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The SP-12 was quickly superceded by the SP-1200 in 1987 which was continuously reissued through 1997.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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38 Visitor comments
October 15, 2010 @ 10:54 am
Atleast the snares on "One more chance" and "Hit music" sound like SP-12.
October 3, 2010 @ 6:06 am
I think Pet Shop boys used this on the album Actually for a couple of tracks. Great machine.
August 7, 2010 @ 2:21 pm
@brageboogie, @Ian:

The Turbo is 5 seconds not 5 MB. There would have to be a hell of a lot more IC sockets on the motherboard to make the machine hold 5 MB in chips. The P.A.L chip reads SP12 MAX05 meaning 5 seconds.

It's important to note that the max length of 1 sample on either an SP-12 or SP-1200 is 2.5 seconds.

If anyone has a copy of "drumfile" by "Blank software" for sale please contact me!
July 26, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

I have the standard "turbo" with 0.2 mb. Do you really have 5mb memory? is there some kind of mod you can do or maybe it was a typo? :)
June 24, 2010 @ 10:49 am
I own one of these and will never part with it.

About the buttons being pressure sensitive...well, sorta. E-mu actually used a pretty slick trick to implement this. On the PC board that the buttons are mounted to, is a piezo microphone epoxied to that board. The sound picked up by this little microphone is used as an indicator of how hard you hit the button! So the button itself doesn't need to sense velocity, and thus there's nothing to "wear out." Neat, eh?
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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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