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Just got my SP-16 Never been so excited and dissappointed at the same time

 

 Just got my SP-16 today. I love the workflow and simplicity of it. Just about everything is right in your face to make some nice beats right on the fly. I don't think I've ever touched a sampler that sucked you right on into it. The Dave Smith filter was perfect for filtering the beats, the FX worked rather nicely too, the ADSR with the touch interface oh boy is that fun. I was smiling and loving every second of this thing but then the kicker is that this thing is a 4/4 machine. I purchased to use this for music products but with just that limitation of only 4 measures and not being able to do complex drum patterns man it's such a let down. It's like having a race car that can lap anything on the track except it can only hold 1 gallon of gas. It really kills the usefulness of the unit for people on the production side of things. It truly is a dance machine for club beats but I'm really hurting that I have to send this thing back because it's 4 measure limitation really cripples it's ability to make complete songs. 

JohnQ

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Before you send it back, it has an arranger feature that might help you with creating a complex set to a degree. It's not linear but it may help. I love the SP16 and although it has a few limitations I simply workaround them out of the love of everything else it does well.

DJ SINLess 1 票
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I'll give it a try thanks for your help it's a nice device but why oh why would they not add more bars to open up its capabilities. 

JohnQ 0 票
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I've only had mine two days - but it It has 16 patterns, each with 4 bars, so that's 64 bars. The patterns don't have to be 16 beats either - they can be anything from 1 beat to 16. Unfortunately all tracks have to be the same length, but still you're not just limited to 16 beats per bar. I haven't looked into scenes yet.

Maybe it's not as limited as you think? Give it more time to explore :)

Malcolm Goldie 1 票
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Thanks for the insight. Yeah it's that 16 step with 4 variations giving you 64 step sequences. It's a lot like the  TR8S with the 16 step patterns and the 8 variations giving you 128 step sequence capabilities but there all limited to 4/4 loops. 

JohnQ 0 票
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TR8s has more sophisticated options I believe - I think each instrument can have different pattern length for example.

I forgot to mention you know you can also turn off quantise on the SP16 too. Although it is 48ppq I think so it’s lightly quantised.
And in the track page you can nudge individual triggers - hold down the trigger you want to move and adjust the offset.

Malcolm Goldie 1 票
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Yeah it's such a cool box I fell in love with it. Every time I sat down and touched it I made something cool. This thing is truly a dance machine. I respect what it is and understand what it isn't once I was able to do that I could have fun and create with it. The suck part is that I have to send the unit back just when I was head over heels with it the sequencer seems to be bugged on mine. The beats were out of sync and the pads had a delay on them. I thought it was a quantize or pad sensitivity issue but those features didn't seem to change the result when fooled around with. My unit was an open box so who knows what happened to it but I hope I can get a replacement soon.

JohnQ 0 票
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im a bit confused reading your thread I can't work out if you love it ,hate it gonna keep it send it back ,can't wait for replacement but its limited. 

 

Dj Mr.H 1 票
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Well I think my disappointment and finding out what I disliked about the overall "usefulness" of the unit is because of pioneers marketing. One of the reasons why this unit gets flack is the way they advertise it as a "production" sampler. When I first purchased it I went into it thinking I could use it for "music production" they way you can use most equipment intended for that purpose by being able to create full sequences that are more than 4 bars and have complete control to edit and adjust the parameters within the sequence so that you could create a song like with an intro, outro, bridge and all the nuances you'd find in a complete song.

What I learned as I started to actually use the machine is that it's not good for that type music production at all. Really it's false advertising on their part. This machine is a 4bar dance/club rhythm sampler. 4 bar patterns are for dance tracks. Look at the SP-16 in that perspective that it's a Rhythm Sampler like (Roland's old gear) made me understand it's role and what it could be used for. I accepted that it was a club beat maker and started approaching the SP-16 from that angle.

For club beats the machine is brilliant! Simple and very interactive to create patterns on. It really has the DJ work flow with limited menu diving and everything you need not that far to find or get too. That's one of the things I liked more and more about it. The TR8S and MPC's have a lot of menu diving and scrolling that takes you away from the "moment" of creativity. Where as on the SP-16 because it's a club machine it's designed to keep going as you lay down ideas. Roland really tried to improve that work flow with the TR8S but it just still isn't as easy to do the same things as you can on the SP-16.

That is why my earlier comments kind of address the TR8S because the SP-16 is like the TR8S if Roland had actually tried. The sequencer layout, the Analog Filters (their digital on the TR8S of course), The scenes & pattern features, it's a very similar animal the way they both operate in some regards. The step away is are the pads and the sampler which is straight out of the MPC another device I own and love. So as I'm playing it it's like a mixture of two things the MPC and TR8S BUT it's stuck with 4bars and that kept hitting me in the back of the head. I had to say to myself okay you "Can't" do this but you can do "That" with this instrument. When I started doing "That" I could see where the SP-16 out shined the others in the workflow department.

Soundwise the SP16 sounds livelier than the TR8S. Even if they're samples and not ACB like Roland the pads let you layout your patterns in a way that sounds a lot less "mechanical" than it does on the TR8S (I make that comparison because it's also a dance machine using the same type of sequencer arrangement). If the music sounds live and not like a robot is making it that's a plus for me.

The only thing I hated about the unit was how pioneer misleads people with the marketing. This isn't a good box for music production it's actually terrible for that and is too restrictive to make full songs on. I will say that I found more people just using the pads to make beats and recording them into external devices than I did seeing people use the sequencer. That's something Pioneer should take note of. There are people out there using this device because of the sample/pad workflow but or by passing the sequencer because it's incapable of providing the same result if they were to record themselves on it directly. I see that as my work around for this unit. Do the drums and then just record it to another device where I can make a full song from the arrangement.

So yeah I understand it may seem confusing because I made this post when I first started getting into the unit and then after I started getting deeper into it. I love the unit for what it can do and I hate it for what it can't do. I don't have anything with a workflow that makes dance beats so quickly so that makes it work keeping.

 

JohnQ 0 票
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I sympathise with you and I agree it's unnecessarily limited in some respects, they need to keep developing the software. I don't agree with the bit about Pioneer misleading people - if you watch any of their youtube videos it's pretty clear that the unit is geared for step sequence type work and not DAW like production. There are plenty of reviews online - even if you only read the Sound On Sound review you would be pretty clear: "Those looking for a production workstation along the lines of a stand-alone MPC will probably find the SP‑16 limited in its scope..."https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pioneer-toraiz-sp-16

Definitely agree that it sounds great and is fun to work with. In some ways the limitations are ok but they could definitely improve it without bloating it. If they only introduced the MPC style pad muting per pattern (as opposed to global pad muting) that would be an enormous improvement for workflow.

Malcolm Goldie 1 票
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nice one John reading your earlier posts it was clear to me that you know your way around a studio for sure , I just couldn't understand what point you was making. reading  your post from this morning I understand fully .and fill a big  thank you to you  for the comprehensive well written  explanation . I do feel your pain too there's nothing worse than spending lots of hard earned cash on a product that doesn't meet expectation . I do tho have to agree with Malcolm on the point of pioneer misleading customers , when I purchased my sp 16 I did so believing the unit to be  a production instrument geared more towards  dj's and live performances far more than solely a studio tool. which for me personally was the appeal being a DJ as apposed to a producer. and the fact that I could use the unit without the need to sit in front of a computer screen clicking a mouse etc was the clincher .At the time I was torn between sp16 and djs1000 and could not decide which unit would suit me best, I was in a fortunate position at the time and was able to get them both , with a plan to sell one after given them both a good try. in the end I enjoy using them both so much decided to keep both and recently added the AS-1 which is fantanstic and can't understand why its not shouted from the roof tops ,anyway im getting side tracked here , so would like to conclude by  wishing you luck which ever way you decide. 

regards Mrh

 

Dj Mr.H 1 票
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John, have you tried the MPC live/x? Maybe that has the DAW type ability you're after. I keep looking at the Live but what I really want is the sample modulation capabilities of my MPC4000 and that thing doesn't have it yet.

Mrh - nice to get the DJS1000 AND the SP16 :)  I was wondering about the 1000 - I might go and demo one. The thing that is really irritating me on the SP16 and I'm not sure it's solved on the 1000 either, is it won't auto-chop the sample by transients? (eg like ReCycle) It just chops it into 16 equal bits leaving any further tweaking to be done manually. This hardly fits with the 'DJ / performance' vibe?  Dividing into 16 by grid OR dividing into sections by transient had been a staple sampler function for years. What's going on?! :)

Malcolm Goldie 1 票
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John - also I forgot to add, do you know that if you make an arrangement that becomes a song that you can jam over / record onto. So there's no reason why you couldn't have a 31 bar section, followed by a 12 bar of something else, followed by 5 bars etc.

Malcolm Goldie 1 票
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Hello again! Thanks for replies Dj Mr.H & Malcolm Goldie I appreciate it. I have a little studio nothing special and I've been making music for a long time. I'm no pro I'm not amazing beat maker but I know what gear I'm going to get the most use out of. Over the years I've appreciated "work flow" over "technology". If I can jump on a piece of gear and get my ideas flowing I'm in love. If I have to sit there all day trying to figure out stuff it's a turn off.

You know I'm just new guy trying to get situated with this gear here so I appreciate all the help and advice. I got my SP16 problems sorted out finally so I don't have to send it back. It was a blemished version and the previous user had some wonky parameters set on the system I think they were using the SP16 a midi controller of some sort. So I set everything back to normal now it's working cool again. The downside of those open box items you never know what the last person did so it's a bit of guess what's wrong.

I also ordered an MPC-X that I got a really good deal on like $400 bucks off and I still have my SP-16 too. So I'm looking forward to seeing what the workflow of the X is. I do have an MPC 2000XL I've had since 2001. Tech has come so far I think that's why I really ended up liking the SP-16 everything that's cumbersome on the 2KXL is right up front on the SP16. Truthfully though spending like 18 almost 19 years with the same box almost anything not an 2KXL that makes beats is mind blowing to me.

Funny story I even tried to recreate the same beats I did not the SP16 on my 2KXL. It was so much more work on the XL I didn't even complete it.

So my plan now is that I want to see the X's workflow and if it's a doozy I'm just gonna send it back and get the AS1 for my SP16. Nothing makes groove beats like this thing does. I've done too many beats on the SP16 I'd miss it if it were gone. I found that screen for the scenes that layout is really cool. Getting to the variations on the SP16 has a lot more control than the TR8S. I keep going back to talking about the TR8S because the SP16 shares some of the same features but does it a lot better. That Dave Smith filter is the cherry on this thing for sure.

 

 

JohnQ 0 票
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hi  just incase you didn't see it firmware 1.6 has been released it adds a 2nd set of FX . the din midi in and the din midi out/thr and also the usb on back can now be assigned to be midi in or out and at the same time , and now can synced to work with any DAW and few other bits  all in all wicked little upgrade .

 

Dj Mr.H 0 票
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