Emax HD

Emulate the Emulator
The Emax is essentially a complete replication of the Emulator II using custom E-mu chips instead of standard off the shelf silicon chips. This new engineering increased reliability, and reduced the cost of manufacture. The sample resolution was the same 12-bits companded into 8-bits of memory, the samples were still monophonic, but the maximum sample rate was increased to 42kHz. The operating system is very similar to the EII, not least because program ROM was expensive and an “overlay OS” was still needed .The Emax was also availablefrom Baldwin, a US organ and piano manufacturer. You will occasionally see an Emax badged as a Baldwin IKE, but with no front panel graphics explaining the OS functions. Other than this, they are identical samplers. The tie up with Baldwin lasted a few years, and included a Baldwin Proteus.Emax Breakthrough  The Emax brought quality sampling within the reach of the average musician. Although it was overshadowed by Akai’s S900/950 rack sampler in Europe, where US music products were expensive.Fully Featured  Memory was still expensive when the Emax was launched, and therefore the 512 Kbytes of the original EII was retained, and unfortunately never expanded. However the good news is that SCSI had made an appearance (at a reasonable price ), on the new Apple Mac computers, and this technology was quickly ported across to the Emax – augmenting the RS422 serial port. Internal and external hard disks could now be used, although the Emax stuck at a 20 MB limit, as hard drives were expensive in 1988.

Emax DSP Whilst the initial Emax OS provided no major leaps forward from the EII – other than the famous Bird Run!, the Synthesis Enhanced (SE) OS update did move sampler technology forward. Although not realtime, the SE versions provided new DSP functions called Transform Multiplication and Spectral Synthesis. This new software (and the subsequent OS for the Emulator III – which had digital processing options), was the start of some serious DSP power for sampler users.


Baldwin Versions Theses are electronically identical, the only difference is that Baldwin didn’t print the OS module names on the front panel. So it’s a bit tricky without a manual !

Emax Success Emax’s sold well in the US, and to a more limited degree in Europe. Depeche Mode switched to using Emax’s from Emulator II’s on tour, and the Emax SE HD’s can be seen and heard in use on the 1988 USA tour video “101”.

Front Panel Graphics  The Emax follows the EII tradition of having the OS functions listed on the front panel of the rack and keyboard models (unless you have a Baldwin model !). This makes it much easier to operate the Emax, but it gave E-mu a problem once they upgraded the software ! The front panel graphics changed during the production life of the Emax, to match the new OS features. Initially the graphics had bold lines linking them to each module button. However after the SE model upgrade arrived with an extra sticky patch to describe the new Digital Processing options, it was time to redo the front panel graphics and simply list them with no bold lines, just slanted vertical lines of dots to separate the text. These changes have more visual impact on the keyboard models.

Product Spec
* 12/8-bit Digital Sampler
* 8 voices
*16 channels multitimbral
* Max 42kHz sample rate
* 5-octave touch sensitive
keyboard and 3U Rack
* Low Pass Analog Filters
* Up to 512 KB sample RAM
* Scratchpad sequencer.Models
* 512 KB sample memory
* Launched mid 1986
Emax HD
* 512 KB sample memory
* Internal 20MB Hard Drive
* Launched mid 1987
Emax SE / Emax SE HD
* 512 KB sample memory
* HD model available
* SE OS included
* Launched mid 1988
Emax Plus / Emax HD Plus
* 512 KB sample memory
* HD model available
* SE features included
* External SCSI
* Plus OS included
* Launched early 1989* All Models deleted 12/89
* 3000+ manufactured
* Emax Plus is rare.Manuals
Emax Owners Manual
Emax SE Upgrade
Emax SCSI Interface
Emax DiagnosticsUpgrades
* 20 MB Hard Disk $1195
* SE OS Upgrade
* Plus OS Upgrade
External SCSI $195
* Data Technologies
HyperFlex SCSI 20MB
Removable Drive $1395

For more info and description of SCSI update check also: https://djtbs1.wordpress.com

Shipped Library
10 Factory Diskettes shipped with the Emax
* ZD700 – ZD710.
Factory Library
* 150+ Factory Samples

OS Diskettes
Latest Versions
 OS Plus 1.0
* OS SE 1.1
* OS HD SE 1.1
* OS HD 1.1
* OS 3.2 CD
* OS 3.2

US prices new
* Emax Keyboard $2995
* Emax Rack $2695
* Emax HD Keyboard $3995
* $200 – $500


9 thoughts on “Emax

  1. hi there i wonder if you can help ive installed the se upgrade disc on my emax which was working absolutly perfect before .
    i then copied the software onto a couple of library disks .
    now my sampler is totally messed up the seuencres keeps starting by it self sounds are on hold i cant select presets and so on .
    any advice ? how can i go back to the non se software and save my emax or what can i install to get it working normal again?


    • Wow, sounds like you’ve got a real big problem.
      Unfortunately, I must say that I think I can not help you.
      But what I’m thinking is that Emax has its OS on separate disks.
      EMXP program can not fromatera Emax disks from scratch. It is therefore always necessary to format the disks in the Emax. Anyway, you can overwrite the OS from EMXP to an already formatted disks.

      I hope this can lead you a little to the right track.
      Try other words with a pre-formatted floppy disk with an older OS on you know that it worked with.

      Best regards

  2. I format my eMax disk from scratch in EXMP v3.06.3 in the EMax floppy disk menu. They work perfectly.

  3. Hi, I have a Baldwin Ike with a software version of 1.0. and manual dated 1989. I would appreciate it if you could/would answer two questions please 1) is this model considered an ‘SE’ version and if so 2) should I upgrade to OS v3.2? Thank you.

  4. i have a baldwin ike that just keeps loading, is the hard hard drive bad?, if so, is there anywhere online to buy the software for it

    • Well, in that case, it must be an upgraded Baldwin you have… As far as I know, only the Emax HD, SE and Plus models have HD.
      But if it does not load, it’s probably broken.
      HD that works is 50 pins SCSI which is 100 or less

  5. can you tell me if a Baldwin ike can be outfitted with an internal hard drive / is it a project that I can do myself ? if not where can I get a new floppy drive. ?

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