When Oli Freke was a child, he’d flip by the pages of Julian Colbeck’s Keyfax II and Keyfax III, absorbing as a lot as he may within the volumes of synthesizers, finding out the photographs and particulars of devices he may solely hope at some point to play.
Within the preface to his personal guide Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back) (out now on Velocity Press), Freke pays his respects to those early inspirations, presenting the important thing information of each main synth launched from the early Nineteen Sixties by the mid-’90s, together with vital drum machines and samplers.
However Freke’s personal artwork units his guide aside.
An illustrator and synth fan, Freke has been drawing synthesizers for years. In case you’re into synths your self, you have doubtless seen his work, which has been discovered all over the place from coffee mugs to an exhibit at London’s Design Museum.
The brand new guide presents unique drawings and the important bits of information for every instrument: Akais, Buchlas, Korgs, Moogs, Yamahas, and all the pieces in between. Velocity Press was sort sufficient to permit us to run an excerpt under on the E-Mu Programs synths, samplers, and drum machines within the guide.
Decide up Synthesizer Evolution now, and hold scrolling to learn—and see—Freke’s tackle E-Mu.
Click on any of the hyperlinked titles to search out basic E-Mu devices on Reverb.
E-mu was fashioned in 1971 by Dave Rossum, Steve Gabriel, Jim Ketcham, and had been joined later by Scott Wedge. Initially known as Eµ, they modified their identify to ‘E-mu’ for the discharge of their first product, the E-mu modular synthesizer (1973). Through the Seventies they developed and licenced a digital keyboard scanning know-how to Oberheim, which was used within the Oberheim 4 Voice and Eight Voice, and to Dave Smith for the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. Royalties for these had been an vital earnings supply for E-mu by the leaner years of the late Seventies.
After the vastly costly and unsuccessful Audity synthesizer in 1980, which was made untenable when Sequential stopped cost of these royalties, E-mu made a reputation for themselves on the planet of sampling. Making use of the brand new Z80 chips and collaborating on the design of the SSM chip, E-mu was capable of launch the comparatively reasonably priced Emulator in 1981 and constructed upon that early success with a sequence of up to date variations and sampling drum machines all through the Nineteen Eighties. Within the Nineteen Nineties, E-mu was purchased by Inventive Expertise and continued to launch the sequence of Proteus ROMpler devices. Inventive Expertise then tried an ill-fated merger of E-mu and Ensoniq which ended each corporations.
E-MU 25 1971
Mono / 3 VCOs
The prototype for the later modular system, solely two had been made.
E-MU MODULAR 1973
Mono/Duo / Modular
E-mu’s first merchandise had been modular synths, although they grew to become higher identified for samplers within the Nineteen Eighties.
E-MU AUDITY 1980
16 be aware polyphony / 1 voice card per be aware
Was commissioned by Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream, and the prototype was proven on the 1980 AES conference. Nevertheless, it was by no means productionised.
Pattern & Synthesis
32 be aware polyphony / 2 Samples per voice
Pattern playback machine leveraging E-mu’s experience in sampling. Subsequent variations included the Proteus 2 & 3.
E-MU DRUMULATOR 1983
12 PCM sounds / full polyphony
Tears for Fears – ‘Shout’ (1985)
E-MU SP-12 1985
8 PCM sounds and sampler (12 bit / 26kHz / 1.2 seconds)
The ‘Pattern Percussion 12’ was in style in hip-hop and dance music manufacturing; the next SP-1200 (1987) grew to become a mainstay.
E-MU EMULATOR 1981
8-bit / 128KB RAM / 2s at 27kHz (mono)
Obtainable in variations with both 4 or 8 be aware polyphony
Stevie Surprise acquired Emulator serial quantity #1.
E-MU EMULATOR II 1984
8-bit / 17.6s at 27kHz (mono)
8 be aware polyphony
An improved Emulator with 512kB, expandable to 1MB. An Emulator II+ supplied 2MB.
E-MU EMAX 1986
12-bit / 10kHz – 42 kHz / 12s at 42kHz (mono)
8 be aware polyphony
Got here in keyboard and rack variations; additionally contains additive synthesizer.
E-MU EMULATOR III 1987
16-bit / 33.1kHz or 44.1kHz / 67s at 33kHz (stereo)
16 be aware polyphony
E-MU EMAX II 1989
16-bit / 20kHz – 39kHz / 6.7s at 39kHz (mono)
16 be aware polyphony
Later fashions added stereo sampling.
E-MU EMULATOR IV 1994
16-bit / 22.05kHz – 48kHz / 47s at 48kHz (stereo)
128 be aware polyphony
Though the high quality, the final of the Emulators was displaced by cheaper samplers and the rise of more and more highly effective PCs.
E-MU ESI-32 1994
16-bit / 22kHz – 44.1kHz / 11s at 44.1kHz (stereo)
32 be aware polyphony
E-mu’s new era of samplers following the Emulator sequence.