Roland updates its SP-404 sampler “in celebration of 404 Day” (and to v4.04, before you ask)

The update brings enhanced looping, multitrack output, Koala Sampler integration and a 15-waveform sound generator to the popular sampler

We should probably blame Disney with its May 4th ‘Stars Wars Day’ because Roland now has many of its own ‘days’ – think March 3rd (‘303 Day’), August 8th (‘808 Day’) and so on. 


But if you thought April was lacking a special day, let alone an iconic piece of Roland gear to go with it, then think again. It’s April 4th so Roland is updating its SP-404MKII Sampler! 

Now after that introduction, this update better be good…

Luckily, there does seem to be quite a lot packed into the 4.04 update, the first major enhancement being Loop Capture. This essentially lets you get all Ed Sheeran with your SP by creating loops within the unit and then sampling other loops over them (internally or externally) to create entire pieces.


Loop Capture was present and correct in Roland’s SP-555 which came out in 2008 as this classic Roland Loop Capture video demonstrates, so has taken a little while to reach the 404, but is a welcome addition.

Next up, the SP-404 MkII now has integration with the Koala iOS and Android app, a touch-based phone/tablet sampler. You can now control the app parameters with the SP-404MKII and send audio from Koala to and from the SP via USB.

A further update will please DAW users because you can now send audio from selected pads as individual multitrack stems, so you can either edit them in your DAW or send them out for remixes. (Although we’d probably put this particular update in the box marked ‘should have been in there anyway’.)

A new Groove Function allows you to add subtle or extreme swing to your grooves

Another useful addition is Sound Generator which is based around 15 waveforms generated by the SP-404MKII with which you can create basslines and other melodies. There’s also a new Groove Function that is said to be “inspired by VP-9000 VariPhrase” and it allows you to add subtle or extreme swing to your grooves. 

Finally, we get some extras that all aim to improve the SP-404’s workflow including Preset Measure Sampling, TR-REC Microscope Editing, Sample Merge, and Bounce Pattern Chains.

It’s a bit of a shame that Roland didn’t add any ‘4’ based features to keep the ‘404’ theme going. If it was up to us, we’d have included some four-on-the-floor grooves, 4/4 kicks, samples of people saying ‘four’, that kind of thing, but if you are reading this Roland, we are available for ideas for both of this year’s 808 and 909 days*. 

Anyway, the best news of all is that the 4.04 update is free, so it’s a happy 404 Day to all existing owners. (And a bit of a tempter for new ones.)

The SP-404Mk2 sells for around £429 / $449 and you can find more information from the Roland website.

*And for weddings, after dinner speeches, award ceremony hosting jobs… Anything really.