OP-1 and SP-404 combo

I’m curious what is the appeal of the OP-1 and SP-404 combo? Is it for people who don’t like the tape workflow? As far as I can tell the OP-1 is able to do a lot of the same functionality as the SP-404 in terms of taking a loop and chopping it up (i.e. grabbing a loop from the tape and dropping it in as a drum sample). Is there anything else I’m missing?

I don’t have an SP404, so can’t talk of it specifically. But I use the OP1 with my ensoniq EPS, ensoniq ASR10 and Yamaha SU700 samplers.

Other samplers like the sp404 sound better/different than the OP1 sampler and have better filters and effects. the appeal is more versality.

The SP-404 is a very different beast. It can sample directly off of an SD card, compared to the OP-1/Z’s 24mb sample RAM and somewhat-odd drumkit format. The 404 makes it super easy to re-sample sounds and mangle them beyond recognition. You also have punch-in effects and a more “live-friendly” workflow compared to the OP-1’s “bedroom studio” workflow: with the 404, you just grab samples and tap out patterns. No rewinding, no overdubbing.

But aside from the functional differences, I suspect it has a lot to do with YouTube. A viewer sees musicians they like making music they like with an OP-1, so they buy an OP-1 and start making music of their own. Then a little while later that musician starts using a 404, so the viewer buys a 404 and starts incorporating it into their workflow. The 404 is pretty cheap and doesn’t have synth capabilities so it’s easy to justify keeping the OP-1, and both of these instruments are very hands-on so it actually looks like you’re doing something in your lo-fi beat videos.

Then a few months later YouTubers find another piece of equipment that generates views and the cycle continues. I hope this doesn’t sound cynical — YouTube is an important tool and I’m a willing participant in the GAS grind. It’s also generally easy to find musical communities where people market each other in good faith.

to answer properly i’d need to know at least two things:

is op1 your first sampler?
is op1 your only sampler?

Yes to both


With that in mind I’d say the first reason 404 (or any sampler) in tandem with the OP1 would be appealing is because the op is limited by how many simultaneous things can be done. There’s a TON of things which can be made within those limits…however, some people like to divide duties across multiple devices to expand the power/flexibilty of their performance.

The second thing which I thought of: some people love the roland SP fx! So even if OP1 handles all sequencing or synthesis in their music, they still might want to control and manipulate the sounds via 404.

At the end of the day it’s probably a combination of factors and most important is the fun involved :slight_smile: OP1s pair really well with other gear or computer setups

Another Reason

I like using OP1 and OPZ together and feel like it’s a common choice in the TE community

In my opinion, the general opz workflow and screenless sampling are VERY similar to beatmaking w/ sp404

So it’s logical that some likeminded folks seek out the sp instead

But if you’re happy using it alone that’s totally normal too

As someone thats always worked in a DAW on my computer for months on end until i was feeling like I wasn’t actually playing any instruments much… Just felt more like a producer, but then again nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to be more hands on… my first bigger purchase for a sampler was the 404.
Followed that, was the OP1.
My first experience when getting the sp404 was daunting… but not bad at all. its actually really fun to start learning on, chopping up your samples, adding your effects, re-sampling… the workflow is unique on its own. especially since there isn’t a screen, it can make it harder for sure, but it should tune your ears the more you play with it…
eventually i wanted something i could play straight into the 404. OP1 was my next purchase due to its overdubs, tape feature, the looping and just the fact you can sample from the radio, turn it into a synth, or drum samples… the workflow on op1 was a little harder to understand since there wasn’t much of an UNDO feature, a lot of it was trial and error.
but months down the line, I now have a MPC live, OP1, and SP404, and i dont regret any purchase…
I may have gotten more off topic about your specific subject, but I just wanted to insure once you have these equipments dialed in, its so fun to be able to sample and record loops on the 0p1, then resampling them with the effects and sounds I choose on the sp404 and can really build my beat from there.

good luck bubs

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