Roland SP-303

The Roland/Boss Dr. Sample SP-303 is a digital sampler from Roland based upon the Roland MS-1 Digital Sampler & Boss SP-202 Dr. Sample. The SP-303 was revamped and redesigned in 2005 and released as the SP-404.

The SP-303 itself provides up to three minutes and twelve seconds of sampling. The sample time can be expanded by the use of SmartMedia cards (8MB-64MB supported). The SP-303 features twenty-six internal effects that can be applied to samples and external sources as well. It also has a built-in sequencer. The SP-303 is often praised for its unique sound qualities. Frequent SP-303 user Dibiase said of the sampler, "The difference between the 303 and SP-404 is that the vinyl sound compression sounds way different in the 303. It has a grittier sound."[1]

While the SP-303 Dr. Sample may lack some of the features seen on other hip hop production samplers such as the Ensoniq ASR-10 and the Akai MPC it also has many unique features. It has been used live and in the studio by artists such as Animal Collective, Panda Bear,[2] Four Tet,[3] Madlib and J Dilla.[4] Dilla famously used only the SP-303 and a 45 record player to create 29 of the 31 tracks from Donuts (album) while hospitalized.[5] The SP-303 has a pattern sequencer, where loops and patterns can be programmed.


  1. Sorce-1, DJ. "303s and 404s: Mr. Dibia$e Pt. 2". Heavy in the Streets.
  2. Lennox, Noah "Pitchfork: Guest Lists: Panda Bear", Pitchfork, February 15, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  3. Murphy, Bill "Pro/File: Electric Motherland", Electronic Musician, Jun 1, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  4. Aku, Timmhotep "Fantastic Voyage", The Source, April 05, 2006. Retrieved March 22, 2011.

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