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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43 Visitor comments
December 19, 2009 @ 9:40 pm
The Proteus 1 and 2 units are excellent for their age! Most of the sounds still hold up against newer synths.

I have purchased several Proteus 1 & 2 units on eBay for under $50. A couple of them needed repair and I knew it when I got them. You can purchase the entire power supply from http://www.eprelectronics.com/ as well as replacement data control wheels. I have replaced 3 of the data control wheels in 3 different units with parts from this site - all work perfectly. The other alternative is Mouser electronics if you know which part in the power supply went bad - for me it was the main power supply capacitor which I purchased from Mouser and that unit now works fine. The nice thing about these units is that they are easy to work on!
August 24, 2009 @ 11:10 pm
I just purchased a Proteus 2 on eBay for $20 - it had a blown cap in the power supply. After replacing the bad cap I went through the sounds, very impressive for an older piece of gear! I have several synths including a Proteus 2000, Roland JV-2080 & Yamaha Motif and this unit can hold it's own against any of them for orchestral sounds! Some very realistic strings, horns and woodwinds. There are also a few other types of pads and effects type sounds that are pretty cool too. I'm not crazy about the drums, but being a drummer I'll always lean toward the 'real' thing for drums. All in all a very nice synth, and the price was right!
April 2, 2009 @ 3:29 am
I play this sampler for orchestra sounds designs
But my proteus is old sampler .
Now my proteus 1 is out ! But this is a good sampler EMU ! SINCE 1989...
Sorry for my bad english ! bye !
February 17, 2009 @ 3:39 am
The Proteus FX is a very good sound module for some acoustic sounds. In my opinion, piano sound is quite weak in the middle notes. Nice orchestral, analog synth and hammond sounds. Drums sounds are not so realistic. About effect's unit, it's quite noisy and not so useful as other modules where each sound has got its effect' settings.
Oneki Kai
February 6, 2009 @ 12:11 am
Since the MP3 has not been updated:


That 9;s what a Proteus 1 sounds like.
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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