Emulators were digital sampling synthesizers that were quite popular between 1980 and 1990. These devices were commonly used among musicians since they were affordable and small in size. At their peak era, emulators were fairly common in live performances and they became an instant market hit. Emulators were discontinued around the year 2002.
The first emulator was pretty simple, and it involved basic features. The first emulator was only capable of doing basic sampling, playback and pitch shifting. The emulator was a floppy disk-based keyboard workstation which allowed the musician to sample and record sounds. The emulator then was played back as a musical note on the keyboard. It’s worth mentioning that the floppy disk drive helped the user create a wide variety of samples and share them with others. This device also enabled the user to buy pre-recorded libraries. All emulators used floppy disks for external samples and patch storage, helping create its own samples. The emulator had a basic sampler that involved a simple filter which allowed one single loop. The device could be chosen as a two-voice model, a four-voice model, or an eight-voice model. Nowadays, emulators are popular among the collectors’ market.
The emulator II was a second sampler that was far more flexible when editing and shaping sounds. The emulator II had better real-time control and had an additional floppy drive. The emulator II had a very peculiar sound. This device was quite popular among famous musicians around 1980 and was used in many well-known films. The emulator II has gained popularity again due to the rebirth of pop music.
The emulator III had more advanced features and better sound quality but was less popular than previous emulators. The emulator IV had a new operating system that made it far superior than previous models.