The SP-1200 is a warm and gritty 12bit sampler developed in 1987, best known for its huge contributions to golden age hip hop, classic house and french house. At 26.04 kHz sample rate (roughly half of a CD - if you remember those?), the "vinyl like" sound people describe is a combination of digital aliasing and distortion passed through a warm analog filter (The SSM2044 found in many synths, like the Polysix). The sequencer is as tight as it gets, and doubling the tempo and swinging 16th notes gives you an unbeatable 90s house and hip hop shuffle. There are far too many notable users to list, but some of our favorites are - RZA / Wu Tang, Outkast, De La Soul, Mobb Deep, Moodyman, Daft Punk (who toured with it in the 90s), Alan Braxe, and Fred Falke.
Our SP has been around SFM headquarters for as long as we've existed, and it was only a matter of time before we got around to sampling this beast! The first thing we captured was the factory drums "Standard Traps" disk. Far from what you'd describe as a "trap kit" today, these drums are a pseudo-acoustic, Linn-esc 80s disco kit and they sound so fresh! We reached for an API preamp for its sharp and classic transient response, recording directly to tape (multi-sampling every hit with 16 SP tunings) and no additional processing was neccesary.
We also spent weeks creating custom drum sounds - incorporating drum machines such as the 606, 707, 808, 909, DX, vinyl drums (sometimes pitching up the record to 45rpm and tuning it down in the SP), and more - multi-sampling all hits at different tunings. Leaving some things dry, and massively processing others with compressors, filters, synths, and saturators, we sampled different outputs of the machine. All recorded to tape.
And finally, we sampled some synths to throw in as a bonus (Juno 60, Polysix, DX-100) because the SP creates gnarly overtones for bass and magical fairy dust on house chords. The DX and SP especially liked each other.
With only 10 seconds of overall sample time, and just 2.5 seconds maximum sample time per pad, we recorded different notes for each synth patch, tuned them every which way, ran it through our super warm Rupert-Neve designed ISA 430 Mk2, occasionally hitting tape, and into the computer, where we mapped, looped, and put finishing touches on the patches. This was a laborious (torturous?) process to say the least, but well worth it!
After sifting through SP synth patches and custom drums for weeks, we narrowed it down to an all-killer- no-filler set of instruments for Ableton, Logic & Kontakt, so that you can enjoy everything that is beautiful about this sampler while avoiding all the idiosyncrasies that make you want to gouge your eyes out!