The E-mu SP-1200 sampler is getting a reboot: SP 2400

It’s meant as a “spiritual successor,” say the creators – with both emulation of the classic E-mu sound and new features. But the SP 2400 in preorder still hope to bank off the renown of one of the most popular samplers ever, the genre-defining E-mu SP-1200.

All of this could be a test of the clone craze. Sure, 12-bit lo-fi sound has some real potential for music making. And the E-mu layout, with faders and pads, is accessible.

But at US$949, and only a preorder shipping some time in the winter, the SP 2400 isn’t the most practical choice. You’ve now got plenty of options from KORG, Elektron, Roland (including their wildly popular TR-8S), and even smaller makers like MFB for a grand or less – some of them a fraction of this cost. All of those can be had right now, without dropping hundreds of bucks in June to get something that could take until January or longer. Not to mention we may see a Behringer take on this idea shortly, knowing how that company follows social media.

In a way, then, these sorts of reboots are beginning to become like the remakes of classic cars – a sort of genre all their own. There’s a price premium and a practicality cost, but if you want something that looks like a classic with some upgraded innards beneath, you’ve got options.

That said, there’s a nice feature set here. I like the idea of the 12-bit/26k mode, though I wonder if they’ve recreated the signature filter sound of the E-mu. And while I’m a bit too skeptical to endorse dropping cash just for half a year of “bi-weekly progress reports … via this website, social media channels, and emails,” it could be worth a look when it arrives.

The real draw here is probably that this actually samples – including a looper mode. That’s a feature missing on a lot of current gear.

It’s the creation of ISLA Instruments, who also made the KordBot. I’m curious how people fared with that crowdfunding project and the final result, which would be a great indicator of how to take this one.

I just hope that new ideas get as much attention as reboots of old ones. Heck, I feel that way about TV and movies. It’s obviously summer.

But here are those admittedly rather appealing specs –

• Sturdy 4-piece Steel/Aluminium enclosure.
• Mains Powered 100-250V AC.
• Dual Audio Engine:
12-Bit/26.04khz Lo-Fi Engine (Classic SP Sound) and 24-Bit/48khz Hi-Fi Engine
• Stereo Recording/Playback.
• Channels 1-8 Pannable to Main out L/R Channels 7+8 can be ‘linked’ to support stereo audio content.
• Headphone Output (9-10) w/independant monitoring of channels.
• Dedicated Microphone Pre-Amp.
• Looper Pedal Mode (with full duplex recording/playback).
• Record and overdub live audio during playback.
• USB Host & Device Ports:
Connect usb thumb drives, keyboards, midi controllers directly into the SP2400.

The post The E-mu SP-1200 sampler is getting a reboot: SP 2400 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone


Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that’s why freebies are sometimes such fun: they’re even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something.

The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.)

The emphasis here is definitely vintage, dirty, and weirdo synth-y – they’ve sampled some classic drum machines, synths, and vinyl to built the set. 808 and SP-1200 figure prominently.

Analog Bully is some out-there retro synthesized beatmaking goodness. Drty Brty, Dope Loafa, and Kid Glitch are grimy and ready to play. And Grinder Kit combines a bass with a drum kit (though breaking them out is also a decent idea). They’re all a bit crazy on the effects, so I started by turning most of the macro knobs down. (And yes, sometimes there’s more than one delay, with one delay labeled something other than delay, so watch out for that.)

Must-download, though:
Wicked Kits – 5 Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live

For more organic sounds – literally – look no further than their “Pine Percussion,” beautiful, woody sounds perfect for some experimental dance music or cinematic applications or other notions. The backstory:

A kit of percussion recorded in the hills of Israel’s Carmel region. While meandering through this fire destroyed forest, I came across a number of fallen trees, many with crispy blackened pinecones and brittle branches still in tact.

This Free Ableton Live Pack includes an assortment of these sounds all programmed into Drum Racks – optimized for (but not limited to) Push integration. Enjoy!

Pine Percussion

For previous Create Tree Music action:

Music for Plants, Music by Plants, in Two Eco-Themed Album Releases [Listen, Galleries]

Follow these folks on their Tumblr “log”:

Lots of other stuff there from travels abroad, including a prepared piano and whales. I like that idea – I might have to start sampling everywhere I go, too.

The post Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone appeared first on Create Digital Music.

808, SP1200, MPC, NS-10 Reborn in Miniature as Beautifully-Detailed, Tiny USB Drives [Gallery]

File these designs under “do want.” Some of your favorite gear is rendered in miniature: Roland’s TR-808, E-MU’s SP-1200 sampler, Akai’s MPC 2000XL, and (coming soon) even the Yamaha NS-10 near-field monitors. It occurs to me that someday soon, such tiny things might even work in some form as functioning music equipment. For now, you’ll have to settle for tiny classic gear that contains an 8 GB flash drive – enough to carry especially-precious samples or demos or backups.

The drives are US$39.99, but contain extraordinary levels of detail and use Toshiba flash memory (not something overly generic). They work with USB 2.0, too.

The project is the work of Alkota, a musician who also offers a boutique of drum samples, including some more unique hip-hop drum sets and such. Shop:


More on the artist:

SP-12, SP-1200 Sample Collection, Free Samples, and Some Tips for Vintage Digital Sampling

Call it future shock. Love of retro gear is more than nostalgia; sometimes it takes time to appreciate what technology means. And so, today, classic digital samplers and drum machines like the E-mu SP-1200 and SP-12 can inspire even greater passion than they did when new. Today, producers can feel love not only for retro analog, but retro digital.

With plenty of 12-bit digital dirt, the original SP samplers sound gritty, warm, and unique. And one of my favorite samplists, Hugo of Gold Baby Productions, does a nice job of capturing that personality – enough for me to take note of a soundware set, which is something I tend not to do often on this site.

You can grab the second volume of SP-12 and SP-1200 samples for US$29, but Hugo also has a free holiday gift: over a hundred 24-bit samples from the SP-1200, none of which is in the paid version, have been added to the various nice free stuff on offer on his site:

Hugo talks to CDM a bit about sampling vintage equipment, good fodder for inspiration if you’re thinking of taking up a similar project yourself. (It’s a great way to spend the winter months, I think, fellow residents of the Northern Hemisphere.)

To start with, I have an extensive collection of drum machines, real drums, and percussion, all recorded by me over the last 20 years. I took a selection of these and got a Dubplate made. I also re-recorded some of them to tape. This made it easy to recreate one the SP’s more famous tricks — pitching down to get aliasing. The Dubplate was pressed at 33 rpm then played back at 45 rpm, then sampled and tuned down on the SP. Hello, aliasing! I used the same process on tape. I could have done this using pitch software via the computer, but that is not the Goldbaby way!

Back in the day, this trick was not originally done for sonic reasons. With a sampler only having limited sampling time, it was a ghetto way to get more [recording time]! So, with the analog filters and the 12-bit, 26.4 kHz sampling engine, you get both grit and warmth!

Another trick with old hardware samples is experimenting with how hard you hit the sampling input. For instance, snares sound great if you hit the input really hard. It kind of acts like tape and squashes the transient; it gives them punch. A high hat can sound grittier if you sample them at a very low level — it kind of works like bit reduction. Also, using threshold record triggering can help give a drum a sharper attack. It basically is a function where you select a threshold level for the sampler to start sampling.

Whatever you do, don’t read the sampler manual! All the advice they give is for getting clean-sounding drums.

I also did a few recording sessions with some newly-acquired percussion and drums.

I went through some of my old synth product audio demos and and sampled them also. I wanted to get that ‘sampled from a Moog concept album’ sound!

I also have a portable recorder I carry everywhere at all times. My field recording folder is a great place to dig for new sound ideas. I used a few in this product — check out Drum_Festival1_SP1200R.wav. The world is filed with sound…

So two months of doing this gets you about 1500 samples.

I think DRTFM (don’t read the f***ing manual) could be a new watchcry. Some sound samples:

SP-1200 Volume 2

All photos courtesy Hugo at Goldbaby; used by permission. (Is anyone aside from me impressed with how modern the panel designs look on the E-mu? I think we need an alternate MeeBlip case that looks like this – our plastic housing is the same shape as the SP-12. Any takers?)

Got vintage gear you like to use? Found inspiration for modern digital techniques from equipment from the past? Let us know in comments.

Side note: a project inspired by digital samplers of yesteryear worth mentioning here is the open-source Where’s the Party At. (It’s an 8-bit sampler, though; the E-MU would be easy enough to ape in a Max or Pd patch if you wanted to use the retro hardware as a jumping-off point.)