Boss SP-202

I love samplers and I am a big fan of outdated gear that lack some modern features.  That being said, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about the SP-202 in 2014.  At the time it came out, it was definitely a good buy and opened up sampling to a budget audience like nothing else before it.  It is portable and has a few effects, but that’s about where it ends for me.

The first thing that really makes this a crippled box is that there is no way to set start or end points with any real accuracy.  Well, I guess the start points can be accurate if you use the auto-trigger feature when you sample.  But you have to set the end points with extremely well timed pad presses.  So right off the bat, that pretty much means that it’s really only any good for one shot samples because you’ll never get the timing perfect so, of course, any loops are going to go out of time.  So maybe a decent drum module, as it is definitely capable of giving your samples a lo-fi edge, but you won’t be able to hold very many samples because the other big negative is that if you want to back anything up, you’re stuck with one of the rarest memory cards around, 5V Smartmedia.  You’ll pay $60-80 for a 4mb card these days and that is actually the largest capacity card there is for the format.

So if you’re looking picking one of these up for coloring your sound or running samples through the effects section, you might get some decent mileage out of it.  But I would not pay any more than, say, $50 for one (unless it has a memory card with it, of course).  It kind of blows my mind that these sell for up to $200 on fleabay these days because, no matter what you’re using it for, there are almost certainly better options out there for the price.  If you’re looking at it as a portable sampler for a live set up for for field recordings, you would be much better off grabbing a Roland MS-1.

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