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 10, 2013 @ 6:24 am
J.Force is the master of the SP-1200!
January 10, 2013 @ 12:21 am
no, i think madlib mostly used the sp-303 for madvillainy.
doep - pha
November 15, 2012 @ 6:49 pm
you fine folks should seriously consider adding Madlib to the list! he produced one of the best hip-hop albums; "Madvilliany" and is holding up a SP-1200 in the albums photos!
wayne kerr
October 7, 2012 @ 12:44 pm
I've seen a bit of info online about the final edition machines not having SSM filters and being a different model (7031 as opposed to 7030).
I've got number 56 of the last 125 made in March 1998 and it's a 7030 with SSM's inside.
PaPa J-Bo!
July 31, 2012 @ 7:06 am
The SP-1200 pure and simply is, was, and will always be the dopest drum machine in the history of Hip-Hop. Sure, the MP has more sampling time and does great sequencing and basically any sampler that costs so much less has more sampling time but nothing sounds like the SP-1200. Hip-Hop is raw and grit polished up, not super clean out of the box generic sounds. Some may see the SP as limited but it's the limitations that forced producers to be creative. Muggs, Marley Marl, The RZA, all used the SP. I lost mine and have missed it ever since. Props to anyone who knows the deal. That's Hip-Hop.
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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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