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Microphone Month 5

EMU PK-6 Review

The PK-6 is a deep and powerful synthesizer...

Let me start by saying that I own a couple of other pieces of EMU gear – including a sampler and an older Proteus+/Orchestral module – and, being a fan of their products, I was excited to check out this latest addition to the Proteus line. I set it up the EMU PK-6 in my home studio and put it through its paces.

The PK-6 combines the soundset of the Proteus with a full function 61 note controller keyboard at an extremely reasonable price. I can see this being a good choice for someone buying their first professional keyboard and looking for a versatile, high quality soundset, or anyone who may be considering investing in EMU sound modules, and would like to get a new MIDI controller in the bargain. Right out of the box, the PK-6 features 640 factory presets that are categorized for easy navigation, with 512 user preset locations to store your own mutations that you can create with a variety of editing and real time controls within the powerful synth architecture. With three expasion slots for EMU sound ROMs, this keyboard can grow with your needs and provide any of the full range of sounds that EMU offers in their stand alone modules, from the Mo’Phatt to the Planet Earth, the B3, or even the two card Virtuoso2000 orchestral set.

The PK-6 features EMU’s Super Beats mode, which incorporates a 16 track playback only sequencer with percussion and instrument riffs that you can turn the individual parts on and off via a set of sixteen multipurpose selector buttons. This is great fun for jamming along with, or adding to your recording. These same buttons can be set up to provide a set of favorite sounds that can be recalled quickly, or to jump directly to specific menu pages while in the editing mode.

I like arpeggiators, and the PK-6 offers more types than I’ve seen on any unit to date, with the ability to run sixteen (one per MIDI channel) simultaneously. Besides the standard up, down, up/down, in/out etc. varieties based on various note values, there are an additional 200 factory preset arpeggiator patterns with specific rhythmic qualities, and 100 user locations to create and store your own.

The PK-6 is a deep and powerful synthesizer, too. Featuring EMU’s Z-Plane filter technology, and four real-time controller knobs that can be assigned to any of four banks of controller destinations, I found the programming to be intuitive and rewarding.

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