How awesome is the Emu Morpheus / Ultra-proteus?

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Ranxerox
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How awesome is the Emu Morpheus / Ultra-proteus?

Post by Ranxerox » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:33 pm

Damn I am loving my Morpheus. Put through a mild delay or reverb with a bit of unison detune, this thing is just the bomb for ambient sci-fi pads and big fluffy pseudo-analog poly strings. It really rewards exploration of the Z-plane filter cubes to 'bring out' harmonic sweet spots in the ROM waveforms. Also, being able to reverse and set loop-points gets a lot of extra mileage from the samples.

On-board drum sounds are surprisingly effective, and the function generators are a somewhat mind-bending feature I have only begun to scratch the surface of. Actually finding it more rewarding to program than my SCI Prophet VS...

Anyone else with any Morpheus love out there?

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Post by pulse_divider » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:39 pm

I love the Morpheus, though I rarely go beyond finding a preset I like and layering it with something else. I bought mine new back in 1998 and still have it. Come to think of it, I've probably had it longer than any other synth as it was one of the first I bought.
If you have an Ipad, you should try some of those pads with Sound Prism Pro, it's endless fun and the Morpheus has enough polyphony to sustain massive layers without note stealing.

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Post by chamomileshark » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:59 pm

I picked one up recently. I also got MorphEdit so I've started having a little delve into it - looks promising :)
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Post by Ranxerox » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:32 pm

It would layer really nicely with just about anything - I find having one synth doing complex and evolving while another does lush and static is a good tactic. I see the Morpheus in the lush and static role, although the function generators might change my opinion...

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Post by deastman » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:10 pm

I bought mine new when they first came out, and I have to say that I barely scratched the surface. I hate the tiny display/edit dial approach found on every synth from that time period. I haven't touched mine in about a decade. Maybe I should fire it up again...

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Post by mecanikill » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:17 pm

I believe the Proteus 2000 will do all that and more plus has some knobs! I know my Proteus 2000 has 50 z plane filters in it.

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Post by Ranxerox » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:32 am

I looked hard at the Proteus 2000, but in the end decided I would find the scale of it too large and too easy to treat as a conventional rompler. The Morpheus has some attractive limitations, although there's something like 190 filter types, which seems like overkill but actually gives quite a lot of room to explore.

It's not a 'big bang' synth, where turning a couple of knobs will give you a whole different sound. It's more incremental, whereby you get closer and closer to the sweet spot by degrees.

The tiny screen and knob interface is actually really painless on all the Emu synths and samplers, due to the fact they kept the menu hierarchies really flat, so it's easy to keep in your head and impossible to get lost. The opposite of Roland and Yamaha digitals from the same period...

Morpheus lets you assign up to four MIDI CCs per patch, so you can have some knob control if you want it. I edit mine with Soundiver on a Mac, but the Morpheus adaptation is flakey and buggy, and in some ways it's easier just to go in from the panel.

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Post by peripatitis » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:48 am

mecanikill wrote:I believe the Proteus 2000 will do all that and more plus has some knobs! I know my Proteus 2000 has 50 z plane filters in it.
Actually this is not completely true.
If i am not mistaken the function generators were omitted in later versions, as well as the option to choose between 100+ curves for the segment of the envelopes.
Finally i think that only ultra proteus/ morpheus allowed to scan the whole sample library.

Even in their software samplers later on they didn't include some of these features !

Definitely a great synth for it's time.

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Post by chamomileshark » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:10 am

peripatitis wrote:
mecanikill wrote:I believe the Proteus 2000 will do all that and more plus has some knobs! I know my Proteus 2000 has 50 z plane filters in it.
Actually this is not completely true.
If i am not mistaken the function generators were omitted in later versions, as well as the option to choose between 100+ curves for the segment of the envelopes.
Finally i think that only ultra proteus/ morpheus allowed to scan the whole sample library.

Even in their software samplers later on they didn't include some of these features !

Definitely a great synth for it's time.
That's my understanding having gone through tons and tons of forum posts - not all z plane filters are equal - many aren't true z plane filters because they lack the third dimension and it was the Ultraproteus and Morpheus that had the most true z plane filters (I'm guessing those that the ones with the transform2 parameter).

I was going to ask if the other Proteus's had the ability to treat the ROM as a kind of wavetable, you've answered that.

My understanding of the difference between the Ultraproteus and the Morpheus is that the Ultraproteus has more real instruments the Morpheus has more synth samples and waveforms.

One thing I do regert though, no proper choir samples on the Morpheus? Only the vox samples.
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Post by thispoison » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:11 am

I love the sounds of the Morpheus and still enjoy using it, however I'm ashamed to say I too use it as a preset rompler.

In many ways that's why I favour the older analogues and modulars - they make it so much harder to be lazy !

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Post by Ranxerox » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:28 am

I'm the opposite - I could never allow myself to use a pre-set without at least severely modifying it, it would feel too much like I was bullshitting the listener - pre-sets feel like somebody else's IP to me.

But my problem is I like programming synths and FX and patching my modular more than I like actually completing tracks. It's great to have completed material to play to people, but the process of spending weeks mixing and editing a track until you hate it is fairly unrewarding for me.

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Post by Ranxerox » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:48 am

chamomileshark wrote: That's my understanding having gone through tons and tons of forum posts - not all z plane filters are equal - many aren't true z plane filters because they lack the third dimension and it was the Ultraproteus and Morpheus that had the most true z plane filters (I'm guessing those that the ones with the transform2 parameter).
From what I've read about Z-plane, it seems to be more of UI object that sits on top of a very powerful custom filter chip designed by Emu in the late 80s. The Z-plane multi-dimensional model was intended to make it easier to interact with the many filter parameters supported by the chip. As such it can be scaled up or down to support more or less complex 'cubes', which are just sets of functions operating on the filter parameter variables.
chamomileshark wrote: I was going to ask if the other Proteus's had the ability to treat the ROM as a kind of wavetable, you've answered that.
It's kind of but not really, it's more like the Roland D50's 'jam loops' than a proper wavetable implementation.
chamomileshark wrote: My understanding of the difference between the Ultraproteus and the Morpheus is that the Ultraproteus has more real instruments the Morpheus has more synth samples and waveforms.
Exactly, I think the Ultraproteus ROM is also bigger. It's the only difference apart from the paint-job. Edit: Whoops, it also has more Z-plane filter types than Morpheus - 288 vs. 197, to be exact
Last edited by Ranxerox on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by chamomileshark » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:18 am

Ranxerox wrote:
chamomileshark wrote: I was going to ask if the other Proteus's had the ability to treat the ROM as a kind of wavetable, you've answered that.
It's kind of but not really, it's more like the Roland D50's 'jam loops' than a proper wavetable implementation.
That's why I was careful to say "kind of" - it looks as if you can scan in a way that will give you say the end of one sample and the begining of another. I've yet to try that out but that looks interesting. Do you know if any of the presets use that?
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Post by Ranxerox » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:36 am

Some probably do, although tbh I only delved into the pre-sets in a shallow way when I got it.

The adjustable looping and transposition certainly allows for creating interesting waveforms at the boundaries between adjacent samples, and the sample reverse feature also seems to remove the transient at the 'head' of the sample, which is useful for creating sustained sounds.

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Post by mecanikill » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:52 am

The Proteus 2000 Z plane filters sound pretty good to me! Interesting read though cause I never heard of the Morpheus before this thread. :tu:
p.s.
I had a d-50 years ago and the Proteus 2000 SMOKES that. Sold the Roland, still have the Proteus. You can program the shit out of the Proteus, D-50 not so much. Plus the sound quality on the EMU destroys the D-50.

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Post by sydilaxe » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:42 am

I had a Morpheus as my primary ROMpler for about 2 years. It was nice, but very much a child it's generation. Despite having such a myriad of filters and morphing capabilities, I moved on...

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Post by drewtoothpaste » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:58 am

I have a Morpheus and it sounds great (it's on top of my pile of EMU romplers... all of which are way better than you'd think they should or could be...)
Ranxerox wrote:I'm the opposite - I could never allow myself to use a pre-set without at least severely modifying it, it would feel too much like I was bullshitting the listener - pre-sets feel like somebody else's IP to me.

But my problem is I like programming synths and FX and patching my modular more than I like actually completing tracks. It's great to have completed material to play to people, but the process of spending weeks mixing and editing a track until you hate it is fairly unrewarding for me.
This is funny though cause I use TONS of presets - the presets on the Morpheus are pretty awesome. I tweak the envelopes and turn off the effects sometimes, but otherwise, preset city.

And I'd be willing to bet that it's cause I use synths to fill out skeletons of tracks I've written and usually know what I want to add to a track (harmonically/melodically) but don't want to spend a long time patching or tweaking because the idea I have disappears if I get very deep into doing that. Probably a left-brain/right-brain thing if that paradigm hasn't been shot down by now.

I should probably find someone who likes programming and tweaking and patching more than composing and work with them..... like Bacharach and David... if Hal David rapped about his penis.

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Post by haesslich » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:16 am

reviving this old thread to share my fresh ultraproteus love. i got one yesterday, because i was looking for a rompler with decent 90s sounds. lately i've been digging into dance music again (after a fairly long period of guitar-and-modular-drone), and was surprised to see that a certain kind of mid-fi (not lowfi but quite not hifi either) synthesizer charme is the shit in some house and techno genres lately.
three reasons led me to the ultraproteus:
1. nothing does lush rompler-pads better than a rompler (and there's some special charme with rompler pads compared to other digital synthesizer pads, isn't it?)
2. i wanted to avoid presets that are overworked (thus the jv1080 was out)
3. i wanted to spend no more than 100 euros

the ultra proteus seemed to be a perfect fit. it still has to prove that it really is, when i start making music with it.
the morpheus would have done the trick too.
seriously concerned about sound

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Post by de_raaf » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:47 am

gona pick up a morpheus tomorrow,, after checking some demo's i was sold, and reacted to an add of february, pick tomorrow
really like how it sounds, can't wait

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Post by TDK » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:29 am

I never really took to my Morpheus, not sure why but I prefer my Audity 2000 instead - also have a Proteus 2000 in the rack.

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Post by DiscoDevil » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:52 pm

Morpheus was definitely unique. I kept mine for many years but ultimately traded it away last year.

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Post by chamomileshark » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:06 pm

there is one demo on youtube by a guy selling presets - it sounds awesome but then you need to to read the comments from others saying they never could get it to sound so good. I do recall he had some very nice reverb on it.

I found I don't particularly like many of the presets but then it might be the era they were programmed - I have created a few of my own.

My analysis - it's a bit player, it can do some nice sounds which are unique but definitely it won't get too much general use here.
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Post by de_raaf » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:11 pm

the thing with those acidtone or whatever they are called they are pretty good, but in a sense also a particular style, so if one or two people comment the can't do better, it really doesn't mean that much, a deep dive synth though well organized to edit, you have to do the work, aka not for everyone to take the time or patience to program it or the skills or understanding of different functions etc
presets are just a guidance or a more obvious take on sound capabilities
there is always a limit on what you can do, but the limit is pretty capable to stretch far with the morpheus, but all depends on your own vision , work method, desire to make certain sounds, or being surprised, experiment, see what can be done, that having a preset mind of what it should be

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Post by chamomileshark » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:23 am

yes, that's the guy.

I go back to the Morpheus and tinker, the editor is a bit flakey that doesn't help and I've yet to delve into the function generator much.

But I will.
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Post by tron23 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:42 am

Nice info on the Morpheus, thanks for all the information shared here, I always wanted to try the unit but never found one reasonably priced around my area. I am stuck with the E4XT Ultra which I hear it is equipped with the exact same filter options but is this true in reality? :guinness:

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