New Toys

SP-808 Groove Sampler from Roland

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The SP-808 Groove Sampler is a hybrid professional-quality phrase sampler, digital audio workstation and remixer performance instrument. 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™ drive to 100MB disks, giving sampling musicians and remixers up to 64 total track minutes instantly accessible without any load time. Internal memory per disk is 64 songs; 64 sample banks; 198 effects patches; and up to 1024 samples. Phrase event memory size, (songs are fabricated from a sequence of phrase events), is approximately 2000 events.

The performance aspect of the unit is made apparent with the new dual D-Beam® controller. This is an infrared light-sensing controller that is used to trigger and manipulate samples by way of the remixer's hand and body gesticulations.....sort of a '90's version of the Theremin-controlled synthesizer. Synthy-like effects like big pitch changes or filter openings as well as any two sampled phrases or any two parameters of the 20 onboard effects can be triggered and altered in realtime. This is great fun and elicits both a live and visual performance the very first time you use it.

The SP-808 has unique features to make a remixer's life a lot less complicated. For example, the SP-808 automatically calculates and displays the sample's tempo of all sampled musical phrases. Subsequent additional phrases are automatically recorded to the next available pad, and then time-stretched, resampled and synchronized using a variety of dedicated and intuitive controls. Once samples have been processed, they can be used in a song using the SP-808's digital audio tracks. The SP-808 works as a standard hard disk recorder, employing track faders, a rotary dial, and helpful audio locators. All sampling, effects processing and song creation is performed digitally using 20-bit A/D converters and either 44.1kHz or 32kHz rates with 24-bit internal DSP.

The 20 onboard effect algorithms include: Band Isolator, which dramatically isolates or cuts a specified frequency range; a cool "Lo Fi" process; echo, chorus, phase shifting, flange and ring modulation. The SP-808 sells for $1,695 retail. For more information, contact Roland Corporation U.S., 7200 Dominion Circle, Los Angeles, CA 90040. You can call 213-685-5141 or WEB at:

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