Proteus/1 (Pop-Rock)
16-bit multi-timbral digital sound module

When I first heard the Proteus/1 I was blown away by its internal demo song.  The strings sounded so real to me, one could hear the rosin on the bow and the friction of it on the strings of the violins.

One of the peculiar things about the Proteus is the fact that many patches seem to emulate Roland D-50 patches, but not Korg M1 patches.. Both instruments were the instruments "to beat" at the time. I wonder why the programmers only focused on the D-50 and didn't give the M1 sounds a shot.

The Proteus/1 was so successful that it spanned a series of byproducts, including a dedicated Orchestral module, an Ethnic one, a keyboard version and several other "pumped-up" versions, using more of the same great samples.



E-mu Proteus/1 audio demos in .mp3


Factory internal DEMO SEQUENCE - this is a great-sounding, very well programmed sequence, where intelligently the composer(s) exploit the best sounds of the machine, and explore various musical styles.


Stream all audio examples here below:

Preset name with audio demo My comments
000 Stereo Piano OK but a bit thin.  Even for the time, this could have been better, but then I guess the programmers opted to squeeze as many sounds as possible from the 4MB of memory (they couldn't possibly devote more ROM to piano samples), and they did do a great job.
001 Hall Strings Very realistic strings, with strong marcato attack.  One of the best Proteus sounds.
002 InChoirIrie Beautiful, haunting choir pad!  There is a certain character about this sound, that just comes across.  Still a very useful sound, especially for soundtracks, in my opinion.
003 BigCityBrass Fat, "produced" pop brass sound.
004 Stereo Sax Nicely recorded saxophone, clean and pop.
005 Acoustic Gtr BEAUTIFUL preset!!!  One of this module's best!  Close you eyes, it's a real guitar.  Awesome job, E-mu!  And for the time, especially.
006 Modern Gtr Again, a beautiful job - your standard clean Stratocaster with the typical lush sound.
007 Thunder Bass Electric bass played with plectrum near the bridge.  Great sound to play James Bond songs :D
008 MiniMoogBass FAT! sound - still sounds a bit digital (this module does tend to sound a bit cold and digital), but roughly the Moog character is there, loud and clear.
009 B3 Mod-Lesl Nicely sampled Hammond, with Leslie speed controlled by the modulation wheel, as it should be.
010 Phantazia And here we are with the first Roland D-50-inspired (or, copied!) preset.  Obviously emulating "Fantasia", the first preset on the D-50, but this one falls a bit short (too digital).  But nice try.
011 ZoundTrax Here we go again.  Another D-50 preset emulation, from the original "Soundtrack"
012 Vibe n Me Very cool, jazzy and deliciously '60s vibraphone.  Groovy, baby!
013 Tiki Threat Nice island mallet
014 Rock Drums 1 Tight and solid drum set.  A few of the samples were taken with awesome room reverb.
015 Metal Vapor Cool sound FX - useful and sounds like a dragon.
016 Heaven What can I say.. I'm a sucker for pad-type sounds, and this one is the most useful, romantic combination ever.. piano + strings.  Very useful patch.
017 Verb Flute Realistic flute sound, especially in the high notes.  Reminds me of Severino Gazzelloni.
018 El. Piano Alright, a Rhodes, very dreamy version.
019 F. Horn Sect Powerful, majestic brass.
020 Velcty Falls Controlled by velocity, strike the key softly and you get the sustained note, fast and you get the elephant sound.
021 Stereo Mutes Cool room effect on these samples.
022 StoneBs&Hrms Cool hard-rock Metallica style combo, but also inspires atmosphere.  Beautifully sampled.
023 Slap-PopBass Okay.
024 Rap Bass Another electronic bass sound, this time with plenty of bottom end and "rubber" factor.  Reminds of the Yamaha TX81Z's "Lately Bass".
025 Special FX 1 Tweaked drum set - achieves this.
026 Harmonic Syn Percussive synth - a bit anemic.
027 Beyond FM Hyper-digital sound, reminds me of additive synthesis for some reason.  FM (Frequency Modulation) was the type of synthesis used by the Yamaha DX7 and similar.
028 Kyoto Forest Interesting Asian sound - imagine sitting by a gentle stream in the beautiful Japanese capital.
029 Balinesia Another ethnic percussion sound - this time inspired by Bali, Indonesia
030 Latin Drums Full quinto, congas and timbales set.
031 Wind Chimes Ok, but the release time should be longer.
032 Harpsikord Great harpsichord program - complete with key-release like in the original.
033 String Orch. Nice orchestral strings, deep and full.
034 Human Voices Clean samples of a choir.
035 Baritone Sax Falls short but a few notes are okay.
036 Solo Trumpet Good base sound, but the loop is very short and static - to play expressively, you need to activate the mod wheel almost immediately after hitting the key.
037 12 String 12-string guitar - sounds a bit shifting to me.
038 Modern Harp This one also reminds me of a D-50 preset.
039 Str.Bs/Piano Okay
040 Mythical Pad Beautiful sound!!!  Perfect programming and "feel" - the pad par excellence.  Awesome for scoring "The Lord of the Rings" type material.
041 PianoBell Percussion + pad type sound.
042 Noh Way! Very interesting layered sound.
043 Empyrean Plucked sound -
044 Glocken Haunting glockenspiel sound, gentle.
045 Wide Marimba Perfect for Mexican music - or Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass covers.
046 Latin Perc. Clean samples of blocks, maracas, shakers etc.  Nice!
047 Space Bk.Gtr A guitar with the waveform inversed (backwards) - makes for a cool sound fx.
048 Grand Piano Ok..
049 FlangeString Just what it says.
050 White Veil A digital soft pad.
051 Dark World Impressive dark digital pad..  sound fx.
052 Miles Solos Trumpet with a softer attack - inspired by a without-Harmon-mute trumpet Miles Davis' period.
053 SoloTrombone Good trombone sound, but again, the loops are very short.
054 XprsivEl.Gtr Soft touch = picked sound - Hard touch = Strat long note.
055 SpaceBassPad Dark pad.
056 Dune Very interesting sound.. they used a cymbal to sculpt this.. and it's a very effective way to use unexpected instruments as building blocks to obtain a pad sound.
057 RB's Wine Very nice glass harmonica sound FX!!!
058 Octave Choir Full and expressive Mellotron sound!
059 Gitano Honest gipsy-style acoustic guitar.
060 ThaiBathHse. Thai Bath House.  Another cool ethnic percussive, "Gamelan-like" sound.
061 MedicineDrum Realistic log drum, useful.
062 Radical Drum Another tweaked drum set - this time with reversed envelopes and faux echoes.
063 Mtlphn Arp 9 Very cool synth effect with crazy LFO going.  Metallophone arpeggio nine?
064 FMstylePiano A combo acoustic + electronic piano -
065 Isham Strngs Inspired perhaps by the strings used by noted, great composer Mark Isham - these are a variation on the 001 patch.
066 WeAteFlangrs They ate some flangers - nice choir effect with flanger.
067 SpaceClavier Electronic clavichord with interesting synth envelope release.
068 Hard Trmp Am Trumpet combo.
069 Ball Game Useful electric organ sound!
070 Clean Strat Bare Stratocaster sound.
071 NozeBass/Pad Digital concoction between a bass and a synth pad.
072 Wide Neck Reminds of the Rickenbacker sound.  A bass with a wide neck.
073 Space Horn Similar to an accordion.
074 Blue Ice Atonal synthscape.  Great for Sci-Fi music.
075 EmberedTines Electric piano.
076 Odd Vibes Vibraphone with synthy overtones.
077 Bright Steel Very well-programmed Jamaica-style steel drum.
078 Native Power Cool Native American sound - a split with a blown bottle on the left and a log drum sound on the right of the keyboard.
079 Insects Great preset :-D
080 VibrantPiano Sparkly piano with a subtle pad added.
081 Emperor Beauty.
082 NoiseFree LA Again a hint to the D-50 (L.A. was its synthesis method).  This patch reminds of "Staccato Heaven".
083 Orch. Brass Powerful and majestic.
084 Lo Oct Bones Ok brass.
085 Synthibell Yep... it's a synth bell.
086 SpaceSteel Very imaginative preset - a synth steel guitar with nice gliding attack.
087 Jet_** Good emulation of a jet passing by
088 Jet  ** Another jet.
089 SquarishLead Typical synth lead.
090 Synth String Very "cold" synthe strings
091 Space Trmpt Trumpet with funky vibrato and envelope.
092 Metal Throat Another ethnic bell sound.
093 Light Mallet As above.
094 Congablock Percussive sound.
095 Hold&Sample Wacky sample-and-hold sound.
096 Piano Drama Piano in octaves - great for Classical.
097 Punctuate A pizzicato-type synth sound.
098 Lunar Window Cool and mysterious choir pad.
099 Reedy Keys Cross between accordion and organ
100 String Swell Nice patch with higher pitch violins starting a couple of seconds after the main strings.
101 Jingle Pad Bell + Pad combo - nice Christmas sound.
102 Solo Lead Typical synth solo - interestingly the base waveforms for this patch are "Synth Flute" and "French Horn"!
103 Buzzy Frets Electric guitar patch with raspy attack.
104 Bass & Synth Typical '80s combo patch, with synth bass on the left and synth on the right.
105 Gillectro An electric guitar sound that vaguely reminds a sitar..
106 Pop Pad Warm, soft synth pad.
107 BanJovi Word play between "banjo" and the musician "Bon Jovi"... plucked string sound.
108 Malletumba Ethnic percussive sound, similar to the others.
109 SlipperyBass Nice emulation of a fretless bass, with room ambience.  Moody.
110 Hall2Strgs** String ensemble with simulated hall reverb.
111 Hall2Link** to be linked with the above.
112 WinstonGrand I suppose the programmer got inspiration from the Steinway piano sounds of New Age great pianist George Winston.  Nice filtered piano patch, but the loops are short, and the envelope is short too
113 STRings Cool patch where the volume of the strings follows the way it's written.. STRings..
114 Sharp Edge Nice percussive vocal sound, reminiscent of the famous Fairlight vocal sample.
115 Uboe A weird cross between oboe and harmonica...
116 Vibes/Choir Combo of these two sounds.
117 Solo Synth 3 Cool solo synth with bagpipe tone!
118 Rock Gitaro Overdriven guitar sound
119 Animal 1 ** Elephant, frog, birds etc.
120 Animal ** More of the above.
121 Bed Tine FM-style electric piano.
122 Mr Minister Typical church organ.
123 Bone Face Trombones + vox.
124 Tremolo Vibe Yep.
125 Dulcimer Anemic sound that resembles more an Oriental sound than a dulcimer.
126 Block Head Nice xylophone.
127 BarberPole Very cool sound FX!  Game Arcade style.
128 Piano&Synth Piano + pad.
129 StrngChamber Vivaldian strings.
130 BreathyFlute Flute with (too) much vibrato.
131 TrumpetCombo That's what it is.
132 NewOrchestra Powerful and particular orchestral ensemble.
133 SterAcoustic Ac. guitar in stereo.
134 Shamisen Nice reproduction of the "Japanese lute".
135 StoneSlapBs. Powerful slapped bass.
136 RockAttitude Distorted guitars.
137 TocattaSeven Another D-50 preset, "Staccato Heaven" in the original machine.  Italian being my mother tongue, I'll point out that the programmer made a common spelling mistake: it is not "Tocatta", but "Toccata" - which literally means "hit".
138 Pop Art Weird solo synth with pitch sliding up.
139 Mini Solo Very nice, fat Minimoog synth lead!
140 Airimba Marimba with breathy effect.
141 Steel Drums Yep.
142 Modern Drums Drum set with fake gated reverb, a la Phil Collins.
143 SpaceTexture Great '50s sci-fi effect!
144 Saloon Piano Standard detuned honky-tonk piano.
145 CrystalChoir Bell + choir.
146 HerbalVerbal Syn voice, a la Art Of Noise "Moments in love".
147 SectionFalls Brass blats.
148 SectionHorns Bigger brass section.
149 Hollow Solo Monophonic digital synth, with a "glassy" character.
150 Fat Boy Bass Rap-style synth bass, with vibrato.
151 OrchestraHit Yes.
152 Keys Please More crystalline digital synths.
153 Metal Toys A teapot being hit by a metal mallet.
154 Weather Eerie winds
155 Crazy Man Synth with unusual attack.
156 Clock Chimes Chimes with long release.
157 Vibe&Marimba Exactly.
158 SterSlapDrum Drum set with fake slap delay, in stereo.
159 Flying Modul Special FX of U.F.O. passing by.
160 Low Grand Grand piano, lower octaves.
161 Bright Piano Just what it says.
162 XprsivString Dynamic strings.
163 String V>Atk The Velocity determines how fast the attack of the strings is.
164 Choir Usable choir
165 Dark Choir As above, filtered.
166 SopranoReed Sax soprano.
167 Alto Sax Good Contralto Saxophone.
168 Tenor Sax Yes sir.
169 Syn.Clarinet Ok.
170 French Horn Too brassy.
171 Trombone 2 Nice!!!
172 Tromb/Trump Trombone + Trumpet
173 Guitar Mutes Awesome for the intro to Bob Marley's "Could you be loved".
174 El Guitar Jinglier version of electric guitar, like a Telecaster.
175 SterChrElGtr E. Guitar with chorus, in stereo.
176 Rock Bass Lacks the bottom end..
177 Flint Bass See above.
178 Bass Syn 2 Very cool synth bass, with lots of resonance "quack"!
179 Harmonics Guitar harmonics.
180 Marimba yeah.
181 Vibes wh>mod Modulation wheel = tremolo effect.
182 Percussives More drums.
183 Rock Drums 2 And again.
184 Rock Drums 3 And some more.
185 Snare Drums All snares
186 Kick Drums All kicks.
187 Cymbals All cymbals
188 Tom Toms All toms.
189 Conga Trans Congas.
190 Block Trans Blocks.
191 --Default-- n/a


E-mu Proteus/1 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge them)



E-mu Proteus/1 manual

PDF Manual:  

E-mu Proteus/1 factory patches sysex data

  • Review in "Keyboard magazine" Janfebmarch 198___
E-mu Proteus/1 features


Features at a glance
Year of release: 1989
Sound generation method: sample-based
Polyphony: 32-voice
Presets: 190 (64 are rewritable)
MIDI: in, out, thru
Sound expansion capabilities: Add-on circuit boards
Sequencer: no
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: no
Touch sensitivity yes
Controls: buttons, tow knobs.
Outputs: 2 main stereo, + Sub 1 and Sub 2 (also both stereo)
Weight and measurements:  
Other controls:  

The "Song made only with this instrument" trial: _________  The Proteus/1 sounds good. 



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