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 Post subject: ROLAND SP-404 VS AKAI MPC500
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:11 am 
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I own AKAI MPC500 and want to get an SP-404. First, what I don't like in MPC500:
+ Flat sound, including poor effects. In specs you may read that the unit has three independent sound effect units - FX1, FX2 and MASTER. That's right, but each FX unit has limited set of actual effects - for example MASTER has only COMPRESSOR and EQ. Damn, I wanna REVERB on master! Weak audio level, even if you turn on the COMPRESSOR and pump up the GAIN. It is possible to hear the internal overload - clicking - with turned on EQ, COMPRESSOR or too loud sample. Plus, poor FILTER, this one not for dance music. MPC500's FILTER is too weak - too little difference with or without it.
+ No proper loop mode if at all - to play loop continuously we must write a sequence... No such things like HOLD+LOOP mode.
+ Pads are too hard-to-press - you should PUNCH the MPC to get a sound - even with highest sensitivity set up. However, we may turn off the touch sensitivity.
+ File name problems - too long file names are displayed and played incorrectly. In addition, the transfer rate via USB is really slow - just overnight sample uploading...
+ Extremely cheap built quality - cheap buttons, knobs, ...
+ Plus, OS bugs and unit instability...

So, is SP-404 a different story?
SP-555 is cool but too heavy - as a simple loop player + FX - SP-404 should be better.

QUESTIONS:
1. Is that true about sound delaying? User hit the pad, delay, sound start playing...
2. Are pads touch sensitive? How hard user must hit?
3. Can we apply different modes to a different pads - for example in one bank I have a few drum loops, plus bass notes - loop should play forever, and bass notes should play only when I hit on pads? Does bass notes will play only when I pushing the pad, and stop playing when I release, or bass will play until the end of a sample?
4. Can we apply FX on selected pads. For example, I have a drum loop on one pad and I wanna apply FX on another pad with bass?

Your opinion...

Thanks a lot! :)


Last edited by encode on Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:28 am 
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you should number questions
1. no
2. no, pads are sensetive though and you can use an external midi controller for velo.sens.
3. yes: gate, trigger, and loop
4. yes
imho sounds like you want a sp-404 and a trigger finger/padkontrol combo.

F'&% wAkai! but that's just me cuz they screwed myself and almost all fellow mp1k owners.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:43 am 
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Download the manuals from the Roland and Akai sites, they're free and give you a lot of info on the capabilities of the machine (the forums here will provide you with many power tricks which will bring the X0X boxes to another level). If you want to see what they're capable of then just check the music section there are many great beats made with only a 404 or 303 (Check Dr. Sample 303, J. Daniels, Lord Beatjitzu , Juxt ... ).

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:55 am 
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pt3r wrote:
Download the manuals from the Roland and Akai sites, they're free and give you a lot of info on the capabilities of the machine

I'm afraid of any manuals. Just like with MPC500 - I read one thing and get another... Too many hidden stuff. I'm here for owners opinion... :wink:
The previous post gives me ALL I wanna know - seems to be I get the SP-404 soon!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:04 am 
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By the way, what do you think about this:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pGFSXEOT6GM
youtube.com wrote:
Faulty SP-404
My sp-404 starts acting up after about 1 minute of pattern play.
And no It's not an attempt to make a crazy drumsolo...

:roll:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:15 pm 
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I wanted to point some things about 404 so that when you get it you wont be disappointed with it.

Most thing you said about 505 applies to 404 too. Build quality is quite cheap for me. The pads are feeling more like a hard buttons. Pads are not veloity sensitive. You can only sequence velocity if you use external velocity sensitive synth or mpd or something like that.

Distortion is on all samplers you should record your samples using proper settings to get away from this. Besides triggering to many load samples at once will cause sound distortion too.

Speaking about effects. 404 has lots of effects compared to MPC's. Imo standard effects like reverberation and delay sound worser on 404 (muddier-not so crisp like on mpc).

404 does not have USB at all. 555 has usb tho. Same thing applies to file names also. Long file names are not supported too. Only correct 44100kHz, 16bit WAV files can be loaded. If the file is of a incorrect format it will report an error (and if i remember correctly stop the importing process of other files also).

But the most different thing is that 404 does not have pitch shifting. If you used the 12 levels mode on the mcp 500 then you can forget about it on the 404 it does not have something like this.

and to complete this. i dont know whether the 500 can resample it's sound. but If i am correct - it should. 404 cant resample its own patterns. so to record you music to pc you will need to connect the 404 with rca cables to your pc.

so as you can see i wanted to point out that 404 is not a paradise machine. it does have some problems too and function limitations. so decide yourself if you want to do this trade.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:01 pm 
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I think you will be happy with the SP404

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:54 am 
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as for the faulty 404, who knows. obviously it doesn't happen to our members here. and no it's not a paradise machine. it's still very nice though and somehow very musicly inclined -or- i don't feel like i'm programming a computer so much.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:08 am 
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My 303's sequencer acted up one time but I came on here and got some suggestions and it turned out all I had to do was initialize the internal memory and the card and it was fixed, so if I was that dude I'd try that and possibly and new OS install 'cause they is definitely and software issues and probably relatively simple to fix.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:00 am 
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if this is the same encode im thinking of. he has some sick dnb videos on youtube on the mpc500. ive never had a problem with my 404. im selling it though because i upgraded to the 555.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:09 am 
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ocdivestudio wrote:
if this is the same encode im thinking of. he has some sick dnb videos on youtube on the mpc500.

It's me... :D

Just thinking about new additional hardware. However, yesterday I started writing a new track on MPC500, and maybe in this post I was too critical about MPC. I just directly compare what I can with MPC500 and SP404. MPC500 is just like a fully featured small sampler - with envelopes, pitches - you may even create your own multi-sampled program/patch and play with it on a keyboard. Plus things like 12-Levels - just pick up any sound and play with a different pitches across the pads. Mute-groups... In addition, here we have a fully featured sequencer. Maybe I should redefine the statements...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:30 am 
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You can definitely make some fresh music on the mpc 500.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:22 pm 
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just my 2cents on the MPC500, owned one for a week before selling it!

If you're planning on using it as a portable/battery powered thing, forget it.. when running off batteries the outputs are noisy as hell, and alot of things cause other output-related problems. . eg turning the data knob while a sound if playing producing blips in the sound output that correspond to the 'clicks' of the data wheel.

Apparently when run off mains power it doesnt have this problem, so i assume its a grounding issue.. but for me the main reason I bought it was because it was battery powered, and it turned out not being much good for that due to aforementioned problem...

nowadays for portable music work I use a nintendo DS lite running nitrotracker :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:52 pm 
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There's a lot of portable sequencing things now.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:58 pm 
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yeah i use Bhajis Loops for portable production. it's an amazing app:
http://www.chocopoolp.com/bj_quicktour.php

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