THE FAQ:

Quick note: I get emails from dudes saying "I own an SP, but I haven't had time to use it, so its gathering dust". People I beg you — print out the FAQ, dust off the SP and run through some stuff, Its more fun than tetris :)



Q:

How do I get girls?

A:

Master the SP

See a mathmatical therum proving this




Q:

Whats the SP's history?

A:

The SP1200 was launched at the 1987 Summer NAMM in Chicago, and it sold well for years, until it was discontinued in 1990. Emu thought the product was outdated and unloved. Far from it — the SP1200 had gathered a strong following in the emerging hip-hop scene. Emu re-issued the SP1200 in 1993 with a cool black casing, and modifications to comply with the latest electrical regulations. Production runs continued until a final batch of SP1200s was made in the spring of
1998. In the early '90s, Marco Alpert proposed an 'SP1600' using first the sampling engine from the Emax II, and then the one from the ESI32 sampler. Product concepts were drawn up, but they were never approved. The new attitude that pervaded Emu was to build low-cost modules and achieve massive revenues. Marco took the idea (and his job) to Akai, and launched the hugely successful MPC2000 instead.




Q:

Will Emu ever manufacture the SP1200 again?

A:

The simple answer is no — too many of the parts are obsolete. There is certainly customer demand for a 21st-century 'SP2400' or the like, but Emu have consistently avoided niche products since being bought by Creative.

Emu says: We scraped the bottom of our reserves of parts to re-release it a few years ago. Also, they just don't make those chips anymore, it's too hard to get those parts.




Q:

What is the main difference between an SP1200 and SP12?

A:

SP1200 has 10 secs standard memory. It also uses a Double Density (DD) disk drive to store samples/seq. There is no backup memory so all seq and samples are lost on power down. It's sampling rate is 26,040. It needs an OS disk to boot up with. It has no intenral sounds.

SP12 has 1.2 sec starndard memory and can be expanded with the turbo option to 4.2. It uses an old commodore 64 style 5 1/4" disk drive. It has battery backup of samples and seqs as well as the OS. Saving time is very slow but loading is not bad. And because of the backup memory once you switch on the unit it is ready to go in seconds from where you left off. It has 3 banks of internal sounds and 8 locations for user samples.

Average price for SP1200 is about $1200, SP12 is $450.

jesse's opinon: Unless you absolutly need the extra sample time I recommend the SP12. Sound quality wise it is a little bit crisper due to the slight sample rate increase. And for just doing drums the sample time is enough for most cases.

baseball's opinon: I don't care what anyone says, I love my SP1200 with all my heart.

Final thought: If you were rich which would you get?




Q:

Is there any difference between the original issue of the SP-1200 and the reissue?

A:

The SP1200 Grey and reissued Black are — sound and sequencer-wise, exactly the same. Making a beat with either one of these machines (using the same samples) will sound exactly the same.

Nelly *so hot in here* says: The only difference is the black re-issue has an improved power supply that doesn't heat up too much and that the old grey one gets really hot after a while of use.

chun wai cheung says: MY GREY SP BACK NEAR FUSE IS VERY HOT. CAN COOK EGG 1 MIN CAN EAT




Q:

Whats the front of the SP1200 look like up close, what does the text say?

A:

I've taken a series of photos, and peiced them together to create the whole SP1200 front, it's quite big. Big enough to read the text hopefully. (1602x1338 650kb)

I also have a plain text version which is much smaller in file size (less time to download).




Q:

How do you get more sampling time?

A:

Sample at 45 on the turntable (pitch +8), Or use an external device (like a MPC or any sampler, Sound Forge or any software) and pitch the sample until its 2.5 seconds. Then record it to the SP, and slow it down in the tune/decay menu.

Mr. Scruff says: As a result of that you get this nice effect on the samples which sounds like someone's sprinkled stardust all over them. It's a sublime effect.




Q:

How do I get a clean start on my sample?

A:

To help with truncating silence from the start of a sample set resolution to hires (under auto correct) and then hold the pad and the "tap repeat" button: the sound will retrigger extremly fast. Then slowly move the start time slider until you hear the start of the sample come through.

Note: Sometimes having a lil extra space in front of a sample helps to add to a groove.....it becomes more loosely placed.




Q:

What is swing?

A:

Swing shifts the even numbered notes later in time to create a triplet feel. At 67% the notes are a full triplet. so 67% and 8T are pretty much the same thing, technically, although users claim that is sounds different.

So for every 1/4 note you have four 16ths. Notes 2 and 4 get shifted when using swing.

The defualt setting for the SP is to swing 8th notes which is not used today for the most part. So to get 16ths which is much more common yo uneed to set the tempo to double. This effectivly doubles the timing resolution so now 8th notes sound like 16ths




Q:

Whats a good swing to have?

A:

Its recommended that you double the tempo, eg. If your beat is 100bpm, Change the tempo to 200bpm (then reprogram your beat at 200bpm).

Set the swing at 67% and 1/8 Autocorrect.

Its similar to having the original 100bpm at 1/16 Autocorrect, But the swing is much nicer when the machine runs double time.

Note: That will give you that trademark SP1200 swing. A lot of producers do this because the swing doesn't fall right at 100bpm.




Q:

My SP1200 has 10 seconds of sampling time but I can only sample 2.5 at a time, why?

A:

Because the SP1200's memory is divided on 4 chips which are not contiguous. So you can not combine the sample time from one chip to the next. This is why the available memory shown might say 1.5 sec but you can only sample for 1.0. In this case 0.5 sec is on one chip and 1.0 on another. So total time is 1.5 but not all at once.




Q:

What programs can I use on PC & Mac to send and recieve Midi Sample Dumps?

A:

In order to send and receive Midi Sample Dumps from a PC use "Awave". It will convert to 12bit for you on transmit. For the SP1200 you need to resample on the PC to 26,040hz.

Note: Awave doesn't work with the SP12.

If your a Mac user, check out www.dsp-quattro.com for sample dumps into the SP1200. It works great.

Also: The "SP12 Librarian" program is recommended for the SP12 & Mac combo.




Q:

What disks does the SP use?

A:

The SP1200 uses Double Sided Double Density disks, (DS, DD) which holds 720 Kb of data. You can tell them apart from other floppy disks because they only have one hole in the top right hand corner (Newer High-density disks which hold 1.44mb have 2 holes, one on the top left and top right of the disk).

To see a picture of one of my Double Sided Double Density disks click here, Note theres only one hole.

Incase of beatmaking emergency: Take any regular 1.44mb High-Density Disk and face it towards your SP, take a piece of electrical tape or any tape and cover the left side. And the 1200 will be Stevie Wonder to what you did.

Jen reminds: Using High-Density disks this way you'll lose data over time. The way the magnetic coating is used is different to Double Density disks and they'll eventually corrupt over a few years.

egg foo adds: I have about 100 disks full of beats on High-Density disks. I never taped up the left side hole and just used them as is ..and they have worked fine for over 3 years.

Honest Mike also adds: I thought the Double Density disks are suppost to be used because the older drives run slower the Double Density which also operate at a slower speed.

Check out www.meritline.com to order Double Density disks online.




Q:

Distored output when sampling?

A:

When you are sampling ignore the distorted output from the Mix out. Use an external mixer to moniter what you are sampling. This is just how the SP's are, nothing is wrong with yours.




Q:

How do I get my SP to play into my headphones and speakers in stereo?

A:

In order to use the filtered single outputs use a balanced cable and plug it in halfway.




Q:

How do I stop two sounds from cancelling each other?

A:

If two notes are cancelleing each other out assign them to different outputs. (Setup 17) Each output can only sound one note at a time.

Or use dynamic allocation (Setup 23, then option 22 and turn it on) which will send the second note to the other side of a stereo pair.




Q:

Any tips for a more human sound?

A:

Copy the same hits to multiple pads and sequence. Then you can use the sliders to adjust the levels real time. For instance take a shaker and make 3 copies. Now sequence the copies one after another.

Now use the 4 sliders to make the velocities of the shaker sound more human.

Or make two copies of a kick drum and use one for the hard hits and one for ghost hits. Then adjust the hard hit volume all the way up and the ghost hit so it sits at the right level.




Q:

How do I clean my White & Red SP Buttons?

1.

Take a super small and thin flathead screwdriver (or knife) and gently pry off the button (don't worry they snap out pretty easily)

2.

Underneath the button is a little springy metal piece. Lift out the metal piece and clean the under-side of it with a pencil eraser. (there will most likely be a dot of dirt where it makes contact - clean it off)

3. Inderneath the removable metal piece is a little non-removable metal contact. Clean this with the pencil eraser also.
4.

Then lay the removable metal piece back where it was and snap the button back in place.

sev says: My SP buttons were all bugging out until I cleaned them up. Now it works fine it's like brand new.





Q:

How do I clean my "sticking" Black pads?

1.

Take off the black pad with a flathead screw driver or knife (as instructed above with the white or red pads).

2.

Once the pad is off you will see an plastic placeholder that locks in the black pad. Take a can of compressed air (i don't know what brand) and clean it thoroughly.Use a q-tip to get out all the dust and grime outta there.

3. Now to make the pad trigger more effectively, use a small piece of paper (about the size of a thumb nail). Fold the paper to fit into the groove on on both the placeholder and the oppsite side of the black pad. Tightly fit the pad back into the placeholder and hold it frimly until it's secured. Then just trigger the pad with your finger to see how it responds. Usually, this should work even better than the original.
4.

Be sure not to put TOO MUCH paper, just enough to cover the back of the pad and the placeholder. Otherwise it will trigger to quickly and give you double hits and such.

5.

Make sure you test it out, cuz the pad may not trigger a sound at ALL. Once the joint is triggering properly u can also take the pad off again and put a little glue (just a little) on the paper within the pad and on the paper witihn the placeholder to make sure it doesn't come loose.

grinch says: This is what I did and it's been working perfectly for the last 2 years.




Q:

How can I get my MPC to work with the SP?

A:

Grab the .PGM file for the MPC midi map. download it here or from the Yahoo 1200 Group throw it on a floppy and load it on your MPC.

The file is just so that you don't have to mess around with arranging the samples from the SP pads to align with the MPC pads.

Basically it goes like this Banks A + B on the SP1200 will corresspond to BANK A on the MPC , BANKS C + D on the SP1200 will corresspond to BANK B on the MPC. The program will automatically set it up for you.

The MIDI cables go OUT of the MPC, IN to the SP1200. Set the PGM for that midi channel on the MPC (MIDI A or B or whatever) to the SP1200 PGM and all the sounds will fall in place (like mentioned above). Then you can trigger all the SP sounds from the MPC and you can sequence all your beats on the MPC.

grinch says: This is good for people who are using the SP1200 just as a drum module and do all the sequencing on the MPC (like me) -- thanks studioscience!




Q:

How can I get the end of my sample to loop?

A:

Press SETUP 19 pick the sound you want, press enter, set your start and end points, then use faders 5 & 6 and move them up a little bit. Fader 5 is for large increments, 6 is for smaller increments. To download the Samplekings video clip of this click here

grinch says: In order to do this properly you must go into SPECIAL and change the default decay to at least 16 - 20) --- this also is important if you want to use tune and decay at the same time (not exactly as good as it sounds but it works)




Q:

What outputs should I use for drums?

A:

1-2 - bass/drums
3-4 - snares
5-6 - hi hats/claps/snaps
7-8 - are non-filtered

getdrumatic says: I wouldn't recommend using outputs 1 or 2 for kick drums, they sound warped, almost as if they have a resonant filter. Not for hiphop anyway.

3-4-5-6 - kicks
5-6-7 - snares
7 - hi hats
8 - sampled instrument

baseball adds: Yeah, inputs 1 & 2 were bugging out for me aswell, the sample wouldn't even play through them, you'd just hear a quiet distorded crunch (similar to noise when sampling), then all of a sudden one day, i tryed putting a bassline through channel 1 and it worked!... maybe its an old SP, maybe this happens with them all. But 1 & 2 sound dope for me now.

Please email me your thoughts




Q:

What are some noteable albums made with the SP?

A:

PNS - "12 Bit Soul"
Jel - "10 Seconds", "Greenball"
Cypress Hill - "Self titled debut album"
Pete Rock - "INI", "Soul Survivor", "Petestrumentals"
Lootpack - "Da Antidote"
Quasimoto - "Soundpeices"

Returmusik says:
Beastie Boys - "Hello Nasty" (here's why)

Please email me if you know more :)




Q:

Whats a good level to sample from on the SP?

A:

Typically the best results are gotten by leaving the gain knob all the way up and the sensitivity at 0db, then adjust the gain at my source to get it at the right level. Generally for most unbalanced audio, you want to keep the input and output levels of all your equipment at around 0db.

So if you were sampling from your DJ mixer or something, you'd want to make sure that your output is around 0db (on average) going into the SP. Then if it's
too loud or quiet adjust the gain on the source minimally, if you have to boost to much, then add 20db to the sp gain sensitivity & cut your source gain. This will usually get you samples that are loud enough & have the lowest noise. Of course you want to make sure you can get the signal as hot as you can on the SP without overloading too.




Q:

Anyone got any tips for sampling drums on the SP so they really hit hard?

A:

If you got a tape deck, listen up... Copy your drum hits onto different pads, Record yourself hitting the same snares or kick with different pitches and filters (ch1,ch3) and then sample them back in the SP and you got layered chuncky hits.




Q:

What is the pitch range of the SP sliders?

A:

The pitch sliders range from 7 semitones up and 8 down. So if you sample at 45+8 and then "tune" down 7 steps on the SP slider, (one up from the bottom pitch) it should be at the original 33rpm pitch.




Q:

How do I do SP to MPC Midi Dumps?

1.

Plug in the MIDI OUT from the SP to the MPC MIDI IN.

2.

Set the parameters of the SP to MIDI Channel 15 and POLY with PITCH KEYS OFF.

3. Set the MPC MIDI IN to MIDI CLOCK and receive all channels.
4.

Go to Shift MIDI -> Dump on the MPC... You should be able to use the default settings that come up.

5.

Press the RECEIVE button on the MPC (at this point nothing should happen, so wait.)

6.

Next go to the SP and enter SETUP 23 -> 23 and then press the pad of the sound that you want to send.

7.

You should now see 'transmitting' on the SP and see 'receiveing' on the MPC

8.

If the sound transfers successfully, then you should be able to go to Shift Program to find the sound that was transmitted... It will probably be named 'sound001' or something similar to that.

9.

You now have to tune the sound down to -96 in the PARAMS of the chosen sound in the program on the MPC.

And thats it...

Note: Make sure your MPC's MIDI CLOCK is set to 'ON' on the respective MIDI IN (1 or 2)

Also Note: Make sure the SP is set to transmit: OMNI

Also Also Note: Set MPC to recieve 'All 16' MIDI Channels (Open Window on DRUM:OFF)




Q:

How do I save my sequences BPM?

A:

If you want your BPMs saved you have to make a song out of your segments. Go into song mode and plug in your segment, than assign it whatever BPM you want to and you'll be good to go. Don't forget to save your sequences to disk though!




Q:

Is there a mono to stereo out plug, that you can use when going from the 8 outputs to a mixing board?

A:

No theres not a standard mono to stereo plug but there's the standard "insert cable" that will do the trick of connecting your individual mono outs of the SP to your mixer with the filters in place. You just plug in the stereo 1/4" jack side into the sp and one of the two mono 1/4" jacks (I can't remember wich one) from the other side into your mixer. ENJOY!

DAMON adds: There is also a standard "insert" style plug that you can use with a stereo 1/4" jack on one side and two 1/4" mono sockets on the other side which you can connect a normal dual 1/4" cable to.




Q:

What mixing board works well with the SP1200?

A:

Rich says: The Mackie 1604 or any of the XX x 8 series analog boards (like the 24 x 8 or 32 x 8) are fantastic. I was using an allen an heath (that I miss like hell) then a behringer that sucked till I got the Mackie 1604 that I like alot.

Mackie says: The mixer in this Beatminerz pic is the SR24-4. We don't make it anymore - rather, it's been updated. We now call it the SR24-4VLZ Pro.




Q:

Would it be possible to copy a sample, and truncate the copyed sample.... leaving the original intact and giving u a new sample?

A:

Collin says: you know what? Once you copy a sound to another pad, you can't truncate it any further.

Ronn says: And while the files samples are linked, you cant do edit the original either.

Heres what jesse does: Sample a part of a loop to pad A. now copy it to pad B. delete pad A and then reload pad A. you now have two copies that are indendant so you can truncate each one separatly. (not just reloading it on the same pad), copy it first. When you delete the original it makes the copy its own seperate sample that can be truncated.

When you reload the original to it's own pad you end up with the same sample copies on two pads but both can be truncated separatly. its the process of deleting that makes the copy not a "copy" anymore but a new sample.

This is how jesse chop's loops all inside the SP: Sample a loop to pad A. copy to pad B. delete pad A. truncate pad B so I have the kick only. Now reload pad A (the full loop). Copy pad a to pad C. delete pad A. truncate pad C so Ihave the snare. Reload pad A. Copy pad A to pad D and repeat. When your done you'll have that one loop all chopped from the original sample.

jesse adds: by the way this isnt too practical on the SP12 since it has longer load and save times. I only did it on my old SP1200, but if you had to I'm sure it wouldnt be too bad on the SP12.




Q:

How do I disable the filters on any output:?

A:

Gigaton says: First you must be plugged into your SP outputs via 1/4" trs (tip, ring, sleeve) snake, rather than a 1/4" mono(ring, sleeve) snake. Simply pull the 1/4" trs connection halfway out, or until it clicks, and you have effectively disabled the filter for that output.




UNANSWERED QUESTIONS:


Q:

Anybody know when its the SP's birthday?

A:

I only know years, anyone got dates?

SP-12 (85)
SP-12 turbo (87)
SP-1200 ('91)
SP-1200 (reissue '97)

Please email me if you know :)




OTHER QUESTIONS:

Q:

How can I get that gritty SP sound with my MPC?

A:

Someone said: I put sand inside my MPC2000's floppy disk drive and now all my beats sound gritty. BUT DONT TRY THIS AT HOME IT ONLY WORKS FOR ME. Another trick is to cover the inputs with sandpaper and then punch your 1/4 inch cable through it real hard. But again DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME




SP GAMES:

Q:

Can you find the SP?

A: Test your skills on SP spotting, Where's wally aint got nothing on this -- It goes from hardest (Prince Paul & Guru) to easyest (Lootpack)
  1. Prince Paul & Guru
  2. DJ Q-bert
  3. Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys
  4. The Pharcyde
  5. Liam of The Prodigy
  6. Pete Rock & CL
  7. Madlib / Quasimoto
  8. Beatminerz
  9. Beat Society (thanks back2makingmusic)
  10. Lootpack

Please email me more pics if you got em!


FAQ Menu

  1. How do I get girls?
  2. The SP's history
  3. New SP's?
  4. SP1200/SP12 differences
  5. Grey/Black differences
  6. SP1200 front panel
  7. More sampling time
  8. Truncating Start points
  9. What is swing?
  10. Doubling Swing trick
  11. Hows the memory divided up?
  12. PC & Mac Midi Sample Dumps
  13. What disks does the SP use?
  14. Distored output when sampling?
  15. SP in stereo
  16. Channel Assign
  17. More human sound
  18. Cleaning Buttons
  19. Cleaning Pads
  20. MPC .PGM midi map
  21. Extending Samples
  22. Channel Outputs
  23. What are some SP Albums?
  24. Good level to sample
  25. Tape Deck sampling trick
  26. Whats the SP slider Pitch range
  27. SP to MPC Midi Dumps
  28. Saving BPM
  29. From SP to Mixing Board
  30. Mixing Board for the SP
  31. Truncating a copied sample
  32. Disabling Filters

FAQ Other
Unanswered Questions
Other Questions
SP Games *fun!*

FAQ Pictures
SP Front Panel
Double Density Disk
My SP shirt



EXTERNAL LINKS:

SP Parts
Double Density Disks
SP Replacement Sliders
SP1200 Buttons
SP1200 Pads

Don't own an SP?
SP's on eBay
SP's @ Analog Japan
SP's @ Rouge Music
Classifieds

Other Stuff
Sample Kings
SP vs MPC Grit wars
Pete Rock on the SP
Beastie boys on the SP

Message Boards
Drum Machines
Yahoo Groups

 


"Everytime you make a beat on the SP, an angel gets it's wings." - French Proverb