Synth Site: Boss: SP-303: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.3 out of 5
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Brian Milligan a hobbyist user from us writes:
I am having problems transferring wav files from my computer to the sampler. I have re-read the manual forward & back over the past 2 weeks & still to no avail. Also, the smart card seems useless. I cannot transfer anything from the smart card to my computer. Drum sequencing is a nightmare. Someone wrote that you cant sequence in real time - just turn off the quantize. I think I am going to save up & get a MPC 1000. If you know how to get the smart card to work witrh you computer please write me thanks

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-30-2006 at 15:18
Sam a hobbyist user from U.S.A. writes:
The SP-303 is a great entry-level sampler. If you play a traditional instrument, and are interested in experimenting with electronic/sample-based music, this box will seem wonderful. It has tap-tempo delay, a respectable octave effect, and an absolutely raunchy (in a good way) distortion/filter combination. The effects can be used on external inputs(RCA and line/mic).The sampling and re-sampling functions of this device are pretty straightfoward and painless. If you purchase an additional Smartmedia card (32MB and above), you'll have all the space you need. If however, you're more advanced into the world of electronic/sample-based music, you'll find the limited "real-time" pattern sequencer, and the (occasionally useful) low quality of time-stretching effects leaving something to be desired.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-14-2006 at 03:17
Saso Podobnik from Slovenia writes:
There's only one thing you really need to know about the SP-303 if you're a prospective buyer: read some professional reviews very carefully, more than once if necessary. Go for the bare facts, they'll tell you what the SP-303 can do (on a good day, that is), and don't go buying it thinking it can do a whole lot more like I did - because it won't. Also, think about what it has to offer: for instance, 200 minutes of sampling time sounds amazing, but in case you need to edit the recording, you'll be in for a hell of a headache. And forget about transferring samples back and forth between the SP-303 and your computer for editing and storage right now via the SmartMedia card - it doesn't work.

The SP-303 is a very basic and rather poorly thought out piece of kit that sacrifices everything for portability and immediacy - and then fails to deliver either of these. The portability issues, especially compared to its predecessor, the SP-202, have been well exposed by other reviewers, but none of them found the SP-303 as cumbersome to use, apparently. The SP-303 is without a doubt the instrument I could do the least with on my own - the manual is indispensable with this one. This has become less of an issue now that Roland US made the manual available on-line (make sure you have an American e-mail address, otherwise the system will ignore you).

But even with the manual, the insane key combinations and cryptic three-digit LED display is likely to drive you insane. It's not that I mind editing samples by ear - though I'd like to have the option of not having to - but to have an interface that keeps getting in the way no matter how much time you spent with the unit is a frustrating experience. I dare you to use the internal sequencer and get something done - you're better off triggering the samples manually.

There is a function where SP-303 does a half-decent job, and that's sampling. It's pretty straightforward, the samples sound good (to check out some of the songs I used it on, e-mail me at, and the overload indicator is very helpful - I'd had less clipping with the SP-303 than with all the pro gear I've used since. But try to do anything slightly more advanced with that sample, be it editing, effecting, moving, or exporting, and you're back in hell again. The effect particularly are just waiting to drive out of your mind: not only is their specified number a blatant lie, most of them are totally useless, while the rest are of really poor quality. Be careful with tempo-based effects as they'll only follow the sample's supposed BPM - there is no way you can switch the timing to follow the external MIDI clock, which is a great shame. So in order to properly delay a short vocal sample, you either have to record some silence after it to make the BPM right, or you have to duplicate it an "delay" it manually in your sequencer.

If you're putting together a bedroom studio and you think that you don't need a professional sampler unit, like I did, you are wrong. Seriously, for the money, you can get an old Akai or Emu unit that'll do most things the SP-303 would, and lots, lots more. The SP-303 is a totally closed system that you're likely to outgrow very fast. In case you don't need to carry your sampler around a lot and don't mind a few menus to step through, get something else.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Thursday-Sep-01-2005 at 05:44
fredrik overlie a hobbyist user from oslo, norway writes:
RHOB: if you want to stop the sample, simply press loop, and press the sample again, if you want the sample ready for triggering again, press the loop button again, so thel it goes out.. i love this function, its good for triggering samples, and playing live bongo drums etc.. the main reason why i bought this sampler is because i wanted to loop myself live while djing, is this whta you all call "sequenzing" ? english is very bad.. hehe.. but im not using it for that so much, sometimes, when i jam with my friends.. but i use my sampler everyday for making beats, i like to pitch up samples who are 8-10 bpm to slow for my drums (pattern bpm) it gets a brrrr-effect. i also like to use the isolator on the samples.. its a very good sampler.


Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-04-2005 at 02:51
Steve a professional user from Ohio U.S writes:
I can't belief the quality and features of this unit for the bucks. Let me tell you this thing is as powerful as a Synclavier. And they used to cost the price of a HOUSE. The wonders of modern technology. The SP303 is a joy to use. The resampling feature is wonderful.

The effects on this baby alone are worth the bucks. And the REAL reason apart from the sound quality EVERYONE in music should own one of these is the SAMPLING TIME EXPANSION CAPABILITY. This modern miracle can be expanded to sample up to *200* minutes. That is right 200 minutes. OWN IT NOW!!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-05-2005 at 18:24
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