E-Mu ESI-32


High Quality sampler with lots of synth-like programmability. Mine has the optional SCSI interface Zip drive and CD ROM. Has bags of signal processing features including the time stretching and compressing effects  that have become ubiquitous in contemporary electronic music. You can set samples up to be  triggered from the front panel buttons which makes it useful without a midi keyboard. The OS though a bit clunky at first, it can be fast once you have memorized the menu map and command numbers. It has a small display that prevents any on board visual waveform editing unlike its bigger brothers and more expensive competitors. I have the OS 2.00 if you are willing to shell over the 99 Bucks U.S. you can get a OS upgrade that has lots of features like more on board effects and filters from the ESI4000, I don't know if it fixes the user friendliness.


FIFO BUG in OS Version 2.0

If midi being received, for example from the time code of a sequencer, attempts to read from the floppy will result in a FIFO error if you disconnect the midi in this problem will surface.


SCSI and Recycle with OS Version 2.0

If you have a SCSI interface on your computer and the appropriate software you can send and received wav files. The big thing about this is that there are loads of software packages for editing wav files on the PC and you get too edit your samples on the big screen.  Amongst the software that can do this is Recycle. Recycle dose many manipulations of beat loops for instance changing the pitch or  tempo  independently of each other. Recycle can also break a loop into its components and send them to a sampler via SCSI or save the components as wav files. Recycle only supports SCSI for the ESI-32 with the operating system 3.0 or greater (mine is 2.0). ESI Win can address the ESI-32 with OS version 2.0. ESI Win also allows you to create ESI-32 readable floppies from wav files. ESI Win Beta is currently free software. Some wav files can not be transmit via SCSI. If you import and save these wave files with Recycle these files become send able with ESI Win. With the combination of ESI Win and Recycle you can modify the loops in Recycle and then transmit them with ESI win despite having version 2.0 of the OS. But it takes a little more effort than using Recycle Direct via SCSI.



There is an extremely extensive library available (if you have the doe) particularly if you take into account that it reads both the E-MU library and the AKAI S1000 format. Comes with a usable set of floppies including a killer trigger funk set and a techno workshop including some standards and other wild hits and kits. I have heard that the filters are particularly good and analogue sounding though I have not used this part of it yet.



Cut down version of a Emax II, or Esi 4000 Predecessor of the ESI-2000.



  • Great sound quality 16 bit at 44100. 

  • 32 note Polyphony

  • Lots of editing features.

  • Reads S1000 CD's.

  • Can be expanded with SCSI

  • Can be expanded with (Turbo) internal effects RAM, EXTRA outs.

  • Comes with 4 outputs.

  • OS can be upgraded.

  • Ram can be expanded to 32 Meg uses common EDO chips.


  • It is not as usable without the SCSI upgrade and at least a zip and CD drive and full RAM.

  • The menu style takes some getting used to.

  • Has a small display (no help to waveform editing).

  • Can't talk to Resample and possibly other software without the OS 3.0 or higher.

  • OS Upgrade relatively expensive 100US.

  • Turbo Other upgrades also expensive 300US.

  • Version 2.0 of the OS has an bug, if there is midi being received it like from the time code of a sequencer attempts to read from the floppy will result in a FIFO error.