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E-MU 25
E-MU 25
E-MU 25 - 1971
The E-MU 25 was a precursor to E-MU’s Modular systems, featuring about twenty modules behind a single front panel, including 3 VCO's, 2VCF's, 2VCA's and two envelope generators. Unlike the “bulletproof” all-aluminum standards of the Modular systems, the E-MU 25 used cheap slide pots and plastic switches, and even sported a "vacuum cleaner" power switch! Only two units were produced; they were identical on the outside, but had completely different circuitry inside because the circuitry was evolving so quickly.

E-MU Modular
E-MU Modular
E-MU Modular System - 1972
Famous for its remarkable stability, E-MU's Modular System was sturdier and would stay in tune much longer than the synthesizers offered by Moog and ARP at the time. The E-MU Modular featured the world's first microprocessor-controlled polyphonic keyboard and sequencer (control voltage, of course, as this was years before MIDI), which was also one of E-MU's first patents.

Audity
Audity
image courtesy of Kevin Lightner
Audity - launched at 1980 AES Show (never shipped)
The Audity was E-MU's hybrid synth dream machine. Three Z-80 CPUs drove the polyphonic keyboard, the control module and a refrigerator-sized 8~16 voice card box. The voice cards used the same SSM synthesizer chips designed by Dave Rossum for the Prophet 5, but in a much more capable configuration. The eventual price tag of $69,200 was too high, so it was never sold. Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream did buy a batch of voice boards however, and lessons learned during development helped launch the Emulator I. The Audity resides at the Audities Foundation in Calgary and no longer functions.

Emulator I
Emulator I
Emulator I - 1981
With Stevie Wonder and Daryl Dragon of The Captain and Tenille as the first customers, you know this product was something special: E-MU's first sampling instrument. A 66-pound steel-clad behemoth that featured a 5-1/4" floppy drive and built-in sequencer, the Emulator I cost $10K (the joke goes that it was the first sampler under $35K - the price of a Fairlight at the time). Longtime E-MU employee, Ed Rudnick, came up with the "Emulator" name after searching the Thesaurus, and it has remained as the name for E-MU's sampler line to this day.

Drumulator
Drumulator
Drumulator - 1983
E-MU's first ROM-based sample technology, and the first drum machine under $1000 (okay, it was $995, but five bucks is five bucks). The Drumulator was so successful that it prompted two entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to start a firm to make after-market alternate sound chips, calling themselves Digidrums and soon changing their name to Digidesign. The Drumulator line was later extended to include the Pad Programmer real-time performance controller, and the GRC Graphic Rhythm Composer which ran on an Apple II. In those days, many instruments were built in the American factories run by the designers; so E-MU had to move to a much larger facility to accommodate Drumulator production.

Emulator II
Emulator II
Emulator II - 1984
This product represented a quantum leap in sampling time (a whopping 17.5 seconds of memory - a huge 500KB), sound quality (8-bit at a 27.5kHz sampling rate), and cost (a mere $7,995). The Emulator II was the first product to feature SCSI as well as a SMPTE-based, multitrack MIDI sequencer, and included innovative features like analog synthesizer filters, envelopes and VCAs. Also significant is the fact that Digidesign created a software product, called Sound Designer, to support the EII - the program cost $995 and ran on a new fangled computer called the Macintosh. Combining a Mac with an EII and Sound Designer software made sampling an incredibly powerful technology and the first integration between computer and digital audio sampler.

E-drum
E-drum
E-drum - 1984
The E-drum was actually developed by Clavia DMI in Sweden, and provided drummers with a single, touch-sensitive pad drum module that offered 40dB of volume range with internal sounds generated from a removable cartridge (containing from one to four 8-bit samples on a 16kB EPROM). A variety of different sound cartridges could be purchased and interchanged in the E-drum, and an optional hardware assembly allowed modular construction of entire drum kits.

SP-12
SP-12
SP-12 - 1985
World's first sampling drum machine that stored sounds in battery backed RAM which could be saved to the world's slowest disk drive - the Commodore 5.25" serial floppy drive (the base model had 1.2 seconds of sampling time while the Turbo model offered 4.6 seconds total sampling time). The SP-12 also featured velocity sensitive pads, 24 ROM samples (Prairie Prince from the Tubes played the samples!) and 12-bit linear sampling. The SP-12's incredibly easy-to-use interface and cutting sound made it an instant hit.

SP-1200
SP-1200
SP-1200 - 1987
The SP-1200 was the first sampling drum machine with integrated floppy (10 seconds of sampling) and featured the same 12-bit sampling and analog filter technology of the SP-12 to create a signature sound that is still favored by many Hip-Hop producers to this day.

Emulator III
Emulator III
Emulator III - 1987
The EIII was 16-bit linear and featured E-MU's first custom IC - the F-Chip - offering variable sample rate pitch shifting (like the EII). The F-Chip greatly improved audio quality and allowed more downward pitch transposition. The Emulator III was also the first sampler to offer a large sample libary on CD-ROM, and has been heard on countless hit records and movie soundtracks.

Emax
Emax
Emax (Keyboard and Rack) - 1988
This sampler became the low cost leader in high-quality sampling, and was E-MU's first rack sampler (Emulator 1 and 2 were not available in racks). The Emax featured 12-bit DACs, 8-bit sampling, and was designed to be a cost-reduced version of the EII, but used constant sample rate pitch shifting and digital data compression performed by the E-Chip.

Proteus I
Proteus I
Proteus 1 - 1989
World's first 16-bit, 32-voice stereo rackmount sample playback module. The Proteus quickly established itself as a standard while also defining a new category of music instruments. All this and more for under a grand, thanks to E-MU's new G-Chip (which provided incredibly high-quality pitch shifting with a 10 octave range).

Emax II (Keyboard and Rack) - 1989
First product to use E-MU's new H-Chip (digital filter chip featuring ultra-low noise and super-high resonances while retaining the warmth of analog filters). This sampler offered CD-quality, 16-bit linear sampling and was the best selling sampler at the time.

Proteus 3
Proteus 3
Proteus 2 (Orchestral) - 1990
PROformance (Grand Piano) - 1990
Proteus 3 (World Instruments) - 1991
Procussion (Drum/Percussion) - 1993

The first family of Proteus products, these variants offered genre specific soundsets that offered more sounds beyond the general soundest of the Proteus 1. By now, E-MU, Emulator and Proteus were household names.

Proteus MPS
Proteus MPS
Proteus MPS - 1991
Proteus 1 and 2 soundsets embedded in a five octave keyboard with aftertouch and velocity.

Vintage Keys
Vintage Keys
Vintage Keys - 1993
The first product in E-MU's second line of sound module development, Vintage Keys offered a soundest of sampled analog synths and classic keyboards. More importantly, Vintage Keys was the first E-MU module to feature digital filters, and digital synthesis that included a dedicated AHDSR envelope generator, two independent LFO's, and an auxiliary envelope generator (DADHSR) which could be patched into the instruments, low pass filter or DCA.

Emulator IIIXP
Emulator IIIXP
Emulator IIIX - 1993
The return of E-MU to sampling after a few years' hiatus. Originally supported digital sampling only (EIIIXP) and eventually supported analog sampling as well (EIIIXS). Several firsts with this product include the 32MB RAM capacity and 32 voice polyphony, and it was the first sampler to support digital audio input and output. Incorporating the G and H Chips design meant it was extremely well received by professionals around the world.

Morpheus
Morpheus
Morpheus - 1993
The world's most advanced synth, the Morpheus took H-Chip filter technology to the limit in the form of "Z-Plane" synthesis, featuring 197 filter models, up to 14-pole filters and 3 control axis: X, Y, Z. The incredible filter technology pioneered in the Morpheus has since migrated into E-MU samplers, and has become a cornerstone of E-MU's sound.

Classic Keys
Classic Keys
Classic Keys - 1994
A cost-reduced version of the popular Vintage Keys module made possible by taking out the expensive digital filter chips, putting in two low cost FX chips and reducing the number of analog outputs to two. Unlike the Vintage Keys, Classic Keys was not expandable.

Proteus FX
Proteus FX
Proteus FX - 1994
A combination of the Proteus 1 and Proteus 2 soundsets, and PROformance piano sample made possible by lower memory prices, plus a new dual effects chip.

ESI-32
ESI-32
ESI-32 - 1994
Essentially a cost reduction of the EIIIX sampler (EIII software ported to new hardware), this two rack space sampler broke the price barrier for high-quality sampling. Thirty-two voice polyphony, 32MB of RAM and a huge sound library made this E-MU's best selling sampler of all time.

Ultra Proteus
Ultra Proteus
Ultra Proteus - 1994
The Ultra Proteus offered 16MB of sounds and combined E-MU's various technologies into one product with greater control over parameters and sounds via MIDI. The Ultra Proteus also allowed users to add presets (but not samples) via a front panel card slot.

e64
e64
Emulator IV - 1994
e64 - 1995

Based on a new family of VLSI chips (G 2.0), and featuring 128 voices (e64 offered 64 voices), up to 128MB of RAM, a graphical user interface, and all sorts of expansion options, the Emulator IV was an instant success and offered new features - some of which are still state of the art to this day. The EIV has long been considered the best hardware sampler in the world, as is evident from its many awards and 'Who's who' list of users.

Darwin
Darwin
Darwin - 1996
The Darwin hard-disk based eight track, 16/44.1K~48K recorder was a departure from E-MU's instrument-based development strategy. After years of intense work by a dedicated team, the Darwin emerged as a very stable machine featuring an internal digital mixer, ADAT and external sync capabilities, stackability and E-MU class sound quality. The front panel included graphic playlist editing, and GO-Chip-managed HD I/O. But it arrived too late to make a large impact on the already burgeoning HD recorder market. Despite its excellent performance characteristics, this Darwin became extinct a few years after its introduction.

E4X and E4K
E4X and E4K
E4K Keyboard - 1996
E4X Turbo - 1996
E4X - 1996
e6400 - 1996
E-Synth Keyboard - 1997
E-Synth Rack - 1997

This second generation of E4 samplers offered a more modular architecture, allowing e6400 owners to upgrade all the way to the E4X Turbo spec. The E4K was a 76-note keyboard variant of E-MU's E4 and introduced a new FX card (available as a retrofit to the older EIV) as well as an on-board sequencer. The E-Synth keyboard and rack featured a basic internal soundset stored in ROM, alongside the usual sampler functionality of loading sounds into RAM. Despite hardware differences, the updated Emulator Operating System would run on all of the existing Emulator 4 products.

Orbit, Planet Phatt, Carnaval
Orbit, Planet Phatt and Carnaval
Orbit (Techno/Electronica) - 1996
Planet Phatt (Hip-Hop) - 1997
Carnaval (Latin) - 1997

Offering the features of the Ultra Proteus plus an assortment of user-controllable beats (BEATS mode), the brightly colored Orbit, Planet Phatt and Carnival were the first single rack space modules dedicated to specific music genres. These products (especially Orbit and Planet Phatt) were an instant success, and their BEATS mode provided plenty of inspiration composers around the world.

ESI-4000
ESI-4000
ESI-4000 - 1998
The successor to the popular ESI-32, the ESI-4000 features more filters, 64 voices of polyphony, and an optional Turbo Option Kit that provides 6 more outputs, reverb and digital I/O.

Audity 2000
Audity 2000
Audity 2000 - 1998
A synth module that uses samples together with E-MU's powerful digital filters and modular synthesis (much of it derived from the Emulator IV). The Audity 2000 also introduced a syncable, 16-channel arpeggiator and offered four programmable real-time control knobs on the front of the unit. And finally! E-MU ships an Audity after all... for a greatly reduced price 70 times less than the first, legendary Audity.

Audio Production Studio
Audio Production Studio
E-MU Audio Production Studio - 1998
E-MU's first audio interface, the APS featured the custom EMU10K1 multimedia audio processor, a custom chip designed to handle wavetable sampling/synthesis, streaming digital audio, sample rate conversion, and simultaneous multi-effects processing. The Audio Production Studio consisted of a main PCI card with S/PDIF and balanced analog I/O, as well as an Audio Access Bay with additional S/PDIF, selectable mic/line inputs, and headphone output.

EMU8710 PS
EMU8710 PS
EMU8710 PS - 1998
A PCMCIA card for laptop PCs, the EMU8710 PS featured 16-bit, 44.1kHz stereo playback and recording, hardware DSP effects and analog and digital I/O via a MIDI/Audio Breakout Box.

ESI-2000
ESI-2000
ESI-2000 - 1999
Cost reduced version of the successful ESI-4000 sampler featuring a silver faceplate.

Proteus 2000
Proteus 2000
Proteus 2000 - 1999
Built on the developments that went into the Audity 2000, the Proteus 2000 was the world's first 128-voice sound module, expandable to up to 128 MB of sounds with genre-specific expansion ROMs. The Proteus 2000 also offered 32 MIDI channel support, 6 analog outputs and an S/PDIF digital output.

Sound Modules
Sound Modules
B3 (B3 Organ) - 2000
Mo'Phatt (Hip-Hop) - 2000
Virtuoso 2000 (Orchestral) - 2000
Xtreme Lead-1 (Techno/Electronica) - 2000
Planet Earth (World) - 2000
Orbit 3 (Synthesizers) - 2001
Proteus 1000 (Pop/Rock) - 2002
Turbo Phatt (Hip-Hop) - 2002
Vintage Pro (Classic Keyboards) - 2002

These modules were genre-specific versions of the Proteus 2000. A cost-reduced hardware platform was developed and used for the B3, Mo'Phatt, Xtreme Lead-1, Planet Earth, and Proteus 1000 that offered 64-voice polyphony, two internal sound slots, two analog outputs and no digital output (a hardware upgrade to the full Proteus 2000 spec was available at the factory).

E4XT Ultra
E4XT Ultra
E4XT Ultra - 1999
e6400 Ultra - 1999
E5000 Ultra - 1999
E4 Platinum - 2000

The Emulator 4 Ultra line of samplers featured updated hardware built around a new Motorola Coldfire processor. EOS was updated, but now came in two versions - Ultra (for the new hardware) and "Classic" (for the older E4 hardware variants). Other hardware changes included moving to internal IDE drives (previous E4's featured SCSI only), and support for the new RFX-32 FX/mixer card (which started shipping in 2000). The E5000 was a cost-reduced version limited to 64 voices, while the e6400 Ultra was fully upgradable to a full 128 voices. The E4 Platinum was the flagship of E-MU's Ultra sampler line - basically an E4XT Ultra with almost every option available, RFX-32.

Command Stations
MP-7
XL-7 Command Station (Techno/Electronica) - 2001
MP-7 Command Station (Hip-Hop) - 2001
PX-7 Command Station (Drum/Percussion) - 2003
Proteus 2500 - 2001

These three products combined the sound engine of the Proteus 2000 family, genre-specific soundsets, a new touch-pad controller interface and powerful onboard sequencer. The four-rackspace Proteus 2500 sound module offered all of the features of E-MU's Command Stations minus the drum pads.

PK-6
PK-6
PK-6 (Pop/Rock) - 2001
XK-6 (Techno/Electronica) - 2001
MK-6 (Hip-Hop) - 2001
Vintage Keys (Classic Keyboards) - 2003

These keyboards combined the sound engine of the Proteus 2000 with a 61-note keyboard, and featured 64-voice polyphony, four internal soundROM slots and four analog outputs.