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!

Lookup E-mu Emulator II Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a E-mu Emulator II? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

59 Visitor comments
February 14, 2013 @ 6:36 pm
The best sounding sampler ever together with the Fairlight. Incredibly warm with lots of low end, and a really liquid filter, it makes pretty much everything you put into it come out better. Really easy to use too, compared to for example the Roland S series. Reliability is not great after 20 years, and mine is in dire need of and an overhaul now, but I will never be without it. Looks fantastic too.
November 26, 2012 @ 2:21 pm
@jrb: Most is being reuploaded at http://theemus.com/index.html. Also, fell free to stop by http://eiiiforum.com/ anytime.
November 26, 2012 @ 8:02 am
Hi. I am looking to buy an Emulator II. I'm in Denmark, Europe. If you have one for sale please e-mail me: cybercardinal@hotmail.com
October 12, 2012 @ 10:39 am
The link for The Emulator Archive is dead. The URL is no longer owned and the archive is lost. It had such great information on all the Emu Samplers.

I've wanted an EII since I was in high school. Alas still having a hard time finding and affording one. I hope my Ensoniq EPS (in the shop) is fixable. I'm going to do the floppy emulator mod if it's repairable and I will have some 13bit yumminess. I WILL get a great Emulator II one day! Can't wait, love this site great resource!
September 2, 2012 @ 11:36 am
Vangelis used orchestral sounds (piatti, orchestral booms etc.) from the Emulator I (and II) a lot. I think, but I am not sure, that those sounds come/came from a floppy disk with orchestral sounds.....
Post Comment!
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

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.