E-mu SP-12

E-mu SP-12 Image

The E-mu SP-12 is the classic drum machine & sampler combo that paved the way for such greats as the E-mu SP-1200 and AKAI MPC series of sampling drum machines. Redesigned from E-mu's original Drumulator drum machine, the SP-12 is a classic drum machine with built in sampling capability. There is a set of preset drum sounds including kick, snare, hihats, toms, cymbals, handclap and rimshot. These sounds can be mixed and edited using the sliders. Then you can add your own beats and drum sounds using the built-in 12-bit sampler. Sampling time is limited to only a few seconds and the quality is very lo-fi (a sound loved by lo-fi and trip hop). Store your patterns and link them into songs, there's room for 100 of each! There are mono and individual outputs (no stereo). It's been used by Madlib, Large Professor, Chicago, and DJ Premiere.

E-mu SP-12 Image

The SP-12 was quickly superceded by the SP-1200 in 1987 which was continuously reissued through 1997. The SP-1200 is undoubtedly the more popular of the two since it has added features and emphasized sampling by eliminating the preset drum sounds. However, for the classic synth collector the SP-12 still makes a great gift!

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The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a E-mu SP-12? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

38 Visitor comments
Steve Makohin
June 5, 2010 @ 10:33 pm
Folks who are interested in the SP-12 Librarian: http://sp12.watersedgesoftware.com/
Quickly saves samples and sequences to a Mac over MIDI. Create and print a sound catalog, and much more. SP-12 User Manual (PDF) also on the same page.
May 28, 2010 @ 11:08 am
@Arrow: Try to feed a pulse signal (like a metronome, short bassdrum, rimshot etc.) into the supposed trigger inputs, and see what happens. You'll soon now whether they are actual analog triggers. If sounds are triggered, they are analog trigger inputs. If not, they might still be that, but there might be some adjustments that need to be done. Or it might be something totally different! I'm curious, so let me know!
May 27, 2010 @ 6:28 am
Got one from a friend. Superb sounds, the buttons are pressure-sensitive so by hitting hard the sound gets more accent! Really neat! I'm waiting for a manual to get the segment / song-building under control.
I really like it!
May 25, 2010 @ 8:06 pm
Just got the turbo (5mb) some hours ago, and I must say! YAY! I have never before put my hands on a more inspiring and fun piece of gear! And the sound is a BIG part of it. It simply sounds outstanding. It's true what they say; the sp12/1200 sounds like vinyl. Like someone sprinkled stardust on my samples. It would take an sp1200 to emulate an sp12. Classic! 6 out of 5 stars!!!
May 9, 2010 @ 10:38 am
@brageboogie: Thanks for your comment. The extra jacks could very well be trigger inputs...I haven't figured it out yet! enjoy your SP-12!
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User Rating

Rated 3.71 (256 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voice
  • Sampler - 27.500 kHz, 12-bit sampling, 48kb memory for 1.2 seconds (expandable to TURBO - 192kb memory for 5 seconds) of sample time
  • Drums - 24 samples including kick, snares, toms, hi-hats, crash, ride, rim, clap, cowbell
  • Patterns - 100
  • Songs - 100
  • Keyboard - 8 touch pads
  • Memory - 8 user
  • Control - MIDI, SMPTE
  • Date Produced - 1985 - 1987
  • Resources & Credits
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