Overview The Emax was specifically designed for computer based sample editing, with Digidesign providing initial support and Passport joining in later. The RS422 computer port is internally connected into the main processor, so that samples can be transferred to a computer via a serial cable at 500k bits/sec. This makes sample transfer possible in less than 10 seconds.
All versions of the Emax support computer based sample editing. This is a great way both to edit and store samples, as well as exchanging them over the Internet. The only downside is that MIDI can not be used at the same time, and the MIDI cable should ideally be disconnected, because the same serial interface chip is used for RS422 and MIDI.
All of the sample editors that support the Emax over RS422 are now out of production. You will need to locate one second hand.
Sound Designer for Emax Digidesign initially produced a dedicated Mac sample editor called Sound Designer for Emax. They then produced versions for a variety of different samplers (Akai, Ensoniq, Prophet 2000), and also ported them onto the cheaper Atari platform. Sound Designer supports a range of sample rates, but only monophonic samples. Samples are converted to 16-bits for editing and storage on the Mac.
Sound Designer Universal Digidesign sensibly introduced a generic sample editor called “Universal”, so that samples could be exchanged between a wide range of different samplers. This software supports RS422 serial communication as well as MIDI sample dump. The Emulator II and Emax are supported. Sound Designer was also enhanced to support playback and recording of samples using the new Digidesign Nubus sound cards. Universal will work with the original Sound Accelerator card, but not any of the later AudioMedia cards. Sound Designer Universal supports a range of sample rates, but only monophonic samples. Samples are converted to 16-bits for editing and storage on the Mac.
Sound Designer II Digidesign continued to improve the software, and moved into the 2 track, and then the multitrack computer based recording market (Sound Tools, then Pro Tools). Sound Designer II was introduced with improved computer editing and DSP functionality, and with more samplers supported than ever. However as Sound Designer II was further developed, after version 2.5 sampler support was dropped completely. SD II supports a range of samples rates, 8 – 24 bits, mono and stereo samples. The Emax (RS422), Emax II (RS422), Emulator II(RS422), Emulator III (SCSI) and SP1200 (Sample Dump over MIDI) are full supported.
Passport Alchemy Blank Software introduced this software in the late 1980’s to support the Emulator III over SCSI. Blank subsequently went bust, and the software was bought by Passport (who also went bust in the late 1990’s). Alchemy supports the Emax over RS422, and provides a nice range of sample editing functionality. It can also transfer all the samples in a bank at once, unlike Sound Designer (II). Alchemy supports a range of Digidesign sound cards, including the Audio Accelerator, Audiomedia, Audiomedia II, Audiomedia LC. A wide range of sample rates are supported, as well as mono and stereo samples at 16-bits.