Roland SPD-SX Review – High-End Percussion Sample Pad

Roland SPD SX


Value for money






Sound quality



  • Top class build quality
  • Custom sampling
  • Very responsive pads
  • Solid menu system and controls
  • Lots of internal memory


  • Relatively expensive
  • Relatively limited external pad inputs (2 dual zone pads or 4 single zone using splitters)

The Roland SPD-SX is one of the best and most popular high-end sample pads around. In this article, we’re going to dive into it in more detail.

The release of the original SPD-S caught the drumming world by storm, it became very commonplace to see drummers using these to trigger playback tracks, loops, and samples. The Roland SPD-SX built on top of this.

These sample pads are not cheap, but what you get is top class build quality and reliability that you won’t get from cheap, entry-level models.

If you’re really serious about using a sample pad along with your drum set or production rig, then the SPD-SX is essential to have on your shortlist.

Roland SPD-SX – Price Comparison

Check out this great video to see the SPD-SX in action:

Construction and Design

It’s very easy to get started with the SPD-SX. It’s a standalone sample pad, so it houses it’s samples in internal memory.

Since it is much more than drum pad, many DJs are also choosing it instead of other controllers and samplers on the market.

The SPD-SX comprises 9 pads, 3 of which are small pads at the top (designed to be hit with the shoulder or shaft of the drumstick). The compact and sleek all-black finish with red lights that illuminate based on the duration and amplitude of samples is perfect for stage playing, which is great for difficult monitoring situations.

The LCD menu and navigation on the device are very quick, and changing between kits is done very quickly (something which is not often the case for cheap sample pads!).

The build quality on this device is fantastic. Each of the pads are separate and there is never a problem with cross-talk on these professional pads.


The sample pad comes with a number of pre-programmed kits, but it’s potential really comes in it’s customization, in which you can store a large amount of sample thanks to a generous amount of storage. You can quickly load customized samples with multi-pad sampling functions.

You can easily stream an MP3 player inside to record and chop samples based on your preferences. In case that your samples are on a PC or laptop, you can use a USB thumb drive or USB cable directly to the computer so that you can manage samples by using native software.

When it comes to additional features, you will be able to install two dual-zone external trigger inputs (for example, snare pad, kick pad, etc). You could connect up to 4 external single-zone pads instead of 2 dual-zone ones, but you will need to get your hands on extenders for this.

There are numerous built-in effects to help you get the sound you want. It contains effects such as delay, EQ filter, and looped and you can manipulate it on stage in real-time so that you can really have fun and play live.

To hear how it sounds, you should visit this video!

The difference between the Roland Octapad SPD-30 and the Roland SPD-SX

This question comes up all the time. Roland positioned the Roland Octapad very differently from the SPD-SX.

The SPD-SX is a sample pad, it’s built to store and play custom samples, while also containing a bunch of other great features. Its extendability to other drum pads and pedals are somewhat limited to 2 dual-zone pads (or 4 pads if you use separate splitters).

The Roland Octapad is a percussion pad and it is more suited towards drummers and percussionists looking to add electronic flavors into their setup. The Octapad allows for a much greater amount of extension options (including hi-hat inputs) and includes great phrase looping to allow you to play custom drum and synth loops on the fly across up to 3 different kits within the device. However, the Octapad does not include custom sampling.

Roland very clearly positioned the features of the SPD-SX and the Octapad in different directions. Either way, there could be a place for both of these devices in one setup.

To check out other great percussion pads, check out our guide on electronic drum pads:



  • Value For Money – 9/10 – Don’t get us wrong, the Roland SPX-SX is an expensive device, but you get what you pay for in this instance! You get a top-class sample pad that can stand years of use on the road.
  • Features – 9/10 – This device is one of the most popular on the market and it contains great custom sampling, recording, and effects features.
  • Playability – 8/10 – Velocity-sensitive pads and very easy to play on. We’re only docking some marks here simply because they could have put more extension options to include other pads.
  • Sound Quality – 9/10 – The sound quality is fantastic, and samples are all housed internally. We’re only docking a few points here because it could have more out-of-the-box samples.

Final Verdict

The Roland SPD-SX is often the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about Sample Pads. Roland has cemented themselves into the electronic drum pad market with these devices.

This sample pad is a fantastic device that will withstand long tours, and give you access to sounds that you would never be able to replicate on an acoustic drum set.

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