Free E-mu SP-12 Vintage Sampler VST Plugin By Analog Obsession


Analog Obsession has released SPre, a freeware VST/VST3/AU plugin effect that emulates the tonal characteristics of the E-mu SP-12 vintage sampler.

SPre is a multi-effect plugin that emulates the preamp circuit and the filter of the E-mu SP-12 hardware sampler. E-mu SP-12 is one of the most sought-after vintage samplers and has a legendary status in the beat-making community. This is mainly so because the instrument was used on numerous classic and modern hip-hop records. It was also the first commercially successful drum sampler. Many music producers and beatmakers describe the SP-12 as their go-to secret weapon for warming up drum samples.

See also: Best FREE Sampler VST Plugins

One of the secrets behind the SP-12’s signature sound is that it is, in fact, a 12-bit sampler. The lower bit depth degrades the audio quality, but it also makes the samples sound more interesting. People often describe the sonic character of old 12-bit samplers as warm and crunchy. As for the SPre plugin, there is no bit depth reduction happening under the hood. It only emulates the preamp character and dynamic character of the original hardware.

SPre’s user interface is organized into two sections. The filter module is positioned on the left, and the mixer section is on the right. The filter module provides direct control over the cutoff frequency and the Q factor, along with the attack and release time parameters for the dynamics section. The filter’s behavior can be adjusted using the Mode knob. Pushing this knob to the right will engage the filter envelope.

The mixer section is where you’ll find the Mix knob and the output volume control. The Mix knob blends the signal passing through SPre’s built-in preamp with the clean signal. This is the only way to adjust the amount of analog saturation that is applied to the signal.

SPre is a simple filter/preamp combo that does its job very well. I especially liked the sound of the preamp circuit. It worked tremendously well on percussive loops and drum beats, making them sound more exciting and saturated without any hint of harsh distortion.

If you like the idea behind SPre, try using a bitcrusher plugin in combination with a filter and a saturator to emulate a vintage sampler in more detail. You can also check out TAL-Sampler, a virtual instrument based on old-school samplers such as the E-mu SP-12. And finally, there’s the RX950 ($20) plugin that emulates the AD/DA conversion process of the Akai S950 sampler.

To download your free copy od SPre, visit the product page linked below and scroll down to find the direct download links. Registration is not required. Also, you do not need to add the product to your shopping cart to get the plugin. The download links are available right there on the product page.

More info: SPre (6.92 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3/AU plugin format for Windows & macOS)

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. Analog Obession created some very nice sounding plugins and this plugin here is no exception. The filter sound really nice. What I don’t get is the way it is presented cause IMO beside the GUI color this this has no connection to the SP sampler. SP filters are fixed frequency (Iwhen not modded) without resonance. The filter of output 1+2 are controlled by a fixed (again when not modded) envelope which goes from open filter to a cutoff of ca 400Hz in 500ms.
    Now with the plugin, although it has an envelope it is not able to create this simple SP envelope. The envelope of the filter works in a relly weird way (seem like backwards). It produces weird but to be honest nice filtermovements :) But again no connection to the SP just like the PITCH parameter. I don’t understand the reason for it.

    • Maybe ask him in the KVR thread. I asked him a few questions and he was responding. When I read that AO wants to make a SP style filter, I was actually hoping for something along the lines of TAL-DAC, which gives authentic oldschool sampler sound.

  2. I have been playing with the SPre for a few hours and I already love this thing! I took Tom’s recommendation to run some drum loops through them and the resulted in brand new sounding drum loops.

    • Christopher Marlowe


      Available now for free download on the AnalogObsession Patreon page, along with all the other plugins they’ve released 😎

  3. Anyone else experience bad latency when using this plugin? I love the sound but it’s the only one in my collection that introduces this much latency and i can’t figure out the fix.

  4. The plugin is not recommended, yes if you want bad latency and other messed up things.

    When you use the pitch for example – it delays the whole sound by 0.5-1 second.

    This needs a major update/fix in order for it to work good.

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