Old school sampler

I really loved my mpc500 for that. Almost feels like zen to chop by numbers / ears on a 2 lines display. Unfortunately, mine had an horrible bug causing hardcore clicks on even the cleanest cut samples. Like, loop the sample in edit mode > all good; loop it in the sequencer > clicking hell unless you crank the env high up.

Speaking of the 500: never understood why it was so shat on. Small powerhouse. Still have mine because the resale value has collapsed so much it breaks my heart to resale it for that low.

Both the roland sp’s and zoom sampletrak cant do mute groups the way you describe it, youll have to hold and release the pads at the right moment.
They are good at chopping though…

I thinks only the mpc’s after the 2000 (2000, 1000, 5000, 2500, 500, 4000, live) have real mute groups, most other samplers dont, or have weird workarounds.

1 Like

@Kuro @Sleepyhead Thanks for the advice. I have to take care of this. The MPC 500 have mute group ? It also cheap.

I love my 500 :yum:

What’s cool is if you have a 1000 or 2500 as well you can use the same memory card, so if I make a beat on the 500, when I get home to the studio I can put the memory card in the 2500 or 1000 & finish up the beat (don’t ask why I have the 500/1000/2500 it wasn’t planned!).

I prefer chopping on my 404sx over the 500, but same reason you like chopping on the 500, it’s zen like, very meditative for me. Plus I got really good at using my ears. It takes a long time to chop on an sp, especially if you are a perfectionist, but it’s rewarding (IMO).

@blaize there are a lot of samplers that you can add to your Digitakt… When looking into the sp303 (you mentioned) you should also look into the sp404sx/404a. I hear the sp505 is a lot like the 303 as well & also has extra features, plus cheaper. The K.O. (po-33) is only $89 new, it’s 8 bit, so it def adds grit, it’s smaller than your hand & a lot of fun. For the price & size it’s crazy what it can do (sample in, microphone, auto chop, pitch, filter, 16 performance effects, can chain patterns any way you want, it’s CRAZY). The Volca Sample is also worth looking into like @Kuro mentioned, it can’t sample, but loading samples is pretty easy & it’s analog isolator adds a lot to the sound (plus pitching on it adds aliasing).

In my opinion tho, if I was you, I would look into the 404sx/a. You can control it with your Digitakt or make beats on it alone. It’s portable, it has A LOT of sample memory & A LOT of effects so it’s great for live performance, it’s also great for sound design (not only does it have performance effects, I’ve used it on a beat battle where we had to use sounds from a free app & I couldn’t believe how good I was able to make the samples sound layering the sx effects).


yep it has mute groups, but be careful when shopping for one, I got lucky, mine didn’t have many bugs, but people do have issues with them.

I love my 500 tho

I will say, instead of mute groups, on an sp, you just put gate on, so you have to hold the pad down, but just let go of the pad when hitting another pad.

Yea I know, extra work involved, but you get good at bangin on those pads.

I’m pretty sure a few of the sp’s in the sp series have mute groups too… can’t remember which ones tho.

Its been said above that playing with older gear is fun but can also be frustrating at times.

However limitations are also part of the appeal. For instance, some of the greatest tracks ever were made during the SP/MPC revolution with nothing but 5-10 seconds sampling time.

What I love about the SP is the workflow. Its been said above, a great alternative to the real deal with USB etc connectivity is the Isla SP2400…

But damn… pitching down on the real deal and doubling the tempo, setting autocorrect to 1/8 and swing to 67%… is just such a wonderful experience thats sprinkled with magic…


@blaize it has indeed mute groups. People never mention it but the 500 is a good pal to a DT. First, mute groups + cond. trigs is pretty good for freaking your chops nicely. You also get 4 layers per pad: set each layer to react to velocity, then plock or send a lfo to the CC for velocity on the DT… you can round robin that way, for instance. Mpc500 major drawback is its poor fx’s, though… so, stick a good multieffects on its ass to sculpt the sound further.

And yeah, beware, some of them are ridden with hardcore bugs.

@Sharris > yeah, chopping on the SP is quite relaxing as well. What I really dislike is playing my chops on gate mode… I always get either overlaps or tiny gaps between my chops, and there’s no way to edit it later. I always mark the start AND end points then play my chops in one shot mode, then finetune the marks to get them perfect.

@Nikarga I want to believe in the sp2400, but you know what they say, seeing is believing. :grin:

How to know if there is a bug? OS version?

The MPC500 look cool. I have an Yamaha SPX2000 as multi-effect unit, It seem the DT+MPC500+SPX2000 can make cool hiphop beat in small desk space usage.

1 Like

Yea I know what you mean, it took me a few years before I was comfortable with using gate mode & it still takes a few passes before I get it recorded how I want it. I really only do it to gain skill, I love my mute groups.

I actually prefer to combine hardware…combine their strengths. 1 combination I really like is the 404sx & 1 of my MPC’s. 404sx for the sample memory & effects, MPC for the sequencer, chopping, mute groups & pitch.

Edit - yea, I also do that when playing with chops instead of gate mode sometimes (fine tune the chops until they’re perfect, leave in one shot mode) that’s a good tip for all you sp players out there!

Hopefully someone else has some info for you when it comes to bugs on the MPC 500, I don’t think it’s just the os though. I did a lot of research prior to buying mine & to be safe I just bought a MPC 500 from a place that accepts returns & I also paid a decent amount of money to lower the risk (but it was mint condition, fat red pads, extended memory).

I think I will looking for an sp404sx. Sound to be the best space/price/sound/possibilities.

I just bought an MPC500. tbh I haven’t had that much time to play with it, but for the price you can get one at the moment, they are ridiculously powerful really. Despite what the manual says they will work with much bigger storage… I have a CF to SD converter in mine and a big SD card in there.

as they run off batteries, it is a seriously portable mini studio…

that’s kinda o/t though as it doesn’t have “character” or anything, it’s just a nice sampler.
(assume the same is probably true of a SP404sx though really?)

The SP404sx doesnt have character in itself, it samples at 16bit, 44100Hz, in .wav with fairly transparent converters… the character really comes from the fx’s that you can pile up by resampling.


In my opinion the old school sound isn’t worth the hassle with old floppy disk file management. I worked a while with early digital rack samplers and computers. Its tedious. Off course its charming to experiment with vintage technology. I even did cut ups with 70s reel to reel tapes. But now I am over the vintage obsession and be much more creative with an octatrack.

1 Like

I love mine. :smiley:


I’m using the Akai s950, s1100, Emu 6400ultra. akai s3200xl and s5000 I’ve used in the past.
I’ve done a sound comparison between them, it could be of interest for some.

Plenty of info we’ve collected here:
and here:


The sp404sx is really nice in combination with a DT. The sp has endless sampletime, quick chopping, great fx, and a workflow which is completely intuitive. The sequencer sucks, but there the resample method to make music, which is awesome for quick beats. Theres no menu’s or things you can finetune endlessly, its just doing everything by ear. One thing i love is not having to save anything. You just sample something on to a pad, and its there if you start up the machine.

The downsides to the sp:
-no specificly characterfull sound, allthough the effects are awesome and can be resampled to completely mess up your samples
-no chromatic or polyphonic playing of samples
-terrible sequencer

This is great in combination with the DT, strong textwhich does have a great sequencer you can use to play the samples on the sp, and you can go deeper with finetuning everything, and chromatic playing.


Best avoided yes, but sending something out to some old bit of gear then sampling it back, or even on an fx send if possible - can be nice