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Microphone Month


This instrument, designed and manufactured by E-MU, is deserving of Word for the Day status simply because it was the very first digital sampler that didn’t cost more than a Rolls-Royce. The 1981 ad campaign asked, “How would you like to play a turkey?” Other sounds were mentioned, including dogs, violins, and voices. Most people don’t realize that E-MU began its corporate life building modular synthesizers in 1972, before ultimately moving into the lead in the development of digital samplers – at least of the affordable kind. The original Emulator was available in 4- or 8-voice versions, with a 4-octave keyboard and a whopping 128K of sample RAM, which was huge for those days. Every 8-bit sample was fixed at two seconds in length and samples were loaded into the 80-pound Emulator via large 5-1/4″ floppy disks. Serial number 001 was shipped to Stevie Wonder. For a brief period, the word “Emulator” was used to define any keyboard sampler in the same way “xerox” became the generic word for all photocopies.

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