Sequencing Roland SPD 20

Just wanted to mention how much fun I’ve been having sequencing my Roland SPD 20 with the CV outs! The SPD is a very plain drum pad and module. I picked it up for a steal 5 or so years ago. No sample support, just lots of very Roland sounds built in including an 808, 909 and some vintage sounds.

My process is similar I believe to what Adam Jay was often describing with his Roland TM-2… Anyways

It’s got a high hat pedal input that I feed a VALUE LIN into, then I trigger out to another of the SPD’s 4 trigger inputs. This allows me to adjust how open the high hat is I’m triggering on the CV track. An LFO on this VAL can get things really groovy without even starting to p-lock.

I can then use the FX track to trigger something else, like a snare. After hard panning the hats and the snare to left and right, I can trigger the snare track with a synth track and process each snare hit through the synth!

Along with controlling the high hat, the pedal input can also be set to adjust the pitch of the sound being triggered! This means any sound in the SPD can actually be played along the keys once you figure out the range (which can be calibrated in the box). This pitched sound is obviously also routable through the synth, creating some really cool layering possibilities.

Having a blast with this, really freeing up my 4 voices. The sounds aren’t amazing but with a couple pedals are a-ok.

You can also have the SPD output to MIDI. So really, I could be triggering drum samples on a sampler. The high hat voltage converts to CC and the trigs to notes. In theory, I could use this thing to play another synth over MIDI. I’ve only cracked the surface of what I can do, I’ll explore that possibility soon.

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