E-MU Proteus MPS/MPS+Orchestral FAQ version 1.2
by Kevin Saturna | Last update 02/24/07
From the MPS Resource Center at MPS Resource Center
The E-MU Proteus MPS+/Orchestral keyboard was the first professional grade
synthesizer I ever purchased. I've loved it ever since 1994 when it arrived
at my doorstep.
I was always a little disheartened that there was no sign of the existence of these keyboards anywhere despite the fact that the last few years they were available they were quite cheap, going for as little as $899 brand new. At the MPS+'s debut the retail price was around $1700. The MPS+ is a wonderful live keyboard, or at least it was in its day. I still find it to be an inspiring and joyful instrument to play. There are things you can do with an MPS+ that you just can't do with anything else I've had the opportunity to use, and it has a certain integrity about it in the sense that it has a unique and solid sound that doesn't seem any less "valid" as an instrument than it did almost a decade ago. In fact in many ways I still prefer it over what has become my main keyboard, a KORG Triton Pro.
I devoted a chunk of my quite limited web space to providing some acknowledgement and helpful information to anyone searching the internet on this topic. It is my hope that no one ever again will have to feel as dismal as I did searching for some sign of other MPS/MPS+'s in the world, and finding nothing.
What is an E-MU Proteus MPS?
The E-MU Proteus MPS is a 61-key professional keyboard that was manufactured from the late 80's to early 90's. The soundset is taken from the popular Proteus rackmount series. Geared toward performing musicians it a keyboard/synthesizer only and does not include any "workstation" features such as sequencing, sampling. It does however have great one-touch performance-mapping features and is a great master keyboard due to its extensive MIDI implimentation.
Technical Specifications (MPS+/Orchestral)
Audio Channels: 32
Audio Outputs: 4
Submix Inputs: 2
Max. Output Level: +6 dBV
Headphone Output Level: 60 mW into 60(ohm)
Output Impendance (main): 1K(ohm)
MIDI: In, Out, Thru
Data Encoding: 16 bit Linear
Signal to Noise: >90 dB
Dynamic Range: >90 db
Frequency Response: 20Hz-18kHz
THD +N: <.05%
Stereo Phase: Phase Coherent
Power Requirements: 10 watts
Dimensions: H:3.25" W:13" L:39.5"
Weight: 22.8lb (10.34 Kg)
Does the MPS support any expandability options?
A Proteus RAM card slot is provided for adding a battery backed card that
can hold an additional 100 presets. There is no way to add new samples or features
to the keyboard.
E-MU produced three pre-programmed cards and there was some third party support as well but I don't have all the information on what may have been produced.
Perhaps someone else does?
The E-MU cards are Volume 1: Pop Collection, Volume 2:Textures and Pads, Volume 3:Plus Power (MPS+ only).
Where do I find blank RAM cards or the pre-programmed cards?
I have been unable to locate a distributor. E-MU themselves may still be able
to sell the cards they produced, and I suspect blank cards as well.
On a few occasions I've seen blank RAM cards sitting in local music stores, or employees have found old forgotten ones buried in dust in back
supply rooms. Usually they are still marked with there $60 and up price tag. The best place to find rare items like this is obviously going to be eBay
and other such sites.
Where do I find a replacement power adapter?
This has long since been a topic of frustration amongst MPS users, and thanks to the work of Spencer Lerner there is now at least one resource for this hard-to-find component.
Spencer has forwarded an email he received a company called EPR Pro Audio that seems to be able to special order this difficult-to-find component.
Sent: Tue, 2 Jan 2007 15:18:25 -0500
From: "EPR Pro Audio Electronics LLC" <email@example.com>
To: Subject: parts iquiry
To Spencer Lerner,
We have to order the part. It would take an average of 2-3 weeks to receive
the part. The part number is ZT316_SUB and the price is $53.50 and another
$11.00 for shipping.
If you would like to place the order please call us at EPR Pro Audio
Electronics (813) 232-3907. We are open M-F 10am- 6pm EST.
My MPS is broken, how do I get it repaired?
Most cities of reasonable size have something in the way of a keyboard technician or repair-person. Try your local yellow pages and ask around at your local music stores.
That's what I had to do when my right output jack went bad. Unfortunately
the repair guy did more harm than good in the end, so watch out! The repairman
refused to send him the necessary technical manuals in order to repair the keyboard properly. I called E-MU personally to ask why they wouldn't and the operator told me
that wasn't the case. A year or two later I met a person in town here who was working for E-MU and he said he'd see what he could find out. He came back with the same story, that E-MU wouldn't send him the tech manual. To this day my own MPS+ is still broken.
If you find a good technician they may be able to figure out a problem on their own, but if a custom component is required then E-MU's cooperation is a necessity.
The most secure but most expensive option is to package the keyboard up and send it to E-MU in California. They will repair it and return it, but you must pay all the shipping costs as well as the repair costs, which were last quoted to me at $50/hour. For an even higher fee they will "prioritize" your board for a speedier turnaround (somewhere around two weeks as opposed to six or more).
Is the MPS compatible with the Proteus rack-mount modules?
The difficulty is that the preset mapping is totally different (0-99 per bank in the MPS, 1-127 in the Proteus). I put a lot of effort years ago into figuring out a way to convert patches but was unsuccessful. I did find that if you send a Proteus module bank to the MPS you at least get the last 28 patches of the bank, which get recorded to 100-127 in the MPS(+) user RAM bank. If anyone has found a way to convert the entire banks over I would LOVE to hear about it.
What computer software supports the MPS/MPS+?
There was a program called Paladin™ that was available for PC/Windows
only that allowed full editing of all parameters via MIDI. To my knowledge
the program is no longer available and the web page no longer exists. I am
in the Apple world and there were never any compatible editors. Galaxy Librarian
by Opcoded supported the MPS and provided patch librarian functions. Uni-Syn
by MOTU also includes MPS support. A shareware sequencer/librarian by the name
of Anthem also provided some support for the MPS. Of all of these the only
program I know to still be available is MOTU's Uni-Syn which is a Mac OS only
application. If anyone in the PC/Windows corner of cyberspace know of any helpful
software please let me know.
Now in it's 5th year, I know from the many responses I've gotten that this MPS site has been a sight for sore eyes for many people. I'm glad for that. However, I feel like there are a lot more questions to be answered in the FAQ and a lot more can be added to the web page. The E-MU Proteus MPS and MPS+ may now be relics of musical history, but they don't have to be forgotten. I know I will love mine forever. Thanks to all of you who have written to me and contributed to the MPS Resource Center. I have no intention of ever letting the MPS Resource Center die.
(c) 2002-2007 Virtual Saturna | Please link to the MPS Resource Center and do not repost this FAQ elsewhere. Thanks!