E-MU Romplers vs Zen-Core

Dear Nauts,

I have a bunch of old E-MU romplers (CS) but I am gasing at a mc-707 right now.
I was wondering if selling my E-MUs for the MC-707 I would regret any sound I can make with the E-MU.
I have following E-MU roms : Planet Earth, Rob papen TSCY and Beat Garden, Vintage collection, Protean drum, World expedition, X-Lead, Pure Phatt.
So question is, can I just replace all that with a Zen-Core engine and call it a day ?
Is Zen-core like waaaaay better than that ?
I realize that there’s a 30 years of technology gap there so it must sound much better.

Thanks for helping if you have experience with both !


Personally I love the particular sound of some old rompers (pads mainly) and I don’t think they can be replaced entirely. But if you’re no longer feeling inspired by them I’d say go for it. Roland sounds have a different vibe to EMU stuff, but you’ll probably find enough of what you need in the 707. Plus, the more modern UI/workflow might be an exciting change.

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Newer definitely does not equate to better in regards to romplers. Even between the JV and the XV series using the same waveforms, many prefer the older units.

E-MU always had all those Z-plane filter types (especially in the Morpheus/UltraProteus/E-Synth) that made them unique in the market, and they still are today.


Rompers the DX-7 of the 90s


Came here to write pretty much the same thing…

I would add that when I had my mc-707, my first reaction towards the sounds was “ok… cool but oldschool”.

So there might not be much incentive in replacing your E-MUs (sound-wise).


I vaguely remember reading that some of the old emu ultra samplers you could install those ROMs and copy the raw waveform data, if not the presets. That might be a way to consolidate. Either way, you would want the z-plane filters for authenticity still which would require something e-mu.

Alternatively wasn’t there the E-mu Emulator X or Proteus VX software plugins? maybe that’s a possible option if they can still run.

I used to have a command station fully loaded, as well as a proteus 2000. The Integra, system 1m and Boutiques I have now definitely have more modern sounds with higher definition, but its a different sound, so still won’t be a 1 to 1 replacement.


This will get you in the ball park of some of the ROMs.

I expect the new Rolands to sound more “bright” by comparison to the Emu romplers.


sadly, not supported anymore ?

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Yeah that may be but it still works in Reaper on Windows. I can’t speak to any other hosts at the moment though.

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Hey thanks for your input, so there is still some appeal for these old pads :slightly_smiling_face: since I am personnaly a pad lover I have too keep that in mind

That’s how I still feel about the filters today. Pretty unique and hard to let go. Funny about that debate between jv and xv. I wasn’t expecting this. Thanks for bringing this.

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Mmmmh good to know about that old school feeling about the sound. I was thinking it would just sound modern

Yeah use to have that emulator x. Only reason I kept the hardware was for the interface. Couldn’t tell any difference sound wise. Good to know you have integra. I am also concerned about all these nice drum kits I have in these roms. Will I find a replacement for all these percussions and stuff.

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Even more crazy, even WITHIN the JV/XP line there is a debate (Don Solaris et al) of certain ones sounding different than others… apparently the humble JV-880 and JV-1080 sound “better”.

And that’s not even to mention the whole JV vs JD debate…

Nice selection of ROMs. I have pretty much the same in my Command Station XL-7.

  1. No. you can get a Zen-Core if you want but it won’t be a replacement, any more than a jar of peanut butter replaces a stack of your favorite chocolate bars.

  2. Not better, just different. I haven’t heard any Zen-Core sounds/tracks that are “better” than the Emu ones posted by balma, the Wizard of E-Mu romplers. balma knew every trick in the book for getting sounds out of the E-Mu modulation matrix, Z-plane filters, etc.

fwiw, I have a Roland MC-101 Zen-Core machine. I got it to be a little multi-timbral sound machine. The one drag for me with the XL-7 is it needs some repair, as the slightest bump causes something on its internal board to unseat itself.


Sometimes I wonder if it’s not just that some people prefer lower rate converters and lower definitions. Could make sense to me, why not ? Like, I had a DX7 and even though that you could play these sounds with a software, it wasn’t sounding the same. Not better or worse just different. Different enough that you could prefer one or the other. Also have a nm G1 here and still prefer the sound of that one today versus the G2 that I also had in the past. What I would qualified as more character which is probably just a less defined sound.


Bingo. Just because a converter (or processor) is newer doesn’t mean it sounds “better”.

Compare a 30 year old Midiverb II or Quadraverb V1 against any modern reverb and the difference is obvious…


I use the Proteus VX on Windows hosted in Reaper all the time. It is a pain, there are some quirks with the UI and saving/loading patches. But the sound is excellent. To me it sounds exactly the same as the XL-7 and PX-7 command stations I have, but has more features, better FX. Its super cool. Also sounds vastly better than the Roland JV-1080 (edit: I have the Don Solaris patches too–which help) to me which sounds like a compressed mp3 by comparison. But this is all subjective. All romplers are cool and useful.


Yeah still some ROMS I would love to have bought (like orchestral one) but I can’t just justify the price nowadays.

  1. Thanks for confirming that, I was thinking it would be like day and night in terms of quality
  2. Good to know too, there are some pads I just love and I am kind of afraid I would miss.
    Sorry to hear about your XL-7, I pretty much feel I need to cross my finger every time I start it because of these notorious PSU failure. I actually have 4 ROMS in my CS and 3 in an Orbit 3.
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I totally agree that sound wise it was just as good to me that the hardware. I just wanted to have these interfaces even if know that can just sound stupid. And I know I could map that to a midi controller and everything but that wouldn’t help me selling the hardware. If keeping hardware was a rational thing I guess that I would pretty much just have my laptop now :smiley: