SP-1200 Reissue Now Available To Pre-Order

Rossum Electro-Music has officially introduced the Rossum SP-1200, described as ‘an authentic reissue of the iconic classic SP-1200 sampling percussion system’.

The Rossum SP-1200 reissue is engineered by the original designer and built and tested in the United States to his standards.

E-mu Systems co-founder and original SP-12 and SP-1200 designer Dave Rossum has duplicated the original analog and digital electronics of the landmark 12-bit drum machine sampler as closely as possible. As a result, Rossum was able to, with very few exceptions, use the same components used in the original. Rossum also took care to maintain the circuit board layouts of the original.

The original lines and shape of the original SP-1200’s structural foam plastic housing have been closely recreated with finely-textured, black powder-coated steel panels joined with bead-blasted, anodized aluminum black side/end caps. The SP-1200 panel legends are reproduced in high-contrast metallic ink across the top and rear steel panels. The placement and spacing of all original controls have been maintained exactly in the reissue.

The Rossum SP-1200 maintains exactly the same 12-bit linear data format and 26.04 kHz sampling rate as all vintage SP-12 and SP-1200 units. As a result, the unique character of SP-1200’s original pitch shifting and its audible aliasing and imaging artifacts are preserved identically.

Here’s Dave Rossum discussing his approach to creating the SP-1200 reissue:

New Features Of The Reissue

Changes and enhancements were made where they were compatible with the original design and classic sound.

Sampling memory has been expanded to the maximum capability of the original sound engine. An all-new memory card storage solution with new functions is seamlessly integrated into the operating system. This is designed to let you easily save, rename, and delete files and folders, and supports importing vintage SP-1200 disk images packaged in the popular .HFE format.

The Rossum SP-1200 also uses an updated version of the original’s software. A 3.5” “floppy” disk, containing modified software for original vintage SP-1200 units, adds a new Set-up Special function, allowing users to transfer all sounds and sequences from an original SP-1200 to the Rossum SP-1200 reissue over a standard MIDI cable. Whether using 3.5” disks or the popular floppy drive emulator modification, users of classic SP-1200 units are able to recall and remix their work on the SP-1200 reissue.

On the rear panel of the unit, users will find new dedicated jacks for filtered and unfiltered channel outputs, as well as a new sample input monitor feature.

Four sliders allow users to tune the initial cutoff frequency and the resonance of the SSI2144 analog dynamic filters on channels 1 and 2.

Other updates:

Users can now monitor the input to sampling (the output of the SP-1200’s input filter and amplifier) at the mix output, or it can be switched out of the mix output by plugging a cable into its new dedicated monitor output jack, just like SP-1200’s individual channel outputs removes them from the mix output.

The SP-1200 reissue features dedicated TRS jacks for balanced audio output on dedicated jacks for each of the filtered and unfiltered outputs as well as the mix output. Connecting a mono unbalanced (TS) duplicates the original SP-1200 output, with the original output impedance.

Rather than the fluorescent-illuminated backlight included with the first original SP-12 units, the classic 2-line, 16-character display is backlit using RGB LEDs, inspired by the LED-lit backlight displays equipped in later SP-1200 units. A new Set-up Special Function (#26) integrated into the Rossum SP-1200 reissue’s operating system allows users to adjust the brightness and color of the backlight.

SP-1200’s black play buttons use custom replica button caps and durable, low-resistance switches, chosen for their ideal travel and rated to keep their same feel for years. Dynamics can be performed using exactly the same classic technology invented specifically for SP-12 in 1984, and is faithfully maintained in the reissue.

As with all SP-12 instruments, the dynamics can be optionally disabled (Set-up 14) and Multi-Level mode is featured, allowing any dynamics to be performed with a lighter touch.

Memory Bank

SP-1200’s all-new memory card storage solution is integrated seamlessly into SP-1200’s operating system.

When the Disk module is activated, users can choose files and folders from the memory card using the arrow keys and the LCD. The Disk module functions for formatting and copying software to magnetic media have been replaced with Save All As / Rename.

For the first time, musicians can save SP-1200 sounds and sequences in one step and delete and rename files and folders using its built-in display. Importing vintage SP-1200 disk images packaged in the popular .HFE format works frictionlessly, just like regular loading. A 3.5” disk containing modified software for original vintage SP-1200 units adds a new Set-up Special function allowing users to transfer all sounds and sequences from an original SP-1200 to the Rossum SP-1200 Reissue over a standard MIDI cable. Whether using 3.5” disks or the popular floppy drive emulator modification, users of classic SP-1200 units are able to recall and remix their work on the SP-1200 Reissue.

Double Time

For the first time, all Rossum SP-1200 reissue units feature 20 seconds sampling time.

Designed by Dave Rossum in 1984, the original sound engine at the heart of SP-12 and SP-1200 could accommodate up to 20 seconds sampling time, but 20th-century prices of the random-access memory (RAM) proved cost-prohibitive, preventing more memory from being integrated during the original production run.

One of the unobtainable parts featured in the original SP-1200 is the SSM2044 analog filter, a classic integrated circuit designed by Dave Rossum in the early 80s. In partnership with Sound Semiconductor, Inc, Dave has designed the SSI2144 IC, which recreates the analog circuit using contemporary IC processing and packaging, preserving its unique character.

The SP-1200 reissue also features a new power supply and newly-constructed, four-layer circuit boards that lower the noise floor and avoid undesirable hums, without compromising the unique artifacts and dynamics of original SP-12 series instruments. The rear panel runs cool to the touch, and no vents are necessary in the rear panel.

Pricing and Availability

The Rossum SP-1200 is available to pre-order for $3999 USD, with units expected to ship in January 2022.

52 thoughts on “SP-1200 Reissue Now Available To Pre-Order

  1. its a very niche kind of reissue, for wealthy collectors only

    and personally ive never been part of this cult so i dont get it to begin with

    also seems pretty funny with the timing, considering that other guy’s updated version that just came out

    1. Every time someone complains about the price of musical instruments, a musician cringes.

      Is there any genre beside electronic music where people aspire to owning a collection of cheap instruments?

      1. As a Guitar player who plays a variety of genre’s why yes there are plenty of people who aspire to be able to afford instruments to play. I would hope you realize you actually need an instrument to be able to play and make music and some of us can’t afford a $3999 sampler with technology developed in the mid 80’s.

        1. Mad Mike

          Like Xtopher, you’re making the fallacious suggestion that anybody needs a $4000 when they get started.

          If you’re someone that’s serious about making music, I’d be willing to bet that you have a valuable instrument or two that you didn’t have when you got started.

        2. you don’t really think you need this 4000$ box to play and sequence 20 seconds of lofi samples, do you?
          your cellphone can do this. lol

      2. No… you mean every time someone complains about the price of a musical instrument, a rich privileged musician cringes. Assuming everyone can and will pay the highest price is a HUGE fallacy. Equally huge is assuming the top priced gear is the best. But hey, if you want to tell people just starting out who don’t have good paying jobs, much less record deals, that they have to pay several months salary for gear… you go right ahead. Also tell all those economically struggling parents and single moms that they aren’t rich enough to get their kid an instrument rental for school band. I’m sure they will be grateful for your advice. Because after all, only wealthy families produce people with musical talent. When has adversity and struggle ever produced great music (oh, wait… ).

        So basically, STFU.

        1. You’re pretending that economically struggling parents and single moms need to buy a fucking SP-1200 for their kids, which is complete bullshit.

          There’s no lack of cheap gear for people that want it. Anybody that seriously wants to get get started with electronic music can save up for something like a Novation Circuit.

          You’re also pretending that only wealthy people can buy a $4000 instrument, which is crap. How many long-time musicians do you know that don’t own a couple of valuable instruments?

          If you want to be the price Nazi, continue to tell people to STFU when they suggest that there are real reasons why musicians invest in good instruments.

    2. How dare the guy who designed the SP-1200 and most of the SSM synth chips release a new version of his own instrument when someone else has introduced a copy!

      Yes, it’s expensive. It’s also well engineered and extremely well made.

  2. Not for “wealthy collectors only” any more than any other $4000 instrument. More like for serious musicians and not the hobbyist. I recently watched the documentary Hip Hop Evolution and every producer/studio had at least one SP1200. There’s a big world out there believe it or not.

    1. its a logical response, just not a realistic one

      show me how many gigging musicians are using a SP1200

      your concept is sound, its just entirely theoretical

  3. Wah ah ah ha! The Price LOL XD

    26.04 kHz sampling rate $3999 USD

    “…the unique character of SP-1200’s original pitch shifting and its audible aliasing and imaging artifacts are preserved identically.”

    Not dissing Dave Rossum at all – like he says in the video – it is for ppl who want vintage only!

  4. Just out of curiosity I visited Sweetwater. They have 16 pages of guitars (a total of 672 instruments) starting at $4000 with a high of $15,500. Not even “vintage”! What a bunch of crooks! Like I said, there’s a big world out there. There’s a market for the Rossum just like there is for those guitars. You’re just not part of it.

    1. Okay…. so you searched up the most expensive guitars on Sweetwater, ignored all the inexpensive ones and went “Well clearly if modern Guitars are so expensive then that means a sampler made with mid 80’s technology for $3999 is a bargain”. Well I got a bridge to sell you if that’s the case.

      1. @Mad Mike. I said nothing like that. Sorry you missed my point which was simply that there is obviously a market for guitars in the $4000 and up range and there will be a market for a classic $4000 sampler as well.

        And what difference does the technology have to do with? Guitars weren’t exactly invented yesterday as far as I know. Have you ever looked up prices for pianos? They’re just wood and wire.

        BTW Rossum has orders for three lots of SP1200’s so far in less than 24 hours so apparently there’s a market that wants it and CAN afford it.

    2. Your argument is flawed, since the bulk of all guitars Sweetwater will sell are going to be under $600. Affluent buyers are NOT the primary market for musical instruments.

      1. “Affluent buyers are NOT the primary market for musical instruments.”

        They most certainly are. Hardly anyone makes money as a musician these days. The bulk of the market is made up of bedroom producers with disposable income. And that’s fine.

  5. And there it is. Boss RC 505 Mk2- $599- Too expensive without the loopback feature.
    OP-1- $1000( original price)- Expensive toy
    MPC X- $2000- Way too expensive for that.
    SP2400- $1499- Why is it so expensive?
    Moog One- Analog poly synth- WTf?

    SP1200 reissue- 20 seconds of sampling time- $4000- Vintage for musicians, whole lotta people out there with money, go get some.

    I understand what they’re doing so this is a bit different but its still interesting to see which direction the tides turn depending on the product, creator, company and your own ideology.

    1. I’ve not seen 1 person complaining the 2400 is too expensive. They question the character and motivations of the owner of isla, and rightly so.

  6. A tiny company invests thousands of hours recreating a pretty obscure but much-loved piece of very old technology for composers and music producers (and yes, some well-heeled hobbyists), from the 80s for godssake, with little chance of reaping any major windfall. But they do it anyway, at an insane level of quality and craftsmanship, right here in the USA. Love? Hubris? Who knows, but no one could knock them for being financially-driven.

    Honestly, I wish every company was like Rossum. Yes, we would all have less stuff in our life.

    But it would be waaay better stuff.

  7. As with all things, having options is better than not. It seems the originals last and are well-built. I’d imagine equal amounts of engineering is going into this considering all of the factors.

  8. Remember, Rossum said “first you make it perfect, then you make it cheap”. There might be another, more affordable version coming out later if this project turns out a success.

    I applaud Rossum’s bravery in doing the reissue like this. But then again, I’m using volca sample instead of a 1200 when I want crunchy samples, this stuff is way above my paygrade

  9. Hell, for me, just give me the samples from the SP1200 with all of it’s articulations and I’ll build myself a sample drum kit for my software drum machine/sampler of my choice. Will it sound exactly like the SP1200? No, not really but, it will still make some pretty cool drum sounds nonetheless. I’ll be happy to have that set as a kit.

  10. many won’t understand why this instrument has its value and that’s ok. for certain and specific communities, this is the holy grail. i am so glad Dave did this, bravo!

  11. It seems only in the Hip Hop production genre is there the belief that certain samplers are imbued with magical properties. There was a similar myth about the “groove” on the MPC sequencer being something you can’t find in other sequencers. This of course turned out to be bollocks and was myth busted by Roger Linn himself.

    I’ve never used a 1200 myself but I’m guessing that it falls into same “myth” category for the same reasons. A bit like the sale of religious relics

  12. We live in an age where we are lucky enough that there are samplers & synths to suit all budgets.

    If you can afford the SP1200, then go for it! If not, then find something else that is closer to your budget.

    Simple really.

    1. Missing the point

      The point is that it is ridiculously overpriced given the feature set

      It’s relying on (taking advantage of) nostalgia and the fact that some people think it has magical properties to sell it

      Don’t get me wrong I’m sure it’s going to be constructed nicely and will have a nice sound – Rossum makes some excellent quality Euro modules recently. But he is definitely exploiting a niche here

      My old Akai S2000 from 1996 has a better feature set, does more, sounds as good and costed a fraction of this price even then

      1. Here’s betting in 30-40 years everyone will be banging on about “that sweet crunchy Pocket Operator sound” and they’ll be trading hands for crazy money and even get remade!

      2. Missing the point.

        A Raspberry Pi has a better feature set than a Stradivarius, but that doesn’t mean the Stradivarius isn’t still a useful and compelling instrument for the right musician.

        One thing I can say for sure, I would be unable to build and make a small profit off a limited run of SP-1200 replicas at less than $4kUSD. Would you?

        1. Also missing the point

          A stradivarius was handmade, unique and singular and the life’s work of a single human genius who only made very few of at a time when technology was quite limited

          An SP1200 re-issue is none of these things

          It’s more comparable to a cheap Thomann brand violin

          1. Ok it had Bandwidth reduction not Bit Depth reduction but both lead to a crunchy LoFi sound
            and it’s always possible to just sample something LoFi rather than rely on the the inherent LoFi-ness of the sampler to make your samples LoFi which completely limits you to making nothing but LoFi samples

  13. i think one of the main issues is theres nothing in the midrange with proper 12 bit DACs. you can get a toy like the voca sample or microgranny, or you can pay several thousands for a 1200 or mpc60.

    B is working on a 12 bit linn sampler and as much as i’m not really a fan of B, they’ve got me interested because it would be filling a major void in the marketplace.

    i really just want a stereo pedal thats a 12 bit dac + analog filter to go between my vinyl player and my sampler and i have thought hard about making it, just don’t have the electronics knowledge.

    1. @crall you literally just described the OTO Biscuit, unfortunately those are also discontinued but if you find one even for 1K it may be worth it for you cause it does exactly what you just described, stereo 12 bit with an analog filter. such a bummer they’re out of production, they are very cool.

  14. Check out the prices of classical instruments. Ask a cellist or violin player what they pay for their tools.

    Adding a bunch of gizmos would be a very “Behringer” move and not appease the greybeard who are into this kind of thing. This is a collectible and and a work of art.

    And did you check out the second hand prices on Reverb? ~$8,000! Now how in the world could something so simple cost that much? Maybe it’s just a fucking amazing/inspiring/creative/classic tool that a lot of people love using. Maybe it’s part of a rich cultural history that a lot of people appreciate. Maybe both.

    1. There is a reason, why good classical instruments cost that much. And that reason – is the technology of their manufacturing.
      You need a very special rare sorts of wood, dried in a very special conditions (temperature and humidity) for at least 5 years! So that’s why only materials for such instruments cost very much. And you can’t just manufacture such instruments on a conveyer somewhere in china, you have to pay to very qualified and experienced masters for their manual labor.
      No offence, but comparing electronic instruments with acoustic instruments is just ridiculously silly.

  15. maybe i’m giving in to trolling here, i don’t know, but like Dave said in his video, daily people are requesting a reissue of the 1200 and these are the very people he has so graciously gone to the trouble of reissuing the 1200 for. they are already on their 3rd batch of pre-orders that won’t ship till spring 2022. if you don’t understand it that’s fine, but for those that are a part of its cultural and creative impact its a true gift from Dave.

  16. All products for all markets. It is like a vintage car that’s being sold for a hefty sum. Holds no real life performance or utility compared to what you can get in 2021. It can certainly grabbed the attention of some. If you want to be that motorist on the road who gets attention, sure why not – but it is important that you keep your head in check because your car is not valued for performance, practicality or being earth-friendly (assumption made here since old car) but still cost a great amount due to nostalgic/intrinsic value.

    1. With the utmost respect: that is something completely different. This is not an original ‘vintage car’ but a modern (if almost exact) remake of a vintage car with identical (and hence almost identically flawed) technology. It’s like remaking the Ford Model T today and offering it for (say) twice the price of a Mercedes S-Class Coupe.

      Regardless, it’s still a (somewhat) free market, of course: Dave is free to price anything he makes any way he wants to.

      …and people are still (somewhat) free to express their appreciation or derision over his decisions.

    1. Yes, it’s hilarious.
      Spoiler alert: Rossum is really hoping to make a more budget drum machine and to explore new features, but still inspired by the SP1200. But he’s decided to make one with the authenticity perfect first, and this is that. It’s all in the second half of the video. I really hope this does well, pretty excited about that next phase too.

  17. Why isn’t anyone talking about the playability, build quality and ergonomics and how that reflects on the price? The use of the 8 sliders and buttons that are relatively tough provides a unique (afaik) workflow and allows the performer to groove (for lack of better term) or play in a unique way.

    I mean, it would be fantastic if some one like Korg updated their nanoKontrol and made it work easily with a sampler or computer software.

    And IMO it still sounds good with a unique form of distortion and filtering paired with a unique interface.

    Someone made a good point though we do need to see a electronic instrument rental service for young people. 🙂

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