Synth Site: Emu: XL-7: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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Giotto a professional user from Atlanta writes:
The XL-7 is a really nice unit, well built, good display, nice pads that have decent feel for the most part and knobs and switches that seem reliable under hard use. It has a lot of potential, especially as it adds many features to the common crop of cool things hardware sequencers can provide over software.

Some of it's biggest pros are: Build quality, Live/Grid/Step options for recording parts, high polyphony (128), three slots for optional rom cards, a large (but somewhat narrow) assortment of sounds, multifunction 16 knob array that allows for realtime tweaking of patch parameters/ volume/ program#/ panning of each track, all recordable into a song via midi, and finally lots of control over quantize, velocity, duration and other midi programing features that allow you to alter only what you need by exactly the amount you want, most with "strength" settings so you don't just "slam" each changed note/value to a given reference, but it's more like you "pull" it toward the reference; this helps keep things more organic and less rigid.

Big problems and reason's why I took mine back: The channel assignments are all out of whack. There is an option to assign a given midi channel to be either sent to internal/external/both or none, and when playing into the XL-7 via it's pads or an external controller, these very important settings have no effect. In other words, while playing into the XL-7 both the internal sounds and the external sound sources you have midi'd up will play according to your input EVEN if you have the Channel Assignments locked to play the internal sounds only. Once you Do record in your part the Sequencer pays attention to the int/ext/both assignment and does correctly send your midi signals to the proper sources either internal or external, but its a total pain to have to constantly turn volumes up and down so you can SHUT a synth up long enough to record your part without extraneous chatter from "unassigned" instruments. This is a BIG booboo on the part of EMu's programmers. Even if you don't understand what i just described, do understand that for the most part, under OS 1.0.1 the XL-7 is a total pain to use unless you are cool with constantly turning the source volumes, you don't want playing, up or down on your mixer, rack etc.

Another huge problem is the lack of a fast one or two button combination for undoing/erasing what you just recorded. If you make a mistake, as I personally do while quickly experimenting with my parts, you have to be able to either A)over-write/ replace what you just did or B) have a fast efficient 1-second command to get rid of what you recorded. As it stands now, the XL-7 has none of these, and unlike an RS7000 or MPC or (insert pretty much anything else here) you have to go through a process that requires a minimum or four to five button pushes as well as a bit of precise knob turning. THIS ALONE MAKES the XL worth taking back. I promise you unless you have no experience with more refined gear or you're just very tolerant, you will be HATING LIFE every time you flub a part or want to change a pattern and have to go through the time consuming task of erasing/undoing on an XL-7. Given, the XL does have an "erase" button but it's methods of operation actually take _longer_ to use than the menu driven process I just mentioned.

Lastly, the XL while having lots of potential, even when fully debugged will still be lagging behind in what has become a hot new territory again: Hardware sequencing. People are SICK of mice and computers ruining the creation of good, fast, inspired groovemaking. You know that rush you get when your rig is tight, your fingers are flying and you're pumping out the jams..... "Production Zen" I call it. Even if EMU does get the kinks worked out, an RS7000 (I know it looks cheaper) will still blow an XL's doors off. And I don't say that lightly. An RS for instance has DEEP groove editing features, lots of ways to modify arpeggiators, the ability to rythmicly adapt pre-made patterns into totally different grooves along with a host of other stuff related to the RS sampler that I won't go into cuz the XL doesn't have one so I won't try to use that against it.

EMU has a lot of money invested in the development of these things (especially since hardware sampling is loosing ground), and as their first modern REAL sequencer attempt it has the ability to turn out very well with some serious programming hustle. But definitely not until then. AS of right now, in my humble opinion it's nearly un-useable if not a total drag altogether.

my .03

peace, later, giotto

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jan-15-2002 at 05:17
beta-tester writes:
well.we're all beta-testers for all new unfinished gears in the recent xl-7 just can't run smooth between computer even can't upgrade new o.s. v1.01,tho my computer seems works well and the emu techs just couldn't fix it(tho they really gave me some options to test my computer and xl-7 but all failed,and the techs reckon the e-loader software and xl-7 o.s. itself still needs more works).its got great sounds,tho still worst than v.a. but better than all pcm-based romplers in the market.all i can just say its great sounding,but afaik,there are still many bugs for fix in the its got 3 and it lost 2 due to the poor o.s.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Saturday-Sep-29-2001 at 06:48
Nifflas a hobbyist user from Sweden writes:
I have to say this is the most beautiful machine I've ever had... well, not really the *most* beautiful, because the only better looking thing is my Waldorf Microwave XTk (check it out, and you'll see what I mean)

I think it's a question of what you define as "ugly" and "beautiful"... but some very boring people always wants black synths that looks the same and... no, I'm just kidding! =) Don't take me seriously.

Awesome sound, 50 (!!!!) filter types, they all sound very unique and extremly good. Amazing sequencer. Lot's of bugs in the OS. Beautiful synth... if you like orange.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-12-2001 at 06:11
koering dietmar a professional user from germany writes:
great machine in an ugly yellow box.....well thought and very easy to use groovebox.... emu filters (I have nothing to say about them,or?)... now I use it as heart in my livesetup.... you can easy controll all your machines with 16 programmable knobs.... die riboncontroller is also programmable to all parts....well thought is also the 12DVC lamp in bad club conditions...the sequencer got 32 midi channels... but only 16 tracks....32 tracks would be better.... but thats Akai MPC area, isn´t?....all over all I love this ugly machine.... but why can´t they paint it black or any other better design... there where also some bugs in my os version ( 1.1 ).... but it is just a question of time till they where fixed... all over all I will give 4.4 points....

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-12-2001 at 05:42
Joshua a hobbyist user writes:
Cool sounds! I like it! Although color... Yeargh...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Sep-09-2001 at 07:22
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