Synth Site: EMU: Emax-II Sampler: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.9 out of 5
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ideal a professional user from U.S of A writes:
The Emax is fantastic for absolute noise samples, low-bit sounding samples, ect. I use mine primarily for noise design, sampling percussion loops, and capturing modular sounds. You don't really have to worry about the memory (except for the sampling time) because you can just hook up a ZIP drive to the SCSI.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-01-2000 at 10:16
assemble|corrode a part-time user from Germany writes:
It's a great intrument to me! Easiest to use! Nice sound! Much outputs! Very cheap! I got mine with 5MB at a price of 230$!

P.S.: The EMAX II samples with max. 39kHz but with dumped samples it can playback even 44.1kHz!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-01-2000 at 07:34
Clarence a professional user writes:
I've had my Emax II since 94. I upgraded from an Emax-SE.

Ease of Use: The OS is by far the easiest to work with. When I first entered the world of sampling, I looked at Akai and Roland and took test drives of each at my local studio. I kept saying, "What the f*** is going on here?" when navigating the menus. With the Emax, you can be one step ahead of being retarded and figure the whole things out without resorting to a manual. This is good OS design. Rating: 5

Ergonomics: The keyboard feels really cheap and toy-like. It has somewhat of a springlike motion but the keys clack back in place rather than bounce back like a Roland keyboard. The unit is monstrously huge and if their marketing called for "bigger is better," that would be the reason for it. Too big to carry around from gig to gig. Rating: 3

Sound Quality: Overall, a good decent sound. It is quite muddy as one reviewer called it, but that's compared to the newer samplers. Compared to my E4XT Ultra, there is no contest. The Emax II sucks by comparison.

I think the reason why people say this sampler sounds "warm" is because there's no top end on it (sample rate goes to 39kHz). Aside from this deficiency, you can get some pretty nice sounds out of it. The synthesis section is fun, but painfully slow (especially the multiplication function) so I stuck with mucking with existing samples instead of creating ones totally from scratch.

In a recording situation, I found myself adding my own top end to it during mixdown. Cymbals were never crisp or clear. Bass sounds got bassier, which was good in an Ensoniq Mirage-like way. What you put in usually didn't come out the same way. Rating: 3

Sample Libraries: I had an extensive library from my Emax SE and loaded all of the samples onto my Emax II hard drive. All work flawlessly. There are a few Emax II CD-ROMs that E-mu charged some large price for, so I never got them. Other than that, your options for sample libraries are pretty limited. To me, this was like trying to figure out which was better, an Apple II (the Akai, with all its available sample libs) or the Commodore 64 (the Emax II in this case). Sure, the Commodore was potentially more powerful, but it didn't have all the software of the Apple II! Rating: 1

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-10-2000 at 17:00
Marvina7 a professional user from USA writes:
I've had my Emax 2 since '94 when they were blowing them out to make way for the ESI 32. My sampler before them was an Ensoniq Mirage so I was in heaven to here samples in stereo. Unfortunately, I only have the 2meg version. Expanding it might be difficult considering the beast is no longer in production and last I heard ('97) ther were only a few memory kits left. I find the Emax 2 easy to program and looping isn't as difficult as you would think. I recommend a Zip drive for fast loading of samples since the floppy takes DS DD which are becoming hard to find. The only problems I've had are the LCD display light going out and a slight hum that appears after about 30 mins of the Emax 2 being on. If I ever decide to get these fixed (if possible after all these years), I'll look into mem. upgrades. It may not do everything that current samplers do but a sampler is all about what you put in it. In the end, who would know. I've made some bangin tracks with just the Emax2 alone. I eventually will step up to an E4 Ultra model but I wouldn't sell my Emax 2 for the world. Many people have characterized it as having that 'sound. I sold my Mirage for $50 after I got the Emax 2 and I miss it for just this reason. Today, it would be a good used sample to start off with.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-07-1999 at 03:09
steVe from Canada writes:
I personally think that this is one of the only samplers that gets away with having both the reliability and efficiency of digital and a sound and architecture that sounds like the older analog samplers. In a sense you could say that it perfectly lands itself at a nexus between digital & analog, old & new, giving you the best of both and a sound of it's own.(WOW, that was deep)Allthough completely digital, it doesn't sound digital and unlike the newer DSP samplers, it doesn't sound to analog. It goes up to 8megs RAM, which is decent, but you see, that's where my problem is!!! I only have 1meg on mine and it uses these weird-ass memory chips that emu no longer makes, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of a company that still makes 'em or if anyone wants to sell me some off of an EMAX II. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Apr-26-1999 at 00:27
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