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Offline chrisNova777

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e-mu sp1200 (1987) sampling percussion
« on: November 19, 2015, 09:26:47 AM »
Quote
WHAT IS IT?
The SP-1200 is the latest member of E-MU’s family of high-technology musical instruments.
It combines the most popular features of our first drum machine, the Drumulator, along
with the Emulator II’s sampling capabilities, modular design, and extensive use of display
messages.

Thanks to 12 bit sound digitizing, the drum sounds have a crispness and dynamic range
unattainable with the more common (and inexpensive) 8 bit digitizing technology. Best of
all, despite the wide range of functions the
SP-1200 is remarkably easy to learn and use. After even a short period of familiarization,
creating drum parts becomes second nature. We have made every effort to make the
SP-1200’s operation as transparent as possible, so that you can get rhythmic ideas from
your head into reality in the shortest possible time.

http://www.theemus.com/documentation/sp1200/SP1200_User_Manual.pdf
http://web.archive.org/web/20030608185445/http://emu.com:80/products/pdf/PDF_manuals/other/sp1200/sp1200_manual.pdf
http://www.vintagesynth.com/emu/sp1200.php


metronome/click out, SMPTE out, SMPTE/clk in, run/stop (pedal switch?), step/end rep (pedal switch?), tap/auto rep (pedal switch?)

Quote
The SP-1200 is the latest member of E-MU’s family of high-technology musical instruments. It combines the most popular features of our first drum machine, the Drumulator, along with the Emulator II’s sampling capabilities, modular design, and extensive use of display messages.

Thanks to 12 bit sound digitizing, the drum sounds have a crispness and dynamic range unattainable with the more common (and inexpensive) 8 bit digitizing technology. Best of all, despite the wide range of functions the SP-1200 is remarkably easy to learn and use. After even a short period of familiarization, creating drum parts becomes second nature.

We have made every effort to make the SP-1200’s operation as transparent as possible, so that you can get rhythmic ideas from your head into reality in the shortest possible time. You’re going to love what the SP-1200 can do. Ready? Let’s start.




Offline chrisNova777

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Re: e-mu sp1200 (1987) sampling percussion
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 07:52:33 PM »
http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/e-mu-sp1200/2517





Quote
E-MU SP1200 SPECIFICATIONS

Sampling rate:   26kHz
Word length:   12 bits
Maximum sample time:   2.5 sec
Total available sample time:   10 sec
Maximum number of samples:   32
Outputs:   8 individual, 1 combined mono
Inputs:   1 for sampling
Number of segments:   100
Number of songs:   100
Synchronisation:   Internal, MIDI song pointer, Timecode (SMPTE drop/non-drop, EBU, film). Click (various options from 24 to 384 ppqn)
Display:   backlit LCD
Disk storage:   Samples and Sequences 3.5" double-sided double density

Offline chrisNova777

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Re: e-mu sp1200 (1987) sampling percussion
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 07:55:01 PM »


http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/this-year-s-model/2225

Quote
E-mu Systems SP1200

Sampling Percussion

THE SP12 DRUM machine is no longer in production; in its place comes the SP1200. A look at the SP12 could help put the SP1200 in perspective.

While the original Linn drum machine precluded many users through its cost, E-mu's Drumulator offered sound quality and sophisticated programming facilities at a more modest price.

E-mu then announced a quantum leap forward in the form of the SP12. It arrived with a promise of being the professional's only choice. Although backed by the name of the company whose Emulator set a standard for roadworthy pro sampling keyboards, the SP12 fell short of that promise: users were frustrated by rigid memory allocation and unrealistic output configurations. Successive software updates slowly brought the instrument closer to, but so far have not realised that promise.

Despite these shortcomings, many professionals use SP12s every day because there simply hasn't been a comparable drum machine around. What else sequences ROM sounds, accepts external sounds, samples, and both reads and writes SMPTE?

So what's new on the SP1200? Well, it's certainly not its looks. The SP1200 lives in the same box as the SP12. The front panel shows the same cutouts for the operation buttons and play buttons, but the new lettering reflects some of the operational changes. The SP12 originally employed a cassette interface for data storage and was later adapted for an external disk drive. The user had to buy a Commodore 1541 disk drive, which probably holds the world record for lack of speed. Loading times of up to five minutes were not uncommon.

The SP1200 overcomes this by sporting a built-in disk drive, accepting double-sided double-density 3.5" microfloppies. As you might expect, access time is much shorter, disk formatting takes just over one minute, and the drive eliminates the need for a cassette interface. But users thinking of making the change from the SP12 to the SP1200 needn't worry about their cassette data becoming redundant. A special transfer mode can be activated by powering up the SP1200 while holding down the disk button. Once in RAM of the SP1200, the user sounds and sequences can be named and written to the SP1200's disk drive and used like any other user data. However, you can't transfer the ROM sounds from the SP12 in this manner. Only a sampling session will get them into the SP1200.

The machine's software resides on disk, which means that future updates can be made on disk, and a mode of the formatting command allows erasure and replacement of the program without touching user data already on the disk.

The rear panel hasn't changed much either. It shows ¼" inputs for Sample (audio in), Mix Out (mono sum), Channel Outputs 1-8, Metronome Out, SMPTE Out and In, Run (footswitch for remote run/stop), and Tap (for tempo footswitch in segment and song modes). MIDI jacks are the usual In, Out, Thru. A voltage selector takes one headache out of international tours; the world has become a small place for pro musicians lately.

Though it's not apparent, there is another change behind those individual audio outputs - it has to do with the output filters. Unfortunately, E-mu haven't seen fit to remedy the major complaint of most SP12 users; there are still only two outputs with dynamic filters (outputs 1&2), and four with static filters. None of them are adjustable. Since the dynamic filters are an absolute necessity to avoid the noise that becomes apparent late in many samples, most users assign two of the usual three tom-toms to outputs 1&2, wishing that there was a third output with a filter. The third tom has to be processed separately to match the others. What's new is the internal wiring; mono plugs give access to the unfiltered sounds and re-route the sound from the Mix Out jack. Ring/tip/barrel plugs access the filtered sounds (outputs 7&8 have no filters).

The SP12 had ROM sounds permanently on board; the SP1200 doesn't. You must first load sounds - which are still 12-bit - from disk every time you turn the power on. The overall memory has been doubled to 10 seconds which is subdivided into four blocks of 2.5 seconds. You have to load the longest sounds first, forcing you to squeeze the shorties into what's left in each memory block. You can't trust the memory readout as this shows you the available memory globally, not for each block. If the readout shows 1.4sec memory remaining and you need to load a sound that's 1.2sec long, you may still not be able to load your sound if that 1.4sec is spread across the blocks in small amounts.

Limitations


ANOTHER LIMITATION IS the lack of communication through the LCD when it comes to copied sounds. I loaded the standard factory drum sounds from disk and deleted Crash 2 from location C8. When trying to load the same sound back into the same location, I got the message "Not Enough Memory" - it turns out Crash 2 is not taking up any memory, and therefore doesn't refund any memory when deleted, because it's a copy of Crash 1.

Copying sounds to other locations allows modified sounds to be stored without exceeding the available memory, but the list in the LCD doesn't indicate which sounds are taking up memory space, and which are memory-efficient copies. In my case, to get Crash 2 back into location C8, I would've had to reset the decay.

Dynamic output allocation is E-mu's way of overcoming the limitations of two sounds competing for the same audio output at the same time. It means that one sound will jump to the other output in a pair. It's not a very elegant solution to have sounds walk across the stereo field, seemingly at random - instruments of less than half the price solve this problem more successfully. On a more positive note, the new Global Tune feature is a (fairly self-explanatory) welcome upgrade.

Do these changes make the SP1200 a new instrument? I think not. Somebody at E-mu must have decided to "tough it out" with SP12 owners and those that I spoke to are resentful. (If you don't already own an SP12, you'll see this instrument as a new one and may not be bothered by these concerns.) Here is their consensus. Please draw your own conclusions.

Software updates are nothing new to SP12 owners; they would have welcomed the memory expansion and the software changes that accompany the new chips. Features like Global Tuning, changes in the MIDI implementation and so on could have been made as an upgrade to the SP12. In the hardware department, the only major change is the built-in disk drive - SP12 owners feel that a stand-alone drive could have offered the same increase in speed and flexibility. The reconfigured output wiring is something that many users had built in long ago.

Another interesting point is that the events surrounding the replacement of the SP12 by the SP1200 are in stark contrast to those surrounding the introduction of the Emax over the Emulator II. First of all, the Emax was a new instrument; secondly, Emulator II owners continue to be supported by E-mu. What happens once the Emulator III comes out remains to be seen, but even if support for the EII should stop the EIII is clearly a bigger step up than the SP1200 from the SP12.

Verdict


THE BAD NEWS: SP12 owners will have to grin and bear it. Their machine is out of production, and they see the successor as an overdue update with a new name, rather than a new machine worth losing money for by ditching the old.

The good news: new buyers don't have to worry about the gripes of SP12 owners. They get a machine that works well in many areas, sounds great, comes with a detailed manual that includes many helpful hints above and beyond the call of duty, and includes a comprehensive MIDI implementation that advanced MIDI users will surely appreciate.


Offline chrisNova777

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Re: e-mu sp1200 (1987) sampling percussion
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 06:49:15 AM »