But is it a fine Vintage, or past its best? The Vintage Pro is a 1U rack module from Emu that aims to offer you access to a range of sounds from various renowned vintage keyboards and synths. Based on the highly successful Proteus as with all of Emu's recent rack modules , it features real-time control knobs, 32 MIDI-channel operation and voice polyphony. Photo: Mike Cameron I'm always highly dubious of the term 'pro' when applied to any hi-tech item, be it hardware or software. My experiences have led me to the conclusion that anything termed 'pro' usually isn't!
Moo Bass Pad: Moog 55 OB Wave 4 I'd suggest, however, that this is hardly likely to be a problem in practice! Snap Keys Drum Kit 04 Bass Gtr 06 ChorusGuitar BGtr3 4Split B3 Wave 4
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Emu vintage keyboard with the Vintage Pro's voice polyphony, this should keep all but the most power-hungry users happy. Excellent filters. If you work for another hi-tech manufacturer and you are simply skimming this review, then read the following sentence twice! One neat option returns the beat to the start of the sequence on a key-press, but I felt this was spoiled by a lack of responsiveness. To add some spice to the mix, Emu have also added a number of Modulation Processors to use between a modulation source and its destination. Unfortunately, there is no ability to Emu vintage keyboard Presets into more than one category, although you can also create your own categories. Big Cartel for digital downloads? Vintwge - Kbyte about 2 seconds. Emu website no longer has anything for So it is ironic that I found the Vintage Pro to be capable of so much more than I thought it would, yet occasionally disappointing in the very area I was expecting it to Emu vintage keyboard. User Rating. Try it before you buy it, to see if its hidden depths appeal to you. Waldorf surprised everyone in when they released the Rocket synthesizer seemingly out of the blue. I have used a similar setup with my Naruto kites K and know how much neater it makes my live rig. In the context of peppering your mix with vintage synth sounds, I'd suggest it highly unlikely keyhoard you are going to run into polyphony problems.
The Vintage Keys is a digital rackmount synthesizer that emulates the sounds of classic vintage synths.
- We've already looked at some of the most affordable drum machines worth owning in a previous article, but not everyone has the space or money for one of these.
- The Emulator is a very old and classic keyboard sampler from E-mu that rocked the world in as it was truly the first affordable compact modern sampler.
- But is it a fine Vintage, or past its best?
- The Vintage Keys is a digital rackmount synthesizer that emulates the sounds of classic vintage synths.
But is it a fine Vintage, or past its best? The Vintage Pro is a 1U rack module from Emu that aims to offer you access to a range of sounds from various renowned vintage keyboards and synths. Based on the highly successful Proteus as with all of Emu's recent rack modules , it features real-time control knobs, 32 MIDI-channel operation and voice polyphony. Photo: Mike Cameron I'm always highly dubious of the term 'pro' when applied to any hi-tech item, be it hardware or software.
My experiences have led me to the conclusion that anything termed 'pro' usually isn't! But I like exceptions, and I was hoping this would be one.
I was somewhat dismayed to discover that the front panel is made of plastic. I don't know what type of plastic, so for all I'm aware it could be as tough as a riot shield, but from the way it feels, I have to say I doubt it. The styling is very much of the 'future retro' persuasion, with silver lettering behind the moulded facia reminiscent of '50s American diners and jukeboxes. Everyone that saw it during the time I had it under review liked it, so that can't be a bad thing.
The front panel closely resembles all of Emu's recent rack synth releases. From right to left across the front panel we first encounter the power button, followed by the large, clicky data-entry knob. Beyond these are the main editing buttons, which access more than one task depending on the current context.
In the centre is the 2 x 24 character backlit LCD, and to the left of the screen are the real-time control knobs. The Control button to the upper left of the control knobs determines the function of the latter; each time the button is pressed it steps through three control groupings, whereupon the parameters controlled by the four knobs changes.
An LED denotes which control group is currently active and the control assignments are printed above each knob in line with the LED. A further LED for each control knob signifies when a knob has been moved away from its default programmed value within the current Preset.
These knobs will transmit MIDI data, allowing the movements to be recorded and played back from a MIDI sequencer, or for use with a software synth, for example. The knobs can be set to provide only real-time control, or can also act as editing knobs when paging through the Vintage Pro's editing screens. To the far left of the front panel are a headphone output and volume control. If you work for another hi-tech manufacturer and you are simply skimming this review, then read the following sentence twice!
When it comes to designing their synths' power requirements, Emu have got it right — no wall-warts, no line-lumps, no hard-to-find power connectors, no captive cable that needs replacing with a soldering iron — and, most importantly, compatibility with any voltage from 90 to Volts AC at 50 or 60Hz.
In other words, if you're gigging overseas, the likelihood is that this synth can be plugged in and will simply work, straight out of the box. If Emu can do it — and they have for many years — why can't other manufacturers?
Electric pianos are represented by samples of Rhodes, Wurlitzer and a wonderfully clunky Yamaha CP70, and there are organ samples from tone-wheel Hammond, Farfisa and Vox. Other revered machines include the wonderful Mellotron and the currently in-vogue Clavinet.
There's a small number of FM sounds in there too, typically biased towards those famous electric piano and bass sounds. The analogue synth sounds are very good indeed, due in part to the excellent Emu filter.
The Oberheim synths are worthy of particular mention, capturing the spirit nicely. But I have to wonder if the guy who created the Moog Taurus preset actually had any real examples of the bass pedals to compare with, because it sounds nothing like the Taurus in my studio! The dreadful example Preset is raspy and lacking any bottom end depth, or filter movement. This, as with all of the Vintage Pro's preset failings, is mitigated to a great extent by the power of the synthesis engine, which is quite capable of turning many of the less appealing Presets into something much more to your liking with a few twists of a knob or two.
The Clavs are excellent, with all the grit and cut you'd want to expect. Variant presets offer filtered and phased versions that would keep a '70s US cop show in material for years. The Mellotron strings are very good indeed, and the brass isn't bad, but the choirs just didn't seem right to me — they suffer badly from having too few samples a criticism often levelled at Emu's old Vintage Keys module and seem fuzzy and unfocussed, despite all my attempts to edit some life into them.
The electric pianos are also marred by the use of over-obvious hard and soft switched samples, and although the Hammond organs are excellent, they represent but a small selection of the many possible Hammond sounds, and the choice may not be to your taste. On the whole, I found the most satisfying sounds to be those which didn't attempt to recreate any specific vintage machine!
I counted over percussion instruments including TR and samples , the space for which might have been put to better use improving say the Mellotron choirs or adding more velocity layers to the pianos. Maybe I'm overestimating the amount of ROM being used, but it does seem a shame nonetheless. I would imagine the reason for including the array of drum and percussion samples is that it makes the Vintage Pro more of a stand-alone machine, but I can't help feeling that this is misguided.
The Presets are arranged in banks of , and finding your way around them is made easier by the Vintage Pro's 'Sound Navigator' system. This is simply a method of categorising sounds by types, such as bass, string, pad or voice and then scrolling through the Presets that correspond to that category.
Unfortunately, there is no ability to add Presets into more than one category, although you can also create your own categories. Instruments of which more in the next paragraph are also categorised, although as these are ROM objects, they may not have their category changed. I've always enjoyed playing around with toys such as this, and I found it very inspiring to work with — not least of which because the beats will pass their data over MIDI, enabling external MIDI instruments to join in the fun too.
This is truly clever stuff, and it's capable of generating some deceptively organic rhythm sections. I was hooked for ages! A Preset may 'link' to a second Preset with which it may be layered or split across a keyboard, and each Preset may consist in turn of up to four Layers.
Layers are themselves each made up of an Instrument Emu's term for a collection of keymapped samples which passes through a Z-plane filter and an amplifier. Each active layer uses one of the Vintage Pro's voices, but may be switched or crossfaded by key position, velocity or a modulation source, such as an envelope, LFO, knob or control pedal.
The transposition, tuning, volume and pan position of each layer is also definable. Three envelopes are available, two of which are designated to act as volume and filter cutoff envelopes though they can also be used as modulation sources for other parameters , whilst the third is freely assignable.
The envelopes are six-stage types. Each instrument comes with its own factory preset volume envelope, but this can be overridden. Envelopes may be time or tempo-based; this can be a useful time-saver, since, for example, envelope times don't need shortening when you want to use a Preset in a fast tempo song.
Emu's Z-plane filter is a well-known and highly respected feature of their synths and samplers albeit one that is now a decade old in concept.
Due to the processing complexity of the 12th-order filters, the number of voices of which the Vintage Pro is capable is reduced when they are in use. I'd suggest, however, that this is hardly likely to be a problem in practice!
The filters are warm and smooth, with enough bite to make the best use of many of the analogue waveforms available. If anything, the filter is probably over-specified in the context of 'vintage synthesis', but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Two LFOs are provided. These are considerably more sophisticated than most, with a choice of 17 waveforms, ranging from simple sine, sawtooth and square waves to pulse, random and steps of musical intervals. The LFOs can be set to retrigger at a note-on command, or run freely. Speed may also be set to follow MIDI clock tempo, with a range of subdivisions down to a 32nd note.
One very appealing feature here is a 'Variation' control that creates subtle, or not-so-subtle rate changes with each key-press. This can be used to make a very rich chorusing effect that goes a long way towards recreating the warmth of many vintage synth sounds where LFO speeds would often vary by small amounts from voice to voice — I liked this effect a lot.
The Vintage Pro offers up to 24 'PatchCords' per layer, and these make understanding the synthesis engine a little trickier, although they are also where the much of the power and flexibility is to be found. The cord simply connects a modulation source to a modulation destination. Each PatchCord has its own Amount control, which is capable of passing a positive or negative modulation signal to its destination.
To add some spice to the mix, Emu have also added a number of Modulation Processors to use between a modulation source and its destination.
These processors include a summing amp which combines two modulation sources , a switch which toggles between 0 and 1 when a modulation signal passes a threshold , a diode which passes only positive modulation amounts and a lag which slows down the rate of change in modulation amounts.
In addition to the Modulation Processors contained within each Layer, two 'common' processors are also available to all the layers from the 'Preset level'.
You can run up to 32 separate arpeggiators simultaneously, each on an individual MIDI channel. This offers a great deal of flexibility and is heaps of fun. A preset can store its own programmed arpeggiator settings, or make use of those defined in the global arpeggiator page — either way, the range of controls is identical.
The arpeggiators will run to the Vintage Pro's internal clock, or from an external MIDI clock source, although each Preset can be assigned a tempo division to run at, for example triplets, or half speed.
In addition, Emu allow for pre-defined patterns of notes to be played — there are factory patterns and more which may be defined by the user. An interesting variation here is the idea of an extension count and extension interval, which simply transpose the arpeggio a number of times over a defined interval.
When set to an interval of 12 semitones, the extension count can simply be thought of as an octave range parameter, but when you consider intervals other than an octave, you can begin to imagine the musical potential of this feature.
Further arpeggiator options include a pre-delay setting where the arpeggiator is disabled for a period of time before kicking in, allowing you to play normally before holding keys down to bring the arpeggiator in. There is also a post-delay function which, in conjunction with the Duration parameter, plays normal notes after the end of a fixed-duration arpeggio. All clever stuff. It's also possible to use physical MIDI controllers to change some arpeggiator parameters, such as note interval, note length, gate time and velocity.
The Vintage Pro is no slouch in the audio connection department either. Three pairs of analogue audio outputs are provided: Main, Sub 1 and Sub 2. A little creative thought suggests that these could be pressed into service to mix in other instruments; for live use this could be a real winner. I have used a similar setup with my Kurzweil K and know how much neater it makes my live rig.
Using the Vintage Pro multitimbrally is simply a case of sending patch, volume and panning MIDI commands on any channel. But Emu do provide a Multi mode, where settings for each of the 32 channels may be stored internally. A Multisetup can then be retrieved with a MIDI program change command; 64 of these multitimbral locations are available. The volume and panning of all 32 channels can be seen at any time on a special Mix page, which, although coarse, is a useful aid when you're trying to figure out what is happening.
There are two stereo effects processors. Together they provide a very powerful addition to a single Preset, though all-too-familiar compromises have to be applied across an entire multitimbral setup.
Given that companies such as Novation and Korg have long since got around the 'effects in multitimbral mode' problem by providing effects on a per-channel basis, I am a bit disappointed with this aspect of the Vintage Pro's operation. I might also have expected each synth to be able to tap into the full range of effects, but, generally speaking, Effect A handles the reverbs, and Effect B takes care of modulation effects and delays.
The quality of the effects seemed OK to my ears, too — certainly a match for those from some dedicated effects processors. A variable amount of Effect B may be fed into Effect A. Effects can be chosen in one of three ways: from within a Preset so that the effects are specific to that preset , from within the Master Effects section in which case the same effects apply to any Preset, whether in single Preset or multitimbral mode or from within a Preset chosen on a specific MIDI channel when in multitimbral mode.
This review could easily become a three-part series, as all of Emu's recent rack synths have had plenty in the way of synthesis capabilities, but as most of the features they all share have been covered in previous reviews, I'll draw things to a close here, pausing only to refer you back to the original SOS Proteus review, and that of its larger relative, the Proteus see SOS March and March , respectively.
According to E-mu, there are over 30 classic keyboards from ARP to Yamaha within the sample-based ROM of the Vintage Pro for easy and authentic recreation and emulation of these sounds. Maybe I'm overestimating the amount of ROM being used, but it does seem a shame nonetheless. My experiences have led me to the conclusion that anything termed 'pro' usually isn't! The envelopes are six-stage types. VSE Rating.
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The SY is a digital…. Rocket Synthesizer. Waldorf surprised everyone in when they released the Rocket synthesizer seemingly out of the blue.
It is a compact mono synth with an affordable price tag that was designed for analog…. Back in the early s, Korg unveiled their KR keytar to set keyboardists free from their static rigs, so that they could frolic around on stage like guitarists. It meant that musicians could…. Korg released the TR in as part of the range that superseded their LE series.
It is a traditional looking keyboard workstation that weighs about 21kg, which isn't bad for a weighted keyboard…. The Vintage Pro takes the concepts from the Vintage Keys and packages it in another great single-space rack module with the same features and capabilities as E-mu's Proteus , Virtuoso , Orbit 3 , and Turbo Phatt sound modules. It comes full of classic synthesizer sounds of the '60's, '70's and '80's. According to E-mu, there are over 30 classic keyboards from ARP to Yamaha within the sample-based ROM of the Vintage Pro for easy and authentic recreation and emulation of these sounds.
The sounds it ships with are from the brand-new "Classic Keyboards" sound-set, offering you 1, presets 1, ROM, user. You can shape and edit these sounds with over synthesis parameters per preset! There are E-mu's expressive multi-mode resonant filters on-board, plus four real-time controls allow you to access any of up to 12 parameters, giving you instant control over your sounds right from the front-face of the module.
You'll also find two sets of extra outputs, digital output and another MIDI port as well. Current E-mu sound modules ship with one 32 MB sound-set each, but are expandable up to MB via three additional slots for 32 MB expansion cards.
E-mu Vintage Pro. VSE Rating. User Rating. Check Prices. Emu Vintage Pro Owners Preset syn: OB-Xa is close
E-MU Vintage Keys Keyboard - EMU Mania
The Vintage Keys is a digital rackmount synthesizer that emulates the sounds of classic vintage synths. It has a lot of modulation capabilities which are all real-time and MIDI controllable. It does, however, have the typical brittle digital sound quality usually associated with digital sound modules, but it still makes nice pads, punchy bass and cool filter swept leads and works great for background synth sounds.
The Vintage Keys Plus was released in Memory patches were also increased to slots. Images from Perfect Circuit Audio. E-mu Vintage Keys.
VSE Rating. User Rating. Check Prices. Emu Vintage Keys - SysEx I've been struggling to get it to Read more Emu vintage keys I have an original emu vintage keys. Recently it started playing up, Emu Vintage keys module Just got a Vintage keys module off ebay and the user presets From initializing no doubt.
Emu website no longer has anything for View the discussion thread. Emu Vintage Keys Plus Demo. Manual Download the original owners manual here. LFO - Yes, with lots of modulation sources and destinations. Filter - Lowpass. Keyboard - None. Memory - patches.
Plus model has patches. Control - MIDI. E-mu Home Page.