Emu esi 4000 sampler ? Any good?

A pal of mine found an e-mu esi4000 turbo sampler locally for 100 bucks. It is upgraded to 128 mb ram and has 9 extra disks of samples ( emulator and proteus )

Are they worth getting anymore ?

Definitely. Good filters, great user interface, silent (no fan). Worth getting for 100 bucks if it is actually the Turbo version.

Vote for buy ! Outperforms easily an Akai S6000 when it comes to synth functions. Not really good as drum sampler, as Akai stuff was always tighter, but with loops in an EMU and filtering you will have a lot of fun. For 100 bucks definetely a steal, in this configuration more likely a double steal. At least worth 300 bucks in Turbo version.

hmm, i wonder if it has any drum kits sampled into it , can you also use it as an effects processor? or does it only process the samples?

( I guess the fix then is to sample what I want and use the effects :P)

from his ad:

"You are looking at an EMU ESI-4000 sampler. This is the Turbo version. 128mb of RAM loaded and the Turbo means it has FX outputs. Very cool sounding sampler.

I have about 9 Zip disks (yes you can still buy spare Zip disks the Computer Exchange) worth of samples. Emulator and Proteus stuff.

Come by and hear it!"

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In my opinion drum kits are not the way to go. I used my Emu with drum loops made with my Xbase or MPC and mangled them through the filter and fx section and used a midi controller as the Doepfer Pocket Control to MIDI CC some functions (Envelope, LFO, starting offset…)in live performances. Man, i don’t know how you get it managed to get always such offers for good gear. In Germany people would be willing to kill for them ! Especially me, hehe…

Definitely worth it, I’d say! The 4000 version had the turbo and SCSI boards as standard, I think. That gives 2x 24 bit FX processors, plus an extra 2 stereo audio out pairs and S/PDIF digital I/O, plus a range of extra filters in addition to the very good 4-pole lowpass from the earlier ESI samplers. The only word of warning I’d say is that dealing with floppy disks is a pain, and I found them very unreliable, with my original ESI-32. I may have just had a faulty unit, mind you. Generally though, I’ve always loved the sound of the ESI, particularly the very good resonant filters. The modulation options are also impressive.

Sounds like a bargain to me!


One more slight negative: the audio inputs on the original ESI-32 added a largish DC offset to anything recorded with them. There was an offline DC offset correction tool, but the initial offset effectively limits the volume samples can be recorded at, which means you can never make use of the full 16 bits of theoretical sample resolution. I didn’t find this out until long after I bought mine. Anyway, I tended to sample at relatively low bandwidth settings, to limit the number of floppy disks I had to use (saving, and especially reloading banks of samples used to be quite nail-biting, as I recall), so I never really noticed the limitation in practice.

The original hardware problem may have been fixed in later ESI models, but I guess it’s something to be aware of, if you’re expecting pristine audio quality. Conversely, if you’re expecting 8-bit crunchiness, this machine won’t deliver.


  • with the disks and the library you instantly will sound like trevor horn in his best days - the famous EMU sound at your fingertips. Time to pull out my E4x from the storage and sample some glasses and cans, i feel so industrial atm :wink:

thanks all!

nightworxx, Im retired so spend all my time browsing sites and ads for deals , been a good month so far!Tone Thanks for the detailed info
@FCD I was hoping to be Stephen Lipson on p-machinery!

then you need a ppg and a synclavier…

In the Netherlands samplers are really cheap. Nobody wants them anymore, everybody uses computers for sampling. Here is one up for grabs for 90 euro’s

90 Bucks WTF ??? And nobody buys this ?

There is 2000’s for sale for about the same price too… I had a TX16W for sale for 50 euro for about a year until i decided to give it away for free… Here is a 2000 on the local ‘ebay’ with no bids for 20 days…
But this site works different then ebay… by bidding there is no obligation for the buyer or seller… it’s just a way of showing interest.

Same here. Apart from applying effects, filtering and extreme transpose, nobody wants to deal with SCSI, ancient Recycle, floppies, proprietary memory etc. If you don’t ADHD-out from how tedious they are to work with you probably use them for some specific effect already. Old Akais, Emus, Yamaha samplers and Rolands go really cheap here too.

Then again, they have that special sound…

I got my E4x for 125€…

I am getting sick of all this endless VST/AU/TDM stuff. A software sampler is really flexible and genius if you use orchestral libraries or want to route your audio signals to death, but in a liveset they are sucking on valuable resources. And yes, a good hardware sampler as an EMU, AKAI or Kurzweil surely got his own sound.

You can get floppy emulators and other cool stuff to make samplers more reliable and practical.

I got maxed out AKAI S3000XL for $170, replaced floppy drive with SCSI CF card reader (works just like internal HDD that you can replace in a second), fixed dead back light and dug out a bag of old AKAI CDs from the closet, and use it for drums and effect sounds. I’m seriously considering investing in effects board for it (goes for about the same price as sample these days). Go figure.

I did the floppy emulator trick on my K5000s, the Kurzweil K2000 I got for free from a friend is about to experience that mod soon. Hafta get a SCSI CF for the XV-5080 too.

That said, I fear the Kurz. Need to research what RAM it needs, Pram and all that jazz…

In Japan there are stores where they have samplers stacked up , just pick one up, it’s yours for free…