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EMU ESI 4000
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author EMU ESI 4000
zedius
I'm hoping I can get some opinions on the ESI 4000. I have a chance to pick one up for $100.00 and I think that's a pretty good deal, but I'm not sure if it will suit my purposes.

I recently sold an A5000 primarily because of its painfully slow loading times and its crummy build quality. If I buy he emu, I want to make sure it can have some usability without having to load samples every time I turn it on. I'd like to be able to at least leave a piano sample on it for quick practicing, and maybe some drum samples.

It's got 128mb of memory on it, so maxed out. I guess without a hard disk it can't hold any samples in memory when it's powered down? So if I have a Zip drive hooked up, how long would it take to load a basic piano sample... 5 seconds? A minute?

The A5k was about a minute to load anything, and the interface was buggy. If the emu is more predictable to use, I'd like to hear about some of the pros and cons involved in the interface.

Thanks!
fac
I used to own an ESI-2000, which is basically the same thing. Bought it new, upgraded it to 72 Mb, added a ZIP drive. Spent a lot of money on it, but really liked it (when I had time to program it) and made quite a few songs with it. Then the sampler market crashed, I was no longer using it, and ended up selling it for only a fraction of my investment.

$100 does seem like a great price if you're willing to invest some time in it, but yes, loading times are a bit slow, even from a ZIP disk. Mine usually took several seconds to load a small bank (I rarely took advantage of all the RAM I put in). What do you get, is a quite stable OS (I never experienced any problems with it), an amazing set of filters, a warm-ish sound, which is IMO very different from Yamaha (bright) and Akai (dull) samplers.

The greatest pain in the ass for me was transferring samples from the computer. I had to use a second ZIP drive (for the PC) and some of the buggiest programs known to man (e.g., Chicken Systems Translator). It worked 50% of the times. For this reason, I usually recorded my own samples, or simply loaded stuff from the CD library included with it.

To be honest, I kind of miss having a sampler, and if I were to buy one, I'd get me an Emu. $100 makes it very attractive (I invested ten times that in my ESI-2000), especially if you get any sample CD's with it, but you should also estimate the cost of a hard disk or a ZIP drive plus various disks.
10011001
I replaced the floppy drive on my ESI 32 with a 4 gig flash drive

it now holds the presets from:

Proteus 1, 2 and 3
Classic keys
Vintage Keys
Orbit
Planet Phat

all the samples that came with the unit

...and everything Ive sampled since

really quite usefull
fac
10011001 wrote:
I replaced the floppy drive on my ESI 32 with a 4 gig flash drive


That seems like a great solution. How are the load times?
mrbloor
emu's are great, had 2 esi now have 1 dead one, other sold as didn't get used anymore.
Once you get your head around the user interface they are very intuitive.
spacenoodle
I have an ESI4000 with some external zip and hard drives, max RAM. I bought it all new back in the 90's for, I don't know, a LOT d'oh! I also have an Emulator II. I had an Emax I but sold it to fund modular GAS. I've used the ESI more heavily than the others because I've owned it longer. The ESI interface is dead simple and the manual is pretty well written. It is especially easy to use with a program like Recycle that will automatically slice up a beat or a group of sounds, send it all over the sampler and map the sounds to keys. Saves hours of work. I haven't used my ESI much recently but I'm working it back into my rig to sample the modular. I like it and plan on keeping it. I'd say grab it. 100 dollars, what do you have to loose?

Edit: BTW, nothing is retained after power off. You have to load it in. But it doesn't take but a few seconds unless you have some mammoth set of sounds to load.
10011001
fac wrote:
10011001 wrote:
I replaced the floppy drive on my ESI 32 with a 4 gig flash drive


That seems like a great solution. How are the load times?


a wee bit faster than the zip drive it's painless really
zedius
10011001 wrote:
I replaced the floppy drive on my ESI 32 with a 4 gig flash drive

it now holds the presets from:

Proteus 1, 2 and 3
Classic keys
Vintage Keys
Orbit
Planet Phat

all the samples that came with the unit

...and everything Ive sampled since

really quite usefull


Hmm.. That's pretty cool. I know that the proteus romplers are pretty classic in their own way, but I've never played with them myself. Is there a good place to get these online? Do you just look for sample CDs on eBay, or is there an archive of backups somewhere?

Sorry if I'm straying into piracy territory - not really looking for any links if they go against the ethics of this forum. Just wondering how this sampler stuff is done in this day and age!

Also, is it possible to use then esi 4000 as a simple looper? Like could it record and overdub continuously?
Suilebhain
Did you just connect the leads of the flash drive to the wiring that once connected in the floppy drive? That sounds like a feat unto itself.
fac
zedius wrote:

Also, is it possible to use then esi 4000 as a simple looper? Like could it record and overdub continuously?


I think not.
10011001
Suilebhain wrote:
Did you just connect the leads of the flash drive to the wiring that once connected in the floppy drive? That sounds like a feat unto itself.


it was a kit from a place called SCSI4Samplers - it was pretty much like swapping any drive if you've done that kind of thing before.
10011001
interesting question reguarding sample libraries from now defunct companies hmmm.....
zedius
Well now it is mine! Thanks for your input everyone. So far it is sounds great and is a pleasure to use.
zedius
*sigh* Do you know what the internet is not good at? Hardware samplers.

When I buy a synthesizer, I can find dozens of fan pages sharing patches galore whether they are photographs of settings, crudely drawn diagrams, or midi sysex files.

I can't find anything like that for the ESI samplers. I can't believe that there was never a guy who recorded his dog growling, or a door creaking, or whatever, effected the crap out of it until it sounded so cool he just had to show the world, and then put it up in a format I can use on an ESI fan forum!

Does anyone know of a resource like this that I should check into? All I want to do is get a tiny collection of sounds onto a floppy disk to play with smile
namon
I have a esi-2000 and have run into the same lack of sample problem as well. Every now and then I can find some of the cd sample sets
For sale, but at some pretty crazy prices. The emu format is mind of
Kooky as well.
If you find anything I would love some information as well.
zedius
The guy I bought the sampler off of has a ton of cds. I might see if he can burn me a bunch. Do you know any info about the format? Filename etc? Can you just pop a cd in your computer and see the filenames, or is it a completely different structure than fat32 or whatever. i.e. you would just have to rely on burning images and that sort of thing?

And do you know any way to convert wav to esi whatever format? The only thing I've found is recycle which is like $200 or Chicken Translator which is like $150.

I'm not down to spend $150 on conversion software, $100 on scsi equipment to move files over, and I only spent $100 on the sampler on a whim :p

I'll keep you in the loop if I learn anything. What's your setup right now? I've got a 2009 macbook pro, so no floppy drive and no esi2win software or whatever it is called. Various scsi cables I've been scrounging up but no Centronics 50, and a SCSI/USB zip drive with a rare Micro Centronics connector on it.
fac
Chicken Sys Translator pretty much sucks, but it's all there is, I think. The "Emu edition" of Translator costs around $80, I think.

If you're not dealing with multisamples (and even if you are), I'd suggest sampling sounds straight into the ESI instead of transferring them. It's really not as painful as it seems, and it will save you lots of headaches.
Dude163
I was going to suggest the same , I just grabbed an esi 4000 and it came with 9 zip disks, I think 5 of them are full banks, one is the default, the other has all the proteus sounds on it.

Ill be getting a USB zip drive soon, if I do , I can try and copy those files for you if you still need some samples
cliffemu
You can also send wav files to the sampler from your pc using a scsi cable. I think I used to use soundforge to do it when I had an esi2k. There was a send option in the menus at the top.
spotta
Yep. When I had my ESI-32 I fitted a SCSI card to my PC, fitted a 4Gb SCSI hard drive inside the PC, and hooked up the ESI with an external SCSI cable so that it used the internal HDD for sample storage and I used to use Wavelab to transfer the samples directly to the ESI.
Just had to remember to click No each time I booted the computer up and it asked me if I wanted to format the SCSI HDD so it could use it!!
zedius
Well, as a follow up, I've now got a working SCSI CD-ROM drive and a bunch of sample CDs, as well as a SCSI hard drive and external enclosure, many SCSI cables some of which I use and some of which are extra junk I bought, and a PC card so when I set up a PC I can maaaaybe transfer files.

All in all the extra junk probably cost me $100.00 - so $200 for the full kit. I guess that's not too bad.

The next step I hope to get to at some point is to write my own translator. I wrote my own translator for sysex files; I'm hoping I can use a similar process to write my own translator for .wav to emu whatever the hell it is. I've got some research to do smile
10011001
a new translator would be cool
Dude163
yea ! keep us in the loop!
Dude163
ANy news? my usb Zip drive works great, but I cant get the files over to my PC< I fear Ill have to keep looking for a SCSI CD or HDD
splitpoint
if you don't like translator you can use emxp to convert e-mu samples to wave format or sf2 and some other formats. It can be found here:

http://www.emxp.net/
Dude163
Ok thanks Ill give that a try , are there any sysex editors for the ESI series of samplers?
Dude163
just a quick bump as I finally received a SCSI card that will work in my modern PC , is the best way to setup a sampler , by adding a Hard drive too? or just use software on my PC?
StoneLaw
I had an esi-4000 back in the day (or should I say still do but haven't fired it up in ten or so years). I needed a computer-free sampler solution for my live band and was looking into putting a cf drive into it, but then found someone on craigslist selling an E6400 with cf drive and hard drive for $100 and went with it.

I love it! Booting up does take some time which is a drag, but samples will load pretty fast. I have it set so it loads a specific bank when i turn the machine on, so all i have to do is turn it on and it's all set. The machine takes like 2 minutes to turn on and get past the splash screen, and then 12 seconds to load my average-sized bank (lots of minute-long individual samples but no multisamples.)
StoneLaw
I also agree about the awesome filters, rock solid performance (i only had one sample get corrupted and it was because someone tripped over the sampler while it was saving) and great sound. (I've been more of an akai dude but I would agree that the akai sound is a bit duller.)
Dude163
What do you use for Samples Stonelaw? or did yo just make your own?
cowudders
hello, i'm new around here, mainly because i got a simple doepfer system with a microbrute and now i'm asking about samplers ... d'oh!

last month i got a stupendous deal on an esi-4000 turbo, plugged it in, it's here to stay. sounds really different to exs & kontakt, much more to my ears than some analog emulations to the real analog synths. got also out my e64 again - from now on it's the emus & kontakt.

does anybody know of a good source for the 72 pin low profile simms? i think they must not be EDO?

this board is a nice place, btw!

thanks & cheers,
bernd
Dude163
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/64MB-Low-profile-LP-EDO-SIMM-non-Parity-72p-Mem ory-RAM-72pin-16x32-60ns-SSOP-/121410724336
StoneLaw
Dude163 wrote:
What do you use for Samples Stonelaw? or did yo just make your own?


Sometimes I sample records or just individually sample hits from sample packs for my own music, but for my band I sample mosty modular stuff I've made. Long droney doodles for between songs, pads with arpeggios, little noise bursts and efx..mainly one shot hits that fill out a song. I also play an ms 20 so I can get a lot of great sounds but sometimes it's hard to get one drastically different sound in the middle of a song without a sampler. I have it in an ikea rast with a tiny battery powered midi keyboard, and the top of the rast, top of the sampler, and keyboard all have Velcro so they keyboard stays put on top of the case or nestled in the case. I'm pretty rough on the sampler but no issues yet!

It's kind of a pain to edit butnit's pretty powerful. I have all sorts of mono voice groups going on do that I have a key with no samples that mutes sounds if I accidentally hit a long one during a song. As with pretty much all samplers, I mostly sample audio from the computer and don't really transfer samples. With samplers I tend to only sample what I need for a song rather than making banks of every sound I have.
cowudders
Dude163 wrote:
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/64MB-Low-profile-LP-EDO-SIMM-non-Parity-72p-Mem ory-RAM-72pin-16x32-60ns-SSOP-/121410724336


thanks! so EDO is ok? great.
exeterdown
I love my EMU ESI4000 - Sounds great.

However, I got a huge bunch of old Zip disks in a trade and I can load most of them into a USB Zip drive and see the old MPC files on my computer but when I try to format them the ESI4K comes up with a SCSI error.

Anyone know if I got a bad batch of disks or if there's something wrong with the sampler? I don't want to risk damaging the rest of the disks but I only have one useable one at the moment.
de_raaf
hi
bought an emu esi4000 trubo, with maxed memory and an external harddrive a few days ago for 120 euro, pretty ok price i think
, still needs to arrive
looking forward to it
probably will have some questions soon
no experience with racksamplers, so this the first one
m0rb1d
A friend gave me an E-mu Esi-32 a few years ago and I never tried using it until yesterday and I am completely blown away. I'm just using it to destroy samples in interesting ways and some of the sounds that come out of it are jaw dropping. I just record whatever I want to mangle into the 1/4" inputs on the back and go from there. Having lots of fun triggering it with the Machine Drum as well.
Found a new wormhole to go down!

[s]http://soundcloud.com/insergent/max-headrom-belltones-esi32[/s]
 [s]http://soundcloud.com/insergent/headpain-esi32[/s]
[s]http://soundcloud.com/insergent/everything-is-perfect-esi32[/s]
 [s]http://soundcloud.com/insergent/max-headrom-ae-esi32[/s]
exeterdown
Just upgraded mine with a compact flash reader. So happy I don't have to deal with Zips any more.
motovilo
Hi folks, I just upgraded my ESI-4000 up to 128MB )
The next step is to replace encoder, display and install SCSI card reader )))
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