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Roland Sampling Percussion Pad (SPD-SX)
- Unique sampling-pad concept the only instrument of its kind in the world 2GB internal memory, enabling approximately 360 minutes of sampling (mono) without requiring external memory Nine velocity-sensitive rubber pads, two external dual-trigger inputs Easy capturing and assignment of audio data through Multi-Pad Sampling Three units of multi-effects onboard, with two real-time control knobs and four dedicated effect buttons Individual Pad Dynamics indicators show pad status and audio-level activ
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The new SPD-SX Sampling Pad puts powerful sample creation and playback under your sticks with innovative audio-capturing features, expressive playability, three multi-effects engines, and much more. The perfect addition to any acoustic or electronic drum kit, percussion setup, DJ booth, or keyboard rig, the SPD-SX is equally at home on the live stage, in the recording studio, pre-production suite, or dance club. The SPD-SX takes many of the proven concepts from its predecessor and raises them to a new level. Whether you’re firing off one-shot samples, looped phrases, or complete audio playback tracks, the SPD-SX is loaded with the latest technology and tools to get the job done with speed, precision, and convenience. Enjoy the most advanced triggering and sampling technology in a sleek, easy-to-use percussion instrument.
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First of all, this is mainly a SAMPLING/LOOPING PAD. If your purpose is to get a drum machine that is full of different sounds (drum kits or voices) or is as close to a Roland electronic drum set, you may want to look into the Roland Octapad or Yamaha Dtx multi 12, but I really wasn't very thrilled with the Yamaha. Roland (in my opinion) is at the top of the game when it comes to electronic drums and has top technology when it comes to developing software that will let you explore new levels of percussive goodness.
I use this pad along side my drum set because I just love the sound of a real acoustic drum set, but want to be able to add some cool effects or loops on the side. Think of it as having the capability to be a drummer and DJ at the same time. You can trigger vocal samples like DJs do, and even trigger loops that can compliment what you or your band is doing. Now just because it is a looper and sampling pad, don't be discouraged. There may not be as many pre-loaded samples as the Octapad or DTX out of the box but there definitely is opportunity to have just as many, that still respond to your sensitivity (hit it hard, its loud, lighter, it will be more quiet). I have a Yamaha keyboard which has lots of interesting sounds on it so if I like one of the sample sounds I use a quarter inch to quarter inch cable from keyboard to audio input on the SPD-SX, use the onboard sample feature and in about 10 seconds have a new sound I can use much like you would have using the other drum pads on the market. I mean you could hook the other pads up to the SPD-SX and take samples from that itself, or any keyboard, or find samples online from old drum machines (A friend gave me thousands of samples from old drum machines which cover about anything you would hear on any produced electronic song, at least from the drums perspective), or inputting any instrument that can be amplified into the Roland and creating loops or sounds. Its extremely vast. This pad doesn't have much on board out of the box because it was designed for the user to personalize the schmuck out of it. That being said if you aren't one who wants anything to do with that and want the most out of the box, stop reading this and get one of the other two pads. But you won't be able to load big loops you can trigger, or sample more than a few phrases onto either of those.
A little more on looping....
If you are into DJ stuff or play in a electronic jam band this will be an awesome tool to use. If you have a producing program (Logic, Fruity Loops, even garage band for that matter) you can make a loop which will be in perfect time and add it on your pad, and don't just think about one loop, you could add as many as you want to layer on top of it, you just need to be pretty accurate with your timing or go through Ableton Live so every loop is triggered in perfect time. You can add loops/sampled sounds via usb stick or usb cord from SPD-SX to computer, and with software provided, drag and drop from a folder onto the designated pad itself (it shows the pad on your computer) and there it is. Also there is a TON of memory on this thing, and if you do run out store it on your computer, take one thing off you don't need for a show and put something else on that you will use.
On board sampling:
Here is my main argument with the pad. They made a sampling pad that doesn't quantize (the SPD-S did, however, the SPD-SX pad is far more advanced than that), which means that if you make a live sample, lets say playing some kind of drum beat, and it is slightly off, a quantize feature lines it up clean and makes it so that not only is every beat in perfect time, but the loop repeats without stuttering after returning to the 1. It is a feature that most DJ oriented sample pads have, but they can't hit theirs with a drumstick. I use this feature a lot however, if I need a cool vocal sample, I say, "hey bob pick up the mic and say diggity dog". I plug the mic to the audio input on the pad which is plugged into a PA so I can hear it, and they say said line. When I hit stop, you save the sample, and every time I hit the pad it says diggity dog. The only thing I recommend you be careful on is if you want to make loops from either a guitar or keyboard. To get a perfect loop it often takes many times to get right, which is a frustration, but honestly if you want to make good or professional loops use a professional program and you will sound like a professional producer. HOWEVER, I do make loops if I'm making a new song that I might bring into the band, it is a really cool way that you can get an idea of what a song will sound like. I throw a basic drum beat down from my yamaha keyboard beat library, then I loop a piano part, then i loop another and so on, and I trigger them so they line up the best they can and have an idea what it will sound like. Works pretty well in my opinion. I also sample things from iPods sometimes or a phone app. Example: My band played a cover of the Mortal Kombat theme song and I sampled sayings like flawless victory, get over here, fight, and so on and so forth from a Mortal Kombat soundboard app on my phone. I also sampled my voice, just an UHHH that is a part of the percussive beat over top of the disco beat of the theme, and played them both to make the song more authentic. It was really cool!
Cons I've heard online:
There's not enough samples. Answer: Make your own. Plenty of sites online that you can download and enter them, or just get a mic and make noise and record it onto your pad.
Its fragile. Answer: Its really not that fragile in my opinion. If you are Dave Grohl or someone who hits like him, don't hit your pad that hard. Its plenty durable and metal drummers use these such as Aaron Rossi from Ministry, and this dude is huge. Honestly, hit your acoustics as hard as you want, but lay off a little on the pad, as a drummer, we must learn to exercise the golden rule of dynamics. If you drop it without a case it might break, no different from a laptop or other electronics.
No quantize. Answer: This is a bummer, but there are ways around it as explained above.
Can't use a hi hat trigger with it. Answer: this is one thing I'm not positive about but remember reading somewhere. Once again if you wish to use this as a drum kit (I wouldn't recommend it) maybe look towards the Octapad or DTX. Some reason I feel like you could hook up a hi hat foot pedal though. You can insert a Boss foot pedal to trigger certain samples or loops or switch through the menu. Get back to me if you figure this out. Also, I've thought about using the pad and putting it where the snare would be, using a kick pedal and Roland kick trigger pad, and straight acoustic hi hat. The possibilities are endless.
Every input (including headphone), except for two midi inputs, are quarter inch. So if you have XLRs spend a couple extra dollars and get some quarter inch cables.
On board effects, really fun if you have a cool loop, you can manipulate the effects with the knob. Fx options: Filter, Delay, S. Loop, FX.
Upload your own loops/samples, or make your own and record straight to pad.
Super easy to use out of the box
Software makes it easy to upload samples from your computer and apply it to whatever pad you want.
Great metronome feature which if practicing with a band and you have a PA, you can output the metronome so everyone can hear it, or just for your own personal use with headphones.
The package I got on Amazon had a few quarter to quarter, xlr male to quarter, a boss foot pedal switch, and the necessary cable for that for 800 (no tax, free shipping). These extra's were easily worth the price Guitar Center or other places would charge on tax alone, so go with Amazon because they're just awesome.
Overall this thing rules. Next time you see someone say this barely has anything on it, its partially true (although there are still a lot of sounds within), but that's because you have the ability to add whatever you want to it and with ease! Once more, you want a drum kit in a box with thousands of samples already loaded, maybe get something else. BUT you really can add just as many if not more samples and customize them, and add loops, and throw live effects on them, and essentially do way more than the DTX or Octapad in terms of sampling or looping. Hopefully this helps clarify as it took me over two years of switching back and forth from this to the DTX, to the Octapad, and then finally realizing the capabilities and customization went with this. Thanks for enduring this onslaught of words, cheers!
the only reason I gave it four stars and not five was because I couldn't load my WAV samples on correctly, due to an error in the program. An easy way to fix this is to have the SPD-SX record the sample, and assign it to the desired pad.
The sampling pad is more of a live performance tool than a production tool, but it is possible.