MATRIXSYNTH: New Rossum SP-1200 Officially Announced at $3,999.00

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

New Rossum SP-1200 Officially Announced at $3,999.00

"Why did you take this approach with the SP-1200 reissue?" video upload by Rossum Electro-Music

"What are some challenges working with vintage digital technology vs vintage analog designs?" video upload by

via Rossum:

"This is a pre-order for the second lot of SP-1200 reissue units. We fully expect to be able ship the units from the second lot by the end of January 2022. Your payment method will be charged immediately. Limit 2 per customer.

The latest in the SP-12™ family, the Rossum SP-1200® is an authentic reissue of the iconic classic SP-1200 sampling percussion system. Building on the engineering of 2020’s 35th Anniversary SP-1200 Renovation, including study and analysis of many vintage units using modern technology not available during SP-1200’s original production run, the team determined that virtually all original components ought to be used in order to deliver the sound at the very highest standard of precision. 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 is possible thirty-five years after its debut. Throughout the process of creating the SP-1200 reissue, Dave was delighted that with very few exceptions, authentic components exactly the same as those found in the vintage classic instrument could be used throughout and took great care to maintain the classic SP-12 and SP-1200 circuit board layouts. Inside and out, SP-1200 is faithful to the original operation and preserves the coveted, authentic sound and character of the classic vintage instrument. Through this labor of love, Dave was able to create an instrument that should sound exactly the same even to the most discerning ears.

Changes and enhancements were made where they were compatible with the original design, without compromising the classic vintage 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 seamlessly integrated into the operating system allows musicians to conveniently save, rename, and delete files and folders, and supports importing vintage SP-1200 disk images packaged in the popular .HFE format. Also included in every box, 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 by reaching just over the edge of the front panel, which remains cool to the touch thanks to the reissue's included new power supply with locking, XLR-style connector. Built to last with high-lifetime controls and a new, steel and aluminum case in the classic original shape, SP-1200 preserves the original sound for years to come.

12 Bit Bliss

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.

The unmistakable character of SP-1200’s authentic, original pitch shifting and its audible aliasing and imaging artifacts are preserved identically.

A highly requested feature, users can now monitor the input to sampling (the output of the SP-1200’s input filter and amplifier) at the mix output, or 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.

Original SP-12 units featured unfiltered outputs from channels 7 and 8 only, while vintage SP-1200 featured ¼” TRS jacks with the unfiltered signal on the tip and the filtered signal on the ring of the output jacks on channels 1-6. Some users preferred to plug in mono unbalanced (TS) cables “halfway” to record the filtered channel outputs from SP-1200 units. The SP-1200 reissue instead 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. In keeping with the spirit of preserving the classic vintage sound and keeping the same board layouts on the inside the unit, the SP-1200 reissue is designed so that musicians can plug the same cable into the same jack for the same sound.

Sound Construction

A continuation of Dave’s fifty-year tradition of instruments made to last, the Rossum SP-1200 reissue is expertly engineered by its original designer for decades of reliability and is built locally in the United States. Assembling and testing the instruments in close proximity to Rossum’s California headquarters allows for SP-1200’s sonic character to be delivered according to the most exacting quality standards.

The iconic original lines and shape of the classic SP-1200’s structural foam plastic housing are closely recreated with finely-textured, black powder-coated steel panels joined with elegant bead-blasted, anodized aluminum black side/end caps in the reissue. The instantly-recognizable SP-1200 panel legends are reproduced in high-contrast metallic ink across the top and rear steel panels. Experienced users of SP-12 and SP-1200 machines will enjoy flexing their muscle memory as the placement and spacing of all original controls have been maintained exactly in the reissue.

SP-1200’s eight slide potentiometers central to the instrument are highly reliable components selected by original designer Dave Rossum for their superior feel and cycles rating and are fitted with black slider knobs with white indicators matching the factory-original look and feel. SP-1200’s three rotary potentiometers, each equipped with knurled black anodized aluminum knobs with white indicators installed on their aluminum shafts, are also excellent-feeling, long-life parts.

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 to customize their drum machine to suit any studio or performance.

SP-1200’s black play buttons use custom replica button caps and ultra-durable, low-resistance switches chosen for their ideal travel and rated to keep their same great feel for many years of performances. 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 accomodate 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.

Vintage SP-1200 users can transfer their work using the new special function on the included software floppy disk or import their .HFE disk images right from the memory card. Of course, even compositions that used the full 10 seconds available from a vintage unit can be revised and remixed with an additional 10 seconds of sampling time.

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

Four sliders allow users to tune the initial cutoff frequency and the resonance of the SSI2144 analog dynamic filters on channels 1 and 2 by reaching just over the edge of the front panel. While the original SP-1200 required trim pots, the sliders allow musicians to customize the instrument to fit their style or production. As an analog control, users can choose to either set and leave their dynamic filters’ initial cutoff frequency and resonance settings, or to move them in real time to add dimension to a performance.

The SP-1200 reissue features a new included power brick with a locking, XLR-style connector. The redesigned power supply and newly-constructed, four-layer circuit boards lower the noise floor and avoid undesirable hums without compromising the unique artifacts and dynamics characteristic of the SP-12 series of instruments. The rear panel runs cool to the touch, and no vents are necessary in the rear panel.

Over 35 years in the making, the team at Rossum cannot wait to hear what musicians create on new SP-1200 instruments.

Weight: 26 lbs

In the box:


Power Brick with locking XLR-style connector

Type B or Type F power cord

Memory Card

3.5” Disk with modified software for transferring data from vintage classic SP-1200 units"

1 comment:

  1. The orders have been broken down into three batches so far. I wonder what is, if any, the timeframe that’s been announced for the first batch to be shipped out? Also, curious if a batch #4 is planned or will happen.


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