Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.16

Alright, an absolutely epic update today. This one broke my brain working on it for about five hours straight.

I spent a fair amount of time just getting the handful of pages written up about Skip Back. I had to chase down a few things that I thought I knew how they worked, but I wanted to make sure I captured it properly.

The real work though, was filling out the previously titled Mixer section, and now renamed to Audio Signal Flow section. Just drawing the diagram was a lot of work, and then peeling apart each layer was an important onion to break down, but holy smokes. I kind of just gave up at the Limiter and Clipper section because I don’t see *anything* that remotely explains how they work for the mk2 or why they are there. I’ve seen some people mentioning the mk2 coloring their sound, and I wonder if there is something going on here… which will require some experiments, but I am D O N E for the day. Maybe I’ll get more time on the book tomorrow.

Hopefully a lot of good information there… and I have to admit, I thought it was going to be a lot simpler to document than it was. For how “simple” the mk2 is, the Audio Signal Flow might be the most complex and most important thing for SP heads out there to understand.

Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.15

This update focus on the Sample Mode section, and I dumped in some of the related topics like Chromatic, Cue, and other things that can help determine how a pad may play.

Further, I spent probably way too much time to figure out how End Mark works, but I figured it out and documented it. This helped land a few updates into the Sample Edit section to also add information about copy/delete for a sample. I kind of think I already typed this up in data management, but whatever… if I duplicated information, well I can get around to fixing it when I get to a place where I am ready to start reviewing the document. For now, I’m just trying to get it as complete as I can.

Also, just a thought. I did try recording a few videos and workflows using the mk2, and was also using the mk2 as an audio source… and it started off great, but I ended up hitting some issues with EXT SOURCE turning off after showing how to record and… whoops… the videos didn’t quite go as I wanted. I do have a Zoom H6, and I may need to roll that into the process in order to capture the audio from the mk2, and from a microphone, along with the video.

Or you know… pick up a proper recording setup some day. But for now, it’s just been my phone and whatever I can cobble together.

Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.14

Spent some time on the Sample Edit section, and tried to think about how to discuss some workflows without getting into it too deeply.

I’m trying to strike the right balance between opinions, thoughts on how to do things, and just stuff that feels like issues with Sample Edit. Maybe I am being too picky, or maybe these things could just work better.

Still happy with the mk2 though, and will continue writing things up. I’ve just started a new job, so trying to balance transitioning my old work, picking up new work, family, and working on music, has caused me to slow down a bit on the guide for a little bit. I promise I am still keeping at it though!


Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.13

Most of this update was filling in the Sample section to the best of my abilities within my time constraints.

There’s some things that I thought I understood about sampling on the mk2, that I’m clearly going to have to go back to. I also skipped on the Skip Back section, because honestly, I think it deserves it’s own heading/section as it is quite distinct (though related) to sampling, and has some interesting workflow implications.


Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.12

This update was to try and fill in some information about the actual Data in the mk2.

I spent some time trying to figure out the directory structure and format of different files. So far I haven’t figured out much about the .bin files, or how the mk2 might be storing or managing much of the data. This will take some time to work through, and I have a few ideas for experiments.

Other than that, I tried to fix a few sections of information that needed updates, but they were mostly minor.


Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.11

Another experiment, and trying to wrap up the Audio Input/Audio Export sections

I’ve got some ideas for linking some working session videos with the guide, so stay tuned for that.

The last two days were mostly about trying to flesh out some of the existing sections some more. Primarily the audio input section, but that also drove me to adding a new section for audio output as well. I’m nearly done with these, and should be able to get into more detail for getting into sampling and adjusting samples soon.

Feedback from folks has been to keep up with how I am writing. I know my style is kind of loose, but I guess it is helping people understand what different sections do. I’ll keep at it for now, unless I get specific feedback to try and go a different direction.


Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.10

This is a pretty huge update, yikes!

I got a bit obsessive over the last few days, and read just about every single post in the Elektronauts’ SP-404 mk2 thread as well as the Gearspace SP-404 mk2 thread. This is well over 4000 posts to read through, and took me the better part of four or five days to complete. Lot’s of good questions, and lots of good answers, but I’m not sure I am up for doing a repeat of that any time soon.

All of this reading has resulted in a lot of really good questions for the mk2 (around twelve pages worth), and I have as much as possible been adding in answers either from forum members or just doing my own research. I would have gotten this out last night, but I figured it was worth spending the time to better organize the questions.

Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.9

Taking some time to experiment with the 1.14 firmware release that just dropped. Going to take a bit to roll some of that information up into the Guide.

The big update for today was finally running the experiment to determine polyphony once and for all for the mk2.

Spoiler: it’s 32 note mono sample polyphony. If you’re using stereo samples then you’ve only got 16 notes of polyphony.

Roland SP-404 mk2 Guide v0.8

A few hours of work here today, wanted to get more done, but needed to do some family stuff like cook dinner (tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches), wash the dogs… and whatever else took up the day.

This latest update is quite a bit more than I’ve done over the last few days, a lot of links added to the reference section… some day I’ll get ahold of a service manual link to add in, or figure some things out and add some of that documentation, but for now just a lot of links mostly for videos people posted about the mk2, technical information, various forums. I’ll probably end up pruning it down a bit, but figured I’d see what it started to take shape as.

I also took some time to check if the microphone or guitar input had any interesting overdrive or distortion characteristics. They don’t, same old digital clipping as the line level inputs. I’ll see what I might be able to do on the USB-C inputs, but I suspect that is likely to be just more digital clipping. So…. I continue to say that unless you want digital clipping, don’t let your EXT SOURCE go red… you’re much better off using a compressor if you want to increase the overall loudness of a sample.

There’s a few other things, but it’s been another day of bouncing around a lot as I tie of on another experiment, and a handful of things I wanted to research.