Having the built-in effects is a HUGE benefit - everything from compression to a phaser, delay, vocoder, and many more are onboard. If you've never owned a Roland product with D-Beam, you don't know what you're missing - you can make very effective use of it by assigning it to various types of filters, to trigger a sample, or play a solo with a mono synth! And, it looks VERY cool with its flashing light display and glowing orange pads. Whether you're producing your own material, DJ'ing full time, or need something to create beats with - you owe it to yourself to check out the SP-555!
Roland SP-555 loaded with options.
I've had it for about a year now and I'm still learning a few tricks and going back to the manual for how to change some of the default settings. While one can't complain about having too many features, one can complain about having to refer to the manual for simple tasks that could just have a button. For example, having so much information to deal with, the screen is only three digits! In many ways this keeps music making fun and less about data on a screen. This is hardware. You must get to know this piece, get over the learning curve and you will be extremely satisfied with what this sampler/sequencer has to offer. It can be used as an In/Out interface for your computer or laptop! Record from your computer into the sampler or vice versa. Play your computer's audio output through the sampler and manipulate it with top-notch effects. You can even use it as a midi controller (similar to an MPD controller). Furthermore, you can store up to 2 gigs of audio on the Compact Flash cards! Another nice feature that adds an element of creativity is the "loop capture" feature. Use an optional foot pedal to record and overdub from your phantom-powered mic, line-in, or on-board samples to create loops that can be bounced to pads. The pads are extremely responsive and having them light up really makes things run smoothly while being in control. Of course, after having so much, it will be easy to point out what it does not do (effects assign to mic-in and line-in are grouped, must be both or none), but all in all, this is an extremely useful tool in my music-making process.