E-mu Emulator II

E-mu Emulator II Image

An affordable classic early eighties sampler/workstation synthesizer. It's a sampler that sounds like an analog synth because it has analog filters! It samples at a low 8-bits (up to 17.6 seconds) so it's got that lo-fi sound which is great for some types of electronic music. Especially nice is its ability to create warm analog-ish pads and sounds. It uses those giant 5" floppy disks for storage. Also on-board is a useful 8-track sequencer. It can be hooked up to a Mac for easier editing using software such as Digidesign's Sound Designer.

The Emulator II had many new features for its time. MIDI, SMPTE and computer control. Editing samples includes truncating, manual/auto looping, reverse, velocity switch cross-fading and splicing samples together. A great feature is the 24 dB/oct analog 4-pole low pass filter. There are eight separate LFO's and eight extra individual outputs for each voice. Make no mistake, the Emulator II was a long standing professional sampler of the mid-eighties for musicians and sound designers.

The Emulator II received numerous upgrades during its four year production run from 1984 to 1988. These included the Emulator II+ with double the sample memory and the Emulator II+HD which adds a 20MB internal hard drive. The Emulator II series was replaced by the much improved Emulator III in 1988. Although both have definitely been overcome by modern samplers and workstations the Emulators remain as classic music machines. The Emulator II has been used by Depeche Mode, ABC, Genesis, Paul McCartney, Tangerine Dream, New Order, Front 242, Brian Wilson, Simple Minds, Enya, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Stevie Nicks, Yes, filmaker/composer John Carpenter, ABC, David Frank Of The System, Mr. Mister, Phillipe Saisse, Stevie Wonder, David "Hawk" Wollinski, Pet Shop Boys; even Ferris Beuller!

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59 Visitor comments
April 18, 2014 @ 4:45 pm
Also used by the spanish band Azul y Negro.
March 26, 2014 @ 10:37 am
I'm looking to trade for an Emulator II, if anyone is interested I have multiple items to offer. You can reach me at smitsta gmail com
February 11, 2014 @ 8:29 pm
Hello butt heads i have a emulator 2 for sale now why I'm selling it for 2000$ is it has a Rev 1 rs422 board that means you don't have to use floppies if you don't want to you can use a emuser to transfer sounds from your pc with windows at the emxp Web site that explains what is a emuser thanks again butt heads
February 8, 2014 @ 7:20 am
Very unreliable as well as big and heavy, but the sound makes it worth it. Love the analog filters and the grainy 8 bit resolution. I think it has a very beautiful sound, and would love to own one again.
@lars - who are you to decide what instruments others find the best sounding, lol :) It's entirely up to the individual isn't it. Everyone here writes reviews according to their tastes and uses. Some love analog and gritty, others not. You may find life easier and more enjoyable if you realise that what you may find true or right doesn't necessary apply to others.
January 22, 2014 @ 6:53 am
"lars: Seriously?! Unless you want your sounds to come out sounding lo grade 80's style.."

Not everyone likes vintage sound you are right, and that's the blessing for others like us
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VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.36 (483 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices
  • Sampler - 27kHz; 8-bits; 512 KB to 1 MB storage
  • Multitimbral - 8 parts (8 midi channels)
  • Sequencer - 8-Track
  • Songs - 1
  • Keyboard - 61 keys w/ velocity & aftertouch
  • Filter - 24 dB/oct 4-pole lowpass with resonance
  • Control - MIDI, SMPTE, RS422 Interface
  • Date Produced - 1984

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