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E-mu Systems E4X Turbo Rack Module

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E-mu's reputation as innovators in the sampling world is beyond dispute. Since 1980, a series of Emulator products has led to the highly renowned EIV, with its high 128 voice polyphony count, 128 MB RAM memory address space and flexible and extensive programming features.

The Emulator 4 Keyboard is a natural extension of this development, but it does much more than simply add a keyboard to the EIV. Of course the E4K is completely at home in any project studio, with its advanced sound design, huge memory capability and control features. E-mu® has also carefully considered what it means to extend sampling from the studio and take it onto the stage in a practical, musician-like way. We have made sure that fast access to presets, realtime control of sounds, an ergonomic control panel layout and a responsive 6 octave keyboard package are high on the feature list.

Performance Features

Apart from adding a 76 note (6 octave) velocity and pressure sensitive keyboard to an EIV, realtime control has been increased to include four faders and a Thumby Button. All the realtime controls are integrated through the patchbay in each preset and into each factory sound stored on the internal hard drive. They are designed to control the most useful aspects of timbre according to the nature of each preset. This feature greatly expands the musical application of individual presets by making it easy to tailor presets to your special application and style. Your favorite fader settings can be stored with the preset; equivalent to a mini-editor. The faders and button can control brightness, envelopes, special effects, layers, trilling - whatever suits the sound and performer.

Synthesis Features DMS

Digital Modular Synthesis is probably the best way to describe the evolving architecture of Emulator Technology. Patching control sources to synthesis parameters is the heart of preset modeling, and E-mu's early dedication to modular analog synths is finding new life in the E4K. Z-Plane filters, 2 LFO's, 32 sample layers with individual access to variable loop and start points, tuning functions, and three fully independent six segment envelope generators provide the basic synth elements which are the targets for the patchbay cords. Control sources can be derived from some of these tools, or from realtime inputs such as the faders and wheels on the keyboard front panel. The Patchbay also contains a set of arithmetic modifiers which extends its potential - allowing complex synthesis models to be built.

Sampling & Sound Design

The E4K has all the superb audio sculpting features of the Emulator IV and as such is an excellent instrument for sound design. Once raw data has been captured through any of the standard sampling procedures; analog jacks, S/PDIF digital, or internal resampling, the E4K allows for extensive manipulation of the data via powerful editing functions. These include loop, truncate, taper, cut, copy and paste as well as many innovative and powerful DSP wave manipulation tools. Among these are "time stretch", parametric EQ, gain compression, doppler, reverse section, exciter and transform multiplication. Resampling is a powerful feature in the context of sound design and it is a central feature of the Emulator 4 Keyboard. Any output generated from the keyboard, be it a single note with many sample layers, a sequence, (even with FX processing added), can be recaptured as a new single wave and used for a subsequent round of voicing.


The 8 outputs provided on the E4K provide flexible control for the studio FX situation... However, there are plenty of occasions when it is important to be able to add an ambient effect, reverberation or early reflections directly to the sounds generated on the instrument, especially in a performance context. For this reason, the E4K has a high quality 18 bit FX board installed as standard to give that all important splash of reverb without any signal degradation. Enough effects routines are provided so that interesting sounds for resampling can be generated or standard presets can be spiced up. Faders for each voice, through the patchbay, control parameters of the FX engine making the implementation highly expressive and supportive of the performing musician.

Sequencer & Data Filer

The sequencer is capable of reading and playing back Standard MIDI Files (format 0 and 1) direct from a DOS floppy disk, and also saving them to the internal hard drive. This provides an onboard MIDI File utility which is important for storing both studio set up data files and song playback. Music sequences can be stored with E4 banks and loaded with them or as separate objects. Plenty of sequences have been stored with the onboard sound set for demonstration purposes.

Versions & Options

The Emulator 4 Keyboard comes in two configurations: a 128 voice version and a 64 voice version. A plug in option board will easily convert a 64 voice model to a full 128 voice model. Both models come with 4MB of RAM, expandable to 128MB. The basic architecture is open for expansion in the future. One EIV type expansion slot has been included.

Sounds & SoundSprint

The E4K comes equipped with a 270MB internal hard drive loaded with more than 150MB of brand new sounds, together with some renowned E-mu classics. What's exciting about these patches is not only the great way they sound, using the realtime faders and the extended voicing architecture of the E4K, but also the neat way that you can browse through and play these sounds using SoundSprint. Its just as if they were sitting in a "virtual ROM bank"- the big difference is that this particular bank is nearly 200MB wide! Each sound is sculpted with it's own samples, many of them generated from the programmers toolbox bank - a utility set of waves and templates which harness the Emulator resampling feature. SoundSprint itself is a routine which allows you to pull presets quickly into memory one at a time as you browse through the internal drive.

Audio Quality

The E4K continues the long tradition of E-mu's renowned audio quality. A key factor in this quality, apart from the 18 bit DACs and internal 24 bit precision is the elimination of aliasing and clock noise normally associated with sample pitch transposition, maintaining a constant yet selectable sampling rate. This contributes to a warmth and smoothness in the Emulator sound which is really quite unique.

Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: ROM, Sampling
Oscillators: 4
Waveforms: ROM
Sampling: 16 bit, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, Gated, Loop, One Shot (Phrase), Multi-Sample
Sampling Notes:
16 - 128 MB RAM
Envelopes: 3
Filters: 1
Types: 12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), 36dB Slope, Band Pass, Band Reject, High Pass, Low Pass, Resonance, Parametric, Z-Plane
LFO: 2
LFO Parameters: Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Saw Down, Sine, Square, Triangle, Delay
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 128
Timbrality: 32
Tuning: Standard
Patches RAM: 1000
Patches ROM: 1000
Storage: Hard Drive, Internal
Editing: MIDI, SCSI
18 bit dual stereo effects processor
Case: Rack
Rack Size: 19", 4U, Full
Display Type: OLED, Backlit
Display Count H: 240
Display Count V: 60
Dimensions (WxDxH): 49.16" W x 13.5" D x 4.1" H
Weight: 35 Ibs
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Stereo Main
Audio Output Notes: Main, Sub 1, Sub 2,
DAC Bits: 18
DAC Frequency Rate: 48
Year Released: 1996
MSRP List Price: $4895 - convert
Retail Street Price: $4500 - convert
Used Price: $300 - $500 - convert

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