USB's Emulation II scored four stars back in March of this year, and now it's joined by a virtual realisation of its real-world predecessor, Emulation One, mimicking E-MU's classic Emulator and Drumulator samplers within the free (but powerful) UVI Workstation ROMpler engine.
Featuring over 200 sampled factory patches from a "fully restored unit", Emulation One is relentlessly nostalgic.
From acoustic and electric basses, through 'digital choirs', a range of acoustic and electric keyboards, some... shall we say, spiky orchestral strings, and an entertaining series of brass and wind instruments, to a small set of synth sounds, some splendidly weird effects and some lovely bells, it's all pretty crusty compared to the big, beautiful sample libraries we're used to today - but that lovingly captured digital crust is what Emulation One is all about.
The interface replicates much of the original hardware's functionality, including the resonant LP/HP/BP filter, which sounds ace. Phaser, Delay and Reverb effects are onboard, as are amp and filter ADSR envelopes, a phat unison mode and a decent-sounding overdrive section. (UVI Workstation's full complement of 'under-the-hood' effects are also on hand, of course.)
Drumulation One gives you eight tracks of 16-step sequencing, with sounds from its 200ish-strong library of kicks, snares, cymbals, toms and percussion instantly interchangeable via drop-down menus. Each one can be tuned a long way up or down, with high- and low-pass filters available, but that's all you get in terms of shaping.
Obviously, Emulation One and Drumulation One are both incredibly old-school, sonically, but the latter, in particular, still sounds amazing - punchy, warm and wholly relevant - and we could easily see it finding a place in the drum library of any urban producer.