The Complete Guide to the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad

Since its release in 2003, the Roland SPD-SX sampling pad has become one of the most widely used electronic instruments for drummers. 

See the history of Roland V-Drums here

Being able to record and playback any sound with the hit of a pad or stomp of a foot-switch allows musicians to expand their creative possibilities enormously.

In this blog, we’ll explore the typical day-to-day uses and functions of the Roland SPD-SX sampling pad in detail.

Contributed by Simon Ayton for the Roland Australia Blog

Getting Sounds into the SPD-SX

Packed with sounds already but with hours of additional space free, the SPD-SX is really designed to trigger your own WAV files easily on stage and in the studio but first you have to get some in there. 

USB provides quick connection to MAC/PC and memory sticks and there are a few ways to load the SPD-SX with samples.

Learn more about the steps here in Getting Sounds Into The SPD-SX

Triggering Samples with the SPD-SX

The SPD-SX is designed to trigger WAV files easily on stage and in the studio from the front pads and external inputs.

Loops, single shots and phrases are assigned to pads and triggered instantly.

Triggering sounds is covered here in detail.

Sampling with SPD-SX

It’s not called a sampling pad for nothing!

As far as fun functions go, realtime sampling is one of the unique features of the SPD-SX. 

Grab any sound from phones, instruments and mixing desks directly via the line inputs.

For sampling percussion, voice and other sounds, connect a microphone to the L (mono) input for realtime recording with effects.

Explore the sampling function of the SPD-SX here in detail.

Using Clicks and Backing Tracks with SPD-SX

Musicians are expected to have their show tight and professional. 

The SPD-SX makes the job of running click and backing tracks easy all from one instrument.

As far as controlling the show and creating a professional performance goes, the SPD-SX is relied on daily the world over by all types of musicians. 

Built-in click with it’s own volume control and routable outputs are just two of the many features that make the SPD-SX so useful for working with backing tracks.

See the guide on running clicks and backing tracks from the SPD-SX here.

Applying and Using Effects with SPD-SX

Add reverb, delay or pitch type effects easily to individual sounds using KIT FX in the SPD-SX.

For effecting the entire sound output, the master efx section gives hands-on control of two parameters in realtime such as delay time and delay feedback.

Effects can be syncronized to the internal metronome click and controlled from external pedals and controllers too. 

See all the possibilities in the following in-depth SPD-SX effects guide.  

Expanding the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad

Add a kick trigger, connect a snare pad or a compact BT-1 bar trigger

The SPD-SX has nine front panel pads that can be expanded via the two external trigger inputs.

For adding more external triggers, split the trigger inputs using standard insert cables. 

Choose a trigger type for perfect triggering from the huge range of V-Drums triggers.

Here we’ll cover how to expand the triggering capabilities of the SPD-SX.

Backing up and Saving SPD-SX Sounds and Settings

Easy to do but often forgotten until too late, learn how easy it is to create safety backups of your sounds and settings.

It’s simple to save the entire SPD-SX state onto USB stick or your desktop for easy recall at any stage.

In this guide, learn the steps involved and never worry about losing your data again!

Read all about saving your SPD-SX settings here

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Created by Roland V-Drums specialist Simon Ayton, these patches were designed using the internal factory sounds and many of the techniques covered in the TD-50 guide. Enjoy exploring the possibilities!