E-mu Systems EIIIXP/XS

The EIIIX series was the last of the EIII’s to be produced. There were initially two versions of the EIIIX samplers; the EIIIXP (model 6100) and the EIIIXS (model 6103).

The EIIIXP only has digital inputs while the EIIIXS has analogue inputs as well.

These were fantastic samplers when they were released with a maximum of 32MB RAM (compared to the 8MB limit of the old EIII). These machines could actually compete with the Akai S1000 when it came to features but the sound of the EIII is a LOT better than the S1000 (yes yes I know – it’s a matter of taste :-)).

The OS is very much like the original EIII so is the LCD and most of the functions but the built quality was much MUCH more reliable than the original EIII.

It also sported digital filters (the G chip provided these) which actually sounds very very nice for a digital filter.
I personally prefer the analogue filters on the original EIII but they are really good.

Emulator Archive said

Racking the Emulator III
A cheaper rack mount version of the successful Emulator III had to wait until 5 years after the original was launched. Whilst a rack version of the EIII was built in 1988, they were expensive and in short supply.
The project to build a cheaper all digital version was frequently cancelled, until 1993 when a completely re-engineered EIII was put in a 3U rack unit.

The EIII design really needed reducing to fit into a rack unit, and the EIIIx is completely different to the EIII inside – although the OS is nearly identical.
E-mu Systems were focusing on their Proteus module range as an attractive source of revenue (well actually a case of survival!), and they did not seem to want to take on the industry standard Akai’s.

On the Rack
32 excellent digital filters, digital inputs and outputs, 32 multi-timbral voices, and a decent 32 MB of RAM were a significant step forward. But E-mu Systems failed to develop an improved user interface. The operating system was launched with less facilities than the EIII, and most concerning was a 5 year old LCD design (which lives on via the ESI range).
The IIIx broke with E-mu’s traditional success and fell short of the new Akai S3000 range. Within 2 years it was replaced by a sorted Emulator 4, and the mid range ESI32. The IIIx was too late and too little.

USP for the DSP
E-mu Systems marketed the EIIIx range on the basis of their proprietary DSP technology (10 octave transpositions without aliasing, imaging or clock noise), the digital features and the optional remote control software for the Mac.

The sound library was a selling point in 1993, before the third party Akai CDROM market had taken off. E-mu Systems also competed on price in the US, but not in Europe – although the polyphony was ahead of the Akai’s.

The EIIIx was certainly of a very high technical quality, but as Keyboard magazine in the US said in August 1993 –

A huge library of sounds, wonderful sound quality.
The SCSI networking facility.

The Operating System is somewhat outdated.
There can be a loud pop when the unit is switched on or off