E-mu Orbit-3

E-mu Orbit-3 Image

The Orbit-3 is the latest version in E-mu's famous Orbit line of Dance Modules. This is still strictly engineered for the techno artist, but has all the features and functions as all its sister modules including the Proteus 2000, B-3, Mo’Phatt and Xtreme Lead-1. The very first Orbit from 1996 featured 8 MB of sample ROM. The Orbit-3 has a fully loaded 64 MB of sample ROM, the "Electronica" Soundset with 1,024 ROM and 512 User presets. The original Orbit had 32 voices, but the new Orbit-3 has a full 128 voices of polyphony.

The new Orbit-3 also features E-mu's SuperBEATS Mode...the rhythmic groove generator found in other E-mu rack modules, as well as a rhythmic pattern generator/arpeggiator, 12 assignable real-time front panel controls, 6 outputs and S/PDIF digital output. Two sound expansion card slots allow you to expand its sample memory up to 128 MB using any one of the eleven sound cards from E-mu's family of sound modules, desktop groove modules, and keyboards!

Current E-mu sound modules ship with one 32 MB sound-set each, but are expandable up to 128 MB via three additional slots for 32 MB expansion cards. These cards include (ranging from $249 to $395):

  • 9061: Siedlaczek Orchestra 32 MB ROM.
  • 9062: Pure Phatt 32 MB ROM - standard in Mo’Phatt, MP-7 and MK-6.
  • 9063: Beat Garden 32 MB ROM - standard in Orbit-3.
  • 9082: Protozoa 16 MB ROM - standard in Proteus 1, 2, 3.
  • 9083: Definitive B-3 32 MB ROM - standard in B-3.
  • 9084: Techno Synth Construction Yard 32 MB ROM - standard in Orbit-3.
  • 9085: Orchestral Session Vol. 1 32 MB ROM - standard in Virtuoso 2000.
  • 9086: Orchestral Session Vol. 2 32 MB ROM - standard in Virtuoso 2000.
  • 9087: World Expedition 32 MB ROM - standard in Planet Earth.
  • 9088: Sounds of the ZR featuring the Perfect Piano 32 MB ROM - standard in Ensoniq Halo.
  • 9089: X-Lead 32 MB ROM - standard in Xtreme Lead-1, XL-7 and XK-6.

With these expansion options, you could buy a PK-6, then add the sounds of the Orbit-3, XK-6, and the MP-7... or any other combinations you may want. If you like desktop synths, you can start with an MP-7 or XL-7, and then add these same expansion card options to add Proteus, Orchestral, or the new Halo sounds to them. E-mu/Ensoniq's interchangeable sound cards and a variety of keyboard/sound-module options means that there's a model out there for everybody now.

Lookup E-mu Orbit-3 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.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a E-mu Orbit-3? 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.

10 Visitor comments
Digi Fan
May 24, 2010 @ 4:00 pm
The stock "Beat Garden" and "Techno Synth Construction Yard" roms are pure quality. Its hard to say if ones actually better than the other but i tend to lean more twards the TSCY. Digi out realy is stunning. Can do extensive deep programming with the Orbit 3. "World Expedition" and "Protozoa" fit in real nice.
February 28, 2010 @ 9:06 am
The Prodigy used this > http://theprodigy.info/equipment/orbit.shtml
July 8, 2009 @ 7:04 pm
I know it says techno but i seem to find myself dabbing in the ethnic perc portion of this module and rarely use the wav's or tecky sounds. p.s basslines arent good and if u see one on ebay, count ur lucky starz
Andrew Beddoes
September 16, 2008 @ 1:15 am
Lots of promise and character, but users need to spend considerable time improving the presets. Programming grooves is subtractive- you isolate or remove part of the pattern, or you assign a different drum. Setting up Triton-like grooves with arpeggiators and drum patterns triggering off a keyboard is very challenging.
Oneki Kai
August 26, 2008 @ 8:36 pm
I absolutely love this box. This, with an X-Lead ROM (pref. version 2) tossed in, makes an excellent "Darude sound" setup. It's capable of much more though.

It has a "warm, yet digital" character to it that few other synths have. The only other synth I'm aware of with a similar character is the GEM Equinox, but this is MUCH more reliable. If you are into techno, this is a box you cannot pass up. E-MU's synths are very underrated.
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.53 (186 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.
  • Demos & Media
  • Audio Clip 1 - A very cool sequenced demo featuring a Euphoric Trance groove with all its beats and synth sounds coming straight from the Orbit-3.

    Manual - Download the original owner's manual from SoundProgramming.net.

  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 128 voices
  • Oscillators - 64 MB of ROM samples (Expandable to 128 MB via 2 additional slots for E-mu sound expansion ROM cards)
  • LFO - Yes with excellent MIDI control
  • Filter - 50 types of 6th- and 12th-order Z-plane filters
  • Effects - 24-bit dual stereo-effects processor with 29 reverbs types, 15 delay types, 8 chorus types, 7 flange types, 5 distortion types
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 1,024 Preset ROM, 512 User RAM patches
  • Control - MIDI (32 channels)
  • Date Produced - 2001
  • Resources & Credits
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