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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39 Visitor comments
July 9, 2011 @ 11:25 pm
Just house? C'mon Paul C. taught Large Professor how to program it (RIP). It was used by Prince Paul of Stetasonic and production for De La Soul and other Native Tongue artist.

This machine is the cornerstone of rap/hip hop in the late 80's and especially the 90's
The Astro Kid
November 25, 2010 @ 12:14 am
This is one fine Drummachine sampler ever.
August 24, 2010 @ 6:07 am
Some kids ask me why its such a legend, its summed up like this for me.
Sample a real 909 bass drum with the SP, detune it slightly and voila, phatter and tighter 909 kick !
There really is no other sampler that can do it like an SP1200. Its one of the only pieces that doesnt need processing to make your beats sound huge slammin and punchy.
All the plaudits are justified, and the second hand values are not inflated imo.
August 19, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
Ive got one, and yes.. i am one lucky son of a [beep]
August 12, 2010 @ 12:17 pm
The best ever, forget MPC this is the cornerstone, thats really all i have to say about the SP1200.
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User Rating

Rated 4.14 (449 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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