Roland SP-404 MKII – thoughts from a newbie to consider before purchase

Yo fam, no one said that working on a whole new system and style from what you’re normally used to was easy but yo… No start, stop or play? This lil puzzle of a machine left me bewildered, frustrated and anxious. I remember being sat at my desk and wondering whether I had made a mistake because nothing was as straight forward as I though it would be, I was done. I really was scratching my brain wondering how to figure it out. Roland don’t allow the downloading of the user manual, resources online for total beginners weren’t widely publicised but in the end it began to make sense.

Even when I jumped on it a few days ago I felt that I was trying to figure it out again as I forgot how to create patterns. I was confused as to how I could play my samples chromatically until I found a work around in the feature where it will record the previous 30s of what you’ve played. Maybe there is a proper way to do it, who knows but the way in which I found works for now.

That’s the beauty of this thing, it’s a real odyssey to achieve the sounds that you want to achieve, it’s a perpetual learn and discovery expedition. It can be highly frustrating at times but when I do manage to figure it all out, I’m happy. I feel a great sense of achievement.

Would I recommend this to someone? Yes. I would 100% because it will transform the way you think about production and operate your other devices. This past 10ths has taught me a lot about how I get my ideas out whether through using the MPC Live 2 or Maschine MK3 or SP-404 MKII.

I’ve found a way to record my loops and arrange them live as one recording, as if I were working with a bunch of outboard equipment. It’s not the cleanest way of working however it ensures that projects are will be finished and released. It’s kind of an abstract and bespoke way of closure on a creative project. However the lazy arrangement audio comes out is final.

Alas I digress, here’s my thoughts to consider after owning the 404 MKII for one month…

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