Rossum SP-1200, Dave’s iconic 12-bit hardware sampler makes a modern comeback

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Rossum SP-1200: Dave’s iconic hardware 12-bit hardware sampler makes a modern comeback with major improvements without losing on character

For a few days now, Dave Rossum has been teasing a new version of its legendary 12-bit hardware sampler SP-1200. Reissue, completely new version … what will it be.

A few minutes ago the secret was revealed. It’s an SP-1200 reissue with an expanded feature set but with the same iconic 12-bit sound character.

Rossum SP-1200

Rossum SP-1200

Yes, the SP-1200 is an official reissue by Dave Rossum but a modern one. One that many have been waiting for. Rossum Electro says:  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. So it’s not an authentic emulation but the real thing, that’s great. 

This way the new SP-1200 retains its unmistakable, pitch-shifting, aliasing sound character (12-bit linear data format and 26.04 kHz sample rate) that made the original units legendary. It not only has the vintage vibe of the original units but also comes with major improvements.

More Memory, New Card System

Starting with an expanded sampling memory. It can now sample 20 seconds which is twice as much as on the SP-12 Turbo with had 10 seconds. Dave Rossum and his team also developed an all-new memory storage solution. With this, musicians can conveniently save, rename, and delete files and folders, and supports importing vintage SP-1200 disk images packaged in the popular. HFE format 

The new SP-1200 ships with 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. So users of the original can continue to use their former sounds. Very smart solution

Dave Rossum also updated the display with a classic 2-line 16-character display using RGB LEDs inspired by the LED-lit backlight displays equipped in later SP-1200 units. A new setup functionality for adjusting the brightness and colors of the backlight is also backed in the new operating system.

Rossum SP-1200

Analog Filter Reprise

An important part of the engine was also the SSM2044-based analog filter. This can also be found here but in a new version made 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. You can set this on the back of the device with four sliders. This allows you to tune the initial cutoff frequency and the resonance of the SSI2144 analog dynamic filters on channels 1 and 2.

Then there are other improvements to be seen on the backside. You get new dedicated jacks or filtered and unfiltered channel outputs. A highly requested feature, according to Dave Rossum, is a new sample monitor feature also on the back. The new SP-1200 reissue also 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.

Further, it comes with a new power supply with locking functionality as a rock-solid XLR-style connector. For the enclosure, they decided on a new black steel and aluminum case in the classic SP-1200 shape. Looks gorgeous.


The SP-1200 is making a comeback. For fans or everyone who wants to enjoy this iconic sampler, there is now the possibility to get one without paying absurd moon prices. The many small but very coherent improvements of the reissue bring the SP-1200 into the modern world without losing any of its vintage characters.

Rossum SP-1200 is available now for pre-order for $3999 USD excluding VAT, Duty, and other taxes.

More information here: Rossum 

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