Some notes on adding internal IDE discs to an E-MU
Ultra E5000 sampler.
The high current demands of large 3.5" internal discs can put a
strain on the E-MU's PSU and may shorten its life so it can be
beneficial to replace with a smaller 2.5" disc or even a
solid-state one. Smaller discs also tend to be quieter, and SSDs
should make no noise at all. Here are 3 options I tried:
I had no success with a compact-flash card and cheap CF-IDE
adapter, but working solid-state systems do exist (albeit
expensive) - see the E-MU forums for discussions on these, e.g.
the legacy emusonacid here.
If you can get these to work, the cards can be moved easily from
the E-MU to a PC.
Removable IDE disc caddy
The IcyDock disc caddy system is recommended if you can get hold
of one - there are other makes but it must use an IDE/PATA
connection; SATA connections will not work inside the E-MU.
More details are in the legacy emusonacid forum here
but basically you replace the E-MU floppy drive with the docking
unit and connect using a 40-way IDE ribbon cable and miniature
4-pin Molex power plug.
This example uses a Molex adapter/splitter which converts the
original E-MU large 4-pin plug into another large plug & a
miniature plug; the large plug is left unused. Note the original
Molex plug is the special E-MU one which is based on a standard PC
plug but with the 5v & 12v wires (red & yellow) swapped
The power cable & ribbon cable for the floppy drive are both
unused, but a jumper is required across 2 pins on the floppy
ribbon connector to prevent E-MU waiting for a non-existant floppy
Mount the 2.5" IDE drive into the caddy...
...and insert caddy into docking bay.
The removable caddy has a proprietary connector so if you want to
connect it to a PC you'll need a 2nd docking bay. To connect via
USB, e.g. for a laptop PC, leave the 2nd dock free-standing and
connect a separate 5v power supply and a USB-to-IDE cable.
If your PC is a desktop, it's easier just to mount the 2nd dock
directly into your PC and connect the PC's IDE & power cables
just like fitting an internal drive.
Non-removable IDE discs
This is the easiest & cheapest method, but there is no easy
access to the outside world. The E-MU can 'see' external SCSI
devices so you can push & pull data via SCSI using the E-MU
controls, but external SCSI devices cannot 'see' the E-MU's IDE
In emergencies, you could take the lid off and temporarily
replace the 3.5" to 2.5" adapter (see below) with a USB-to-IDE
cable connected to a PC. E-MU power must be switched off; the
IDE disc will be powered by the USB cable.
To fit a non-removable drive, you'll need a 40-way IDE ribbon
cable & a special E-MU 4-pin Molex power cable. This is the
same as a standard PC disc power cable but with the 5v & 12v
wires (red & yellow) swapped over. If you're replacing a
3.5" IDE drive, both cables will already be present.
3.5" to 2.5" adapters can be picked up very cheaply from well
known auction sites, especially direct from the far east if
you're not in a rush for delivery!
Mounting brackets - only one bracket of the pair is needed per
I used nylon washers as a precaution between the disc &
bracket, and a couple of nuts & bolts to fasten the bracket
to the existing holes in the E-MU chassis.
Plug the power & signal cables into the 3.5" side of the
adapter, then carefully push the adapter onto the disc.
E-MU/EOS vs FAT
There are a few anomalies with the
two disc formats. According to the manual, E-MU/EOS format
is tuned for fastest access, but FAT32 (available with the
latest OS 4.7) allows for 'more efficient use' of large discs
plus compatibility with computers.
The 'efficient use' is a strange one,
e.g. the full E-MU factory CD set occupies about 5GB on a
FAT-formatted disc, but if you try & copy them to a 40GB
E-MU-formatted disc, you'll get a 'disc full' error!
The problem appears to be due to E-MU
format using a fixed no. of clusters (1024) regardless of disc
size so larger discs contain larger clusters. Compare this to
FAT format which uses a fixed cluster size so larger discs
contain more (smaller) clusters. The larger the cluster size,
the more disc space is wasted. For 'small' discs up to a few GBs
there's not much difference between the two formats, but the
wastage gets worse for larger ones.
The bottom line is if you want to use
the full capacity of discs larger than a few GBs, it's better to
format them as FAT.
There didn't seem to be a huge
difference in read/write access speed on the discs I tried (6GB,
20GB, 40GB), but FAT-formatted discs always pause before writing to the disc for the
very first time after a power-on or mount operation (Disc,
Utils, Mount). The more files stored on the disc, the longer
this initial pause - even several tens of seconds. Once the
first write has occurred, there are no more pauses until you
next power on or mount. It's not a show-stopper - you just have
to be patient - but it can be disconcerting when editing samples
if you have the 'undo' feature switched on; the very first edit
will appear to freeze for a while as it writes a copy of the
original sample to disc.
All four 2nd-hand E-MUs tried have
this problem, but I don't recall having it with my original E-MU
(all running OS 4.7), so maybe there was a h/w issue on older
models. Am unable to confirm this now due to its 43W PSU finally
blowing up - it was fitted with a 2.5" disc and RFX card several
years ago and has been working fine, but have since discovered
that RFX cards really need the larger 65W PSU!
(this video shows
how to replace a broken PSU).
Apart from all that, fitting a 2.5"
disc is well worth the effort, with a bonus of a reduction in