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
December 1, 2011 @ 11:42 am
Brent Mydland of the Grateful Dead used one for bit, on top of a Yamaha GS-1.
Jason_Official Version
October 29, 2011 @ 6:12 pm
Since Alan Wilder, Ian Stanley, & Rob Fisher used it extensively, I had to get one. I've been searching for a perfect condition E2 since the 90's, but either I couldn't find a working one that was worth the price, someone wouldn't give it up, etc. Now, I have it & it's NOT for sale! I may own the most minted condition E2+ on the planet. The faders, buttons, drive latches, etc. are all extremely tight & new feeling, & not one single scratch anywhere (including the corners)! Every key is tight & consistent. I also have the original manual in the factory binder w/ warranty card & everything.
October 8, 2011 @ 2:18 am
visceralvoids - are you sure about Tony Banks using Emulator II on Mama Tour ? Every Mama Tour clip I have seen has him playing the original Emulator.

EII is / was a superb sampler and dead easy to use. I bought a used A1 condition EII+ a few years ago (I have since sold). Big and bulky and only mono audio, but what a sound !!! Rob Keeble of emulatorarchive helped me to set it up with Sound Designer software and a massive sound catalogue. If you get and EII, take care of the top C key as it is easy to damage and hard to replace.
September 21, 2011 @ 4:06 pm
This is most favorite sampler ever!!!!
August 21, 2011 @ 11:07 am
its obvious not all the important artists were mentioned, there was so many EII users back then that the article would go forever
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.36 (484 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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