature and a new crossfader.

The VariPhrase algorithm for pitch and speed changes also got an update as well as new backing and ensemble modes, says Roland. Both modes minimize the degradation of the sound quality for instruments with a unique attack or sustain timbre.

At first look a big update for the SP404 MKII with many exciting new features but also major workflow improvements. Thanks, Roland, and one more thing: please make it available in bigger quantities, this will appreciate the community a lot.

The SP-404 MK2 firmware is available now as a free download for existing customers. SP-404 is out now for 499€.

More information here: Roland

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