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E-mu Emax

Rack Synthesizer

A sampler module used by Prince and Dr Fink in the late 1980s. An E-mu Emax can be seen in photos of Paisley Park around the Lovesexy era. Dr Fink filled an E-max with samples from the Fairlight CMI so they wouldn’t have to take the keyboard on tour. Prince later used this sample set in the studio. 

Prince also owned a keyboard version of this sampler.

Prince got into the Fairlight, which was a synthesizer and a sampler all in one. It was basically a dedicated computer with big nine-inch floppy drives that you could load up your sounds. It was a great studio tool, but on the road they were very clunky and took forever to load. I went to Prince and said, ‘Hey, let’s get some of these [E-mu Emax]. I had all the Fairlight library transferred onto way smaller floppy discs, and then put them on hard drives inside those Emax rack models. That’s how we got away from bringing those Fairlights out on the road.
He still uses a lot of Fairlight samples that he created. I know that for the Batman album and for Graffiti Bridge, he pretty much used a [Roland] D-50 and the old Emax 12-bit CD-ROM library for a lot of sounds.