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Help with E-Mu ESI 32 Sampler!

Posted: Sun May 03, 2020 2:32 am
by mrfixmrfix

I recently purchased an E-Mu ESI 32 sampler, and it seems to be in perfect functioning order (and in pretty decent shape,) except I can't get a sample to play back.

There was another thread on this very same problem a while back, and the user figured it out themselves by re-calibrating the volume. When I get to this setting, I can't seem to adjust anything...the min/max volumes are both set to +143. This is strange, because every other menu seems fine, and all the buttons/knobs seem fully functional otherwise.

I've verified that the sampler is getting audio input, and, like the other thread, I also get audio input when sampling, and it seems to do all the correct post-sample processing (normalization, etc). Additionally, the sampler's hard drive shows that the samples I record are taking up space, so EVERYTHING seems to be working aside from the sound.

Also, the 'midi' light is recognizing the devices I connect...I've tried an Akai MPD26, a Microkorg, and an Ensoniq ESQ-1 (unfortunately the LED is broken on the Akai, so I can't pick the 'Akai' setting, but it's recognizing the input.) The midi light seems to line up with the audio of what I've sampled, which was voices.

I've been through all the other settings (VCA, LFO, Midi channel settings) to make sure there weren't any weird presets left. I've also pretty heavily skimmed the manual at this point, to see what the zero settings were for all the functions. The only thing I've NOT tried is loading a sample from a floppy, because the sampler got here before the floppies I ordered, ha. I should be able to try this by Monday, but everything indicates I should be able to hear samples without one.

Is the problem I'm experiencing ONLY because of that volume re-calibration thing? If so, why would only that section on the menu not be allowing me to adjust the settings?

If anyone has advice, I'd greatly appreciate it! And thanks for all the tips on the previous thread, because that's where I started!

Re: Help with E-Mu ESI 32 Sampler!

Posted: Sun May 03, 2020 6:51 pm
by mrfixmrfix
UPDATE: After hearing a rattle inside, I opened the machine up, and found that two three-pin connector wires were completely disconnected...both leading to the volume pot. After trying different configurations (I'm not an electronic guy lol....wouldn't know what the numbers on the circuit board meant) It seems that one of the wires isn't working. With both plugged in, I'm unable to control the volume calibration. I found a combination of using one plug which allows me to control it, but the settings are WAY off, and they jump, it's not a smooth pot. Still works, though.

So, now, I'm wondering why this is happening? And why both of those connectors would be unplugged anyhow? It also looked like the factory seal hadn't been broken, and it's not the type of plug that could come undone by took some real work to get it plugged back.

Is this a matter of replacing the three-pin connector? Or, am I 'good enough' now? I also don't know if these connectors would control anything BESIDES the seems not, but I'm not sure!

Anyhow, if anybody takes the time to respond, I greatly appreciate it! Either way, I'm excited to have some sort of functionality from this machine.

Re: Help with E-Mu ESI 32 Sampler!

Posted: Sun May 03, 2020 7:31 pm
by madtheory
Get a multimeter and test the continuity of the connectors. You can see from these pictures which way around the connector is supposed to go:

My guess is they've been messed with because the Turbo board was removed from yours?

Re: Help with E-Mu ESI 32 Sampler!

Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 4:48 pm
by mrfixmrfix
Thanks so much for your response! These pics are definitely helpful...Mine looked virtually identical on the inside to the ESI 32 diagram, except those two plugs were undone. The turbo board is what you'd need to run a SPDIF connection instead of analog, correct? The seller said all connections, including the SCSCI port, were functional. I don't have SPDIF so I didn't bother testing it, but I would guess you are right about the board being removed, as it seems pretty common to see only those for sale on eBay.

I'm also definitely going to invest in a multimeter (finally) because I have so much half-working 90's hardware now it's ridiculous.

Re: Help with E-Mu ESI 32 Sampler!

Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 8:31 pm
by madtheory
Cool, so it's working now? Great. Turbo board adds S/Pdif yes, and also effects. I liked the distortion, it's a diode clipper (model) and the delay was neat, you could change the delay time in real time (by going in to edit it, not assignable to a cc unfortunately) and it would glitch nicely. Probably worth about €50 max now? What do they go for on ebay?

S/Pdif was handy as the ADC has a DC offset and the grounding was not so good, so there was always a little buzz. But much better is to send in samples via SMDI. The thing still gives that warm Emu sound via S/Pdif (that's all in the way Dave Rossum tuned the anti-aliasing filters for the transposing).