EMU released the SP1200 as an upgrade to it's popular SP12 sampling drum machine in 1987. It doubled the amount of sample memory to ten seconds, let you dump in sounds via Midi and added a 3.5 floppy drive. Like the SP12, it was originally created for the dance crowd, but it soon caught on with New York producers that were just starting to create a new sound called "Hip Hop".
The SP was also one of the first instruments which let you put together a complete track on one piece of gear and it became one of EMU's best selling instruments. The original "grey version" sold so well though out the late 80's and early 90's then when it was discontinued the demand for it was so great that EMU released a "black" reissue in 1993. It was pretty much the same as the original grey version with an updated operating system. It also sold well before being discontinued in the late 90's.
Even with only ten seconds of sampling RAM and 26.04 kHz sampling rate, today a vintage SP1200 still commands a high price on the used gear market selling at around $1500. US dollars. The reason for this is the unique sound of the SP. The SSM-2044 filter chips included create it's gritty 12 bit "lo-fi" sound has been a favorite of Hip Hop producers since groups like Public Enemy and NWA created their classic tracks on the SP twenty years ago.
The EMU SP1200 Sampling Drum Machine
When the SP1200 was released back in 1987 we were one of the first sound companies to purchase one and went about making a large sound library for it. After a couple of years of sampling we had over 100 floppy disks to choose from and the library has turned out to become one of our best selling and most well received libraries in our collection.
Just click on the above MP3 demo link to get a taste of some of the sounds in our SP1200 sample collection. Many of our customers from the Hip Hop and Techno community's have used the sounds on countless numbers of classic recordings throughout the last twenty years. We still own the original machine from 1987 and have also added a "black" version that was part of the re-release in the early 90's. Both machines sound amazing and still get a lot of use in our studio.
One of the drawbacks on the SP1200 is that you needed to load in the operating system from a floppy disk in order to boot up the machine. Without the OS the SP1200 can turn out to be a very expensive doorstop. Note that all of our SP1200 sample disks have the operating system included on them. OS 1.2 is the latest. All sounds come on "double sided/double density" floppy disks which are nearly impossible to find these days so you have come to the right place if your SP is dead and needs the OS and some double sided floppys to get it running again.
If you do not own an original SP1200 and don't want to shell out all that cash for a vintage SP, you can now get the next best thing. We have now sampled our entire sound library into WAV, Reason or Kontakt formats. Much care was taken to preserve the original sound of the SP when sampling the files and assembling the drum kits. The results are as close as you get to the real thing.
If you have any questions or comments please contact us via phone or e-mail. Thank's for your support and Happy Sampling!