Roland SP-404MKII 4.04: new loop capture, Koala app integration, and more

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Roland has released the SP-404MKII 4.04 firmware, a massive update with new loop capture functionality, Koala app integration, synth engine and more.

Regular updates for hardware products are welcome. Some time ago, Roland was less known for this. But that has changed in recent years. An example is the SP-404MKII sampler, which has constantly been expanded with new features over the last two years.

Today, on the 404th day, Roland has published another massive firmware update for the SP-404MKII. Update 4.04 is now available. 

Roland SP-404MKII 4.04

Roland SP-404MKII 4.04

The SP-404MKII is one of the most exciting and comprehensive samplers on the market. The operation, however, is less intuitive and relies on intensive menu-diving and button combos.

With the new update 4.04, the sampler becomes even deeper. So, be ready to extend your button combo memory. This update is a belated or early Christmas present for SP-404 users.

The big highlight of update 4.04 is the new loop capture function, inspired by the Roland SP-555 sampler. This function lets you capture/layer loops from internal sounds and external input on the fly. It offers various functions, including overdub and more, turning the unit into a looper. 

Roland SP-404 MKII 4.04

Koala App Integration

Then, hardware and software users come closer. The new update integrates the popular Koala Sampler app from elf audio with the SP-404MKII. Once the hardware is connected to the app via USB, it goes into controller mode, allowing you to adjust a range of Koala parameters directly from the SP-404MKII.

In addition to the app control, you can also send audio from Koala to and from your SP via USB for adding effects or recording samples. This makes the SP’s audio interface function possible.

Another creative new feature is the built-in sound generator. It’s a new synth engine with 15 waveforms, scales, micro-tuning support, preset envelopes, and more. It’s not a sophisticated synth engine but a practical tool for fast synthetic melodic sounds.

The new 4.04 update offers more to explore. It also introduces a new groove function inspired by the VP-9000 Variphrase. It includes a “humanize” parameter that lets you add a more human feel to your loops. Subtly or go extreme, and it will infuse a glitchy timbre to your loops.

More Features

Further, there is a new multipad export function. You can now send all or selected pads of a pattern as individual multitrack audio for refining SP sessions in a DAW or share files with collaborators for remixing. Other new features are:

  • preset measure sampling: handy for loose, unquantized recordings that stay perfectly in time 
  • TR-REC microscope editing: you can now edit a set of parameters for each individual step 
  • sample merge let you combine samples and merge them into a new sound 
  • pads without samples: you can now play external instruments via the SP-404MKII pads without a mapped sample
  • bounce pattern chains 
  • convert SP-404SX/A from SD
  • and more

First Impression¨

Roland has once again unpacked a huge update for the SP-404MKII—lots of fascinating new features. I’ll never be a big fan of the SP because the menu diving and the trillion button combos confuse me.

Nevertheless, it is very positive that Roland is constantly maintaining and continuing to develop the new generation of the SP-404. 

Roland SP-404MKII firmware 4.04 is now available for free download to existing customers. The SP-404MKII is out now for $559,99/499€.

More information here: Roland 

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