The new SP-404 MK2 sampler by Roland made its debut in November 2021 and users are quite pleased with the improvements since its previous models. Priced around $499, this powerful drum sampler comes packed with 16 expressive pads, quick load and import times, a desktop application, 16GB of storage, tone knobs and many built-in capabilities like auto chopping, pad exchange and more.
Music Producer and Online Educator, Liam Killen, uses the Swamp Grease Drums Vol 1 Sample Pack played by New Orleans funk drummer, Terrence Higgins, to demonstrate how to create your own custom kit and drum breaks using the SP-404 MK2 in the video below.
What You’ll Need
- SP-404 MK2 Sampler
- SP-404 MK2 Desktop Application
- Drum Sample Audio File
Step 1: Choose A Drum Sample
There are many drum samples available, but in today’s lesson Liam Killen uses one of our very own Terrence Higgins funk samples. The pack was recorded at Higgins’ New Orleans studio and includes 431 loops and 322 samples of 24 Bit 48Khz audio you can use royalty-free to chop and splice your own beats.
Looking for a different drum sample? Check out some of our most popular sample packs:
Once you’ve chosen your sample, it’s time to import it into the sampler!
Step 2: Import A Drum Sample into Your SP-404 MK2
The SP-404 MK2 provides a seamless import experience, allowing you to drag and drop your sample of choice into the SP-404’s desktop application. The desktop app auto detects your sample’s tempo and imports it straight into the sampler.
Step 3: Chop Your Sample
Once you’ve selected your sample and imported it, put your SP-404 into Chop Mode by selecting shift + start/end. Chop Mode will give you control of individual beats across your pads.
Depending on the type of sample you are working with, you can use the auto chop feature if all the beats line up on the grid or subdivide the sample yourself for swung and off-grid grooves. As shown in the video above, Liam chose to manually chop the Terrence Higgins groove into 16th note subdivisions.
Step 4: Clean Up the Samples
After chopping the sample, there will likely be some imperfections you’ll want to clean up. The SP-404 allows you to adjust the transient and tone of each pad using the cutoff, resonance, and drive knobs available on your sampler to help dial in the perfect drum sound.
Step 5: Assign Drums to Specific Pads
Hit the enter knob + assign to pad dropdown to begin mapping out your pads.
Tap each pad you’d like to assign drum sounds to and then select enter again. You now have a custom kit setup on your sampler.
If you refer back to your SP-404 desktop app you’ll notice all the chops you assigned are saved.
Step 6: Creating A Kit & Exchanging Pads
Using the SP-404 MK2’s Exchange feature you can take your sampler setup one step further by mapping your drum sounds to specific pads. Placing your kit in a single row on your sampler allows for a more comfortable playing experience. From left to right on the pads, we like to use a Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat, Open Hi-Hat configuration.
How to Exchange Drum Samples on the SP-404 MK2
- Select shift + exchange (pad 5)
- Tap the pad with the drum sound you like
- Tap the pad you want to exchange
- Select enter to complete the exchange
- Repeat these steps until you have created your custom drum kit
Interested in learning more about Yurt Rock?
Yurt Rock provides one of a kind drum samples played by the industry’s top musicians. Get instant access to royalty free drum loops and samples from drum legends like Clyde Stubblefield, Mike Clark, Carter Mclean, Joey Waronker, Eric Harland and many more.