Emax II

Emax2Cost Effective 16 bits By 1989 the success of the original Emax was being seriously blunted by the new 16-bit Akai S1000 sampler. Whilst E-mu Systems had a 16-bit sampler in the form of the Emulator III, it was expensive to manufacture and it occupied the very top of the sampling market place. E-mu Systems therefore responded with a mid range 16-bit, 16 voice sampler by completely re-engineering the internals of the Emax, enter the Emax II !Undershoot The initial Emax II was rather limited with only monophonic sampling and 1 MB of memory. However E-mu Systems quickly improved the specification (in 1990), and finally got it right ! Stereo sampling and memory up to 8 MB, meant the Emax II became popular (in the US at least) and survived in production up until 1995. The longest production run of any E-mu sampler to date.

Digital Filtering The Emax II was a major step forward in implementing a digital filter (the H chip) that sounded as good as analog. This was a first in the sampling market place, and E-mu Systems have remained at the leading edge of digital filter technology until the arrival of software based analog synthesis from Waldorf/Access and others in the late 1990’s.

Cost Reduction Real time digital filters were introduced to reduce costs, increase reliability and to provide a wider range of sounds to the musician. The filters on the Emax II are basic 24dB low pass filters. Morphing filters would have to wait until the arrival of E4 and ESI ranges some years later (due to the initial  limitations of the custom chips). However many people still hanker after the original analog filters used in the EI/II/III and Emax, just as analog synths have become sought after – so are these originals.

monsterMissing in Action E-mu Systems chose to build their new custom chips (also seen in the Proteus module range) with a sample rate of 39 kHz, rather than the CD and industry standard of 44.1kHz. Whilst the Emax II can replay at 44.1kHz, it can not record at this standard rate. Some say this was another marketing blunder, like the lack of SIMM’s for easy memory upgrading.

Internal Hard Drives We have tested the Emax II with two easily available hard drives, get the full upgrade story.more »

Buying Hard Drives You can buy SCSI drives pre-loaded with Emax II samples from MadTux Productions in the West Coast of the USA. You can email Dave at Madtux for more details and prices.


Product Spec
* 16-bit Digital Sampler
* 16 voices, multi-timbral
* Max 39kHz sample rate
* 5-octave touch sensitive
eyboard and 3U Rack
* Digital Filters
* Up to 8MB sample RAM
* Sequencer

Emax II [Mono]
* 2201 1MB Keyborad
* 2202 1 MB Rack
* 2203 1 MB Keyboard HD
* 2204 1 MB Rack with HD
* Hard Disk was 40MB
* Launched mid 1989
* Deleted mid 1990

Emax II [Stereo]
* 2212 2MB Keyboard
* 2213 2MB Rack
* 2214 4MB Keyboard
* Launched mid 1990 at
* Summer NAMM 1990

Emax II Turbo [Stereo]
* 2205 4/8MB Keyboard
* 2206 4/8MB Rack
* Both with Hard Disk
* HD was 40/105/127 MB
* Launched mid 1990

* Emax II withdrawn 1995
* 3000+ manufactured

Emax II Operations Manual
Emax II Memory Expansion

Samples incl. at Purchase
* Classic Orchestral
* Jazz/Pop/Rap/Rock
* Oohs & Bells
* SE Synthesis
* Stereo Grand 1
* 6 String Guitar

Factory Library
 4 CDROM’s
* Numrous Diskettes

Third Party Libraries
* Northstar
* QUpArts

OS Diskettes
Latest Version
 OS 2.14

US prices new
* Emax II 2MB $3,495
* Emax II 4MB $4,695
* Emax II Turbo 4MB $6,595

* $200 – $300

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