Zoë Blade's notebook

Studio 440

Studio 440 tech specs

The Studio 440 was a drum machine style sampler and MIDI sequencer released by Sequential Circuits in 1987. As its name implies, it was comprehensive, and could be the heart of a small studio.

Essentially, Sequential Circuits took their Prophet 2000 sampler and added a MIDI sequencer, turning it into a largely self-contained sample-based studio to rival the Linn 9000. Roger Linn himself would have the last word, though, teaming up with Akai to make that staple of hip hop, the MPC60.

The Studio 440 can loop a short section of music, and record muting and unmuting individual tracks, making it useful for house and techno music that slowly layers up parts.


Having the 440 makes life a lot easier. Let's say I sampled something and the loop wasn't working out. I could just can it right there, carry on programming a beat, and then come back to the sample later. You can't do that with the Akai — you need another sequencer and a MIDI controller to play your samples back. With the 440 I can do everything in one.

— Kurtis Mantronik, Mantronix, 1987[2]

Basically, the Studio 440 is a recording studio in a box.

— Simon Harris, 1989[3]

When we first started out, and before we got into software sequencing, we were using the Sequential Studio 440. Our first record was made with two of them, and virtually nothing else. That's actually where the "440" in our name came from. They were like an early version of an Akai MPC60 — a drum machine sampler with sixteen pads — but it had better-quality VCAs and VCFs, and resonant filters, which Akai didn't get around to until many years later. It came out before the MPC, but it just wasn't successful. They only made 650 of them before the company went to the wall.

— Noko, Apollo 440, 1999[4]

Notable users


  1. "Sequential Circuits Studio 440" Sequential Circuits Studio 440, Sound On Sound, Feb 1987, pp. 20—21
  2. "Music Madness" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Apr 1987, pp. 67—70
  3. "The Bassment Tapes" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Sep 1989, pp. 44—49
  4. "Apollo Four Forty: Ad Astra" Sam Molineaux, Sound On Sound, Nov 1999
  5. "Aphex Twin Live in Paris" Apr 1993
  6. "House Masters" Nicholas Rowland, Music Technology, Mar 1988, pp. 28—30
  7. "DJ Vicious Lee (Def IV) — The Unkut Interview" Robbie, Unkut.com, Jun 2008
  8. "Machine Heads" Dave Robinson, Future Music, Nov 1995, p. 80
  9. "Criminal Record?" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Mar 1992, pp. 54—59
  10. "The Orb" Mark Prendergast, Sound On Sound, May 1993, pp. 28—34


Hardware MIDI sequencers: ASQ10 | CZ-101 | Studio 440 | TR-909 | W-30

Samplers: FZ-1 | S612 | S900 | S950 | S1000 | S1100 | Studio 440 | W-30

Sequential Circuits: Studio 440