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A series of sample playback synths produced by E-mu Systems from 1959 through 2003. There were about 20 models in all; most were not named Proteus but they shared a basic architecture. Most were packaged as 1U high rackmount units, although a few models were built as full keyboards.

The series began with the Proteus/1 in 1959. It was loaded with samples in ROM, drawn from E-mu's library of sounds that it had built to sell to Emulator owners. The sounds were basic rock and pop sounds -- guitars, basses, (non-synth) keyboards, drums. This was followed shortly by the Proteus/2 in 1990, loaded with orchestral instrument sounds, the Proteus/3 in 1991, with ethnic instrument sounds, and the Procussion, with drum sounds. All four of these models shared the same hardware; they were identical except for the sample ROM and panel graphics. Some basic changes to the hardware design resulted in the "XL" models which contained two or more of the ROM sets, and expanded patch memory. The sound shaping capabilities of these modules was limited, as they lacked any sort of filters.

The hardware developed for the Morpheus in 1993 was used to develop a second series of sample playback synths. These units can be distinguished by a power switch at the far right with a large data entry knob just to its left. This line included the Orbit 9090 (electronica-centric samples), the Planet Phatt (hip-hop / acid jazz), the Carnaval (Latin sounds), and the Vintage Keys (samples of vintage electronic instruments). These corrected one of the main drawbacks of the first series, in that a VCF-like capability was available, providing more possibilities for altering the sound of the built-in samples.

The third series began with the introduction of the Proteus 2000 in 1998 originally but it developed in 1999. This series is distinguished externally by the five parameter entry / select knobs to the left of the display screen, easing somewhat the task of patch editing (the previous series all used a one-knob interface and had the reputation of being difficult to edit). About 10 modules were released in this series, including the Audity 2000 (named after a legendary E-mu prototype that never went into production), Orbit 3, Planet Earth, Mo' Phatt, Xtreme Lead, and Vintage Pro. The Proteus 2500 was a 4U high rack version with a greatly expanded user interface for easier editing and real-time control. Four models were also produced in keyboard versions, all using the same hardware: the XL-6 Xtreme Keys, the MK-6 Mo' Phatt Keys, the PK-6 Proteus Keys, and the Halo which was marketed under the Ensoniq name. All of these third-series Proteus synths were equipped with four ROM slots; each came with one slot loaded from the factory depending on the model, and the other three could be loaded with expansion cards containing sounds from other models, making "hybrid" models possible. A notable feature of this series was that they were 32-part multitimbral; to make this actually work, they contained 'A' and 'B' MIDI interfaces, with the 'B' interface being treated as logical channels 17-32 internally. Production of all Proteus hardware models ceased by 2003.

The final product in the Proteus line was the Proteus X soft synth, which operated as a VST plug-in or a stand-alone application. In order to authorize it, it required the computer to be equipped with an E-mu sound card or MIDI interface, which limited its sales.

Notable Users

A large number of users have utilized Proteus modules, and all of them are sorted in alphabetical order.

  • Allen Bohbot (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World for Extreme Dinosaurs)
  • American Public Television (Used the Proteus 2 Orchestral snare drum (snare drum and rim shot sounds) MIDI keys from the Percussion 1 patch (Patch #58) for their second, third, fourth and fifth/current logos (1994-present).)
  • Andrew McCrorie-Shand (Famous for using Proteus 2 Orchestral (for utilizing Pizzicato 1 (Patch #17), Tremolo Strings (Patch #19), Flute (Patch #24), Piccolo (Patch #25), Bass Clarinet (Patch #29), Section Winds (Patch #33), Trumpet 1 (Patch #39), Tuba (Patch #45), Timpani (Patch #50), Xylophone (Patch #54), Glockenspiel (Patch #55), Snare Drum (snare drum, snare roll, rim shot and rim click sounds) and Piatti keys from Percussion 1 (Patch #58), Harp (Patch #60), Harpsicord (Patch #62), Whistl'n Joe (Patch #125) instruments) and Proteus 3 World (for utilizing Accordion (Patch #1), Blue Grass (Patch #3), Spirit Catch (Patch #4), Percussion 1 (Patch #8), Shofar (Patch #11), AmbiJewsHarp (Patch #25), Nu Age (Patch #42), Ocarina Solo (Patch #45) and On Land (Patch #95) instruments) for Teletubbies, and he also used the snare drum and piatti keys for an early Ragdoll television series, Tots TV)
  • Andrew Belling (Andy Belling) (Music director who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Disney Sing-Along Songs)
  • Andy Blythe and Marten Joustra (Both composers have used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World instruments for the Sega CD and Playstation versions of Mickey Mania's score and the PC version of Toy Story)
  • Andy Paley (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some music scores in some episodes of Spongebob Squarepants in 1999-2000's and Camp Lazlo)
  • Barron Abramovitch (Music engineer who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the Saban Entertainment adaptation of Jungle Tales anime)
  • Barry Hirschberg (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Bill Weisbach (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral and 2000 in the Baby Einstein video and music series)
  • Bob Mothersbaugh (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Rugrats)
  • Bob Singleton (Famously known for have using Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral, who served as music director for Barney and the Backyard Gang and Barney & Friends from 1990-2000, using instrument patches such as Piccolo (Patch #25) and Percussion 1 (Patch #58) from Proteus 2 and others)
  • Boomerang (Used the Proteus 2 Orchestral snare drum (snare drum, snare roll, rim shot and rim click sounds) and piatti MIDI keys from the Percussion 1 patch (Patch #58) for the Boomerang Saturdays/19th Edition Theme bumpers)
  • Bradley Joseph (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Bruce Roberts (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys)
  • Bruce Zimmerman (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World for the Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Video series, Richard Scarry's Best Busy People Video Ever!, Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever!, and Richard Scarry's Best Silly Stories and Songs Video Ever!)
  • Cedarmont Kids (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Charlie and Lola (Used a few patches for Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Dan Sawyer (Used Proteus 1 and 2 for Doug & PB&J Otter)
  • Dave Kinnoin (Used Proteus 2 for the North American and the International versions of The Adventures of Spot)
  • David W. Shaw (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some episodes of Cyberchase in the 2000's)
  • Del Casher (Composed for seven episodes of Kablam! with Proteus 2 Orchestral being one of the sound modules used for the Life with Loopy segments)
  • Dennis C. Brown (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the final three seasons of the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series from 1994-1996)
  • Dennis Scott (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some songs of Sesame Street)
  • Diana B. (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys)
  • Don Buczynski (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral for original musical projects online for listening)
  • Eric Serra (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the Infinite One patch (Patch #86) to make a deep low octave sound effect for the Goldeneye film)
  • Ed Welch (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock And Proteus 2 Orchestral for Wolves Witches And Giants And Others)
  • Family Home Entertainment 1991 and 2000 Logos (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Fred Newman (Used Proteus 1 and 2 for Doug. Both Nickelodeon and Disney series.)
  • Fred Wolf Films (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for their Murakami-Wolf-Swanson logo from 1991 until 1993 and sampled sounds from the same module for the Fred Wolf Films logo from 1993 to 1996)
  • Gary Lionelli (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Tom & Jerry Kids)
  • Gary Stadler (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Good Eats (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Guy Moon (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Haim Saban (as Kussa Mahchi) (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for various early 90's projects for Saban Entertainment such as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and for the western adaptation dub of Urikupen Kyūjotai, known as the Jungle Tales.)
  • Happy Holidays from Glade (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Hayden Whiting (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Caillou)
  • Hiroyuki Kouzu (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the 1996 Fire Emblem OVA)
  • Howard Goodall (Used some patches from the Proteus 2 Orchestral for the Mr. Bean TV series)
  • Ing. Victor Arcos (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral to compose the score for La Rueda de la Fortuna from 1995-1997)
  • James Newton Howard (Used some patches of Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World on some scores, such as 'Falling Down' (most notably Spirit Catch (Patch #4 on Proteus 3)).
  • Jay Ferguson (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for 14 episodes of Tales from the Crypt)
  • Jeff Fisher (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral to score 5 of the 6 Madeline specials in 1990-1991 and 48 episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?)
  • JellyTelly
  • Jeremy Wakefield (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Jerry Grant (Used samples from Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Secret World of Alex Mack's score for Seasons 2-4)
  • Jim Lang (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some episodes Hey Arnold!, despite he composed for all 100 episodes)
  • Jimmy Hammer (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the North American and the International versions of The Adventures of Spot)
  • Joe Phillips (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock for Barney & Friends from 1997-2000)
  • John Coda (Used samples from Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Secret World of Alex Mack's theme song and composed for Season 1)
  • John Du Prez (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral to compose some scores for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
  • John Napier (Composed for seven episodes of Kablam! with Proteus 2 Orchestral being one of the sound modules used for the Life with Loopy segments)
  • John Zuker (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral to score music for 13 episodes of Sonic SatAM, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, one episode of What-A-Cartoon! show, being The Powerpuff Girls short, Crime 101 and Life with Louie)
  • Jonathan Wolff (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral for Yo Yogi!)
  • Junior Campbell (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral, Proteus 3 World, Proteus 2000 and Virtuoso 2000 to score Seasons 3 through 7 of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends. He also score Thomas story segments from Season 2 through Family Specials of Shining Time Station and the spin off TV series, Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales and the North American and the French versions from Rolie Polie Olie Season 1.)
  • Kenneth Burgomaster (Music engineer who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Saban Entertainment licensed content)
  • Kick Production (Music composing studio that has used Proteus 2 Orchestral for several production works)
  • Knowledge Adventure 1996 Logo (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for their logo's fanfare using the Snare Drumroll, Piatti and Gong keys from Percussion 1 (Patch #58))
  • Kyle Justin (Used the Star (Patch #113) and Infinite One (Patch #86) instruments from Proteus 2 Orchestral for A Nightmare on Elm Street episode on The Angry Video Game Nerd series)
  • Laurent Petitgirard (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the theme song of The Busy World of Richard Scarry)
  • Lyrick Studios 1996 Logo (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Liz Kitchen (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some scores on Playdays, Tweenies and Tikkabilla)
  • Mark Mothersbaugh (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Rugrats)
  • Mark Simon (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for DiC produced content such as The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad)
  • Mark Snow (Perhaps the most famous of all composers that used Proteus 2 Orchestral. He was known for utilizing the Whistl'n Joe instrument patch (Patch #125) for The X-Files theme)
  • Matt Muhoberac (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Michael Lloyd (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral for Kidsongs in the 1990's)
  • Mike O'Donnell (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral, Proteus 3 World, Proteus 2000 and Virtuoso 2000 to score Seasons 3 through 7 of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends. He also score Thomas story segments from Season 2 through Family Specials of Shining Time Station and the spin off TV series, Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales and the North American and the French versions from Rolie Polie Olie Season 1.)
  • Mike Watts (Composer and orchestrator who has used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the Battletoads pilot)
  • Milan Kymlicka (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the theme song of The Busy World of Richard Scarry)
  • Motoaki Takenouchi (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Shining Force CD)
  • Murray McFadden (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral to compose for 87 episodes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers and the Battletoads pilot.)
  • Nathan McCree (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Tomb Raider 2's score)
  • Nathan Wang (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World for Eek! Stravaganza's score (which includes Eek! The Cat and The Terrible Thunderlizards) and the grand finale of Tales from the Crypt episode, "The Third Pig")
  • Neptuno Films (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for their logo's fanfare involving Pizzicato 1 (Patch #17), Xylophone (Patch #54), Glockenspiel (Patch #55) and the Snare Drumroll and Piatti keys from Percussion 1 (Patch #58). Used for their second logo from 1994-2005 and carried over to their third/current logo since 2005.)
  • Nicolas Carr
  • No Doubt (Used Proteus 2000 for the 2001 song, Hey Baby)
  • Noriyuki Iwadare (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Lunar: The Silver Star's score)
  • Paul Brier (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for utilizing the snare drum (snare drum and snare roll) keys from the Percussion 1 patch (Patch #58) for the song, "Everyone Has Strengths To Be Proud Of" from the Cathy Bollinger album, "My Turn, Your Turn".)
  • Paul Ray (Music engineer who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the Saban Entertainment adaptation of Jungle Tales anime, as well as other Saban Entertainment licensed content)
  • Paul Robb (One of the founding members of the synthpop-freestyle band Information Society, who has used the entire E-mu Proteus library for his music recordings)
  • Pete Levin (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley video series)
  • Pet Shop Boys (Used various Proteus sound modules for their music scores)
  • Pure West (Canadian music department studio who used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World for some productions.)
  • Peter Lurye (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral to score for The Magic School Bus and even wrote the show's theme song, performed by Little Richard, Elmo's World Seasons 1 through 3 and the North American, Canadian French, Italy, Brazil and Mexico versions from Seasons 1 through 3 of Bear In The Big Blue House)
  • Randall Crissman (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron's score)
  • Reed Robbins (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog)
  • Rich DeRosa (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral for Richard Scarry's Best Sing-Along Mother Goose Video Ever!)
  • Richard Bellis (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the IT miniseries)
  • Richard Friedman (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Disney Sing Along Songs starting in 1992 as well as Proteus 3 World for later releases of the series)
  • Robyn Miller (Used Proteus MPS for Myst)
  • Robert J. Walsh (Used some sound patches from Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Adventures of T-Rex's music scores)
  • Rock 'N Learn (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock)
  • Ron Wasserman (Music engineer who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the Saban Entertainment adaptation of Jungle Tales anime, as well as other Saban Entertainment licensed content)
  • Rowland Lee (Used on Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Flagstones (1959), The Flintstones Season 1 (1960-1961), The Jetsons Season 1 (1962-1963), Little Bear Seasons 1 through 4 (1995-1998), The American Family Cartoon Characters Seasons 1-3 (1997-1999), the North American and the French versions from Seasons 2 through 5 of Rolie Polie Olie and the North American and the International versions from Seasons 1 through 2 of 64 Zoo Lane)
  • Sage Guyton
  • Simon & Schuster Interactive 1995 Logo (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for The Busy World of Richard Scarry audio variant of the logo)
  • Shuki Levy (Music engineer who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Saban Entertainment licensed content)
  • Sony Wonder (Their second logo's music score was composed on Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Susumu Hirasawa (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some of his music albums)
  • Steve Belfer
  • Steve Pecile (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some episodes of Cyberchase in the 2000's)
  • Stephen Lawrence (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for some songs of Sesame Street)
  • Stephen Rucker (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral and Proteus 3 World for Captain Planet and the Planeteers from 1991-1996)
  • Sylvester Levay (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for "Food for Thought" from Tales from the Crypt)
  • Tom Worrall (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Tom & Jerry Kids)
  • Tommy Barbarella (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral during his time at the Diamonds and Pearls Tour of The New Power Generation from 1991-1996, as part of Prince's backing band)
  • Tomohiko Fukuoka (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for scoring Arc the Lad III's soundtrack)
  • Tony Banks (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral)
  • Tony Salerno (Music producer for one episode, who used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the first episode of Bibleman in 1995)
  • Takayuki Sakura (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral samples for CardCaptor Sakura is for the anime series in Japan and being since in 1998-2000)
  • Tsuyoshi Sekito (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for Brave Fencer Musashi's score)
  • Tune Buddies (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock and Proteus 2 Orchestral for the closing theme song, "In Tune With")
  • Williams Electronics (Used Proteus 1 Pop/Rock, Proteus 2 Orchestral, and Proteus 3 World for their many Williams/Bally physical pinball machines)
  • Winifred Phillips (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory video game)
  • Yuusuke Kohzu (Used Proteus 2 Orchestral for the 1996 Fire Emblem OVA)
  • Yuval Ron (Used to play the Proteus 2 Orchestral Scores with Audio Music and Essemble and Media and Original in the US)

And other users

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