Creative & EMU

Farrell McGovern farrell.mcgovern at
Mon Mar 31 18:04:04 BST 2008

On Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 2:30 AM, Ming <ming8080 at> wrote:
> I'm a bit confused about those two brand names, are they related in
>  any way? I've seen EMU products in creative-lab's website & in EMU's
>  site, I've seen photos of their soundcard have a "creative lab"
>  printed on it.

Well, that involves some history...

First of all, there was the Fairlight CMI, the first production
digital sampler keyboard synth. People like Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel
and such used it to great effect. Unfortunatelly, it cost a huge
amount of money, and weighed a great deal, which made it hard to tour
with. This created an opening for E-mu systems, which to that point
had been making modular synths, and designing the chips to be used in
them, and other synths. They became more popular than the Fairlight
cmi because of their ease of use/transport, and cheaper prices.

Another company, Ensoniq also jumped into the same field with the
Mirage, and also built the own chips. It did to E-mu Systems the same
thing that E-mu systems did to Fairlight. In addition,  one of the
highlights of Ensoniq's career was use of their sound chips in the
Apple IIGS, which gave it the full capabilities of some of the hottest
synths on the market at the time.

Both companies made excellent sampler keyboards (I own an Ensoniq
EPS), as well as the chips to drive them. Creative had made lots of
money making sound cards, the Sound Blaster in particular, because it
had everything that not only average users of sound card wanted, but
many things that mucians wanted. Before that, MIDI cards and such were
super-expensive. the Sound Blaster was cheap, had a MIDI interface,
Digital recording and playback, and synthesis. So they bought up both
Ensoniq and E-mu Systems to get their hands on their respective music
chip technologies. Both were relatively cheap, as in the 90's keyboard
oriented music was pushed aside as Grunge & similar types of music
dominated the music scene.

So, Creative owns both Ensoniq and E-mu systems, and their respective
chip technologies. Ensoniq doesn't exist as a separate company,
although E-mu systems is a subsidiary of Creative.

I hope that helps...


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