E-MU was once a beloved moniker in the music gear business. Now owned by Creative Labs, they’ve made a new name for themselves with software versions of their sound modules and value-priced keyboards and interfaces — but Mac users haven’t been invited to the party. So I was surprised when I heard Mac users coming back excited about E-MU gear on the Macworld floor.

It seems E-MU is releasing Universal Mac driver support for their full keyboard line and external USB audio interfaces, both of which were previously Windows-only and lacked cross-platform class-compliant compatibility. (PCMCIA and PCI interfaces are evidently no-go, but all the rest of their hardware is). They’re certainly worth a look on the Mac now. The keyboards aren’t terribly pretty, but they have a great action for the price and include aftertouch. Mike Gallant loved them at Keyboard. (See PDF of his review) And the audio interfaces have been a good buy, too.

Now the big question is what happens to E-MU’s software; the software bundle is a big part of what makes these a value. An E-MU rep on the floor said, while there’s no official date yet, the popular Proteus sound modules are on their way. I haven’t used these since they were hardware modules, so I like the idea.

The driver download page is a little spotty for now, but will hopefully improve:

E-MU Public Preview, Drivers

E-MU Home Page

On the Windows side, incidentally, Creative has a great relationship with Microsoft, so it’s little surprise they’re out in front with support of 64-bit — both XP and Vista. Any E-MU owners / fans out there? Give us a holler.

  • I got an XBoard 49 and it really doesn't require drivers to use it in Logic, so I don't know how this will help anyway.

  • Steve Rose

    Proteus on mac would ROCK!

    As a long time mac user (and Proteus 2000 hardware) owner, I actually broke down and bought a PC just to run the Proteus X2 software. E-MUs history and legendary filters make the Proteus line a powerful and creative synth module.

    If Creative/E-MU sees fit to bring this to the Mac that would be awesome!!!! IMO, the best synth module on the best computer platform…

    Bring it on!! (Fast!)