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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 2:51 am 
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Alright ya animals... here's the latest update to 0.15 at https://neartao.wordpress.com/2022/02/09/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.


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 6:44 pm 
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I know I'm not usually doing these things back to back for days... but I added a pretty huge update for 0.16 today. I took my birthday off from work, and decided to do this. What the heck is wrong with me? Hit up the blog post or the usual place https://neartao.wordpress.com/2022/02/10/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.

Now I'm off to pick the kid up from school, I guess get a loaf of bread, and hopefully see my parents for dinner tonight. I think my dad has a crate of cassette tapes. Looking forward to it :D


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:59 pm 
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Happy birthday!

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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:52 pm 
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Jaytreaze wrote:
Happy birthday!


Yeah dude +1 Happy Birthday.

Really cool what you're doing here @Near Tao,been following your progress with the MK 2 and although I'm not sure if I'll ever actually get one of these things myself,as I have my eyes on other gear, namely the MPC X ,this is invaluable stuff indeed for sure .

Keep up the good work bro, respect .

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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2022 12:24 am 
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Another +1 for the Birthday Boy!

As for the manual you're working on, I haven't even looked at it yet. I decided after seeing your first post about it that I'd wait until I actually have one before digging into it.

BTW, that stuff you mentioned about the audio signal flow, I think that would go down really well with users because I often get the impression that the users are either not happy or they don't fully understand how it works.


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:00 am 
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Danswift wrote:
Jaytreaze wrote:
Happy birthday!


Yeah dude +1 Happy Birthday.

Really cool what you're doing here @Near Tao,been following your progress with the MK 2 and although I'm not sure if I'll ever actually get one of these things myself,as I have my eyes on other gear, namely the MPC X ,this is invaluable stuff indeed for sure .

Keep up the good work bro, respect .


Having been a long time MPC user... I honestly cannot say not to get the MPC X... MPC Tutor's Bible compliments the Live/X/One so well... I have had both the Live and the X. Miss the X, but sold it and decided to stick with the Live. It's an *awesome* combo with an SP too.


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:04 am 
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SP-USER wrote:
Another +1 for the Birthday Boy!

As for the manual you're working on, I haven't even looked at it yet. I decided after seeing your first post about it that I'd wait until I actually have one before digging into it.

BTW, that stuff you mentioned about the audio signal flow, I think that would go down really well with users because I often get the impression that the users are either not happy or they don't fully understand how it works.


The audio signal flow is really important to understand in my mind, since it helps open up workflows that you might not otherwise come up with... plus I see a lot of people having issues with not knowing why a sample isn't playing the way they expect on the SP. This has been a big problem over on MPC-Forums too, and the newer MPCs are way more complicated...

My biggest take away after writing it all up is that the SP mk2 does deserve a bit more respect for what it can do, there's some pretty good architectural design and thinking on display here... and I just don't think some folks are giving it the chance it deserves. Sure it can be tightened up, but we live in a different world with firmware updates and such than we did even 10 to 20 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:20 am 
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I'll just add for folks, the first ten or so pages of the guide are dedicated to describing what the mk2 really is, cutting through as much of the marketing mumbo jumbo as possible. If you're trying to figure out if the mk2 is right for you, it really should help you understand a better level what it's really doing and how it operates.

I'm sure that I've got a few errors in there, and a few areas that I need to flesh out... such as are the outputs *REALLY* TRS, or did somebody make a typo... because... I have my doubts... but until I test/verify... who am I to judge.

My personal measurement to compare the mk2 with is the MPC 500 right now.

Polyphony is roughly equivalent... 32 vs 32... though the mk2 marketing is a bit misleading since it says 32... but it's mostly operating in stereo... so probably better to say 16... but I get why they say 32.

Memory wise, since it's streaming off of the internal storage it's no comparison... the mk2 just trashes the 500's 16mb/128mb memory.

Display wise, the mk2 wins again... just such a better experience being able to see anything of the waveforms when needed... but both work very well going by ear as well.

I'll be honest... I'm a pad snob and the 16 vs 12 pads is another solid win for the mk2.

Effects are also predominantly better on the mk2... there are more, and they are more varied... the only place the 500 wins here isn't really worth mentioning.

The amount of effects you can use at the same time on the mk2 is way better as well... and just opens up a lot of options.

Straight up computer integration is also clearly better on the mk2. Sure there are some things I wish it could do, but dang is class compliant audio and midi over a single cable just *so* dang good.

Flipping it though, the 500 has a *much* better sequencer, honestly it makes me sad just how much better the 500 is at handling a single track let alone multiple tracks.

Sampling editing I have to give to the 500 as well, I much prefer an ADSR to an AHR, and being able to map filters to Programs is better on the 500 too.

I will say recording and resampling is a bit of a toss up for me. I like doing this on both devices, and both are reasonably speedy at just getting content into the device, though the mk2 probably just barely edges out in most cases.

CTRL vs Q-Link is also kind of a toss up for me... I prefer the multiple controls of the mk2, but I like being able to record Q-Link automation... no clear winner to me.

I've been through 3 MPC 500's, and only on the first mk2... so long term I'm not sure... but my high level feeling is that if you're heavy into effects and/or sampling, the mk2 is probably the better device. On the other hand, if you're really looking for a great sequencing experience you're probably edging towards the 500. All that though... at this point I'd probably give it to the mk2 with an iPhone or iPad to supplement the mk2 for sequencing, sound design, and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Now Roland... just give us the dang mk2 companion app on iOS please!


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2022 1:16 pm 
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NearTao wrote:
My biggest take away after writing it all up is that the SP mk2 does deserve a bit more respect for what it can do, there's some pretty good architectural design and thinking on display here... and I just don't think some folks are giving it the chance it deserves.

Totally agree and haven't even laid my hands on one yet. I think it's a real power-house and from the very start I've loved the way the 404 works in general, it's what keeps me hanging on for the MKII for so long.

It's definitely greater than the sum of its parts as the saying goes.


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2022 12:09 am 
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Boy, another big update. I was planning on moving to a weekly schedule for updates to be more consistent, but these bigger updates also feel more draining. I'll have to think about it.

You can grab the update at the usual link or just head over to https://neartao.wordpress.com/2022/02/18/roland-sp-404-mk2-guide-v0-17/

Most of this update is just writing up the effects section, and I tried to stick to give my thoughts and advice for the effects, rather than just rehashing whatever is in the manual. As with a lot of the guide, I'll eventually come back and rewrite sections, or add some more content, but as it stands, I don't want to write any more about bread and butter effects that you can find anywhere. Although it is alphabetical, you'll certainly find where I started to loose my mind trying to write up something about some of the effects.

The bigger news is probably that I've started uploading a series of five minute videos, with the intent to try and break down discrete steps for making a song into about five minute sized chunks. Over the course of six to eight videos, you'll hopefully get a sense for different workflows to get from the start to finish (or in some cases possibly just hit the eject button on) a track. At the moment I've got an internal commitment to keep this to a video a day until I hit 100 videos, and then kind of take inventory of how it went and if it makes sense to keep doing more. I am confident I can do this for a long time, but at some point I am just concerned that I'll start retreading old material too much, and it may become less interesting. If you want to check it out, head over to http://YouTube.com/neartao and let me know what you think


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2022 9:37 pm 
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Version 0.18 of "The Guide" is Up
https://neartao.wordpress.com/2022/02/27/roland-sp-404-mk2-guide-v0-18/

So Pattern Mode and the related topics are more or less done now.

Well, between continuing writing up the guide, and making videos, I guess it's out there and seems to be helping people out. I've been getting a bit of folks posting here or there. If you've written me a message someplace and I haven't responded I promise I am not ignoring you, I'm just ignoring the forums so I can make sure I have time to write and record as my primary focus. I am trying to get around to catching up on the various forums once a week or so. Thanks to those of you have reached out though, it means a lot and I am glad I could help.

I still need to figure out how I want to reference the videos and other material in the guide, I was planning on doing it today, but I just kind of took an energy dive and figured it can wait until later in the week. I did get two more sets of sessions of videos recorded though, so at least twelve more days of content to upload, and Session 2 is finally out there, with Session 3 already on deck. Right now my focus is on getting enough content for the videos uploaded so that I can happily take a long weekend with my wife up in Vermont in a few weeks... should be fun! If you want to check out the videos hop on over to https://youtube.com/neartao.

Peace!


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2022 8:34 pm 
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DJ Mode and the related topics are more or less done now.

Get the 0.19 update to the guide at https://neartao.wordpress.com/2022/03/01/roland-sp-404-mk2-guide-v0-19/

My daughter has school vacation this week and I decided to take the time off to both spend with her and get some more time into working on the guide. This update was actually really good in that it got me more thinking about how to write up DJ Mode over the last few days, as well as really thinking about what I think is actually valuable for the guide in general.

At the moment, I think I am the most proud of the DJ Mode section, and think it will be something that I'll use as a template for standardizing and updating the other sections. I'm not going to go back to the other sections at this time, but I'd definitely be interested in feedback from all of you how the DJ Mode section strikes you versus the other sections. For me personally, I think it hits a better balance between how to use different features, organizing how all these things inter related, and adding as much guidance as I can to clearly explain what I would use it for.

I also suspect that the Introduction and Missing Features sections in the DJ Mode chapter will really help frame where I am coming from and how I see the device working on not work, and these are two sections that I think I'll consider adding into the other chapters as they make sense.


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 1:52 pm 
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NearTao wrote:

Further, I spent probably way too much time to figure out how End Mark works, but I figured it out and documented it.


Hey NearTao, i really appreciate your effort, doin' this Guide. I was happy when i discovered the possibility to set the start and endpoint of a sample with the [MARK]-button - like on the 404 og. But why does Roland missed to implement a way to set the endpoint only!? On og this is possible. And I need to adjust the end of a sample a lot more, than adjusting the start point. [SHIFT] + [MARK] would have been a free and logical shortcut. Hope this will come with an update...but anyways keep up your awesome work, bro! :)

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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2022 9:40 pm 
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Hey TGN, thanks for the big ups... happy to hep.

So, Guide 0.20 is up... catch it at
https://neartao.wordpress.com/2022/03/21/roland-sp-404-mk2-guide-v0-20/

First, didn't mean to take so long, or be such a small update overall, but I guess I fell off the working on the mk2 wagon. Part of my time went to wrapping up artwork for a children's book I've been working on with my sister for a year now, and I don't know... I guess I just haven't felt myself much the last two or three weeks. No big deal, but just kind of hit this funk. The "I am tired of being home all the time and never really seeing anybody" head space. Ended up taking a long weekend with my wife in Burlington VT while my parent's watched our daughter and two dogs. Was good to get out, have a few beers, and if anything, it did give me a bit of a reset and clear my head some.

Hopefully the chapter sections help to give a bit more structure to what I'm trying to do here, and at the very least should help me push people to the right sections to get the answers they are looking for. I'm hoping that the introduction sections will help ground people a bit on where my head is at with the sections, and I'm looking forward to taking some time to fill out the tips and tricks section with some advice to get people to think outside of the box.

Speaking of thinking outside of the box, putting together the In Five vids has been a big help in getting me to think about how to show and explain using the mk2. So yes, that's been part of the drain, just putting these things together, and then getting all kinds of feedback and all, but I do think it has been helpful overall. I did get a request to put all the videos together into one playlist, and I've done that now at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLreK50aqgX-ZR-vsYN_I8ssY1yAUhIS58.

I'm closing in on 100 videos (at 61 uploaded with another 9 or 10 recorded)... so if people have anything they'd like to see I'm open to ideas, or happy to keep going in whatever direction I fancy to take.

Anyways, keep making beats everybody and we'll catch up again soon!


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 Post subject: Re: NearTao's Guide to the SP-404 mk2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2022 12:52 am 
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I don't have my mk2 yet, but I appreciate all of the work you put in so far! I will definitely be consulting this once I have it.

On a side note, what do you think of the MPC Live vs One? I would eventually want to get one to pair with the mk2, but honestly the sideways orientation of the Live throws me off so I may just go with the One.

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