• Keith Flint - The Lollies
    A posthumously released Keith Flint solo track is now officially available! Read more
  • NME Awards 2020: Watch Leo Crabtree pay emotional tribute to Keith Flint
    The Prodigy‘s long time live drummer Leo Crabtree led a tribute to Keith Flint at the NME Awards 2020, last night. Read more
  • Maxim releases a new solo album
    The Prodigy's Maxim's 3rd solo album “Love More” will be released in Japan on December 4th. Read more
  • Rare Keith's tour outfit on sale on forum
    Theprodigy.info visitor and a fan is selling an outfit once owned by Keith Flint. Read more
  • Keith Flint dead at 49
    The iconic frontman was found dead at his home. All love and sympathy goes out to his family, friends and all fans across the world at this sad time. Read more
E-Mu SP-1200 sampling drum machine

E-Mu SP-1200 sampling drum machine

E-mu SP-1200 is a classic drum machine and sampler released in August 1987 by E-mu Systems, Inc. as an update of the SP-12, which was originally created for dance music producers. It became famed for its gritty texture and ability to simulate the "warmth" of vinyl recordings.

The SP-1200 became an icon of hip hop's golden age, due to its ability to construct the bulk of a song within one piece of portable gear—a first for the industry. This resulted in reduced studio costs and more creative control for artists. In 2007, Ben Detrick explained, "The machine rose to such prominence that its strengths and weaknesses sculpted an entire era of music: the crunchy digitized drums, choppy segmented samples, and murky filtered basslines that characterize the vintage New York sound are all mechanisms of the machine." Designed to be used as both a drum sequencer and sampler in one, the SP-1200 features a 26.04 kHz sampling rate (roughly half the fidelity of a compact disc) and 12-bit resolution. Those audio qualities, combined with the idiosyncratic SSM2044 filter chips with which these machines were fitted, make for a dirty, gritty sound. One of the attributes of the SP-1200 is its extremely small amount of memory—roughly 10 seconds.

The SP-1200 can store up to 100 patterns, 100 songs, and has a 5,000-note maximum memory for drum sequences. It also has a mono mix output and eight individual outputs, MIDI in/out/through, SMPTE sync, and a metronome output. There is one button that allows you to select between banks A, B, C, and D, which gives the user easy access to each of the 32 sounds. The front panel contains several LED lights, buttons, and eight volume and pitch faders for each sound in the selected bank. Below each fader is a large button to initialize the sound, or select the sound for editing, and a switch to turn the trigger's velocity sensitivity off or on. The sequencer works in the familiar pattern-style of placing short consecutive sections of samples into a song. The user can easily add swing quantization and tempo changes. The sequencer can sync the tempo to SMPTE, MIDI, or analogue clock pulses and is also capable of synchronizing the tempo to a tapping finger with the tap-tempo button."

The limited sampling time of the SP-1200 was overcome within the late 1980s hip hop production circles by sampling 33⅓ rpm records at 45 rpm, with an additional pitch increase, then replaying the sample from the SP-1200 at a much slower speed (by the use of Multipitch and/or Tune/Decay edit functions). This expanded the total sampling time while at the same time decreasing the resolution. By the early 1990s, nearly every working hip hop producer had adopted this technique as industry standard until the advent of newer samplers such as Akai's MPC60, which provided higher sampling rates and more sampling time.

Used:

Could be used in Dirtchamber's Intro Beats and Spitfire. Also used in Fat Of The Land album.

You can see this machine in Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One's inside sleeve above. Liam is lying on the floor of his Dirtchamber studio and this machine is front of him! Liam has the original 1987 version of SP1200 that's why it looks a bit wider in that pic. 90's new version was more like square in shape (also pictured above).

Liam's comment:

"The original hip-hop drum machine. That is fat! I'm really into the hip-hop scene, and did a lot of research into the equipment they used to get that real heavy sound. A guy from our record company went to New York and got this for me for my birthday; it was a really good present. It's so nice, just for single drum hits. "

See other products that has been in use

Ableton Live software
Access Virus TI Polar
Aiwa Dat
Akai CD3000XL MIDI Stereo CD-ROM Sampler, (10MB)
Akai DR8 Digital Multi Track Recorder
Akai iMPC Music Production App for iPad
Akai S1100 sampler
Akai S2800 midi stereo digital sampler
Akai S3200XL Professional Stereo Digital Sampler
Akai S5000 sampler
Akai Z8 Digital sampler
Alesis ADAT mk2
Alesis BRC MIDI machine
Alesis compressor/GATE
Alesis Quadraverb stereo effect unit
Aphex Type C Aural Exciter
Apple Logic Pro software
Apple Mac G4 laptop
Apple Macbook Pro laptops x4
Apple Macintosh 7100 computer
ARP 2600 analog synthesizer
ART Multiverb Alpha 2.0
Arturia Analog Factory
Arturia MicroBrute
Arturia MiniBrute
BBE Sonic Maximiser 322
Behringer Ultrafex II EX3100 2-Channel Multiband Sound Enhancement Processor
BOSS guitar pedals (distortion, overdrive, phaser, flanger)
BOSS SE-70 Effects unit
Casio Casiotone MT-41
Casio Casiotone MT-68
Celestion speakers
Clavia Nord Lead Virtual Analog Synthesizer
Critter & Guitari Bolsa Bass
DBX 160A Compressor/Limiter
Drawmer DL221 two/dual channel compressor
Drawmer LX20 stereo compressor
Dynachord DLS300 digital organ
Dynachord Leslie Effects cabinet
Dynatech hard drive (270MB)
Dynaudio Acoustics M3A monitors
E-MU Orbit 9090
E-Mu Proteus 3 Ethnic Sound module
E-MU Proteus World module
E-Mu Vintage Keys module
Electrix Filter Factory
Ensoniq DP/2 Parallel Effects Processor x2
Event monitors
Gemini MX2200 DJ mixer
Genelec 1032A monitors
Genelec 6010A monitors
Gibson Les Paul (Steve Jones Replica)
Glyph Drive Scsii
HHB CDR 800 CD recorder
Joemeek compressor
JVC AK-22 HI-FI Amplifier
Kenton pro 2 midi to cv
Korg ARP Odyssey
Korg Electribe EA-1
Korg EM-1 - Electribe M Music Production Station
Korg ER-1 - Electribe R Rhythm Synth
Korg ES-1 - Electribe S Rhythm Production Sampler
Korg Kaossilator KO-1 Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer
Korg KM-2 Kaoss Dynamic DJ Mixer
Korg Kontrol49 - midi keyboard/controller
Korg Legacy Collection - soft synths
Korg MicroKorg Analog Modeling Synthesizer with Vocoder
Korg Monologue
Korg Monotron Analogue Ribbon Synthesizer
Korg MS-20 keyboard
Korg MS-2000 Virtual Analog synth
Korg Prophecy Synthesizer
Korg R3 synthesizer vocoder
M-Audio Oxygen 49 (3rd gen)
Mackie 32-8 bus analog mixing desk
Mackie 8 bus 24/8/2
Mackie CR 1604 Mixer
Mackie Onyx 1620 16-Channel Mixer
Manley Enhanced Pultec EQP1A EQ
Manley Massive Passive stereo Tube EQ
Midi xpress XT -serial port/rs422
Moog Minimoog synthesizer
Moog Prodigy
Moog Voyager Synthesizer
Morley Dual Bass Wah
MOTU 828 Audio Interface
Mutable Instruments Shruthi
Native Instruments KORE
Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MKII
Novation Bass Station analog synth
Numark Blue Dog DM900 2 Channel Mixing board
Oberheim Four Voice
Oberheim Two Voice analog synthesizer
Octave Cat
Park GB15/10 bass practice amp
Peavy Analogue Filter
Pendulum audio Quartet
Philips CD 624
Propellerhead Reason software
Propellerheads ReCycle!
Roland AIRA System-1 Synthesizer
Roland Alpha Juno-1
Roland Alpha Juno-2
Roland DJ mixer
Roland E-660 Digital Stereo Parametric Mastering EQ
Roland GAIA SH-01 Synthesizer
Roland JD-800
Roland JD-990
Roland JP-08 Sound Module
Roland JP-8000 analog modeling synthesizer
Roland Juno-106 synthesizer
Roland Jupiter-6 synthesizer
Roland Jupiter-8 Synthesizer
Roland MC-303 Groovebox
Roland MC-505 Groovebox
Roland SH-09
Roland SH-101 monosynth
Roland SP-808 Groove Sampler
Roland Space Echo RE-201
Roland TB-03 Bass Line
Roland TB-303 Bass Line
Roland TR-707 Rhythm Composer
Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer
Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer
Roland U-220 sound module
Roland VK-7
Roland VP-330 Vocoder Plus
Roland VP-9000 Variphase sampler
Roland W-30 Sampler Workstation
Sans Amp Tech 21 NYC PSA-1 distortion box
SCI Prophet V - Software synth
Sequental Circuits Pro One
Sherman Filterbank 2
Sony DTC 1000 ES DAT machine
Sony DTC 750 ES DAT machine
Sony Laser Disk MDP850D
Squier Fender bass guitar
Steinberg's Cubase on the Mac
Syquest EZ135 Hard Drive
Tascam CD401 MkII-CD player
Tascam DA-20 DAT recorder
Tascam DA-30 MKII-DAT
Tascam DA-40-DAT
Tascam M-3500 32 track desk
TC Electronic Finalizer 96K
TEAC V3000 stereo casette deck
Technics SL1200 turntable
Thermionic Culture Phoenix stereo valve compressor
Thermionic Culture The Fat Bustard II 12 Channel Summing mixer
Thermionic Culture Vulture stereo valve distortion
TL Audio valve EQ
TOA 280 ME monitor speakers
Unity Audio Boulders & Avalanche
Vestax PMC07 pro DJ mixer
Yamaha HS50M 5" Powered Studio Monitor
Yamaha HS80M speakers
Yamaha SPX 1000 FX Unit
Talk about this gear at Prodigy forum with other users!
If you know something else about this piece of gear, please mail to me or contact me via feedback form.
Jump to equipment main | Prodigy main

Further reading