Roland SPD-SX: Sampling Freedom
The Roland SPD-S is legendary amongst the sampling world, and people eagerly awaited the followup for a long time. Now, the SPD-SX is here - does it carry on the legacy?
The SPD-S is a piece of equipment that can be seen by the side of so many touring drummers and has almost become an industry standard for the drummer that needs that little bit extra from a drum kit.
Although the SPD-S reached legendary status, it was a bit of a pain to use and you had to arrange everything internally using the classic LCD display, which makes you want to kill things - us musicians want to play music, not program stuff!
The Roland SPD-SX has taken this classic sampler and made it nice and easy to use - Yay! We now have USB connectivity and it comes included with the ‘Wave Editor’ software, which allows you to easily arrange samples on the SPD-SX and organise them with ease. You actually have 2GB of sample memory at your disposal which, to put it into perspective, gives you 360 minutes of CD quality audio at your disposal. That’s not to be sniffed at - in fact, you could fit a pretty hefty sample library of one shots and loops and still have breathing space.
So now it's nice and easy to use but still holds the same classic features that make the SPD-S such an awesome sampler - and it still features the same classic 9 pads for you to assign you samples to. There's more to it than that, though - each pad allows for more than one sample to be applied to it, meaning that you can have two variations of a loop on a single pad. Handy indeed if you're using a lot of loops in a performance, or want a variation on a loop from verse to chorus.
I approached the SPD-SX from the angle you would least expect to produce success - I'm neither a drummer, nor am I particularly clever with fancy bits of technology. Luckily, Roland completely have my back in this case - I said above about how nice the new way of setting up the SPD-SX is, but it's more than just "easier than the old one" - it's incredibly intuitive, and it's so easy to set samples as either a loop or a one-shot that I'm never afraid of what I'm hitting.
The SPD-SX is also built like a tank - obviously a handy thing for a bit of kit designed to be battered by drummers. You can tell just from getting your hands on it that it's a high quality unit that's going to last a good long time. The pads are responsive and the chassis is sturdy - it basically feels like it belongs in a drumkit.
It's worth noting, though, that there's nothing stopping you playing the SPD-SX as a solo instrument. The 9 pads give you plenty to work with, particularly with the variations made possible thanks to being able to have the two loops on one pad. It also features in-built effects and onboard sampling, so it works just as brilliantly as a stand-alone unit as it does as part of a kit.
Come on down to our flagship music store in Leicester and check out the SPD-SX for yourself - or give us a call on 01162 625 625 and get one on order today!