Synth Site: Emu: Proteus 2000: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.6 out of 5
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peter kadar a professional user from Canada writes:
I've had this synth for about 5 months. I've been using it for gigs every week since then. As far as features go, this machine gives lots of bang for the buck. (128 voices, 32midi ch., etc.)

At first I thought the sounds were a bit weak and uninspiring, but the more I get into it, the more I feel that I made a great choice. I picked it up used for $850 Cdn. (New they're about $1200) I compared it to the new Roland XP-30, the one with the 3expansion boards included. Initially, I found the Roland to be richer sounding, but when I disabled the FX, I found many of the sounds to be very thin and lifeless. The P2K dosen't tend to pile on the FX as much, and I think this is what led me to my first impression. Once I cranked the FX knobs, I found that it had that produced sound that I find in my other Rolands, Korgs, Yamahas, etc.

The issue of programmability is important to me. Example: I needed a good harmonica patch, but there was this really irratating overblowing type of sound in the P2k's harmonica sample. So I went into the patchcords and assigned the sample start time to velocity. The result was that I get the overblowing part only if I play really hard, otherwise, it's a smooth tone. I was able to to this quickly and easily. It's a much more musical result that I would not have been able to do if I had a Roland or even high end Korg, I think. I think only Kurzweil gear allows you do similar stuff.

So as far as programmability, filter power (BTW, the filters sound very smooth for a digital machine.. again check the roland stuff), and build quality (sturdy knobs, buttons, and especially outputs) this machine rocks. I've even found some of the sounds to be fatter than some of the similar stuff in the Korg Karma (based on Triton--ie electric pianos).

Also, I recently picked up the ZR expansion board. The Perfect Piano is decent, I'd say that it compares with the piano in my A-90ex. To even compare with that sound is a compliment. The high end is especially nice. It really emphasizes the striking of the hammer hitting the string, but the mid range seems a bit too middy for my tastes. This could be because the A90 has more of a scooped mid sound and that's been my sound for over five years (maybe I'm just used to thinking that's how pianos should sound). There's a good GM bank, a good bank of mixed sounds, and a great bank of drum sounds. I'm happy with this expansion purchase. I tried the B3 and virtuoso modules, and was impressed. Any body tried the Siedlacek chip yet? Please let me know how it compares to the Orch chips in the Virtuoso.

I don't like that the resonace parameter isn't real time-- you have to play a new note to hear the change in resonance. The stock piano sound is just BARELY passable in a live band situation. Also, I would've liked to see more variety in the FX department.

Overall though, becuse of the sound quality, programmability, build quality and knobs, I must say that I'm very happy with my purchase. I truly feel that I could have easily spent 3 times the cash and still not have gotten more value elsewhere. I'm an experienced gear freak of 12 years, and I listen to almost everything that comes out. The only other sample playback synth that appeals to me now is the Triton rack but for most stuff the P2K can deliver. This module can sound very good with some tweaking. Not perfect (what is?) but a great value and highly recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jul-07-2001 at 04:52
Tom a part-time user from UK writes:
Well I'v only had my P2K for a few days and am impressed by the sounds. There do seem to be a lot of 'fillers' in the patches but I am generally satisfied.

I think it is going to take me a while to get my head round the effects assignment but most of the patches only need a little reverb so it's not such a big deal only having two fx proccesers.

My main problem with the synth is that there are not enough crazy sounds- it's all a bit plain. Also the orchestral sounds arn't really so hot, but then really I think for those sort of sounds you are always going to need a lot more ram than is available in a module.

I personally think the piano sounds are pretty good, much better than those in the JV, maybe I've been drumming too long...

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jun-06-2001 at 21:29
AdamT a professional user from UK writes:
Well, i got my hands on the Proteus-2000, Extreme-Lead and Audity for REPAIR!, the XL was suffering a noisy Powersupply that shuts down after an hour, the P2K was stuck on user preset selection and the Audity was in need of PSU, display and rotary encoder.. so after removing a damaged Techno-ROM out of the P2k (causing the problem) and installing the latest OS, all was well and I fired it up..

I have to be honest that I was expecting far better!, the piano is as has been mentioned, thin, lifeless, nothing like the various samples available for the ESi4000, also like others here, I found the drums to be very good indeed and there are a few scattered good patches in there but over all the "Composer" rom is pretty damn naff, thin without being crystal clear, no real substance, the whole thing reeked of early SoundCanvas, I suppose cramming around 1500 samples into 32Mb was asking for trouble, the synth engine and the filters are excellent so why not make the Synth presets from simple waveforms and USE THE ENGINE to do the work instead to save ROM space.. All in all, I`d far rather have an old Yamaha TG500 than the vanilla P2k as it stands..

Sooo, I dropped the SIMM ROM from the Dying Xtreme lead in and - wahhey - this thing CAN produce clarity, thickness, bass depth and life after all!, so my reservations about the P2K WERE down to the (de)Composer ROM after all!, the XL IS S&S but this (or the XL1 ROM) seems like a good start to making your own patches, in fact it makes you want to, unlike the composer rom which makes you wish that you were playing another machine - OK it`s no VA but it goes places that a VA never could (especially in the polyphony, matrix complexity and filter variants stakes) and of course the Beats mode is more fun than a DJX!!, a very good ROM indeed.. Shame the XL it`self is a 64-note / 1 free SIMM socket machine really :(

My suggestion is - try to hear the ZR ROM (I`ve heard good things about it), buy a Proteus Custom (the 2000 without the dire composer rom) and fill it with the GOOD stuff - the ZR board, the two Virtuoso ones (or one and the B3 if Hammonds are your bag) and the XL - sounds like a good bet to me..

A footnote on the so called "turbo upgrade", it`s a motherboard swap, as the 1000 series modules (B3, XL etc) are the same basic board with chips and sockets missing, there is no plug in expander module, EMU just swap the board for one that`s fully populated..

The poor `ol Audity awaits parts, It`s been replaced by the XL in the range BTW and uses a totally different board with different SIMM ROMS, I managed to fire it up briefly using the 'time limited' PSU from the XL1 and it sounded interesting, all the patches I heard were wacky and complex, can`t wait to hear it fully working :)..

PS the FX are still based on the EMU8000 processor lifted from the old Soundblaster AWE32 as on the ESi Turbo board and haven`t improved much over the years either but the 2000 series when equipped with a decent sound ROM can survive none or a bit of desk FX so I wouldn`t let that worry you just make sure you get one with the 6 outs...

The P2k as it comes gets a 3 - reduced from 5 cuz of the awful Composer ROM :(

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-01-2001 at 09:38
Tom Richard a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I like the unit overall. GM would have been nice, but I overwrote USER bank 0 with my own GM kit, most of which was copied into the appropriate patch number from the composer ROM. I had to generate my own GM drum kit using the technique outlined in Electronic Musician, and I had to invent tubular bells by tweaking the "Carillion" instrument [#0627] (just changed attack and release parameters and added a little chorus). However, after playing with the instrument for a while, I think that its better to link 3 custom drum presets that each contain 4 layers of a different percussive instrument. That gives you immediate access to 12 drum sounds on one MIDI channel, and the individual drum sounds on the P2K blow away the "kits." So, all that work to make a GM drum kit, and I don't even use it.

Bottom line - this is a great unit. So far, the complaints I've read have been from users who don't want to spend any time tweaking. I'm only rating 4 out of 5 because it is an EMU oversight to disregard the importance of GM, when it would have been sooooo easy for them to implement one measly bank.

Now if I could only figure out how to combine LFO's with the sampled waveforms to mimic the old DX7 operators for FM synthesis, I'd be in heaven.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Apr-18-2001 at 23:11
Peter a hobbyist user from USA writes:
Yea, this is one unit where you can see the quality shining through. Excellent Basses, nice Vox section, the "sfx" may seem hackneyd but link four together (Editing is relatively simple) and stick some Z-plane filters (The Proteus comes with some excellent ones ready to try- I believe 19)and the kinding of textures that come out are phenomonal. Ambient and Drum'n'Bass users looking for some sugar would likely find this unit great. It's funny, if one considers the soundset, you might not think much about this unit, however, I find myself coming back to it again and again for Basses and textures.Add to this the incredible editing mode and you have a machine which sits in the studio nicely and provides the backbone of many of your tracks to come. Another neat trick is that there is a way to use the four edit knobs on the front of the Proteus to edit other synths in Cubase, like a seperate Midi Controller. Move over Phat.Boy!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-06-2001 at 16:19
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