Emax II, Upgrades and Add Ons

Factory Upgrades The E-mu factory no longer provide upgrades, and there are only limited spares for the Emax II’s. Users are to a large degree on their own, plus the ace help from Emax yahoo group ! 

And now in Stereo The original Emax II was a monophonic model. E-mu Systems provided an upgrade to stereo, but this is no longer available. The $149 upgrade replaced some chips on the boards (e.g. the ADC).

Operating System The latest release of the Emax II OS is 2.14. Version 2.00 or higher is needed for stereo models. The memory upgrade kits came with a special diskette – ZD413 2MB Memory Expansion Software Version 2.14

Computer Editing  The Emax II can be linked up to a Mac via the RS422 port for sample editing via Passports Alchemy or Digidesign Sound Designer II. emax software editors

Hard Disks The Emax II can be used with a range of internal and external SCSI hard drives, as well as removable drives made by Syquest and Iomega. The Emulator Archive have run a whole series of tests with a variety of freely available SCSI hard drives so you buy the right drive for your Emax II.

Memory The Emax II memory can be upgraded in 2 MB increments by the end user, up to a maximum of 8 MB. The digital board can be upgraded to 2 MB maximum, and the memory expansion board can hold an additional 2, 4 or 6 MB. The total memory size you could see in an Emax II can therefore range from 1 to 8 MB in 1MB increments ! All upgrades need new memory addressing chips (PAL’s) and a software upgrade for the EPROM (which came on diskette). It is therefore not possible to upgrade the Emax II without the factory kits, or at least the PAL’s and software. Upgrades are almost impossible to get.

Memory Upgrades – Why Not ?  Here’s an E-mu Systems response in 1993 to why the Emax and Emax II memory is not user upgradable…

Just for the record, Rob Keeble did talked to one of our tech managers, and they explain that we thought the whole deal was a bit too labor intensive for the layman.You must remember that the EMAX line came out before everyone and his brother has ten PC’s at home running on an ethernet hooked up through lone wolf interfaces blah blah blah…..

It is also necessary to remember that not every user is as electronics-savvy as the average reader of this list. Just the fact that you’re reading this list makes you more savvy than about 90% of our users. There are resistors to add, jumpers to cut, the self-destructing OS disk to load, and the EMAX line isn’t particularly well-shielded so that if Joe User who knows what a floppy is, get in there, he could quite conceivably get fried in the process. User deaths do not enhance a company image. Ask most automobile makers about that…..

Again, we are moving to do something more user firendly in upcoming products. I’d recommend that most readers of this group give the E3XP a long hard look. It seems to address many of the comments that I’ve heard here…..

Thanks to Rob Keeble AMSynths and Rick Kleffel E-mu Systems

Which Model?

The Emax II can be upgraded to stereo, therefore looking at the model number is not a sure means of knowing whether you have a stereo or mono model.

The best way to determine this is to power up the Emax II and press the SAMPLE button. A stereo Emax II will say “Calibrating ADC,” where as a mono unit won’t.

If you still aren’t sure, go into 2 – Place Sample. You will be able to choose Pri (primary), Sec (secondary), or Ster (Stereo). If you only have Pri and Sec you definitely have a mono unit.

Upgrade Manuals 

Emax II Stereo Upgrade

Emax II Memory Expansion

Installed RAM

To determine how much memory is installed in your Emax II follow this procedure.

Power up with no sample load, or clear the memory with an Erase All Memory (MASTER 4).

Then check your Memory Remaining (MASTER 2).

The remaining memory will be displayed in 16 bit samples, not bytes, so double the numbered displayed to determine the amount of memory in bytes.

Memory Size
Sample Size
1 MB
2 MB
3 MB
4 MB
5 MB
6 MB
7 MB
8 MB

OS Diskettes

OS 2.14


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