EMU released the original Emax in 1985 when the price of a good digital sampler started to become more affordable and within reach of the average musician. It was also one of the first digital samplers to use the 3.5 inch floppy disks which were starting to replace those old 5.1/4 floppy's that samplers and computers were using at the time. It's sound is very similar to the EMU SP1200 and many people still use it for it's grainy low-fi sound that is perfect for rap of hip hop tracks. The Emax is a 12-bit sampler when playing back samples. However, only 8 bits were used to store each sample and that accounts for it's unique sound.
Several versions of the Emax were released up until 1995 when EMU discontinued them. The original was available as a keyboard or rackmount. An updated "Emax SE" (Synthesis Enhanced) version included a fantastic synthesizer which enables you to create and edit your own sounds, similar to an analog synthesizer. The "Emax HD" featured a "humongous" 20 Meg hard drive which was a big improvement over the tiny 512KB memory that was standard on all the Emax models. Later versions included the ability to install a SCSI kit which let you connect to an external hard drive. Finally in 1989 the "Emax-2" was released which added several new features including a built in sequencer and 16 bit sampling. The Emax-2 also had a "turbo" version which included eight megs of memory and stereo sampling and a 4MB hard drive.
The EMU Emax-2 and Emax-2 Rackmount
If your just getting into digital samplers and on a budget, an original Emax or Emax-2 is worth looking into. You can probably pick one up for a couple of hundred US dollars on Ebay. I've also seen them in pawn shops for even less. For the low cost your getting a great sampler then you can use to explore the world of sampling.
One of the drawbacks on the Emax is that you needed to load in the operating system from a floppy disk in order to boot up the machine. Without the OS the Emax you can't start up the machine. Note that all of our Emax sample disks have the Emax-1 operating system included on them. All sounds come on "double sided/double density" floppy disks which are nearly impossible to find these days so you have come to the right place if your Emax is dead and needs the OS and some double sided floppys to get it running again.
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