“For sale is this fantastic Emulator II classic 8-bit sampler, upgraded to an inbuilt HxC drive in addition to the 5-inch floppy. It comes complete with a full library of hundreds of disks in HxC format (the entire Emulator factory library plus both volumes of the stunning OMI Universe of Sounds collection, plus some oddities).
The Emulator is for many people THE defining keyboard of the 80s. It made its way onto countless chart hits and helped to nail the sound of a generation. The combination of 8-bit samples and clever, companding 12-bit convertors gave it a weight and authority that still seats the sounds instantly in a mix. For strings and orchestral sounds there’s a definite larger-than-life quality, while synths and basses benefit from the sheer heft of the machine’s low-end. It’s a dream to play and listen to
This unit has been overhauled and repaired and is in generally excellent working order. It’s been upgraded with the hugely useful HxC mod, in a proper 5.25” housing (rather than a clunky stuck-on-the-front-panel job like some I’ve seen on eBay recently!) which holds hundreds of disk images on an SD card. The EII comes with a huge library of hundreds of sounds (actually, I think it’s well over a thousand), all of which load up sweetly without the risk of damaged or erased disks. This is a treasure trove of classic patches which have graced an awful lot of hits – you can play “spot the Top Ten song” with many of them.
Operationally the EII is in perfect working order with one small caveat: some of the pushbuttons sometimes need a couple of presses to get them to trigger. The most affected is the Sample button, which clearly got a lot of use back in the day; sometimes I have to press it two or three times to get it to engage. Most of the day-to-day buttons, like the numerical keypad and the Disk button – both of which you use regularly to load patches – are fine though, so it’s only if you’re doing your own sampling that you’re likely to notice this; and then it’s a minor annoyance rather than a serious fault. I’ve done plenty of sampling with the keyboard and it’s never really been an issue. The sliders, the backlight, the pots etc are all fine (and have indeed been cleaned and serviced – see “Service History” below).
Sampling, incidentally, works brilliantly and sounds fantastic. You can of course use the EII as a library machine, but if you roll your sleeves up the sampling is (a) really easy to do, (b) brilliant sounding and (c) really good fun. Just stick a mic in the back and you’re good to go!
All eight voice cards are working perfectly, the 5.25” floppy drive is clean and functions (so you can access any files on actual floppies and easily transfer them to the HxC drive for archiving and future-proofing), the output is clean; basically everything is great
The EII is in generally good condition, but not pristine. There are some chips, marks and dings which you can see in the photos. These are all minor. The EII chassis is steel but the housing is powder-coated plastic, which makes respraying it pretty much impossible; but if the marks bother you, you could mix a paint to match using something like Humbrol modelling enamels and touch them in by hand. (I meant to do this myself but never got round to it.) The collar nut for the mix output is missing (but could easily be replaced and doesn’t affect functionality).
The important printed panel is clean and scuff-free (see pics), all slider caps and button caps are present and correct.
The “Save Ferris” sticker is vinyl and can be easily removed (though why would you want to?!)
The EII was bought from America in July 2014 (though it’ll run fine on UK voltage; it’s switchable). On arrival it was overhauled and serviced by Ben Rossborough of Cyberwave EMS, who checked pots and sliders, replaced one voice board that was misbehaving, and replaced the highest and lowest keys on the keyboard, both of which were damaged (these keys are notoriously damage-prone in EIIs because they stick up above the level of the protective ends of the keyboard). So the EII is now restored to full and correct operation. Since then it’s been in a smoke-free home environment and has been very carefully maintained.” Link