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The SP-12 was quickly superceded by the SP-1200 in 1987 which was continuously reissued through 1997.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
October 5, 2011 @ 10:47 am
"I'm the Benihana chef on the SP12 -- I chop the f**k out the beats left on the shelf" - Ad Rock (Beastie Boys) - "Putting Shame In Your Game" (Hello Nasty)
July 27, 2011 @ 10:14 am
Hi iProg! I think New Order used the Drumulator for that song.
May 27, 2011 @ 4:26 am
I think this is the drum machine used on "True Faith" by New Order. Correct me if I'm wrong.
The Astro Kid
November 25, 2010 @ 12:18 am
The drum's sound great
November 21, 2010 @ 8:47 am
106 days later, and I Finally got my SP-12 Rockin' with Drumfile by Blank Software.
Now I'm transferring my old samples and sequences to the Mac and archiving on HD and zip disk. The SP-12 is hooked up to both a Mac SE30 (Through an OPCODE Studio Plus 2), and the old Commodore 64 disk drive. The studio is starting to look like I'm a mad scientist with all the old computers. I have a pair of Mac SE/30s and an Atari 1040ST in addition to the macbook pro.
Does anyone have experience with both Drumfile and SP-12 Librarian that can comment on the pros&cons?
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Rated 3.73 (253 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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