Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

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Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:46 pm

Hi everyone,

I've recently got my hands on an ESI-32 sampler and for the life of me I can't get it to play back sounds.. however I realize these units were not exactly intuitive.

I've been through the manual and followed the example on how to get a sample and it didn't seem to work.. i'm trying to figure out if the unit is bad or if I'm just really missing something fundamental.

I made a video of the steps I go through to help anyone see.. my first goal is to simply get the audition button to work as I believe it's suppose to work.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h5b7wppweeo7o ... 0.MOV?dl=0

Thanks!
Caleb

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by madtheory » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:27 am

Verify that the thing is working by loading a preset from the floppy and triggering it over MIDI.

IIRC you press audition and then the number/text key pad becomes a chromatic music key pad. But I don't know if that was implemented in OS 2.1? You need 3.02 to use SCSI and the effects.

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:24 am

i was able to load some patches from akai cd's on an external scsi cd rom i have but no sounds seemed to come from that either via midi.. i would assume those are fairly configured.. and from what i can tell pushing the "trigger" button which is suppose to activate the keypad notes didn't seem to do anything either..

i'd not mind upgrading the rom image, but i'd like to know the thing can at least play back a sound in 2.x :) because as far as I can tell the upgrade is $100.. more than the cost of the sampler..

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by madtheory » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:50 am

Hmmm sounds bad. But Akai import is not 100% perfect. To be absolutely sure, try that floppy- I'm assuming it's the ESI32 disk, yes?

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:49 pm

the disk in there is a formated disk.. there was a system disk that it came with but as far as I can tell it wasn't loading anything from it.. just a quick couple of "read" sounds and it would stop..

I don't think it had any sounds on it.. but what I did do was save a sample to the disk and all that worked.. and i can load that sample back again from that disk but no sound.

yes loading from the akai s1000 cd was successful.. no errors at least.. and i know they work because i've loaded the same disk into my Peavey SP sampler and the banks worked...

Midi lights flicker when i hit keys and I know i can set ranges for sound or transpose so i know midi info is getting into the system..

is there any kind of backup battery in these? i didn't see any batteries.. but maybe that would be an easy fix if there was one in it.

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by synthroom » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:56 am

I'm new to the whole ESI scene - but I think I remember that when you import Akai samples, you need to check the key range and make sure it's set properly.

Also, I don't think the ESI needs a boot disk. The OS is in the ROM.

Can you sample anything into it and then play that back?

Is it a Turbo model? Do you have the extra outputs on the back to check the audio outs? Do the headphone outs work? What about the sub-outs on the back?
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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:48 am

any input is helpful at this point.. so yea importing akai samples.. i'll have to check it out.. i would think that it would import the mappings of keys and such out of the box.. not very useful if you do.. but at least that would explain something.. so any tips on how i would check the key range?

yea i'm 99% sure the boot disk is not needed either.. loads up just fine without any disk in it.. when it read it it didn't "read" it i'm pretty sure.. more of a "ok yea there is disk in there"

yes I can sample in as best i can tell. there is "something" in the memory.. you can see how many seconds that thing is that i recorded.. you can hear the sound coming through as i sample so signal is getting the system.. but i cannot in any way get any kind of playback.. i would assume the audition button (as it says in the instructions) to hear the original sample.. like in the edit mode where you can truncate the sample.. otherwise how would you know what it sounds like..

it's not the turbo as far as i can tell.. it has scsi and digitial i/o (the optional cards) and a main stereo out and an aux.. but maybe that is the turbo? but yea headphones and outs sound the same.. sound goes through when sampling / previewing.. but when the moment of truth (play a sample back afterwards) nothing happens..

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by madtheory » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:32 am

What does the label on the floppy say? There was a set of basic sounds included on a floppy with these machines. And it's not an OS disk, that's on two little chips under the effects board. I think at this point, if the floppy has not been wiped, it's the only way to reliably test that the machine is playing presets properly. I wrote this article a few years ago, you can get the diagnostics mode from it. It's for the 2000/4000 so not certain if it works for 32, but give it a shot:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec01/a ... emuesi.asp

Diagnostics Mode
If you hit the '0' key in the Special section of the Master Module, you can gain access to a special diagnostics mode. You need to enter a 'magic code', which is 1358. Particularly useful here is the function which allows you to generate a 1kHz or 19kHz sine-wave tone on all outputs...

The effects board makes it turbo, but you should have OS 3.02 in there for 100% reliable SCSI.

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:08 pm

yea hitting "0" in master mode doesn't do anything in the esi.. the first option in that mode is 1...

but yea while i can see updating the OS being good, i can't invest any money into it if i can't get 2.1 to play back samples.. I'm returning it to the owner who has been kind enough to refund the money. local buy so no shipping mess..

still bummed about it.. but no sampler should be this unintuitive if it is in fact working :) I'm sure it's the playback.. I found a thread the other day with someone who had a working unit he owned that one day stopped working and did the exact same thing.. no playback but you could hear sound going through it from external source.. https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electro ... -help.html

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by seamonkey » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:43 pm

I still have my Emu ESI-32 Sampler, but used it only for a little bit before getting my Emax, and Emulator EII.
I watched your video, and for one thing when it reads sampling overload, it means you've overloaded the signal coming in to the ESI.
You should be able to access the sampling menu and set the sampling rate, level and how long. Length can be up to 17.? seconds if I remember. You should be able to watch the meter on the menu screen as you adjust the level.
If I'm sampling across a 61 key keyboard I'd sample 5 x at 3 seconds each so I can get a good loop, and then trim them off.
I also believe there is a small trim pot in the rear, if not, you have to do it from the menu.

I assume you don't have a manual, which goes into great detail on the procedure for sampling.
I may have one here, we recently moved and I still have some of my studio equipment and misc stuff in boxes.
I'll look around to see if it's here, and then I can refresh my memory and let you know the procedure.
It's kind of convoluted, but once you get it figured out, it really is very easy and intuitive to sample.

Here is a link to a site, that will give you at least some technical information about your ESI32.
http://synthark.com/synthesizer-museum/ ... ers/esi32/

If you want to upgrade to the 3.02 OS, you have to install 2 of these IC Prog PROM LSB V3.02 ESI
They are/or were available at EPR Electronics in Fl. It's a very simple process to extract the old ones and install the new ones. I do recommend as they do, picking up the extractor tool to remove the old ones from the board. It's quite inexpensive. This OS also allows you to import ESI2000 and ESI4000 samples.
I would call first to check availability, their site doesn't list them as Out of Stock, so that's a good sign.
They list at $14.58USD a piece. Keep in mind, you don't need that OS, it just gives you more stability and options.
http://www.eprelectronics.com/store/car ... l=&sortBy=
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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:01 pm

awesome thanks for the input! yea the upgrade i think runs like $100.. which i can't justify if i can't confirm the thing works in the first place.. there is no reason i should have to buy a rom upgrade to get it to work.. i'm pretty sure that 2.1 roms supported sample playback :)

yea i turned down the sample volume and that sample overload issue. I figured that was it, but at the time the synth was out of reach to set volume and i didn't think to turn down the gain in the unit (the gain is controlled in the sample setup section)

i do have the pdf version of the manual and followed it as best as I could and yea no playback with the audition button.. i'm pretty sure this thing is simply broken.. it's just say to see it work in apparently every other way.. I think the seller will do well with it selling it for parts..

Following the steps when I hit audition is pretty much (if I read the manual right) when you should hear the sample play back.. i can't possibly fathom that audition would work any other way.. after all you're in sample mode.. you surely would be able to hear the current sample at any time to be sure it's ok.. you would need to be able to audition the sound as you truncate the sample.. clip it and then listen to it.. etc..

bummer.. :P would have been a sweet deal if it worked.

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by seamonkey » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:21 pm

the only other thing I can think of is, if for some reason the sample is not actually being sampled, then of course you would have a blank sample and even if you use trigger, nothing will sound.
Again, I'm trying to work from memory, but if you sample did indeed sample, it should how much memory it used.
Even if it runs the entire 17 seconds, if it didn't eat up any memory it should read 0 bytes used in your memory.

When do you need to return the item?
If you can, wait a couple of days, maybe someone like Hideawaystudios is familiar with the ESI, and give you a better explanation.
Don't give up hope yet? ;)
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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:28 pm

yea there is definitely a "Recording" in there.. it takes up space in memory.. and we know that sound is coming through the device and the signal meter is dancing around so the digital part of the chip is recognizing sound. So while i'm not 100% certain sound is in there since i can't hear it.. all signs indicate that a recording is in there and one that should make sound.. when i hit audition i don't hear any "hiss" or indication that any sound is being attempted.. it's pure silence..

Yea I applied for an Emu user group on yahoo I hope to hear from them.. but its been a few days.. might not be very active or regularly monitored. if someone can shed some light on it that would be great! I'll keep trying if advice keeps coming in! :) I'm just running out of things to try and like i was saying.. seeing that thread where someone who knows how his device should work is having the exact same problem.. it feels like this could be suffering the same fate..

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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by synthroom » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:06 pm

Perhaps it's a special Depeche Mode Edition, the "Enjoy the Silence" model...

If you have the digital I/O on the extra board that fits in the back, then you have a Turbo model. The Turbo board could have been added as an upgrade and then there would be no marking on the front panel stating it was a "Turbo".

Have you tried the system reset and the memory test routines in the Master Mode /Special section? Reseating Memory chips? Reseating Turbo board?

If all else fails, look for a ESI-2000 or ESI-4000. They are dirt cheap and can do a lot!
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Re: Could use help figuring out this Emu ESI-32 Sampler

Post by part12studios » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:56 pm

lol nice one :)

yea it has the scsi and digital i/o cards.. the check out as best i can tell.. i did disconnect the i/o card to see if that helped. i never reset the scsi.. when i got it, it did seem like all audio was pointing to the digital side.. i kept thinking.. oh there we go.. now it should work.. but still nothing would happen.

first it was the sampler part.. it wanted to digitize samples from digital.. i corrected that so i could hear sound coming in.. then i went to playback and digital out was selected.. this too was corrected (which before meant even the sample preview sound through was not working)..

i went and disconnected the i/o card thinking that might reset things but it didn't seem to matter.. it booted up without i/o card and still no sound was going on.. i must admit that's always been a suspicion of mine.. that maybe it's possible that sample playback is being routed to digital i/o... but i can't find a menu option that i haven't already explored that would fix that.. i might have to give it another look this afternoon.

it sounds like a silver bullet, but also i did remove the memory as well so it only had the 1mb default memory.. instead of the 32mb.. but with or without it seems to be the same.

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