E-mu SP-1200

E-mu SP-1200 Image

The SP-1200 was THE drum machine & sampler combo of legendary status among old school rap and hip hop artists from the eighties and nineties. It is similar to today's Akai MPC samplers - it is a sampler plus drum machine. It has limited sampling specs: 26.040 kHz and 12-bit resolution. However the dirtiness of that sound is great for hip hop and house music. They say it sounds like "old vinyl"... It features groove quantizing and a disk drive for sample storage. As an upgraded version of the 1985 SP-12, the SP-1200 focused on its coolest feature - sampling. The preset drum sounds of the SP-12 were omitted, leaving room for up to 32 user samples of your own custom sampled and edited drum sounds.

E-mu SP-1200 Image

Although this machine was originally released in 1987, E-mu has reissued them again and again due to popular demand. They continued producing them until they ran out of the SSM filter chips they used, around 1998. It was just too legendary to give up as it was THE beat machine for old-school rap and hip hop! In 1997 a final reissued model was released with a cooler looking all-black case. With the SP-1200 it's easy and fun to grab those sliders and tune or tweak your sampled drum sounds all around! It is used by Roni Size, Todd Terry, Freddy Fresh, Daft Punk, Phil Collins, and The Prodigy.

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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-1200? 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.

39 Visitor comments
June 29, 2009 @ 5:16 pm
Armen is a NYC based tech whom rack-mounted vintage gear. As far as I can remember he chopped up SH-101's, Juno 106's, TR-909's, SP-12/1200's and TR-808's into rack sized units. Pretty sad IMHO.
June 18, 2009 @ 5:54 pm
anyone know anything about the rack version of the sp.. called 1200 sound. i think its produced by a company called armen
June 2, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
This is my personal Favorite peice of all time..its timeless. you can make music on this effortlessly if you have a good background in beat production.
February 9, 2009 @ 6:39 pm
there's an application from elektron called C6 (http://files.elektron.se/support/Elektron_C6_OSX_v1.3b.dmg) that can send and receive samples from the SP1200 on OSX. Something to replace Alchemy...
December 21, 2008 @ 7:30 am
Been using the SP1200 for years. The crazy thing is that when combined with a computer and this program called Alchemy, it allows you to take the sound files off the computer that's edited to the decimal and send it to the SP1200 for the sound. Then program and sequence a beat that bugs heads out. - Distrakt
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User Rating

Rated 4.15 (448 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 - 26.040 kHz, 12 bit sampling; 4 2.5 second blocks (10 seconds); 256 KB memory
  • Patterns - 100
  • Songs - 100
  • Keyboard - 8 Touch Pads
  • Memory - 32 patches
  • Control - MIDI, SMPTE
  • Date Produced - 1987 - 1998
  • Resources & Credits
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