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Roland SPD-S Sample Pad

UPDATE 10/12/2011 – Roland has released the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad to address many of the issues found in the comment thread of this blog entry.

The Roland SPD-S is a great sample pad, and allows for even the least tech-savvy of us to be able to run it efficiently with ease. It is a great way for a drummer to be able to start incorporating electronic sounds into his or her live setup as well. You can use the SPD-S pad to do what you want in four easy steps.

1) Connect an external audio device via 1/4″ jacks.
2) Hit record, which is started by hitting one of the pads.
3) Play the sample from the external audio device.
4) Hit the pad again to stop the recording.

I have used the Roland SPD-S on plenty of gigs, and it is perfect for all styles of play. I found it extremely helpful on club dates and wedding band gigs, as well as super helpful in the studio. Also, the on-board sounds are of relatively good quality. You can find anything on the Roland SPD-S from regular drum kit sounds to African drums, and even to sounds like that of a cat’s meow.

{ 275 comments… add one }
  • François Tadros May 15, 2008, 1:16 pm


    I got the SPD-S a week ago. I already spent many hours learning and playing with it and I totally love it.

    As said in the article, the built-in samples are of good quality although for me about 90% of them are useless. On the other hand, it’s so easy to incorporate new sounds that it’s not a problem. On top of what the article already mentioned, there are two other ways of adding new samples:

    1) Perform all 4 steps already mentioned but replace step #1 with “Connect a microphone via 1/4″ jacks”.

    2) You can also create/copy/edit your wave samples on your computer and save them to a Compact Flash memory card and transfer them to the SPD-S.

    This brings me to the only but important downside of the SPD-S. The built memory capacity of the SPD-S is not really big. You can wipe out all existing sounds to free-up some memory but still only a few minutes of sampling time is available. By itself, it’s not a huge issue since the SPD-S allows adding external memory. Roland stopped their choice on using Compact Flash cards for that matter.

    Here’s a list of PRO and CONs that comes along with this choice and the way it was implemented.

    – Compared to most other technology, Compact Flash is among the fastest and most durable card type (which is why it is the adopted standard for Professional Digital Cameras).

    – Compact Flash is not as widely used as other types, therefore harder to find in stores.
    – The SPD-S does not accept Compact Flash II (newer technology).
    – The SPD-S is not compatible with all Compact Flash models, making them even harder to find in stores,
    – Only Compact Flash cards with 512 MB or less are compatible, making them almost impossible to find in stores.

    The last 2 points are really the problem of the SPD-S. I don’t understand how it’s even conceivable to restrict a wave device with only 512 MB of memory. Also, Roland is not quite consistent with its selection of memory card types. I have a Roland Fantom XR sound module that uses a PCMCIA card and the BOSS MicroBR that uses a SD memory card.

    Anyway, I was lucky to find 2 Compact Flash cards on the Internet although one of them might not even be compatible with the SPD-S (I’ll know for sure when I’ll receive it).

    If you want to purchase the SPD-S, make sure to buy a Compact Flash card as soon as possible because in less than 2 years, only used ones will be available.

    Still, nothing on the market compares to the SPD-S and if you are willing to spend a bit of time to find Compact Flash cards, this is a great buy.

  • kamil June 7, 2008, 8:36 am

    dude!i’ve got a huge problem!
    i’ve got the spds 20 but i cant find a card that is supported,please give me a website or something to buy one cause i’m going on tour next month and i need it!pleeeeaassee!
    send me an e-mail.
    thank u very much.

  • Steve Weiss Music June 16, 2008, 8:43 am

    You need a Compact Flash Type I Card, Smaller then 512MB. Roland has a Roland SPD-S Compact Flash Compatibility Chart that shows some cards that have been tested by Roland, but the list is not complete.

  • François Tadros July 2, 2008, 1:27 pm

    Hi Kamil,

    I’ve been able to try the SPD-S with a lot of different Compact Flash cards. I now have 4 different CF cards and they all work fine although only one of them was listed on the Compatibility Chart.

    Therefore, I feel pretty confortable to say don’t worry about the brand name as long as it’s a CF Type I and 512MB or less.

    Here’s a site that sells SanDisk 512MB: http://www.memoryx.net/xcf5124.html

  • oscar July 10, 2008, 9:56 pm

    i was wondering if anyone knows how to set the pads so when you have aloop playing, as soon as another pad is hit the previous pad stops? i cant find this anywhere in the manual. im triggering synth loops & want to trigger one pad at a time with my left hand (while still playing the kit with my right hand) and have this cancel out the previous one instead of having to hit 2 pads to start one and stop another…

  • Manoj Tikariya July 31, 2008, 12:23 pm

    I am a new user of SPDS and facing some Compact flash related problems. One of them is it does not support all brands like Kingston or Transcend. Is there any solution or update awailable for this problem ?

  • suttonsam August 13, 2008, 3:05 am

    I am trying to get the internal metronome click/tempo to run along with my recorded loops. I have panned the loops hard left with the intension of having the click hard right for the drummer only. Can anyone advise?

  • Patrick F August 14, 2008, 6:47 pm


    I have had the SPD-S for a few months now, and love it. I’m only using the pre-set samples because I have not been able to figure out the memory card situation. I bought a SansDisk Compact Flash, and it says that it is “Not Supported!”

    How would I be able to fix this problem?

    Thanks for the help!

  • Josh M August 21, 2008, 5:43 pm

    hi, just a couple questions ive had this spd-s for a while now and i havnt really given it the attention that it needs till now, we’ve been needing and trying to incorporate mmore synth and medi sounds into our band and i have been wondering where or how to create sounds on my pc? do i need another program such as reason or something else? or can i just download stuff?

  • Daniel M. September 1, 2008, 8:23 pm

    hello, I have a SPD-S and I am looking for some ethnic sample wave! Listing to the Hand Sonic 15 and i would like to get those waves.

    Thanks Dmab

  • Steve Weiss Music September 5, 2008, 3:27 pm

    @Patrick F
    Any sound source will work as long as you have a line out. If you want to create sounds you would have to use something like reason, fruity loops, etc. I am not aware of any free program.

  • Richard September 27, 2008, 10:18 am

    Hey I was wondering how to erase some files to gain more memory. I tried to erase the wave files but it keeps on telling me “wave protected”. I need to free up some space.

  • Neil October 4, 2008, 5:22 am

    Richard. You need to disable ‘Wave Protect’ by powering on the SPD-S with the WAVE and SETUP buttons held down. To re-enable it, just repeat the process.

  • François Tadros October 17, 2008, 10:40 am

    @ suttonsam,

    The internal metronome click is only available during recording (sampling, resampling or phrase making). Further more, the click itself cannot be recorded (unless you push it to a mixer that will pass it back to the SPD-S but you don’t want to do that… huge feedback).

    You could use an extenal metronome that you’ll connect on the right channel with your instrument on the left channel and record them simultaneously. This implies that you’ll need to record a sample for the duration of the whole song.

    What I do is the following. I record my sequences with an external metronome (but I don’t record the click). When, I play, I’m using the same metronome and I trigger the sequences at the appropriate moment and I always have the right tempo. I’m using the Peterson Bodybeat metronome which I clamp on my beld so there are no anoying wire around my head and arms while I’m drumming.

    Hints for your sequences.
    1 sequence = 1 sample. What I mean is, don’t record a sample that includes long pause (more than 1 or 2 bars) between notes or sounds. You’re better off trigerring them everytime. It uses less memory and it is more forgiving during live performance.

  • François Tadros October 17, 2008, 12:46 pm


    In order to setup a Patch so a loop stops playing when another one starts you have to use the MUTE GROUP parameter from the PAD CONTROL option (in PATCH edit mode).

    Select the same MUTE GROUP value for all pads that must be mutually exclusive (starting one stops the others).

    Hope this helps!

  • Besh November 8, 2008, 5:27 pm

    I have had my spds for a month now and mainly using it as a hand drum rather then with sticks. for the life of me i get the pads to respond how i want them too. Im trying to get the pads set up like the guy in the link below. Any advise would be great.


  • Justin November 26, 2008, 11:59 pm

    When I insert my SanDisk CF card it always reads unformatted. Any idea why this may be?

  • Mike December 31, 2008, 12:51 pm

    Hi, i was wondering if it is possible to trgger the samples i have on my memory card without importing them (as my internal memory is full). Or is there a wasy of upgrading the internal memory?

    cheers Mike

  • François Tadros January 3, 2009, 12:29 pm


    The guy in video simply put the SPD-S on a keyboard stand. I do not recommend this because you will not be able to adjust the height nor the inclination of your SPD-S. If you play for a long period of time this may become uncomfortable. For the same price, you should buy the Roland APC-33 mounting clamp that you can attach to a cymbal stand.

    Also, the guy on the video uses a foot switch. If you need one, make sure you get a momentary foot switch (pedal down = signal on; pedal up = signal off) as opposed to an on/off switch (press once for signal on then press once again for signal off). If you make the mistake to get an on/off switch, you will need to press the pedal twice to play 1 sound.

    Finally, since you play with your hands, I suggest you adjust the pads sensitivity to a higher value (closer to 16) as shown at page 77 of the user guide.

  • François Tadros January 3, 2009, 12:35 pm


    Although your CF card might already be formatted so a computer can read it, the SPD-S needs specific folders to exist on the card.

    Therefore, you need to format it using the SPD-S format utility. The user guide explains pretty well how to do so at page 67 (Formatting a CompactFlash Card). Make sure you backup any information that could be on your card before you do this.

  • François Tadros January 8, 2009, 10:16 pm


    Yes, you can leave all your waves on the memory card (no need to add them to the internal memory). However, if you copy a WAVE or AIFF file from your computer directly to your memory card, you’ll still need to IMPORT it (to convert it into a SPD-S readable format).

    Proceed the same way as you would to import it to the internal memory (page 70 of the owner’s manual). At the point where you must select the destination, press on the CARD button to light it up. This will transfer you to the memory card WAVE bank list, so select a bank as you would on the internal memory. You can store up to 500 waves on your card as long as you have enough play back time left.

    This is also true when SAMPLING (recording) or RESAMPLING (applying effects and/or merging waves into a new wave). When you’re prompted for a destination, press on the CARD button and select a bank on the card.

    So in Patch Edit mode, when assigning a wave to a PAD, simply press on the CARD button to toggle to the memory card wave list.

    Note #1: This is only applicable for WAVEs. A PATCH cannot be saved on the memory card.

    Note #1: Before doing any of this, make sure your card has been formatted using the FORMAT utility (page 67).


  • François Tadros January 8, 2009, 10:19 pm

    @Mike again,

    I forgot to mention there is no way of upgrading the internal memory.

  • Mike January 11, 2009, 12:14 pm

    Hi, i was just wondering, due to the fact that the compact flash cards the spds can use are limited to 512mb and that they are hard to find. Would something like this work? or does anyone know a way to have more memory or a place to get CF cards?

    cheers mike

  • Peter Halt January 16, 2009, 2:34 am

    I just bought three 512 Sandisk CF cards on ebay for $27 free shipping

  • Sergio C January 17, 2009, 1:30 am

    Hey Peter, where did you buy your cards? Does the seller have more?

    I’m assuming you checked to make sure the model number of these cards was a tested and compatible model?

  • Ozkan Purde January 18, 2009, 6:31 am

    Hi folks, you can use your 1-2-4 gigs CF cards with the SPD-S by applying the following method. Use a third party partition manager (like paragon etc.) on your computer so you can erase the default partition on your CF card. Then create a new partition of 505 MB (do not pust the limit cause after creating the partition you will see that some more space will be added to the overall size for the partition info and it’s going to be like 510 MB). also rename the partition as ROLAND SPDS. Then proceed normally (sps formatting etc) You are done!! 🙂

  • François Tadros January 18, 2009, 1:02 pm

    Hi Mike,

    There is absolutely nothing to do against the memory size limitation. The SPD-S is programmed to manage only up to 512 MB only (probably due to the way the SPD-S is mapping the waves’ memory address to a pad in a patch).

    As for the CF card adaptors, the last one (at Maplin) will definitely not work because it is a CF type 2 while the SPD-S is only compatible with CF type 1. The first 2 MIGHT work (but I did not try it) as long as you plug-in card with 512mb or less.

    My advice would be to buy an adaptor only if you have another device (such as a digital camera) that could use it in case it doesn’t work with the SPD-S… or if you don’t mind gambling.

    If you do try it please let us know if it’s working.


  • François Tadros January 19, 2009, 5:55 pm


    You’re a genius!

    Many thanks.

  • Bob January 23, 2009, 11:58 am

    Check out the David Crowder Band DVD live Remedy. B-Wack has his SPD-S connected to a micro drive.


  • Dumping sounds from Spd-20 to Spds January 29, 2009, 10:37 pm

    how the sounds of Spd-20 can be transferred/copied to Spds can you help me please

  • François Tadros February 2, 2009, 1:29 pm

    As the sounds (waves) are hardcoded to the SPD-20 internal chips, there is no easy way to do a direct transfer or copy of your sounds to the SPD-S.

    The only thing to do is to plug the Ouput of the SPD-20 to the Input of the SPD-S and record each sound seperately.

  • Nick February 4, 2009, 8:51 pm

    Hey there!

    Thanks to these posts i found a good flash card. Anyway, I have been able to upload the samples and it sounds great. However, I have to switch sets to get from one sample to the next.

    How can I assign samples to different pads without me having to change sets. I want to be able to assign, for example, a bass drop on the one pad and a drum sample on the second pad. Both are imported onto the card, how can i do so?

  • François Tadros February 5, 2009, 12:15 pm

    Hi Nick,

    This is because you’re in WAVE mode. In this mode all pads are playing the same selected WAVE (sound file). It’s mainly used to modify the properties of a WAVE.

    What you’re looking for is a PATCH which is a group of WAVEs assigned to different pads (or external triggers).

    Switch to the PATCH mode to create a patch or to modify one. Read page 30 to 40 of the user’s manual, it explains pretty well how it’s done.

  • Paul Hench February 8, 2009, 8:33 am

    I’m very interested in buying an SPD-S, but after reading all these comments, it makes me wonder if it might be worth waiting for Roland to come out with an updated model solving the memory card problem and with other improvements. Has anyone any idea when Roland might launch an updated version? I’d hate to buy an old model, and two months later the new model appears.

  • Rick February 12, 2009, 12:57 pm

    i am thinking of purchasing the spds, and was wondering how to set up the spds when i play live. can i hook it up to a snake? or does it need to run through the board directly, so that i can hear it through the monitors as well as the p.a.? and when i’m working on it at home can i plug it into an amp, and could you suggest one? thanks.

  • Legs February 16, 2009, 12:24 am

    Hey guys just about ready to buy the spds after tons of research and forums like this but got a few quick questions.

    Do you need a compactflash reader for your laptop or can you buy the cards that split in half forming a usb tab?

    And also as far as following a click live with a sequence could you pan your sample hard left/click hard right upload it to the spds, then send your Right output to your headphone preamp and your Left output to the board as you would with lets say an ipod/laptop??? seems like it would be the same scenario

  • Danny Roldan February 28, 2009, 11:55 pm

    Hi all:

    1st question: Is there any software that can read .spd files? I have some samples I imported trough line into the CF card that I would like to be able to edit on a computer.

    2nd question: So if I saved my .wav files into the CF card using a computer, then I need to “import” them into the system to make them readable? Does this process duplicate the files (1 in .wav and the other in .spd) in the CF card, leaving even less space in such a small card?

    3rd question: Partitioning a bigger CF card is an amazing idea. Brilliant! Does this work with any size (lets say 10GB) CF card?

    PD: I bought 2 512MB Sandisk Ultra II at Walmart the other day for $10 each and they work fine on my SPD-S.

  • François Tadros March 3, 2009, 7:11 am

    Hi Danny,

    1st Q: There is no *.spd files editor that I know of. By the way, *.spd files are not all sound files… some are used as patches/system/backup setup files.

    2nd Q: Yes it creates a duplicate but once it has been imported, you can delete the original wave file from the CF card. Though, I suggest to keep a backup copy on your computer.

    3rd Q: I’d say yes as long as it’s a type 1 CF card.

  • François Tadros March 3, 2009, 7:48 am

    @ Legs,

    I don’t understand what you mean by “the cards that split in half forming a usb tab”.

    You can either get a compactflash reader but if your laptop can read PC cards (also known as PCMCIA cards) I suggest to use a CompactFlash to PC Card Adapter. This is what I’m using and it allows me to share the same CF cards with other devices such as my Roland Fantom-XR (sound module).

    The following link shows what I’m talking about:

    As for following a click, you could do what you proposed but I don’t recommend it. I suggest to use an external metronome and adjust the tempo to match the one of your sample.

    For more info, see the comment I posted on Oct 17, 2008 (addressed to suttonsam).

  • François Tadros March 3, 2009, 8:09 am

    @ Rick,

    I see 2 good options for live setup:
    1)- Hook the SPD-S to the mixer board and ask the sound guy to run it through your monitor (works great for me since I already use a monitor for vocals)
    2)- Plug the SPD-S in an amp (a v-drum or a keyboard amp) that you’ll use as a monitor and hook that amp to the mixer board.

  • Nic Lipscombe March 6, 2009, 5:49 pm

    Hi chaps, – i am attempting to bypass the limited space on the SPD-S pad by linking it (midi) to an Akai Z8 sampler.

    I have the WAVE SETUP set to:
    Type-PHRASE Assign-POLY Loop-ON Trigger-ALT
    and was hoping this would give me a simple ON-OFF midi trigger for loops set up on the sampler, but the gate time in PAD CONTROL still cuts off the loop playing.

    Is there a way to set up the pads so i have just a simple ‘Hit once for ON – Hit once for OFF’ Midi triggers?

    – I became a drummer in order to avoid headaches like this! Thanks.

  • Yash March 8, 2009, 6:41 pm

    I am looking for someone who has indian ethnic rhythms for the spd-s such as ..dhol,tabla samples,dholak,duff etc etc.If you can put these on a flash card,i can pay you.


  • François Tadros March 16, 2009, 7:53 pm

    Hi Nic,

    There is no way to control the note OFF midi message with the SPD-S other than setting the gate time.

    I tried to reproduce your problem using a Roland Fantom-XR which is a sampler but also a sound module with built-in patches. I discovered that channel 10 ignores the note OFF messages (sounds play for their whole duration) while all other channels react to them (sounds play only for the specified gate time). I suspect this behavior is probably a standard in the midi industry since channel 10 is usually intended for percussions

    Try using your Akai Z8 sampler on channel 10. If it doesn’t work there might be an option to ignore the note off message.

  • François Tadros March 17, 2009, 8:03 am

    Hi Nic,

    Oups… I just realized you are trying to use the SPD-S to control the beginning and the end of a loop that is being played on another device. This will not work unless your other device can be programmed to accept “note ON” messages in order to perform different actions (Ex: “C2 Note on” starts sequence A and “D2 Note on” stops sequence A).

    The SPD-S setup you mentioned (Type-PHRASE Assign-POLY Loop-ON Trigger-ALT) has no effect on the way the SPD-S sends midi messages. The messages are sent only when a pad is hit, when the gate time is reached, when a control is changed (if CC Tx/Rx = on) or when a program is changed (if PC Tx/Rx = on).

    Further more, the SPD-S doesn’t know the length of your sample located on the other device, therefore it wouldn’t be able to tell when to restart it for looping.

    By using an external device, you’re loosing a lot of the SPD-S features such as looping. According to what you’re trying to achieve, everything you need is available on the SPD-S. Although the SPD-S memory is somewhat limited, if you are using a 512MB CF card, there should be plenty of sampling time available to store what you need for a show. Worse case… use multiple CF cards.

  • Andrew Polt March 24, 2009, 10:19 pm


    I have a three part questions.

    1. I’m working with Garageband for the time being on a MacBook OS X. What kind of midi to usb converter would work best for the spd-s? I looked at the Tascam 122L, the 144, and the M-Audio Fast Track.

    2. I have kick and snare triggers plugged into the spd-s and I want to add more triggers to my set. Do I need something like a TMC-6 Trigger MIDI converter? Do I connect the TMC-6 with the spd-s or keep them separate?

    3. How do I get all this set up right? That is, the spd-s, more than two acoustic drum triggers, and Garageband.

    Thanks. It’s great to have someone to ask.

  • Legs March 25, 2009, 1:55 pm

    Hey guys after many painful late nights and help from other people online I have figured out all I need to know about splitting click/sequence live with the Spds if anyone needs a hand.

    Also was wondering if anyone has ever used Lexar, Lexar Platinum II, or Kodak CF cards as they are sellin them in bulk for cheap on Ebay with no shipping to certain places


  • Markus Hernes April 10, 2009, 12:38 pm

    tryin to distribute a chopped wave to all 9 pads, but it only distributes the first chopped wave to all pads, instead of distributing chop 1 – 9 to their respective pad number.
    Am I doig something wrong? According to the manual it says I should press FUNC + SHIFT to save all, but that dont work.

    any input is appreciated!

    regards Markus

  • Rick April 15, 2009, 9:47 pm

    I am trying to add samples from my SD Compact Flash card 512 mb. It has been formatted to the SPDS format. I have added wave files. However, when I go to add samples all I get is “Src—–.—” and it does not find any of the wave files on my card. I loaded the wave files under the Roland folder. The same one where all of the other fodlers are ie: DKUP and so forth..
    Please help me…

  • Rick April 15, 2009, 9:48 pm

    Sorry I meant “BKUP” as in where the backup folders and Factory folders are. Do they need to be in a specific folder?

  • François Tadros April 23, 2009, 8:29 am

    Hi Rick,

    I guess you’re trying to IMPORT the wave files. In this case, the files must be saved at the ROOT level of the CF card (not in the roland folder. Once the import is done, they will be saved under the Roland folder if you decided to import them on the card (not to the internal memory).


  • trevor May 9, 2009, 3:03 pm

    oh boy.

    i really need something like this. . . and after much research the spd-s seems to be the best on the maket even with all the aformentioned flaws.

    here goes nothing. i suppose i’ll be back on here with all kinds of questions.

  • mos fet May 13, 2009, 1:20 am

    Oh Lord, how I hate this thing. I have all my samples loaded onto the CF card from my Mac, import them into the internal SPD memory, and they all play back at twice the correct speed. I have saved every concievable file format out of Audacity and I still get the sample rate problem.

    Any ideas?

  • trevor May 16, 2009, 12:55 pm

    ok. got it and things are turining out pretty great. here’s a question though: once i “export” a wav to my memory card and then “import” it so that the spd-s can read it from the card can i delete the original file that i exported to save room on the card and if so how would i do that?

  • François Tadros May 16, 2009, 3:46 pm

    Hi mos fet,

    Your wave files must be saved with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.

    At page 69 of the manual, it is stated:
    “Sample rate conversion is not supported. Files are imported at the sample rate of 44.1 kHz. If any files with sample rates other than 44.1 kHz are imported, they produce a deviation in playback pitch.”

    I’m afraid you will have to edit all your wave files with your mac and change the rate to 44.1.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros May 17, 2009, 12:45 am

    Hi Trevor,

    The SPD-S doesn’t have a delete utility for exported wave files (the ones located at the root of the CF card). So, the only way to remove them is to use your computer (assuming it has a CF card or a PC card reader).

    By the way, the IMPORT/EXPORT utility is meant to share waves with other devices (like a computer). You didn’t have to use it to simply copy a wave from the internal memory to the CF card. You just had to use the WAVE COPY function as described at page 51 of the manual.


  • silmarillion_09 May 17, 2009, 1:05 pm

    just so no one repeats my mistake, Viking CF cards don’t work with the SPD-S. Here in the Philippines its so hard to find CF cards equal or less than 512mb. I think I’ll have to go with Mr, Ozkan Purde’s suggestion to repartition bigger CF cards to 505mb. Has anyone successfully done this? Thanks!

  • please help me May 25, 2009, 2:52 pm

    hi everyone i have the spd-s pad but i lost all my data on it is there any ono who could help me to get it back or how to do it,, i’ll be so glad /i really need it and i dont have any cd or back up //figueroa533@hotmail.com/// thanks a lot G.B

  • Charlie Campagna June 4, 2009, 1:33 pm

    I am trying to input a midi keyboard controller into my spd-s. When I strike a pad in Patch Mode and hit any of the pads, I hear the respective sound on my keyboard speakers. How do I input a sound from the keyboard into the spd-s?

  • Dan LazyTwo June 21, 2009, 3:56 pm

    I have had some problems when copying wav files to the CF card for the SPDS. When I copy the files into to the root folder they dont show up when I access the card via the SPDS. If i try and import the wav files using card utilities they show in the list but this is no good as the memory is full! Does anybody know why I cant access the copied wav files without importing them?

  • François Tadros June 22, 2009, 8:51 am

    Hi Dan,

    You have to import them because te SPD-S doesn’t play the files because it needs to convert them into its own recognizable format.

    So, do the import operation again but once you are selecting the target wave bank, press on the CARD button then select any available wave bank (the SPD-S will default to the first available one). This will transfer it to the CF card bank (assuming you previously formatted the card with the SPD-S).

    So, a file with a .wav or .aif name extension is compatible with the SPD-S but it needs to be converted (imported) and assigned to a WAVE bank (on the on-board memory or on the CF card).

    Once the import is complete, these .wav or .aif files can be deleted from the root of the CF card since a .spd version of this file will reside in the Roland directory of the CF Card.

    Hope this helps!

  • KALLOL DUTTA June 23, 2009, 8:02 am

    how the sounds of Spd-s can be transferred/copied to Spd-20 can you help me please

  • François Tadros June 25, 2009, 9:55 am

    Hello Kallol,

    You cannot copy sounds from the SPD-S to the SPD-20.

    This has nothing to do with the SPD-S but because the SPD-20 is not a sampler device (all sounds are built-in). The only thing you can do with the SPD-20 is play with the effects to alter the way sounds will be played.

  • SweepsMcGee June 27, 2009, 3:44 pm

    A possible solution for “Please Help Me”:

    Click on the following link:


    …and click on the “Download” tab. There is a ZIP file called “SPD-S Factory Restore Data (PC)” which may help you. Instructions on how to apply the information are included as a PDF file inside the ZIP file. I downloaded the file to check it out, and noted that there was a 13MB file and a bunch of smaller files. Hopefully, the large file represents the original samples.

  • Charlie June 30, 2009, 4:35 am

    If anyone knows where I can buy the aforementioned 512mb CF cards, please pass on that information. I can’t find them anywhere!


  • Charlie June 30, 2009, 4:59 am

    In regards to my last statement, I found new 512mb CF cards at oempcworld.com . Company located in Santa Clara, CA. Free Shipping.
    Just bought 2 new cards and reader for $38. I was looking to expand the internal memory, but this looks like its the best way involving company specs. Now to just get them, format them, and apply them to my live show!

  • Moses September 5, 2009, 9:23 pm

    A couple things someone out there might no more about:

    The spds gives me a not supported message when I try to import wav’s.

    The spds will accept aiff’s but they come out sounding like loud noise at 16 bits and quiet with distortions at 8 bits. All samples are at 44.1 kHz.

    Any ideas?

  • Moses September 5, 2009, 9:24 pm

    (typo in first sentence no = know)

  • Moses September 5, 2009, 11:07 pm

    Ps. I’m bouncing the samples out of pro tools.

  • Brad September 10, 2009, 7:14 pm

    Hey i get a Spds like a day ago and it didnt have a manual and i couldnt figure out how to delete samples soo i found a manual on the net and figured out how but now i think i deleted everything can i get sounds back on with out some sort of card? or whats its deal i cant get anything to make noise now!?!

    Thanks Brad

  • François Tadros September 14, 2009, 1:20 pm

    Hi Moses,

    I know that Roland deployed a Operating System version to fix the problem you described(about 2 years ago).

    So, I suspect you may have an old OS version.

    Download the latest OS package and install it. The instructions on how to do this is inside the zip file (ReleaseNote_SPDS120.pdf).

    The link to get the lates OS is:

  • François Tadros September 14, 2009, 1:27 pm

    Hi Brad,

    Luckily, Roland recently posted a new package to Reset the SPD-S to the factory settings.

    Go to the following link then download the package called “SPD-S Factory Restore Data (PC)”. Follow the instructions located inside the zip file (README.pdf).

    I don’t know if this will install the latest operating system so I strongly suggest you verify it.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros September 15, 2009, 1:11 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I forgot to mention. The latest SPD-S operating system update (version 1.20) allows usage of a Compact Flash card up to 4GB in size.

    However, still only 512MB can be used to store data with the SPD-S. At least, this will make it easier to find a compatible CF card.

    Simply click on the link of my previous post to get it.

  • Ozkan Purde September 17, 2009, 9:39 am

    Hi again,

    After several (i mean many 🙂 ) months of absence, i’ve returned back to see if anybody has any questions about my previous suggestion -repartitioning the CF card. I see that some people just avoid doing it, so i must say that I AM USING the damn thing since january without any issues. So get on with it people, don’t spend your time and money to find an old 512MB card.

    ozkan over and out!

  • François Tadros September 17, 2009, 11:37 am

    Hi Ozkan,

    I wanted to try it but I couldn’t find any free media partitionning tool. I found 1 (don’t remember the name) but it would only allow partitioning a hard drive (no other medium type).

    What is the software you are using and did you have to pay for it?

  • Rick Whitman September 23, 2009, 9:22 pm

    i was trying to restore the spds to its factory setting, and followed the instructions, until after step 7 from the manual, when i press enter, then i get a “no factory data!” and the hole board starts blinking??? help???


  • François Tadros September 25, 2009, 7:48 am

    Hi Rick,

    First, you must ensure that a “ROLAND” folder exists directly under the root of your CF card. If it doesn’t exist then do either one of the following:
    – If your SPD-S is still operationnal then try formatting your CF card with it.
    – Otherwise, use your computer and simply create the “ROLAND” folder on the root of your CF card.

    Then with your computer, copy folder “FCTRY” from the CD under the “ROLAND” folder of the CF card. Make sure you see folder “FCTRY” (not only its content) under folder “ROLAND”.

    Then try again from step #5.

    I think your problem is that you copied the content of folder “FCTRY” but not the folder itself.

    Good luck!

  • Brad September 28, 2009, 9:02 pm

    Hey quick question about this 512MB card do you absolutely need a 515MB or will other card work?

    Also after you load this factory settings thing how much time do you have as far as samples?

    Thanks Brad

  • François Tadros September 30, 2009, 12:00 pm

    Hi Brad,

    Before version 1.20 of the operating system you would absolutely need a card of 512MB or less (unless you were using the work around mentionned by Ozkan Purde).

    Since version 1.20, you may now use a CF card up to 4 GB but only 512MB will be used. So, there is no gain in sampling time (about 30 minutes at fine/stereo mode).

  • Brad September 30, 2009, 8:40 pm

    Hi Francois,

    Thanks alot Also how do i know what version i have because it doesn’t say anything on the actual sampler?

    Its used or i would probably have all the paper work and what not which sucks!

    Oh 1 more thing do you know any good places to get a Brutal D4 for some sweet bass booms?

    Thanks Brad

  • François Tadros October 1, 2009, 8:56 am

    Hi Brad,

    The following doc explains how to do so.

    Sorry I don’t know where to get an Audix D4.

  • Lukas October 15, 2009, 1:44 am

    Hello. I have a problem. When I hit the pad e.g. 4, it starts to play pad nr.9 too. But I don´t want to. I tried to change some settings, I loaded a factory settings but no change. Please, what do think when problem is? For more see my youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZMGHzIRlEQ.
    Thank you very much.
    Lukas, Czech republic
    PS: Write me on my email. THNX

  • Lukas October 15, 2009, 9:27 am

    Sorry. Did you answear on my email or not? I will wait for a message. Thank you.

  • François Tadros October 15, 2009, 8:39 pm

    Hi Lukas,

    I’ve whatched your video and I don’t think the problem is related with the pads sensitivity setup. This is because pads 4 to 9 are sharing the same settings, therefore the problem wouldn’t occur with pad #9 only.

    If your SPD-S is connected to a midi device via midi cables then unplug those cables and try your SPD-S again. If it fixes the problem I’ll tell you exactly what the problem is… but I don’t really believe that what it is.

    Honestly, I think you SPD-S might be broken. Maybe there is something loose inside that resonates on the sensor of pad #9 or that sensor is defective (hypersensitive).

    So, you should probably contact your distributor…

    Good luck!

  • Lukas October 18, 2009, 6:05 am

    Hello, Francois.
    Thank you for your message. Next week my friend takes SPD-S to Germany servis. I hope they will know what to do and give me back corrected one or new one.
    So, I will let you know maybe about 1 month.
    Best regards,

  • John Michaels November 1, 2009, 1:09 am

    Hi! I am a new SPDS user, and am having trouble with the basic functions of this thing. I think I’m a reasonably intelligent guy, but I have found the users manual to be confusing.
    If I can tell you what I’d like to do, perhaps someone can walk me through, step-by-step, how to do it?

    I don’t need loops or beats or anything like that – all I want to do, is to select 9 of the onboard wave sounds, assign each of them to one pad, and save the whole thing to use when I want to. If I can assign more than one wave to the same pad, to trigger at the same time, all the better… but, for whatever reason, I can’t seem to figure out how to do any of this.

    I know this probably sounds dumb to those who know how to operate this unit, but hopefully if someone can get me started, I’ll be able to expand what I can do from there 🙂

  • kevin November 5, 2009, 1:34 pm

    Glad this info exists, you are all very helpful, not that I understand much of what you are talking about.
    I just ordered two 512 cf cards and reader from http://www.oempcworld.com at a total cost of $27.55
    had a minute of frustration deleting “all” from my unit, but now I am loading all new stuff.

  • John Michaels November 9, 2009, 10:55 am

    Hi, After leaving the above note, I was able to figure out how to create a patch, and assign the 9 waves I want to one patch.
    2 things I still have questions about:
    -I want to name this new patch, but can’t figure out how. The instructions seem to be missing a step, so any help would be appreciated.
    -When I create a new patch, can I assign more than one wave sound to one pad (so that they both play when struck)…and, if so, how?


  • François Tadros November 9, 2009, 5:35 pm

    Hi John,

    To name the patch:
    – Make sure the Patch button is lit (patch mode),
    – Press the Edit button,
    – Press on the Right Page button until “PATCH COMMON” gets displayed,
    – Press Enter,
    – Press on the Right Page button until “Name [NewPatch]” gets displayed.

    Now you can rename the patch:
    – Use the RIGHT or LEFT page button to move the cursor to the next or previous char position,
    – Use the + or – button to change the char at the cursor position
    – Press the EDIT button to save the name.

    TIP… if you hold down the <> button while pressing the + or – button, you will jump between character groups (lower case, capital, numeric or special chars).


    You can assign a second wave to each pad of a patch but setting WAVE B. However, this will not cause the SPD-S to play both of them at the same time. Only one of them will be played:
    – If the VELO (velocity) has been selected WAVE A will play if you hit the pad softly and WAVE B if you hit it hard.
    – If FOOTSW (foot switch) has been selected, then WAVE A will play if the foot switch is released and WAVE B if the foot switch is pressed.

    Read Page 34 (Wave B) of you manual to see how to set it up.


    To play 2 Waves at once, you need to create a new wave using the ones you want. This is called re-sampling. This allows you to mix multiples waves together and/or to apply effects (in this case, effect are save permanently with the new Wave)

    Please read Chapter 4 (starting at page 59) of your manual to understand how to do this.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros November 9, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Oups… I missed a word in the previous e-mail

    TIP… if you hold down the button…

  • François Tadros November 9, 2009, 5:43 pm

    Take 3

    TIP… if you hold down the SHIFT button…

  • John Michaels November 12, 2009, 11:38 am

    Merci, Francois!

    I was able to re-name patches, which has been very helpful. Can’t wait to try the re-sampling, too. Thanks so much for your step-by-step help – it’s just what I needed!

    All the best,


  • sonor06 November 13, 2009, 5:46 pm

    Hello thanks you all for all of ur comments its been a great help..
    I took d spd-s a week back and its jst awesome i hav sorted out everythng jst 1 thning to ask, when i play sampled tone or loop the tones sound gets cut of when i hit other pads and a loop stops, all my mute groups are off can u plz tell me the reason i am facing only dis problem and its a big probs.. So plz help me out with these i tried jst evrythng bt the problem remains…

  • François Tadros November 17, 2009, 1:13 pm

    Hello sonor06,

    I can’t think of any reason that the SPD-S is behaving this way… so I’ll need a little more details to help you.

    Please send me an-email at FRANK.STEVEWEISS@VIDEOTRON.CA

    I’ll do my best to help you!

  • François Tadros November 17, 2009, 1:26 pm

    Hello sonor06,

    I just remembered… I bet the Trigger parameter of your WAVE is set to Alternate which is the default value for a Phrase.

    Change it to Shot and it will keep playing even when you hit another PAD (page 45 of your manual).


  • François Tadros November 17, 2009, 1:34 pm

    I’m full of it!!!

    Sonor06, please ignore my last e-mail (alternate vs. shot).

    I sent an other email requesting you to contact me, but it’s awaiting moderation (probably because I included an email address).

    Sorry about that!

  • Gavin November 21, 2009, 11:29 am

    I have the SPD-S unit and love it. It is saying my memory is full. How do I reduce that so that I can sample more stuff?


  • Mark Addison November 27, 2009, 10:45 am

    I have a 512 mem cf card. Q memory is the brand name 150x xpress turbo. I imported files from a 256 cf to the 512 and when I insert the 512, I have the samples and they play but after I go through a few, the system freezes and I have to shut down to get response from the unit. I have used the 256 k cf for a while and never had a problem. Is it the 512 cf card or the way I’m transfering files from my computer. Have no problem tranfering files from computer to 256 cf
    please help

  • Shawn November 29, 2009, 7:37 pm

    OK – I am new to the SPD-S. I am trying to figure out what happened to a loop of mine. I recorded a drum loop and want to be able to use another pad as a trigger to play another sound bite as i need to. But instead it seems that every pad has the loop on it so if I hit another pad the loop stops instead. Suggestions?

  • François Tadros December 2, 2009, 6:33 am

    Hi Shawn,

    All pads are playing the same sound because you’re in WAVE mode. The WAVE mode is good to create and edit sounds.

    You’re now at the next step which is to create a PATCH. A PATCH is a group of WAVEs assigned to different pads (or external triggers).

    Switch to the PATCH mode to create a patch, to modify one or to play one.

    Read page 30 to 40 of the user’s manual, it explains pretty well how it’s done.

  • François Tadros December 2, 2009, 6:47 am

    Hi Gavin,

    The SPD-S has a very limited internal memory. If you want to load more sounds you’ll need to load them to a Type I Compact Flash card (not a type II).

    The card can be up to 4 gb but the Operating System of your SPD-S must be version 1.20. Note that only a maximum of 512mb of it will be usable.

    Please read the previous posts concerning CF Cards to understand why that is.

  • John Michaels December 3, 2009, 12:29 pm

    Hi, all.

    A couple of issues with storage space on the SPDS.

    How much ‘extra’ space is on the unit’s internal memory? I just tried to sample my first sound from an outside source, and got the ‘memory full’ message. Is it already full with the factory-loaded sounds? I bought my unit used, but I don’t think the previous owner added any extra sounds on there (at least, I haven’t found any).

    If it IS full, can I create space by individualy deleting factory wav’s that I don’t think I’ll ever need?…and, if I do that, can I assume that I can add roughly an equal number of wavs to the ones I delete?

    Thanks! This is a great resource.

  • Kirk December 3, 2009, 2:57 pm

    Hi guys – Just found this forum. Long-time SPDS user and I love it. It’s nothing short of amazing. I play in a successful Minneapolis area cover band and I use it for everything from percussion sounds, to electronic drums, to loops, to sound effects. Can’t say enough good things about it.

    Anyway… I’d like to be able to attach more than two external Roland trigger pads. I’ve used two for a long time, but was wondering if pads work when plugged into the foot-switch plug. I guess I could try it myself, but thought I’d just ask.

    I will say that using the SPDS on a regular basis, editing WAV files on your PC, importing, creating Patches, etc. is the best way to get comfortable with how everything works.

  • Andy December 4, 2009, 11:17 pm

    Hi guys!

    I would really need some information regarding the SPD-S.

    For example if i use Reason 4.0 software for producing music, then is it possible to transport my own full song or parts of it from my laptop into the SPD-S?
    So when i hit the pad 1, the desired part or the full song starts to play (synth, bass and some strings for example, no drums) and i play drums myself along with them live? (i have Roland TD4 kit).
    And if i hit pad 2 on SPD-S, then some other part of my owh song starts to play (only bass or keys).
    Is this even possible or is it just my dream? 🙂

  • Kirk December 5, 2009, 5:59 pm

    Andy – Yes! Think of your SPDS as Windows Media Player on your computer. It plays .WAV files. You save your file as a .WAV on your PC, copy to the Compact Flash drive, pop the Compact Flash drive into the SPDS, import the file, and there you have it.

  • Andy December 7, 2009, 4:57 am

    Thanks Kirk, i`m gonna try it!

  • François Tadros December 7, 2009, 7:33 am

    Hi Kirk,

    A pad won’t work if plugged into the foot-switch channel.

    Technically this is because, for the SPD-S, the foot-switch is used only to open (off) or close (on) a circuit. On the other hand, a pad sends a piezoelectric pulse when hit.

    So the foot-switch plug will not be able to interpret the signal of a pad.

  • François Tadros December 7, 2009, 7:55 am

    Hi Andy,

    Kirk is right. However, if you are mainly using MIDI tracks (not Audio Tracks) then your software may not have the ability to publish a WAVE file out of your project (I might be wrong but the old sequencing software I’m using doesn’t allow it).

    If you can’t publish a WAVE file… don’t worry. You’ll just have to use the Sampling (recording) capability of your SPD-S. Just plug the audio Output of your PC to the Input of the SPD-S. Then, play the sequence on your computer while the SPD-S records it.


  • John Michaels December 7, 2009, 10:57 am

    What kind of cord is best to use when going from my PC to my SPDS?…and which PC outputs work best? Can I go from my PC’s USB to the SPDS?

    Also, still hoping for an answer to my memory question a few entries above, if anyone can help. Thanks!

  • François Tadros December 7, 2009, 12:48 pm

    Hi John,

    The only inputs for sound on the SPD-S are two 1/4″ TS jacks (mono); 1 for the left channel and 1 for the right channel. You cannot directly connect the SPD-S to your PC via a USB cable.

    The easiest and cheapest way to connect your SPD-S to your PC is by using a cord with a 1/8″ TRS jack (stereo) on one side and with two 1/4″ TS jack (mono) at the other end. Connect the 1/8″ TRS jack into the phones output of your PC and the two 1/4″ TS jack on the SPD-S. (By the way, TRS stands for “Tip Ring Sleeve” and TS for “Tip Sleeve”.) If your PC is relatively recent, the sound should be pretty good but with an older PC there might be some humm. If you have a stereo line out on your PC, then use it instead.

    You can also buy a cheap External USB Audio Interface and connect it to your SPD-S.

    These ways of connecting is only when you play the sound on your computer and you’re recording (sampling) it at the same time on your SPD-S. This is not to download a wave file directly to the SPD-S.

    Really, the best way is to edit the sounds on your PC with a Sound Editing Software then to write it on a Compact Flash card. Then put that CF card into the SPD-S.

    This brings me to your previous post. The internal memory has only a few seconds of sampling time available. Even if you delete all factory loaded sounds, you end up with about 4 or 5 minutes of available sampling time. Really, everyone with a SPD-S should have at least one 512mb Compact Flash card to store their waves.

    Please read all posts from the beginning. You’ll see, most of them relate to this topic.

  • John Michaels December 8, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Is that Kirk Stallings? 🙂
    I’ve seen you play – I’m also with a band in Mpls: Playback. Just starting to incorporate the SPDS into my playing, and looking forward to what it will add to the band’s sound.

    John Michaels

  • Ray J December 10, 2009, 12:20 pm

    I’ve owned the SPD-S for years and love it, but a problem has developed recently I’m hoping you can help me with.

    In the “Acoustic” patch (011 factory setting) – or any other drum kit patch I try to set up on an open number – it works and respond fine for a while… then eventually I’ll hit the snare (pad #8 – bottom middle) and it doesn’t sound. I may hit it two or three more times without it sounding.

    At this point one of two things happens. Either (a) it sounds after I hit a different pad, or (b) it just sounds on it’s own regardless of what I do – and plays the snare sound once for each time I hot it until it “catches up”.

    I’ve run through the manual and checked the settings but no luck. Any thoughts?
    Any thoughts?

  • sebowebo December 12, 2009, 8:46 pm

    Hey, i was wondering if you or anyone here knew if you can record your own sounds onto the SPD-20, not record something you play on it, but say record your voice onto the device so you can attach it to a pad and play it later? I really like the SPD-S, but i dont like that its not touch sensitive, and the SPD-20 would be perfect for me, if it can record sounds you want like stupid monty python phrases or something!
    Or if anyone knew of anyway, if the SPD-20 can’t record sounds onto it, if there was a way to get a small device that does that i could hook up to the SPD-20 and trigger the sounds with the pads!

  • François Tadros December 15, 2009, 3:47 pm

    Hi sebowebo,

    The SPD-20 is not a sampler, therefore you cannot import your own sounds into it. If you already own a SPD-20 then you could buy a separate sampler module that has a MIDI interface (most of them have one). You could then trigger the sounds from the SPD-20 via a MIDI connection.

    If you don’t already have a SPD-20, then I strongly suggest you consider buying the SPD-S. By the way, the SPD-S is touch sensitive… The thing is, you have the option of enabling or disabling the pad sensitivity response (useful when playing a sound that should always be played at the same volume) so I suspect the one you tried was set to not-sensitive.

    You may also want to consider the Yamaha DTX-Multi 12. The problem is that there is on 64 MB of internal memory and I haven’t seen any way of adding memory such as a SD or CF card (which could be a huge issue). It is also a lot more expensive than the SPD-S.

    Hope this helps!

  • Mr Hodge December 24, 2009, 5:16 am

    Hey dudes… big respect to you knowledgeable folk – I can’t believe the stuff that some of you seem to know!!

    I have a question that is similar to what Andrew Polt asked back in March which I don’t think anyone responded to (it was his 2nd question). Apologies if it was covered.

    I have a kick trigger and another dual-zone trigger that I’d like to plug in to the SPD-S. Can it trigger 3 external pads?

    I can get the dual zone pad working in the Trig input (1/2) (nicely get the 2 sounds working… no problem), but can I get the other kick pad in somewhere?

    Francois made it clear in a post to Kirk that the Control Switch insert are not for triggering pads… so is there any way around this? What is cheapest easiest solution, if any?

    Blessings, and Merry Christmas all!

  • Tom December 28, 2009, 1:25 pm

    Hi everyone,

    Hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas!

    I have a question: can one use a latched footswitch (e.g. BOSS FS-5L) with the SPD-S?

    In the manual they recommend a FS-5U, but I want latched, not momentary.

    The ‘connecting external devices’ diagram in the manual (p.20 in mine) shows a Y cable connected to the footswitch jack with two identical unlatched footswitches.


  • François Tadros December 29, 2009, 1:49 am

    Hi Mr Hodge,

    Unfortunately with the SPD-S you can only connect 2 external pads. Furthermore, a dual zone pad is interpreted as being 2 pads by the SPD-S.

    However, you can connect your kick pad and your other pad by using a Y cable (2 mono female merging into 1 stereo male) but this will disable the secondary zone of your dual zone pad (the rim of a pad or the edge of a cymbal). That’s what I suggest if your kick pad is what’s really important for you.

    If you absolutely need both zones of your dual zone pad as well as your kick pad… there is an expensive and a more complicated alternative. You’ll have to connect the kick pad to a “Trigger to MIDI Converter” (such as the Alesis Trigger|iO). Then connect the converter to the SPD-S using a midi cable. You will then have to program the converter to play a specific midi note when you hit the kick pad. Then, on the SPD-S you’ll have to assign that same MIDI note to one of the SPD-S pads as well as a WAVE file to that same PAD. So now, when you’ll hit your kick pad, the converter will send a MIDI signal ( “Note ON” ) to the SPD-S which will play the sound of the SPD-S pad that was assigned the same MIDI note.

    Note sure if I was clear but if you understood what I wrote you’ll realized this will not give you an additional pad. This will simply give you the ability to trigger one of your SPD-S pad remotely (using an external device).

    I wrote that second part only to show that this is feasible but since you’re not gaining any additional pad, I don’t think it’s worth the money and the trouble. Go with the first solution and sacrifice the secondary zone of your dual zone pad.

    Hope I helped a bit!

  • Kirk December 29, 2009, 10:04 pm

    Hi guys – Recently put together a collage of some recent video of my band. Lots of SPDS activity. Drum loops and lots of samples. If you’re bored or kinda interested, feel free to have a look. –

  • Kirk December 29, 2009, 10:06 pm

    Here’s the LINK


    Hi John! Wow,what a coincidence! I’ll have to look you guys up. My wife and I always try to see a band or two when I’m not playing.


  • Tom December 30, 2009, 10:45 am

    Hi Francois,

    I was really interested by your post yesterday about how to trigger the on-board pads of the SPD-S remotely. I’ll say now I am very new to this business of adding electronics to my kit. But am I right in thinking that by extension there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have three or four of your SPD-S’s pads triggered remotely? (I know you’re not actually gaining sounds by doing this, but the capability to spread my pads out around my acoustic kit would be worth a lot to me).

    What would be the limiting factor? I see the Alesis Trigger iO has ten trigger inputs – would there be any reason why I couldn’t replace several of the SPD’s onboard pads with external ones? That would beat having one PD8 and one KD7 through the trigger inputs!

    Cheers, and happy new year!
    Tom :o)

  • François Tadros December 30, 2009, 9:15 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I did not reply to your first question (footswitch) because I’m not sure of the answer. I think a latched footswitch might work ONLY for the WAVE A and WAVE B control. If you already have a latched footswitch, please try it and let us know if it works. By the way, the Y cable is needed only if you need more than 1 footswitch. You can plug a single switch directly into the footswitch input. In this case, you will be controlling FOOT SW 1 on the SPD-S.

    As for the SPD-S MIDI interface, you’re absolutely right. You can trigger all nine pads remotely via a MIDI signal. Even the 2 external triggers and both footswitches can be triggered remotely. I have a few pads spread out around my kit. They’re all connected to an Alesis Trigger IO and it works really well.

    By the way, you asked “would there be any reason why I couldn’t REPLACE several of the SPD’s onboard pads with external ones?”. Assigning a MIDI note to trigger a pad does not disable (REPLACE) the pad locally… it will still be playable on the SPD-S. The MIDI connection simply gives you an alternate way to trigger the pads.

    A few tips…
    Make sure you set the global MIDI parameters of the SPD-S (page 84) as followed:

    – MIDI Ch = 10 (Midi channel). 10 is the standard MIDI channel for drums (and it is the default channel for the Alesis Trigger IO).

    – PC Tx/Rx = OFF (Program Change). If you leave it ON, changing a patch on the SPD-S will change the drum kit on the Alesis module and vice-versa.

    The MIDI note assignments are done at the PATCH level. That is to say, when you assign a MIDI note to a pad, it is valid only for the patch you’re in (unless you use the default Note Number values). The parameter is called “Note#” and is located under the PAD CONTROL option in patch EDIT mode (page 36).

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros December 30, 2009, 9:31 pm

    Tom… one last thing,

    You said ” I see the Alesis Trigger iO has ten trigger inputs…”.

    Actually, there are 10 dual zone trigger inputs which in fact gives you 20 triggers.

    This is more than enough for the 13 controlable triggers of the SPD-S.

  • Mr Hodge December 31, 2009, 9:21 am

    Francois… you’re a legend. Thanks bud.

  • Tom January 1, 2010, 6:56 am

    Seconded – thank you so much for your help! And happy new year!

    I’ll let you know about the latched footswitch as soon as it arrives. Getting one second hand on eBay so if it isn’t useful I can just sell it again.

    I’m not knowledgeable at all about trigger to MIDI convertors – does anyone know where I can go to learn about them, compare different ones and find out about what the different quality variables are – e.g. what makes a Roland TMC-6 superior to (or just more expensive than) an Alesis Trigger I/O. (E.g. I don’t actually need 20 trigger inputs and would rather spend the money on better sound quality or triggering accuracy etc. etc. etc.)


  • François Tadros January 1, 2010, 7:18 pm

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the compliments. Happy new year to you too as well as to Steve Weiss Music who’s kindly hosting this blog.

    Tom I assume you must play with a guitarist. Make your test with his/her amplifier switch pedal. It should work as long as it doesn’t have more than 2 switches on it.

    Concerning the TMC-6 versus the Alesis Trigger I/O here’s what I think. To start with, you’ll pay more for a Roland than for an Alesis because of its name. Usually, Roland is way ahead of Alesis concerning electronic drums (sounds, pad feel, response & durability). However, this specific piece of equipment does not require durability (you’re not hitting on it) nor does it produce a sound. So, in terms of what is supposed to be doing (converting a piezoelectric signal into a MIDI signal) I would not worry on the quality of either one. They both have the same important basic parameters: crosstalk, gain, sensitivity, threshold, trigger type, velocity curve.

    I did not try the TMC-6 but it seems to be a little more compact, as well as a little easier to use (although I’ve seen reviews saying the opposite). Also, trigger #2 of the TMC-6 is a 3-way trigger for a CY cymbal (with an edge, a middle and a bell zone). Still, with the Alesis you could simply use 2 trigger inputs to plug in a CY cymbal. I also noticed that the GUI of the TMC-6 is an LCD display while the Alesis has only a very basic LED display (this might explain the price different right there).

    Finally, the Alesis has a USB connection. It also comes with a program that allows you to play and record your drumming on your computer… but you might not need this.

    So, if you are absolutely sure that you won’t need more than 6 trigger inputs and you want to go with a solid brand name, the Roland would be a good choice. On the other hand, the Alesis seems to be offering more for the money.


  • Micky Freestyle January 3, 2010, 3:51 pm


    My partner has just bought me a spd-s for christmas to run alongside my td 12.
    I have ordered my sd card off ebay (type I) can i put sounds onto the card from my ipod when i plug into the back of my spd-s.
    Any info would be appreciated as i only want to sample some parts of tracks to the spd-s to go along with my performance.

    Cheers you lot


  • Tom January 7, 2010, 3:01 pm

    Hi Francois,

    Thanks again! I think I’ll go for the Alesis. One more question though:

    Having read different things in different places, I’m not too sure whether its HH pedal input actually offers continuous hat control with an FD-7 or 8, like that you’d find on a full electronic drum kit (as opposed to treating the HH control pedal like either a footswitch or an expression pedal, as the SPD-S seems to). I have no idea how electronic hi-hats work, having only ever owned the SPD-S. I assume if the Alesis Trigger IO does offer this, you’d have to be using it to trigger either a sound module with hi-hat sounds on it that go through the full range from open to closed, or a software hat with the full range of sounds on a laptop.

    Most importantly, how possible is it to do the latter live, in terms of latency? I have an AMD Athlon 64 dual-core 1.9GHz with 3 GB DDR2, and an external Mixvibes U-mix 44 soundcard.


  • Oscar January 11, 2010, 12:24 am

    this might be a stupid question, why can i only have 4 loops going at once? is this because they’re stereo? i really want to have 6-7 loops layered all going at once. thanks so much!

  • Kirk January 26, 2010, 3:14 pm

    Does anyone know if an updated or redesigned SPD-S might happen in the future? I love mine, but it would be neat to see how a future model might be improved. Technology changes and improves quickly…and the SPD-S has been around, unchanged for quite a while now.


  • Jake January 28, 2010, 2:09 am

    Hey, so this blog has really helped me and I was going to buy an CF card to transfer music but I found this video. It shows you how to do it much easier and faster in my opinion. Hopefeully this helps you guys out!

    I also was wondering how to make more memory on to your spd-s. I have only put 2 samples on it and it already says its full. I would realy like to just delete everything on it and have all the memory for myself and not the preset junk.

  • Jake January 28, 2010, 2:11 am
  • François Tadros January 28, 2010, 2:00 pm

    Hi Oscar,

    The maximum polyphony (number voices that can be played concurrently) of the SPD-S is 8 voices.

    A WAVE created in mono mode uses only 1 voice while a WAVE created in Stereo mode uses 2 voices. So, you said it, this is exactly why you can only play up to 4 phrases (loops) using stereo waves.

    If you resample your wave files in mono, you’ll be able to play up to 8 loops.

    By the way, this is not only applicable to phrases but to shots as well. The thing is, phases has priority over shots when there are insufficient voices available. Page 45 of the manual briefly talks about this.


  • François Tadros January 28, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Concerning your computer, you should be in business. Unless you have a bunch of drivers loaded in memory, you should not notice any latency. If you do, it may be caused by the anti-virus.

    For the HHC pedal I never tried it with the alesis so I don’t know yet.

  • Jake January 29, 2010, 2:56 am

    Just wanted to repeat my question to make it more clear.

    How would I make more memory on the spd-s without getting a CF card.

  • François Tadros January 30, 2010, 10:17 pm

    Hi Jake,

    There is no way of adding internal memory on the SPD-S. This is why there is so many postings concerning the CF card. The SPD-S is pretty well useless without a CF card if you wish to use your own samples (which is the main purpose of the SPD-S).

    You can delete all pre-loaded samples from the internal memory to free it up, but still you get only about 3 minutes of recording time.


  • mike February 2, 2010, 3:45 pm

    HI,my memory card is full..how can i let free the memory?

  • Alan Keillor February 3, 2010, 12:02 pm

    Hi, Ok i`ll get right to it. We`ve created a patch and went through all the steps. And it works. We have pad 2 assigned as a loop and assigned to ALT so it can be turned off with a second hit. The rest of the pads in this patch are assigned to simmons drums and set to SHOT so they can be played like a kit. Problem is the loop needs to stay on but when we do a fast roll on any of the pads it turns pad 2 off.But a slow roll & pad 2 keeps running the loop no problem. Any ideas how to fix this issue. We`ve tried Sensitivity adjustments and Mono & adjusting the Velocities.



  • Seth February 9, 2010, 6:05 am

    Hey all, great thread! I’ve used the spd-s live for years and love the portability and ease of use while playing live. I just send a 1/4 inch to a DI and use headphones for personal monitoring. Of course, at this point going nuts as far as the memory limitations. If they just could build an spd-s with an internal click and more memory…wow.

    Anyway, in a pinch, can I bring 2 or 3 flash cards with different sounds and swap them live as time allows? In other words, will the spd-s pick up the different cards when swapped for separate patches?

    Thanks so much, look forward to contributing to this forum. I basically bounce pro tools files in mono format to the flash card and trigger live. To keep things in time I usually have a short 2 bar loop when I’m not triggering many instruments. We call our spd-s harvey…he’s like a fourth member

  • Seth February 9, 2010, 6:23 am

    One more question…I’m in need of a v120 update. However, I use mac’s. I suppose I could find somebody with a PC and work it out as the midi dump mode sounds a little hairy and I don’t have the cables. So…question…can I dedicate one new flash card to the update, backup another, and then load the update to the new OS, eject the card and use the other (with my wav’s) to load back in the files? Much appreciated

  • dave February 14, 2010, 6:43 am

    problem. only recently my spds volume knob on the front (next to effects) does not work. it is just the same volume no matter where you turn it. the knobs on the back work but the front ones do not. ive only had the spds for less then a month.? i really hope its not broke already. any suggestions?

  • Frankie March 2, 2010, 12:25 am

    I am so stuck at this..I am trying to use my SPD-S as a midi controller for Logic Pro..and ive been through forums but i am new to the terminology and midi world in general. So my question is:

    When i select a drum kit in Logic or any other midi sound..how do i change notes in the pad?

    I have always used a Korg mini keyboard as my midi controller and there was a simple octave button that allowed me to switch to different sounds. But i would like the versatility of being able to record midi instruments with my pad and drum sticks..can someone please point me in the right direction??

  • neil clan March 8, 2010, 5:35 pm

    couple of questions:
    im sure ive seen the answer to this but cant find: how do i disable the “wave protected” facility to delete a wave?
    secondly, in wave edit, how do you set the desired beat/measure or set a different one (via the empty fields i presume)? nothing changes whatever i select.
    thanks in anticipation.

  • clannmann March 9, 2010, 4:57 pm

    have found answer to unprotecting waves but would still like response to tempo problem. ta

  • Ol March 11, 2010, 10:26 pm

    Hi experts!

    I spent a little time reading here – wow, what a great knowledge base, thanx a lot!

    Since I built my own pads I realized I cannot adjust the SPD-S’ pads (via Pad Control only)
    in the much more efficient way its “Trigger Input” handles my selfmade ones;
    and I’m a little dissatisfied now because my own pads are much more sensitive.

    So I’m thinking about MIDI-connecting more external pads via “Alesis Trigger IO”,
    the way it’s been described here so well before.

    Maybe anybody can tell about two things concerning the Alesis Trigger IO’s
    behaviour working together with the SPD-S = its quality in practice:

    — Will I be able to adjust my pads parameters (threshold, times, retrig, xtalk etc…)
    with the Alesis at least as sensitive as the SPD-S’ “Trigger Input” does?
    This would be most important to me.

    — And are there any disturbing latencies recognized betweenAlesis and SPD-S
    (like it usually happens with MIDI-connections to smaller home-computers)?

    … Thanx for patience with my ing-lish 😉

  • Mike April 6, 2010, 12:35 pm

    Hi Legs, can you tell me how you got the click/backing track thing working on the SPD-S? I’ve almost got it working like grahamo87 describes here: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43497

    but the click is still bleeding onto the backing track going to the house mix. It’s only slight but is quite loud once it’s put through a big PA. Please help, I’m pulling my hair out!

    Thanks very much in advance,


  • Marc April 11, 2010, 3:28 am


    I bought the spd-s a couple of weeks ago and just have one thing I don’t understand.

    When I play a cf imported loop on pad x and during that loop hit pad y 3 times, the loop stops playing.
    Strange thing is this only happens when the sound on pad y is one of my own. When I hit a factory sound a couple of times the loop on pad x does keep playing.
    I’ve checked all mute group settings and they are all disabled.

    Does anybody have an idea?

  • Marc April 11, 2010, 4:04 am

    I just solved the issue by setting the waves to mono instead of poly. I guess the spd-s has a limited amount of voices. Now everything works fine.

  • Mike April 12, 2010, 6:40 am

    Doesn’t matter, I solved it by turning ‘ambience’ off on the SPD-S… Don’t know why it was on in the first place (default setting?) but never mind, I’m very glad it works now. Cheers

  • thea April 12, 2010, 3:31 pm

    Hi all,

    I’ve got a question about transferring phrases to the computer. I’ve been saving my samples as waves and did successfully create .wav files which i could open on the comp but now when i make new samples an save to card my files only read as .spd files and i can’t access the audio files. been following the manual and steps mentioned above but can’t get round it.

    sure i’m doing something stupid! any tips would be great. cheers

  • Steven April 14, 2010, 1:15 am

    I have the SPD-s for some years now. I wan’t to import some tracks I made with Cubase. I took a flashcard of 256MB, put al the wav files on it in the root folder (about 180MB of them). Then, I put the card in the SPD-s and started importing…It ran for a whole night and still is not finished. It stays at “Processing”. Does anyone know if this means the device is hanging or should I let it import for some more time ? Maybe I should play the wave files directly to the input via a cable between PC and SPDS whilst sampling but I’m afraid I will get qualityloss as it goes from digital (PC) to audio (PC output) and then stored digitally on the SPDS and then back to audio for play-back.

  • thea April 14, 2010, 7:14 am

    Hi all,

    I’ve been using my SPDS to record keys and vocals lately but I’m having problems creating .wav files when I record directly onto the memory card. I understand that when you export from the internal memory and export to the card you get to export the files as wav or aiff which are readable on the computer. But when I record directly onto the card and try to access the audio files all I only get .spd files and I can’t find the wav version to edit them on the computer.

    Can anyone give me any tips on recording directly onto the card so this doesn’t happen?

    Many thanks in advance!!

  • Nimbus April 14, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Hi All!

    Can anyone help me out or tell me how to assign a specific WAVE from a PATCH to an external trigger that is hooked up to the “Trig In” input? I can get to the “Trigger parameters menu”, but I can’t figure this one thing out.

    Any help would be extremely appreciated.


  • enddie April 16, 2010, 6:18 pm

    my spds display is broken, got hit by drum stick. how to fix it and how much is the price of spd-s display…thank you for your attention

  • enddie April 16, 2010, 6:21 pm

    My display broke out, could see through your pc whether? or there may be other solutions

  • chris April 20, 2010, 3:37 pm

    Hello all,

    I am having a problem with one of my samples cutting off randomly when playing. It’s probably a 3-5 s. sample, as is the kick drum sample. When playing individually the whole sample plays back. It’s only when I start playing a beat that the end of the sample gets truncated. sometimes it barely plays at all before stopping short. The only hypothesis I can come up with is that I am reaching some sort of internal buffer under-run because of the length of the 2 samples simultaneously loading into memory. Please advise asap (gig tonight!)


  • François Tadros April 26, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Hi Thea,

    When recording a sound with the SPD-S directly to the CF card it creates the file as a .spd.

    As silly as it may sound, even if your file is already on the CF card, you still need to export it. In essence, the export function will create a .wav version of the file onto the ROOT DIRECTORY of your CF card.

    Please refer to the FILE EXPORT section of SPD-S guide (p. 71).


  • François Tadros April 26, 2010, 12:11 pm

    Hi Steven,

    When the SPD-S imports a wave file, it creates a .spd file which is about the same size of the wave file.

    You said you were importing 180mb of data using a 258mb CF card. The problem is 180mb + 180mb = 360mb which is > 256mb. You don’t have enough space on your CF card. I would have expected an “CF card Full” error message but it may explain why you’re SPD-S has been running forever.

    Try importing no more than 60 or 80mb at the time and delete the wave files immediately after there imported.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros April 26, 2010, 12:38 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Too late for your gig but… your problem has to do with the priority of sound elimination when there are insufficient voices available. The SPD-S can only handle up to 8 voices. When more than eight voices are requested, SINGLE waves drop out earlier than PHRASE waves.

    For a sound you always wish to ear completely, make sure to mark it as type PHRASE. You’ll then need to change the value of its following wave parameters:
    • Loop = OFF
    • Trigger = SHOT

    Please refer to section Wave Edit Parameters (p. 45) of your SPD-S guide.


  • François Tadros April 26, 2010, 12:57 pm

    Hi Nimbus,

    Assigning a WAVE to an external trigger is done in 2 parts:
    1) First, setup the External Trigger. Please read the Trigger Input section (p. 80) of the SPD-S guide.

    2) Then simply assign a wave to that external trigger the same way you would do for any built-in pad. Refer to the Patch Edit Parameters section (p. 34).

    Good luck!

  • chris April 30, 2010, 2:39 am

    Thanks for the answer on my previous query. I managed to make it through my gig. Now for another head-scratcher: Can you please give me/us a very simple workflow rundown on how to assign and trigger .wav files that are on the CF? I have sounds there, but I cannot figure out how the heck to assign them to a pad in a way as simple as sampling.

  • chris April 30, 2010, 2:40 am

    just realizing that your answer to Nimbus may be the answer to my last question.

  • Dean May 12, 2010, 7:02 pm

    Hello! is it possible to run triggers off the foot switch/hh control inputs ?? thanks Dean

  • Laurierocs May 25, 2010, 5:55 pm

    Ok, guys, haven’t seen many females on this board, so give a girl a break. Here we go, I purchased the spd-s a week ago, getting frustrating now because what I’m trying to do is play a rhythm from a wave I exported so I can trigger this rhythm live during a performance. I don’t want a loop, just a 3 measure sample. Just when I thought I had it during the phrase mode, I have the memory card in and it says full. Once I get this rhythm, I want to assign it to a patch. Please help!!!

  • ivan May 31, 2010, 5:00 am

    dear musician-friends
    i have a serious problem with the spd-s. perhaps somebody can help me….

    i have a bagpipe sound (drone) on pad 1.
    i want that this sound stopps, as soon i hit another pad.

    is it possible and how?

    sincerly: ivan

  • Hiral June 8, 2010, 11:16 pm

    I am a new owner of the SPD-S and have run into the common problem – ‘Memory Full’ message.
    I have some samples on the CF card that I would like to use.
    Do I HAVE to import the .wav files from the CF card or can I use the wav file directly from the CF card?
    Also, is there a way to easily restore the factory defaults if I delete all the factory samples ?


  • mike June 12, 2010, 4:26 pm

    PLS HELP ME-Hi.I have been using spds for around 8 months.The problem i am facing is that i cant play or loop three sounds together at the same time.I tried the phrase ,poly thing. went into all the depthtried everything from system pad control..etc. but i dont know why it is happening.When i try to play three sounds together only two are played and the other sounds gets cut off.it plays only two at a time and not three or more. when i made a patch and took pre set loops from the internal bank like the moon ,the bass and drums and put them in a patch and then looped them .the three were playing simultaneously and no sound was cut with no problem .I plaedy them to gether and the three pads lit and they were playing at the same time and looping but when i chose three individual effects from the memory card only 2 effects were looping and when i went to hit the 3rd pad one of the 2 sounds stopped and played only 2 sounds together and not three.when i transfer or record something in the internal memory and play the sounds together the don’t cut out each other and loop at the same time.I think the problem is with my memory card but i am not sure of this.i am using a Verbatin(cf)compact flash card of 4 gb.I will try it out with the 512 mb card also.I had earlier ultra II sandisk card which 512 mb.it was working fine but had the same problem.pls help me out.

  • Summer Camp June 29, 2010, 10:55 am

    Hey there,
    Anyone know what the exact specifications of fine/standard sampling modes are? How come it’s only Fine that uses two voices – is “standard” not stereo? Is “standard” 44.1, 16-bit, stereo & “fine” 44.1. 16 bit stereo, or is there some other difference?

    xxx sc

  • François Tadros July 2, 2010, 8:54 am

    @SummerCamp and @Mike,

    The SPD-S WAVE rate is always 44.1 KHz. The WAVE mode (Stereo or Mono) is set independently from the WAVE grade (Long, Standard or Fine). The SPD-S bus works at a maximum of 16 bits and manages up to 8 voices simultaneously.

    The WAVE grade works like this:
    – Long: one 8 bits voice
    – Standard: one 16 bits voice
    – Fine: two 16 bits voice (to emulate a 32 bits voice).

    Mono mode will use only the number of voices defined by the WAVE grade while Stereo mode will double it.

    A Stereo WAVE recorded at FINE grade will use 4 voices.
    A Mono WAVE recorded at FINE grade will use 2 voices.
    A Stereo WAVE recorded at Standard or Long grade will use 2 voices.
    A Mono WAVE recorded at Standard or Long grade will use 1 voice.

    Mike, I believe your problem is that you are using Stereo WAVEs recorded at FINE grade (4 voices). In this case you will be able to play only 2 waves simultaneously.


  • François Tadros July 2, 2010, 9:07 am

    @ Hiral,

    You’ll find your answer in the comment I posted on “January 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm”.

  • François Tadros July 2, 2010, 9:14 am


    In order to setup a Patch so a WAVE stops playing when another one starts you have to use the MUTE GROUP parameter from the PAD CONTROL option (in PATCH edit mode).

    Select the same MUTE GROUP value for all pads that must be mutually exclusive (starting one stops the others).

    Refer to page 36 of the user guide.

    Hope this helps!

  • François Tadros July 2, 2010, 9:21 am

    @ Hiral,

    To restore the factory defaults look at the comment posted by ” SweepsMcGee” on “June 27, 2009 at 3:44 pm”.

  • Dusty July 7, 2010, 7:24 am

    My SPD-S headphone volume is EXTREMELY low. I’ve tried different headphones and its still low. There is also a buzz in the signal. The volume knob on the back just adjusts it from EXTREMELY low to OFF. Any idea what is causing this?


  • tont July 8, 2010, 9:14 am

    please help spd-s lights flashing says memory damage. thanks tony

  • Shawn Day July 9, 2010, 12:49 am

    Hi Francois,

    You seem to know what you’re talking about~

    I’d like to trigger a 3 min sequence on pad 6 while playing the snare on pad 8. My problem is when I begin playing the snare the sequence gets cut off.

    I sampled the sequence into the SPD-S using Logic by running out of my stereo L & R on my Apogee duet. The sequence contains around 9 tracks.

    Is it a memory problem?

    Thanks in advance.

    All the best,


  • François Tadros July 13, 2010, 12:39 pm


    As stated in page 130 (Message List) of the User Guide:
    Press any button on the panel to display “[ENTER] to init.” Press [ENTER] to initialize the internal memory. If
    the problem cannot be solved, contact your retailer or the nearest Roland Service Center.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros July 13, 2010, 12:54 pm


    Maybe the levels (volumes) of your PATCHes and/or WAVEs are too low. If they are in the range of +0 to 50, then raise them up (the maximum is 127).

    If the level for both (PATCHes and WAVEs) we’re already pretty high (something like 90 to 127) then I’m afraid your SPD-S may be damaged.

    PS. Make sure you try this with the built in sounds as we know these samples are of good quality. If you only tried your own samples then maybe your WAVE files were not recorded loud enough!

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros July 13, 2010, 1:07 pm


    First, make sure that the “Mute Group” parameter of your snare PAD is set to OFF or to a different number than your long sequence PAD. The “Mute Groups” are used specifically to determine which PAD can cancel another one that is already playing.

    If this wasn’t the problem then I’m pretty sure it has to do with the priority of sound elimination when there are insufficient voices available. Like I already wrote before, the SPD-S can only handle up to 8 voices. When more than eight voices are requested, SINGLE waves drop out earlier than PHRASE waves.

    For your long sequence, make sure to mark it as type PHRASE. You’ll then need to change the value of its following wave parameters:
    • Loop = OFF (unless you want the loop to always loop until you cancel it)
    • Trigger = ALTERNATE (for long sequences it’s usually the right trigger type as you may want to stop the sequence if something goes wrong)

    Also, for the snare sound, make sure it’s set as type SINGLE.

    Please refer to section Wave Edit Parameters (p. 45) of your SPD-S guide.


  • TonyWaade July 15, 2010, 10:33 am

    Can somebody tell me how to program start and stop on a loop on the same pad?
    I use it to play along on my livegigs and I start the loop by hitting the pad , but aloso want to stop it on the same pad at the end of each song.

  • Scott Lewis July 21, 2010, 7:59 pm

    Just sampled seven of nine pads with no problems. When I sampled pad 8 , the sampled wave recorded also showed up on pad 1 overwriting the wave that used to occupy pad 1.

    I tried deleting, initializing and still I have a situation where both pads are somehow connected to each other as one (clone of sorts).

    Any ideas how I can stop this from happening, Thanks!

  • Lassi July 29, 2010, 4:32 am


    I’m considering purhasing an SPD-S and I have a simple question concerning MIDI and SPD-S’s external pads. My aim is to record my playing as MIDI on Cubase. So, if I connect an external kick pad (KD-8) to SPD-S, is also the signal from this pad transmitted to Cubase as its own separate MIDI note? And how does the hi-hat controller affect the MIDI output?

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

  • François Tadros August 3, 2010, 12:05 am

    Hi Lassi,

    All SPD-S pads, external triggers and foot switch are assigned to a specific MIDI Note#. Therefore, the KD-8 would work fine but the hi-hat controller will not act as you’d wish to. It will simply send a note# message when pressed (instead of changing the note# of the pad or ext. trigger you’re hitting).

    If what you described is the only usage you wish to do with the SPD-S, instead you should consider buying:
    – Alesis Control Pad: Cheaper than the SPD-S and built for what you need.
    – Alesis Trigger I/O: With or without the Drum Kit (so you could buy used pads and build your own).

    For both products, the foot switch will act as you want.

  • François Tadros August 3, 2010, 12:13 am

    Scott… look at my comment made on February 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm.

  • François Tadros August 3, 2010, 12:21 am


    Look at page 46 (Wave Editing) of the user guide and make sure that:
    – LOOP = ON… this will make the wave to repeat continuously),
    – TRIGGER = ALTERNATE… this will alternate between starting or stoping the WAVE when you hit the pad

  • Jeremy Pady August 7, 2010, 11:46 am

    i play in a metal band and i use the spds for sampling various sounds and intros for live performances. the problem is i also want to trigger my bass drum, and possibly snare drum, but i cant figure out how to trigger them and still be able to sample at the same time. is this even posssible or am i doing something wrong?

  • Jeremy Pady August 7, 2010, 3:28 pm

    sorry yeah just maybe to clarify a little more, i either have to be on WAVE mode with the selected bassdrum that i am triggering selected, or i have to be on PATCH mode to have all the samples i use available. what i want to know is how do i do both at the same time. im thinking i have to load my bassdrum trigger sound onto the PATCH im using with my samples somehow but not sure if that is right.

  • Mike August 16, 2010, 12:00 pm

    U are a true musician.thanx alot for answering my problem.I have read and will set the settings which u have told me.When i import my files in my spds it ask for fine ,standard mode. i selct fine becoz it has gud quality.so should i set it on fine or standard mode.Thanx for helping me. God bless u and this blog.I will revert back to u .

  • Mike August 19, 2010, 9:45 am

    I have converted my files into this format .
    bit rate 705kbps
    audio sample rate 16bit
    channels 1 (mono)
    audio sample rate 44 khz
    audio format pcm

    I imported them into spds in fine mode.4 voices were playing simultaneously .THEN WHAT I DID IS THAT I IMPORTED THE SAME FILES AGAIN IN STANDARD MODE AND 7 TO 8 VOICES WERE BEING PLAYED simultaneously now and sumtimes the spds displayed `busy’.now i can loop more than 2 voices simultaneaously.Pls give me any suggection if u want to.
    My waves were in stereo mode earlier and i imported them in fine mode but now i converted the files in mono and in standard mode.thanx François Tadros u are the best.

  • jeremy August 25, 2010, 4:36 pm

    Why does my cf say I have 400 mb avail, yet it won’t let me put anything else on it? not even a 1mb, wav or aiff.
    this was a problem for me on the first card I had, so i bought another, now this one is doing it too, I only have 50 samples on it. They are outside the Roland folder, and in alphabetical order.

    Any help in this matter is greatly appreciated.


  • François Tadros September 3, 2010, 8:07 am

    Hi Jeremy,

    Let me guess… you have a 1 GB CF card. You computer tells you that there is still 400 MB available on it… but your SPD-S will no longer save anything on it.

    The reason is that the SPD-S can only manage up to 512 MB on your CF card.

    Initially, the SPD-S would only accept CF cards with 512 MB or less. It was getting pretty hard to find a CF card on the market under 1 GB. So last year, Roland came up with a firmware update that allows your SPD-S to use CF cards up to 4 GB.

    However, the real memory usage of these cards can only be up to 512 MB.

    The update was only done to make it easier to find compatible CF cards but the SPD-S still uses them as if they were 512 MB cards.

    Tip: Once, you’re done importing your WAVE/AIFF files, delete them from the root of your CF card. This will free up some memory!

  • Sugath September 4, 2010, 3:25 am

    Please kindly advice me how do i can use SPD S tone to SPD 20 via MIDI cabale

  • Mark September 13, 2010, 12:12 pm

    I just purchased a New SPD-s, am currently awaiting delivery of it, any ideas if the new SPD-s has the latest OS?

  • Swagman9203 September 23, 2010, 9:22 am

    Hey guys, not sure if someone has posted about this or not but I have purchased a second hand SPD-S and it has no sampling CD. I’ve downloaded the factory restore file (not used it yet) but was wondering if anybody knows where I can download the actual Sampling CD. Or am I not missing anything by not having it?

  • Mathew September 29, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I have problem.

    Every Pad is working without Pad 5.

    I can record sound , choose the pad ( everything is ok with that ) but when I want to play this pad it’s silence.

    Please help good man 🙂

  • maurice jackson October 3, 2010, 1:52 pm

    I just got a spds and couldnt find a card. I took it back to the store. I cant believe roland hasn`t found a soloution or at least included a card with the unit. I suggest we all start calling roland direct and tell anyone who wants an spds don`t buy it. I sure am

  • toby badaman October 11, 2010, 6:52 pm

    hello, just got the spd-s basically i use logic want to use my own sounds on the spds im buying a cf card how do i plug in to my mac book laptop. ?

    also does any one know were to buy cf cards in the uk.

    thanks alot

  • Llewop October 12, 2010, 7:26 am

    Hey guys, thanks for all of the helpful info. I have a question about backing up the Spd-s. I play in a touring band that uses back line instruments sometimes. I usually fly with my Spd-s and have my cf cards with me. If for some reason I had to use an Spd-s from a local back line company will the saved back up on my cf card have the sample files And the Patches with my resamples and everything? Also would the back up include the sounds saved on the internal memory as well as the samples on the cf card, and will the shortened samples still be the same edited length?

  • Chloe October 14, 2010, 8:17 am

    Hi, Ive had my SPDS for a few years and have never had this problem before. A sample from a Roland Keyboard wont play all the way through while i hit other samples simultaneously.
    I don’t understand because i always play simultaneous samples and have had no problems. But with this new sample; as soon as i start hitting other patches the sample flickers off.
    Thanks, i’m really stressing about this because i have a show the 19th and need this sample!

  • François Tadros October 27, 2010, 12:20 pm

    @ Mark… Yes it should have the latest OS

    @ Swagman9203… the factory restore file has everything you would get from the CD.

    @Mathew… Can you see the light corresponding to pad #5 turning on when you play pad #5? Look at the volume of the pad or the volume of the selected wave.

    @toby badaman… You will need to buy an “all in one card reader” such as this one http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1187796&CatId=956

    @Llewop… The backup will save the:
    – SPD-S System setup
    – Only the WAVEs of the internal memory
    – The Patch Setup. If one of the PAD points to an external WAVE, the reference will be saved.
    If you have enough room, I suggest you do the backup on the same CF card as where your external WAVE resides. Then, make sure you make a copy of the CF card to another card or to your PC.

    @Chloe… You’ll find the answer in the comments I posted on ” January 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm”, “April 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm” and also on “July 2, 2010 at 8:54 am”.

  • Milsson November 28, 2010, 6:57 pm

    This week I’ve Imported some Wav. files, assigned them to a Patch and to the different Pads.
    Sample rate 44,1Khz, Mono files, I think 16 Bit, and I also set some parameters via de Patch Edit, like Single etc.
    To be sure I’ll have to look back and check ! A few months ago, first time I’ve did all this things, I had no problem !
    Now, when playing back the Wav.files, they give a distorded sound, and not one, but all of the Wav.files at the 4 different Patches. What did I do wrong ? Please help because we have a gig next saturday !
    By the way, fantastic blog, it helped me out a lot, already.
    Hope somebody can solve this problem, it would be extremely appreciated.

  • Pascal Braem November 29, 2010, 10:23 am

    I got the SPD-S a few months ago. I already spent many hours learning and playing with it. And I already Imported some Wave Files that I’ve put on the root of the CF card, put them on patches and put all the Wave files on the different pads. I also made some edits to the wave Files (Shot/Single/Alternated etc., to be sure wich settings I would have to check !) Everything worked fine.
    This week I did the same, but when I now play the samples on the diiferent Patches and Pads, they all sound distorted ?
    What went wrong ? Can somebody please help me, because I have a gig next saturday 4 December, so this is a stressy situation !
    I have converted my files into this format .
    audio sample rate 16bit
    channels 1 (mono)
    audio sample rate 44 khz
    audio format pcm
    Thanks in advance !

  • François Tadros December 1, 2010, 12:27 pm

    @Milsson & Pascal Braem (looks like the same case sent twice):

    According to what you’ve described, you did everything correctly. I suspect the problem might be related to the WAVE editor on your PC.

    Have you tried playing your WAVE files outside of your editor? You should try them with a player such as Windows Media Player, iTune, etc…

  • Milsson December 1, 2010, 2:57 pm

    @François Tadros;
    yes, sorry for that, same case twice send, because I’m desperate and didn’t know what I did wrong.
    First time a few months ago everything worked reaaly well, and I did just the same.

    What do you mean by the Wave editor ? I make my samples with Wavelab or Cubase.
    I’m gonna check tommrow morning, because now I’m still at work.
    Do you have a mailadres, should make things easier and faster. And I saw on this blog, that you know almost everything conceirning the SPDS.
    Thanks already for your reaction.

  • Milsson December 2, 2010, 8:12 am

    @François Tadros;
    Did some check ups this morning;
    My samples are in a folder on my pc, and I open them outside Cubase or Wavelab with “Media Player Classic”, without any problem.
    – In Wavelab I save them this way: Save as => Save as type: Wave(*.wav)
    – Audio file format: Type => Wave Microsoft; Attributes & Preset: Untitled
    – Wave set up: Single/Mono/Loop:Off/Reverse:Off/Trigger:Alt
    – I have converted my files into this format .
    Bit rate 705kbps
    audio sample size 16bit
    channels 1 (mono)
    audio sample rate 44 khz
    audio format pcm

    What more can I do ? Very strange, because the first time I imported some files, I did it the same way and everything worked fine. Frustrating..
    Hope we can solve this !

  • Trevor December 9, 2010, 9:50 am

    I’m trying to import some waves I’ve downloaded from sites like Wave Alchemy, GoldBaby, Sample Swap, etc. When I do an “import all” using my CF card and SPDs, why do only a few of the waves import correctly? I don’t get any error messages. Most of the waves just don’t show up on my SPDs. Any suggestions? Do I need to format the waves that aren’t working? How do I do that?

    Thank you much!

  • Justin Sharbono December 16, 2010, 11:19 am

    Hello François-

    On December 30, 2009 at 9:15 pm you wrote:

    “As for the SPD-S MIDI interface, you’re absolutely right. You can trigger all nine pads remotely via a MIDI signal.”

    Could you explain this a little more. Do I need to send Midi Notes to do this? I am setting up a Logic Pro session to play with live and would love to send some Midi to the SPD-S to trigger the pads remotely. I know that each pad has a Midi Note assigned to it…I just haven’t been able to get Logic to “talk” to the SPD-S.

    Any help would be so wonderful!



  • Justin Sharbono December 16, 2010, 9:14 pm

    Disregard my question. I figured it out.

    Both the Axiom and Logic trigger from an octave below.


    SPD-S Pad 7 is set for F#(4)
    Axiom or Logic send a F#(3)

  • Clayton December 19, 2010, 10:08 pm

    Hello! I have learned a bunch from this site. Thanks!

    I have a problem. I want to resample a keyboard part over an existing wave that I made. When attempting to resample the keyboard part over the existing wave I can not hear the keyboard. I can hear the keyboard through my spd-s when sampling a new wave by itself but not when resampling. Why can’t I hear it? It doesn’t seem to be reading the signal when in resampling. Can you not resample over an existing wave from an external source (keyboard)? Any help?

  • François Tadros January 19, 2011, 11:48 am

    Hi Clayton,

    The word “resampling” is a little misleading. For the SPD-S resampling mainly means to:
    – Merge up to 4 different WAVEs into a new one (PATCH mode),
    – Apply Effects to an existing WAVE resulting in a new WAVE (PATCH mode),
    – Changing the volume to create a new WAVE (WAVE Mode),
    – Changing the mode or the grade to create a new WAVE (WAVE Mode).

    So you cannot record over an existing WAVE. What you need to do is to record all your different sounds as separate WAVEs then resample (merge) them into a new one.

    A quick word concerning resampling a WAVE to apply effects. This adds the effects as part of the WAVE itself. This can be really usefull if you wish to have multiple effects for a WAVE or if you want to have different effects within the same PATCH.

  • François Tadros January 19, 2011, 12:11 pm

    Hi Trevor,

    If you are using a CF CARD bigger than 512 MB then make sure you don’t load more than 512 MB worth of data.

    If that was not the problem, then maybe the audio sample rate of your files are NOT 44 khz. If so, you’ll need a WAVE editor or an audio converter to convert them into the proper rate. I bought NERO for my VIDEOs and it came with a WAVE editor so I never had to go shopping for one or to look for a free one (if any).

  • François Tadros January 21, 2011, 7:35 am

    Hi Trevor,

    I just though of something else… make sure the extension (.wav or .aif) is provided with your files name. Also, the IMPORT ALL function can only process 100 files at once. Finally, all file must be at the root level of the CF card (not under sub directories).

  • Ivan Torres February 16, 2011, 1:00 pm

    I want to buy a Roland SPDs Sampling to play live drum music . Does I can connect this Roland SPD to an external clock tempo controller of an external secuencer, across MIDI IN and run this Roland SPD ? If this machine do that, next week I will buy one .

  • Percy March 11, 2011, 5:24 pm

    I have a 1gb transcend Cf card and my spds tells me its unsuppported? help!

  • Joe Steeb March 21, 2011, 1:04 pm

    HELP!!! All of a sudden my SPD-S won’t let me edit individual pads within a certain patch…..

    Give you a setup here…..I have created all my own patches….already assigned them to pads (Did this months ago) there have been instances within the performance process that I needed to raise or lower the volume on an individual sample…..I always did this by choosing the patch….push edit….then striking the pad I needed to edit…..everything from then on was a peice of cake…..

    Now however…..I choose my patch…..I hit edit…..and no matter what pad I touch….it will only allow me to edit pad one….

    all the pads are functioning…..if I strike pad 5…the correct sound comes out, and the light will even light that I just struck pad 5….but as soon as I hit that edit button, it immediately jumps to pad 1…..PLEASE HELP….I have a HUGE gig coming up and need to get this figured out!

  • François Tadros March 23, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Hi Joe,

    I believe the Operating System may have become corrupted for some reason. My recommendation would be to reinstall it. First, make sure you take a backup of your settings (PATCH and internal WAVES) on a CF Card. Once the reinstallation is complete, restore your settings.

    Here’s the link where you can get the latest operating system: http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=537

    If it doesn’t work… I have no more suggestion.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros March 23, 2011, 4:53 pm

    Hi Percy,

    You need to get the latest Operating System (1.20). Do the same as Joe (the post just above this one).

  • François Tadros March 23, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Hi Joe,

    I believe the Operating System may have become corrupted for some reason. My recommendation would be to reinstall it. First, make sure you take a backup of your settings (PATCH and internal WAVES) on a CF Card. Once the reinstallation is complete, restore your settings.

    Go at the SPD-S page of the Roland site, then select the Download tab. (I sent the link via a previous post but it’s awaiting moderation because of the link… since it seems urgent, I’m sending the same post without the link).

    If this doesn’t fix your problem… I’m sorry but I have no more suggestion.

    Good luck!

  • akithedrum April 28, 2011, 10:51 am

    i exidantly deleted all my files on my spd-s :(( i mean everything (sounds ,wawes ,paches )

    how can i get it back ???
    Can I ???

  • Dan May 24, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I am experiencing the same problems Dusty said above (very low volume). Outside of the one suggestion to look into patch volume, has anyone see this, and do they have any suggestions?



  • dimpy May 26, 2011, 3:48 am

    i have spds i ve lots of waves . i coundnt understand how to open or tell me where can i get it on which i can get it? please help out. or please sort out my prob.

  • Patrick Law June 2, 2011, 1:37 am


    I got a 2nd hand SPDS few days ago, and I’ve found that pad 4 does not have any response, the seller said he muted pad 4, does anyone know the way to muted an individual pad and enable it again?
    Thank you


  • george July 2, 2011, 5:21 pm

    my roland spds was reading my flash card which is sandisk 512mb compactflash for 2 years ago but today is not working when i got it out to add some sounds in card and when put it back my spds was unable to read (no card) this what was showing when tried to format it…how can i fix it and where is the problem in this case?by the way my computer can read my flashcard.

  • Luca S. July 21, 2011, 1:55 pm

    hi! I’ve tried to import some sounds from computer to spd-s. I have a flashcard (512 MB), and it’s emptied, but when I try to import, the display says me “memory full”. Can you halp me please!? thank you very much from Italy 🙂

  • Matt Sherman August 5, 2011, 10:00 pm

    Hey, i am trying to import some new files onto my spds pad, but it says my memory is full, how do i delede old files to make way for new ones? Please email me at asshadowscollapse@yahoo.com
    Thanks for your time!

  • Grant September 3, 2011, 8:19 pm

    How can I rename a patch instead of having “001: Join Us” ?

  • Chad September 15, 2011, 8:08 pm

    What an amazing blog! So much info on the SPD-S. I am trying to import a 20 sec music sample to make it loop when I hit the pad and stop when I hit the pad again. Is this possible? Thanks to anyone who can help me with this.

  • Andres September 16, 2011, 4:19 pm

    Hello, could it be possible that my spd-s memory got full with only 4MB imported? Where can I find the real SPD-S space? Thanks!

  • mukesh September 22, 2011, 5:15 am

    i need roland spds pad ka spd file player on computer pls help

  • Chad September 22, 2011, 8:49 pm

    After much tinkering, and reading the manual, I figured it out. Love it!

  • Thierry Arsenault September 24, 2011, 6:21 pm

    Hey guys. I’ve been adding samples to my spd-s for years and recently encountered a new problem… When trying to backup I got a ‘Memory full!’ message. I typically only keep one backup to try to leave space for sounds, but that wasn’t enough. So I proceeded with deleting old and large samples I no longer need.
    Then I tried to do a backup again and now I’m getting a ‘No Data!’ message.
    What’s scary is that I can no longer hear any of the files I’ve saved on the memory card. I can still listen to the ones on the internal memory though (the factory sounds that come with the machine).
    So after all this I decided to try the Backup Load function to at least get my samples back, but that also gets me a ‘No Data!’ message.
    Now I’m scared to shut down. But I am out of ideas. How can I still listen to the samples I did not delete?!?
    Thanks in advance for the tips! I have a lot of sound on that card and I’m not sure I have copied elsewhere!

  • Matt Becks October 5, 2011, 12:49 am

    I hit a pad and another one is playing simultaneously. I think it’s broken :-/
    Nothing to do with “Wave A Wave B”.
    I have a gig on friday…
    Help please!!

  • Ammar October 14, 2011, 3:33 am

    I got yesterday a spds but i do not know what happened..when i hit the 7th pad the patch changes to the next patch as i pressed (+) botton…please help me.. Thanx in advance..

  • Thomas October 14, 2011, 7:37 am

    Hi guys,
    i hope that you can help me..i got yestersday a spds from a friend of mine.i have a small problem and maybe you are going to help me with it.When i hit the pad number 7 the patch change to the next one.
    For example. i play witn new patch 55 and when i hit pad 7 with the stick it moves me to patch 56..
    Thank you in advance and best regards.

  • kissfrenchy October 18, 2011, 10:22 am

    Hello SPD-S-ers,

    I have scanned the entire forum and have a question. I am a Reason 5 user and am hoping to use my Reason rig to create samples and loops to then bring into the SPD-S for live performance. I have almost got this dialed in, but to make the creation of these “performances” in Reason easier, I would like to now use my SPD-S as a control surface with in Kong (Reason’s Drum Designer) to perform drum takes. I have a MIDI to USB converter … that’s where I’m stuck in the mud. Any assistance to this endeavor would be greatly appreciated. As I look towards the new SPD-SX I feel I first must master the predecessor before doling out the $$ for the updated release. Thank you.

  • Clayton J October 30, 2011, 11:13 pm

    Say, I have two pads assigned that have individual sounds that sound as just a single hit. At the same time I want a third pad to be a continuous sample. When I hit one of the two individual pads the pad that I want to play the continuous sample stops. Is there a way to have two, or more pads, have individual sounds and have one, or more, keep playing even though other pads are being struck?
    Thanks for your help!

  • Tony walters November 10, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Hi, great forum!

    I have just got my Spd s and am getting on great with it (once I deleted all the rubbish….”you got the groove” , “yeahh” type stuff lol)
    I am the drummer in a band and intend to use the unit a musical instrument rather than a purcussion instrument. I want to have each of the 9 pads assigned with a different keyboard note or chord and then whilst playing my acoustic kit, hit a pad to trigger a note/chord, then hit another to build the sound up etc.
    I have recorded and imported some sounds to do this, having it set at the moment so that each sample loops, and then when the same pad is struck, the sound stops…fine. (I have also set one of the rim pads to stop all sounds globally…in case it sounds a right mess)
    The problem I am having is this, I want to be able to adjust/create some attack and release, so the sound fades in a bit when hit, and fades out when hit again, rather than full On or Off.
    I can of course record a sampled note/chord with a fade in, but I won’t be able to loop that of course. And for the sound to fade out with a second hit?
    I know i can put the “fade in” sample on say pad 3, and the “fade out” on pad 4 (set to kill the sound on pad 3 when hit, but this will be complicated whilst playing live and reduce the number of pads I can assign different notes/chords to.
    Any ideas how to achieve this?

  • Mike November 13, 2011, 8:45 pm

    It says “WAVE PROTECTED” when i try to delete the waves…any help?

  • MARK WHITE November 28, 2011, 4:30 pm

    How do I transfer spd-s samples to the new Spd-sx?


  • jayaprakash December 2, 2011, 3:40 am

    my SPD-S does’nt response the memory card suddenly. pad unit only working. how can i troubleshoot the problem.

  • Kevin M December 6, 2011, 7:12 am

    I have recorded some samples on my SPD-S through a microphone. The samples sound OK but my issue is that when I trigger the samples they are not instantaneous. There is a pause before the sound actually plays. Is there any way to edit the dead space at the beginning of the sample? Thanks.

  • François Tadros December 6, 2011, 9:59 pm


    I had the same problem and my only way out was what you described (different fade-in and fade-out waves on separate pads).

    However, there is an alternate solution that I couldn’t use but… if you can leave your hi-hat pedal for the time of the fade in and fade out then you could use a volume pedal.

    You simply connect your SPD-S output into the input of a volume pedal then the output of the pedal into the console (or amp). However make sure to use a real volume pedal (a potentiometer with input and output jack) and not an expression pedal (which is often used to control the volume of a midi keyboard).


  • François Tadros December 6, 2011, 10:15 pm

    In wave edit mode, set a START and END POINT (page 48 of the SPD-S guide). Once you are sure it starts and ends at the desired location you can Truncate the WAVE (page 49).

  • François Tadros December 6, 2011, 10:31 pm


    You need to export the waves onto your CF memory card. Simply follow the EXPORT FILE instructions in page 71 of the SPD-S user guide.

    Then, load them to your computer because I don’t believe the new SPD-SX can read a CF Card. However, you’ll be able to connect it to your computer via a USB cable. At that point, follow the IMPORT FILE instructions of your SPD-SX user guide.

  • François Tadros December 6, 2011, 10:33 pm

    @Mike… look at the “Disabling wave protect” instructions at page 88 of your user guide.

  • François Tadros December 6, 2011, 10:41 pm

    @ Clayton J,

    Your problem has to do with the Mute Group of you PADs. Pads with the same Mute Group number will are mutually exclusive (they stop each other). Therefore, make sure the Mute Group of the PADs with a single are different (or set to off) than the ones with loops.

    This is explained in the PAD Control Options at page 36 of the user guide.

  • François Tadros December 6, 2011, 11:25 pm


    Your problem has to do with the global settings. The Control Switch option of your pad #7 is set to PATCH +. So, regardless of the patch you are in, pad #7 has been assigned the duty to jump to the next patch when hit.

    To fix the problem do the following:
    – Press the SETUP button (SPD-S should display SYSTEM),
    – Press twice on the PAGE right button (►) (until the SPD-S display CONTROL SW)
    – Press on the ENTER button
    – Strike on PAD #7 (the SPD-S should display CtrlSW PATCH+)
    – Press the – button to set the CtrlSW option to OFF
    – Press the SETUP button to save and exit setup.

    It should now be OK.

  • Stephen December 7, 2011, 10:01 am

    Hey I dont have a manual could some1 inform me of how to format my cf in spd-s?
    Also I made a few bad click tracks and it has the wave protected phrase pop up. I read some1s post to power on spd-s holding down wave and setup buttons. If I do this will all my internal memory get deleted. Just curious before I try it?

  • François Tadros December 8, 2011, 10:24 pm


    Here’s the link for the SPD-S manual (simply add all 3 “w” at the beginning of the following string):

  • Sean January 4, 2012, 1:48 am

    my memory is full how do i clean it out?

  • Jason January 19, 2012, 5:05 pm

    I have run into an issue lately. I have an acoustic kick trigger I use for an 808 sample. I also have a tambourine loop setup. They are both fine by themselves, but when played together the tambourine loop stops. It stops in random places, but pretty soon into the song. Anyone had this problem?

    The 808 wave for the kick was imported as standard quality, and is set to default settings.

    The tambourine loop is one measure of 4/4 of a recorded tambourine. It was imported as standard quality, and I have to use ALT to trigger so I can stop it at certain points. It’s set to single, alt, loop on.

  • Jason January 19, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Oh and it’s not mute groups because it shuts off the continous sample at random times.

  • GJ March 19, 2012, 11:02 am

    Hi, I have a question on the new SPD-SX. Compared to a SPD-30 it has very little built in sounds. I understand it is a sampling device but what if I want some of the sounds off SPD-30. How can I get that? Is there a sound bank from where I can download all the sounds from? Latin percussion/Indian… etc etc..

  • jason March 24, 2012, 9:13 pm

    some samples are stopped when kick trigger is used at the same time. any clues to why this happens? thanks!

  • SethÆnimus March 27, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Our drummer uses the SPDS for backing tracks, 808s and to sample his kick drum live. Everything works great except when he hits the pad to do an 808 the 808 gets cut off after four kick drum hits. Does anyone know how to turn this off so that the 808 sample will finish instead of getting cut off?

  • Pete April 29, 2012, 10:38 am

    So I have a few questions about backing up the data on an SPDS.

    As far as I know, right now a lot of our WAV loops are in the Card memory, but we want to back them up (and also back up the patches for each of our songs) just we are protected in case anything happens to device or the card. basically each song of ours has a custom patch that consists of 2-3 different loops that we trigger…the volumes have all been adjusted, tempos synched, etc. My sense is the WAVs are on the card, but the patch info is in internal memory?

    Basically, it seems like a catch 22: how can we backup to a compactflash card if all our samples are on another compact flash card that is sitting in the card slot!?

    should we:

    a. cut/paste all of our WAV samples from the card memory into internal memory using the copy WAV utlity, then back up using the standard procedure? Will this screw up our patches if the WAV locations are moved from Card to internal memory? Or will the patches stay intact even if the WAVs get moved around within the memory?

    b. acquire two extra compactflash cards; then pull out our current card that has all the WAVs, duplicate its contents via our home computers onto the second card, then run the backup proceedure onto the 3rd card? That way if something bad happened to the internal memory, we’d import the backup data from the 3rd card, pull it out; then insert the 2nd card which has all the WAVs. But then my final question is: if the compact-flash card has been formatted for use with SPDS, is it even readable+duplicable by a home computer?

  • JPF May 6, 2012, 9:20 am

    Are there any videos on how to connect an extra pad to a SPDs

  • Henrik Lynge June 23, 2012, 12:57 am

    Anyone have Info ón the naming strukturen of the files in the ROLAND folder ón the cf card.
    I am looking into the options of making a librarian applikation for the spds. It is a great devise but the user Interface could be Better.
    The names of samples are in a info file but i cant link this to the .spd files.
    I have verified that the samples on the card are stored in RDAC format and can decode them now. But need the link between info file and sample filenames. Any info would be great.

  • thilina June 28, 2012, 4:50 pm

    i have lost my sample cd. please can you help me to find it.thanks.

  • Joshua November 19, 2012, 8:47 pm

    Memory card Problems/ memory detecting problem

    I insert the correct Memory card… All the machine will do is say welcome to spd-s and flashes every like 4 seconds. It’ll do this for as long as I let it! while getting frustrated I’ll push random buttons, The only response from the machine is when I push the patch button. When I do this the “patch” and the”phrase maker” buttons flash on and off and the screen reads “Verify test” and will continue to do so as long as I will let it!!! Help please? is this fricken thing broken or what?

  • Thanushka Dassana January 15, 2013, 12:54 pm

    Please let me know how can I copy all the data, tones and settings form one SPD S to another SPD S.

    Many thanks

  • Ed February 13, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Hi Steve,

    Wondering if you might be able to help me with a problem.

    I have 426 (15.3MB) .wav / .aif samples on my computer (Mac Osx.8) which I cannot transfer to any of 4 CF cards (Type I, 512MB, formatted in SPD-S and Mac Osx then SPD-S). When I try and drag the samples from the desktop to the CF card folder I ALWAYS get the following message: “The item “KiAn002.aif” can’t be copied because there isn’t enough free space.” The item in question is 29KB in size. This happens with multiple cards.

    I’d appreciate any help anyone can give.

    Many thanks,


  • Ed February 13, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Is it possible that an SPD-S formatted CF card can only hold 100 files at a time?

    That’s the best guess I can make at answering my own question at the moment.

  • Ed February 13, 2013, 7:02 pm

    The Plot thickens…

    I am completely unable to get more than 63 mono, 16bit, 44.1KHz .aif files on a 512MB card.




  • Ed February 13, 2013, 7:34 pm

    …and some cards I can only get circa 57 .aif files onto.

    This is weird…

  • François Tadros February 28, 2013, 1:01 pm


    I don’t know what your computer skills are so this might sound like a silly question but… here it is.

    Are you sure there is enough memory left on your cards? You mentionned the cards capacity and the size of the files you wish to copy but I didn’t see a line where you mentionned the available memory left on the card.

    Concerning the SPD-S formatting, I believe it first makes sure the disk is formatted in FAT-32 then it creates a directory structure for it’s own use. The SPD-S can manage up to 399 wave/aiff files on its internal memory and up to 500 files on the CF card. Here, we are taking about audio files ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN IMPORTED.

    During the IMPORT, the SPD-S can recognize up to 100 files located on the ROOT directory of the CARD.

    Even with these limitations, The SPD-S has no impact whatsoever on the number of files the CF-Card can hold. What can be copied to a CF-Card (from a computer) is only limited by the size of the card.

    I’m not familiar with MAC-OS so I’m not aware of any MAC limitations. If you have access to a PC, I would give it a try.

    Good luck!

  • François Tadros February 28, 2013, 1:08 pm

    @Thanushka Dassana,

    To copy all data and settings from one SPD-S to another one, I would backup the source SPD-S to a CF-Card. Then I would restore that backup file set onto the target SPD-S.

    The guide explains pretty well how to perform a Backup and a Restore.


  • David Walker August 16, 2013, 9:49 pm

    Thanks for the great videos about the SPD-S. I just got one and have been trying to learn how to use it. I am really trying to set it up where I use the two Foot Switch triggers to act as the bass drum and hi-hat control. I would say that I am 90% successful with that right now. I have the hi-hat working like it should and I have the other switch set to bass drum and it works. However, I the issue I am having right now is that the bass drum pedal is also acting as the hi-hat control. I wasn’t sure if this was because even though there are two foot switch inputs, they are still linked together or something like that. Anyways, I was just wondering if you had run into anything like this before and if you were able to get it working differently. My overall plan is to use the other two triggers as the hi-hat and snare…then I would have the 9 pads for other toms, cymbals, and whatever else.

  • David Walker August 19, 2013, 10:19 pm

    I figured it out. I had to turn off the control switch for the foot pedal that I wanted to use as the bass drum. I didn’t know that setting would apply to the foot switch.

  • alan November 23, 2013, 6:59 pm

    having with roland spds when I turn it on it show verify test in display and nothing happen and pressing any function does nothing. can anyone help Allan

  • HiCheeYo December 3, 2013, 1:00 pm

    Hi guys!
    1st time poster here…i have a SPDS/MUTE GROUP question…is there any way to build up a song with loops on individual pads, say Pads 1-3, and then hit Pad 4, and have Pad4 act as a sort of ‘kill switch’ for Pads 1-3, while still playing a new sound as well? As far as I can tell, it’s a two street with the Mute Group; you can assign a few sounds individually to a Group that can turn each other off, but you can’t “group” a few pads together and have them “killed” by a different new Pad.

    Let me know! Thanks!!!

  • Kevyn February 11, 2014, 5:55 pm

    i just purchased the SPD-S i was trying to figure out how to connect it to my Mac or how to save tracks i have created on Protools to it. to where i can designate what track to go to what pad. Also, if i can create or load click tracks, and designate them to each individual pad.
    please email me!!

  • James Johnson February 20, 2014, 9:49 am

    SPD-S are fragile. Be careful with yours. Roland support isn’t very good and it is extremely expensive. They charge $575 for a mainboard for a $600 item, then $80 an hour to swap it out, all the while paying their employees $12 an hour to do so.

    I don’t like or trust the company.

  • John June 25, 2014, 12:26 am


    I created a loop on the Phrase Maker. Is it possible to export that loop (via the card)? I would like to transfer it to my new SPD-SX…but I can’t figure out how to do it. Page 71 of the SPD-S manual seems to address how to export a wav, but it doesn’t work for me. I can’t even start the process they laid out. Step 2 says:
    press [>] so that “export, sure?” appears.
    I’ve tried pressing every button, but can’t get that to appear. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Flávio July 7, 2014, 11:29 am


    I have a question about the CF card.

    I read, don’t remember where, the spd-s can read more than 512mb of cards higer. Like I put 1gb card and I can use the total 1gb on my SPD-S…

    Someone can confirm this?

  • Ron Hustleman Harris July 10, 2014, 11:02 am


  • Christina Piasecki September 25, 2019, 6:42 am

    Hey there. I’m wondering if anyone can tell me how to transfer sounds that I have saved on the spds, to the memory card itself. I need to be able to transfer them to a new machine when this one croaks. Lol
    Thanks in advance.

  • tim May 6, 2020, 4:56 pm

    hi, I’ve acquired an old spd-s recently and im curious how to move/assign preset pads to a whole new kit(new patch) by just using the unit.

    For example: take pad 1 from patch 13 and move it to pad 1,2 or whatever on new patch 50. pad 4 from patch 29 and move it to pad 1,2 or whatever on new patch 50. mostly to make a custom kit out of sounds already stored in the unit. I hope this makes any sense. Thanks!

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