Hands-On Review:A new generation of sound module technology.

Click here for all products by E-MU.

By Henry Dison-Taylor

From classical scores to the latest Top 40 dance anthems, producers and musicians have used E-Mu sound modules on countless pop hits, alternative sound extravaganzas, and movie soundtracks. Now Emu's Proteus 2000 line has once again revolutionized sound technology with a family of modules that are star music makers. They provide you with the most comprehensive collection of sounds available, and that's just the beginning. All of these sound modules are expandable, offering from one to 3 extra ROM slots, so you can keep yourself totally current by adding new sounds. Another wrinkle here is "Proteus authoring." In this case the Emu Ultra sampler can be used to burn Flash ROMs of your favorite sounds, which can then be plugged into any other of these modules.


E-Mu's Proteus 2000 FamilyThere are two technology platforms for the Proteus 2000 line. The P1K platform includes the B-3 , Mo'Phatt , and XL-1. These modules come with their own sound set loaded in one ROM slot, and one empty slot. They also provide 2 audio outs, and 16-part ultitimbral/64- voice polyphonic operation. Emu also offers a Turbo Upgrade that takes the P1K platform modules up to the PK2 specs.



Emu doubles your pleasure with the PK2 platform used by the Proteus 2000 and Virtuoso 2000. The Proteus provides 3 empty ROM slots in addition to its sound set. The Virtuoso comes loaded with 64MB (2 orchestral sound sets) and 2 empty ROM slots. In addition, these modules each offer 6 analog outs, 2x digital SPDIF connections, and 32-part, multitimbral/128-voice operation.


The Proteus 2000
It's the most "general use" module of the group. Where the others are more specialized, the Proteus 2000 gives you a broad spectrum of sounds. And with its expandability and polyphony, it's a musical dynamo in every sense. This module features an amazing 128-voice polyphony with power to sequence huge scores and layer complex sounds without "voice robbing." All 128 voices are delivered with unparalleled MIDI response time thanks to the Proteus 2000's 32-bit Motorola processor. It plays back the most complex sequences with exemplary accuracy. In addition, its numerous MIDI connections (2 in, 2 thru, one out) give you ultimate flexibility in connecting to your other MIDI gear. Included in its 32MB (expandable to 128) sound set are 1,024 presets and 512 user presets for an incredibly rich sound palette ? lush strings, pristine pianos, synth stabs, and hip-hop scratches ? sounds for every musical genre. Simple storage and instant recall of your Multi-Mode setups are a breeze with the Proteus 2000. Naming your setup automatically saves the preset numbers, pan settings, and preset volume levels for each of the 32 MIDI channels. You can then assign a bank number and recall the entire setup with a single MIDI Bank Select command from your controller and not have to reprogram all your settings.



Click to EnlargeThe Proteus 2000 (and the other modules as well) provides instant access to 12 real-time controls from the front panel (4 knobs controlling 3 parameters each), so you can tweak sounds without having to enter the edit screen. You can assign these real-time knobs to control almost any parameter, customize specific requirements, and also set them to transmit MIDI controller messages to your sequencer to record all your real-time modifications. And deep editing features make it easy to edit envelopes (filter, amp, and aux), layers, keyboard tunings, the 24-bit dual stereo effects processor, and more.





The Rest of the Family: The B-3

Click to EnlargeThis module delivers the magic of the B-3 tone-wheel organ in a single rack space. The sounds aren't digital recreations, but rather meticulously sampled from a killer B-3 rig. It delivers 32MB of burning samples featuring authentic rotary speaker spin up/spin down, natural percussion and distortion, and an exhaustive array of draw bar settings. Plug one in and you'll agree this sounds like the real thing.





The Xtreme Lead-1

Click to EnlargeThis successor to Emu's mighty Orbit module is a techno/dance groove machine beyond anything you've seen yet. It features 32MB of outrageous new sounds, 64-voice polyphony, 16 programmable MIDI syn-cable arpeggiators per patch, and 52 Super Beats. In Super Beat mode, grooves explode across your keyboard as each key triggers different elements in monster rhythm patterns. If you're into techno sounds, this is the one for you.





The Mo'Phatt

Click to EnlargeWhat the XL-1 is for techno, the Mo'Phatt is for R&B, hip hop, rap and other urban styles. It is the successor to Planet Phatt and offers over a thousand new samples and 50 Super Beats that will pump up your grooves to new levels.





Virtuoso 2000

Click to EnlargeWith 64MB of all new orchestral samples, this 32-part multi-timbral powerhouse puts a 128-piece symphony orchestra at your command. This is the newest and most complete set of orchestral sounds to hit the market yet and is unparalleled for its expressiveness and naturalness. If your music calls for orchestral sounds, this is a must product for you to check out.




Regardless of which style of music you play, from Einsteinian jazz to primitive jungle, whether you perform on stage or in the studio, the Proteus family of modules offers you the power to achieve more sonic satisfaction in one rack space than you ever thought possible. Check ?em out. Take your music to the next level.


Features & Specs:



Proteus 2000 MIDI Sound Module9112 B3 Module
  • 128 voices
  • 32 MIDI channels
  • 512 RAM user presets
  • 1,024 ROM presets
  • 32MB memory
  • 3 additional internal expansion ROM slots
  • Filters: 12th order (50 different types)
  • Data encoding: 16-bit linear, 18-bit DACs
  • 24-bit internal pro-cessing
  • 6 polyphonic outputs
  • Stereo digital S/PDIF
  • MIDI jacks: In x2, Thru x2, Out
  • 6 analog outputs
  • Stereo digital outputs
  • 2 effects returns
  • 64-voice polyphony
  • 32MB ROM
  • 384 ROM presets
  • 512 user presets
  • Rotary speaker simu-lation
  • 32 MIDI channels
  • 24-bit dual stereo-effects processor
  • One additional expansion ROM slot
  • 12 assignable realtime front panel controls


Virtuoso 2000
(same as Proteus 2000, except)


XL-1 Extreme Lead Module
(same as B-3, except)

  • 64MBOrchestra ROM (expandable to128MB)
  • 2 additional internal expansion ROM slots
  • 640 ROM presets
  • 1,210 instruments
  • 6 analog outputs
  • Stereo digital outputs
  • 52 Super Beats


(same as XL-1, except)

  • 512 ROM presets
  • 16-part multitimbral
  • Analog, line level, unbalanced outputs
  • 50 Super Beats