E-mu Proteus

E-mu Proteus 1 Image

Proteus 1 (1989)

Throughout the 1990’s, E-mu came to be known for its rack-mounted synth and sampler modules. In 1989, the Proteus was the first rack-mount module E-mu produced, and it was a huge success for the company. The Proteus 1 is an economical one-space module consisting of your basic rock and pop sounds. It has 4 MB of sounds from the EIII library such as samples of pianos, organs, strings, horns, guitars, basses, drums, Latin percussion, and more all at your fingertips. The Proteus offers professional features such as full 16-part MIDI multitimbrality, 32-voice polyphony, 16-bit ROM samples, six individual polyphonic outputs and extensive editing and modulation capabilities. There is also E-mu's RMidiPatchS that allows direct real-time control of over 40 parameters for keyboard, midi controllers, internal LFOs and envelopes. It has been used by Astral Projection, Pet Shop Boys, Vangelis, Genesis, and Information Society.

E-mu Proteus 1 Pop/Rock Image

Proteus 1 Pop/Rock

E-mu Proteus 1 Plus Orchestral Image

Proteus 1 Plus Orchestral

The Proteus 1 model was expandable with an additional 4 MB of orchestral samples (from the Proteus 2), making it a Proteus 1 Plus Orchestral. This gave you 4 MB of Pop/Rock sounds plus 4 MB of Orchestral sounds - 384 patches total! Presumably, when the Plus 1 Orchestral came out, the original Proteus 1 took on the Pop/Rock label to make it perfectly obvious what sounds each Proteus 1 model came loaded with.

E-mu Proteus 2 Orchestral Image

Proteus 2 Orchestral (1990)

In 1990, the Proteus 2 was released which is identical to the Proteus 1 in most every way except that it has 4 MB of purely orchestral sounds - the same sounds from the Plus Orchestral ROM card, which also happen to come from the EIII library. This was the first time really high quality sounding orchestral sounds could be had in a dedicated sound module.

E-mu Proteus 2 XR Image

Proteus 2 XR (1990)

The standard Proteus 1 and 2 could be upgraded to XR versions (extended RAM) as well. These doubled the RAM and memory up to 8MB, adding another 192 of user patches (128 preset / 64 user) for a total of 384 patches.

E-mu Proteus 3 World Image

Proteus 3 World Instruments (1991)

The Proteus 3 is identical to the previous Proteus models except that it features an ethnic World set of sounds. It's full of 16-bit samples (4 MB expandable to 8 MB via an XR upgrade) of shofars, flutes, celtic harps, tablas, tamburas, banjos, didjeridoos, bagpipes, etc.

E-mu Proteus FX Image

Proteus FX (1994)

A Proteus FX module is also available. It features sounds from both the rock pop and orchestral modules. It also adds two digital effects processors with reverb, delay, chorus and more. Surprisingly, the FX surpasses other Proteus models in many ways but it is also the least expensive model! It features 8 MB of sounds standard, and up to 512 patches. But what it doesn't have, is six polyphonic outputs. Just your basic stereo L/R(mono) output.

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

45 Visitor comments
Raymond m
May 27, 2014 @ 4:51 pm
to : john and jolee
generally midi is low voltage, so remember there is no usb. (the roland)it runs off a 9volt battery or a power supply 9-12volt. This is common wattage for most portables.

you will not be able to write syx data to the board, though you can configure midiquest to program your banks....to manage the SysEx data from the Proteus go to: Global, All Banks, Preset Bank ... Transfer patches from the bank into the editor with manual or auto save options. or bulk transfer option that reads on all banks (worst-case ) also check your midi channel number 1 or 16.
Raymond m
May 27, 2014 @ 3:48 pm
I had this sampler for a long time till my girlfriend left it in the rain one night out of spite. Now it seems a bit dated with the cello and violin. love the full strings and brass and will never forget its unique sound. If i had the chance i would like the full set of emu proteus rack-mount modulus. and still to this day the world module i love, there just are not many keyboards geared to a specific sound like that.
Daniel Remler
August 7, 2013 @ 6:42 pm
I just purchased a Proteus FX from Ebay. It appears to be in good shape. However the face plate -- the front-most clear faceplate is indented, recessed, or set back about 1/4 " (inch) uniformly. I cannot tell if this is "by design" or if it was/is normally flush with the outermost front-plate surface, but on *my* unit was "pushed back" or was somehow, in someway, accidentally knocked back.

I will say that the clear LED-faceplate is *uniformly* recessed, so my suspicion is that this may have been by original Emu design. I'd much appreciate anyone's informed opinion.
August 1, 2013 @ 2:59 pm
@john bindon: I'm no expert on live mixing, but my Proteus/1 has a good bit of oomph to it - cranked up, the line-out can power my headphones almost to the point of discomfort while some of my other modules have to be run through an amplifier just to reach a reasonable volume.
John Bindon
August 1, 2013 @ 10:03 am
Hello Folks: Recently I bought a set of Roland PK5 dynamic pedals (bass pedals)...I'm currently looking at the Proteus/1 XR. I'm going to be playing mostly low droning bass notes thru the pedals.
QUESTION: Does anyone know if the Proteus/1 XR has enough internal power to be used in a live situation ?

I've heard of people purchasing sound modules and the module not having enough power for live shows. Please help me out with this - it would be much appreciated.
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  • 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 - 32 Voices
  • Oscillators - 4 MB of ROM based 16-bit samples (expandable to 8 MB); 125 waveforms
  • LFO - Yes
  • Filter - None
  • Effects - None (FX Module has 2 digital effects processors: Reverbs, chorused and delays)
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 192 patches (64 user programmable); up to 384 on XR modules; up to 512 on FX module
  • Control - MIDI (16-parts)
  • Date Produced - 1989 - 1995
  • Resources & Credits
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