Zoë Blade's notebook

Orbit 9090

Orbit 9090 tech specs

  • Released: 1996
  • Company: E-mu
  • Type: Rompler
  • Polyphony: 32 voices[1]
  • Timbrality: 16 parts[1]
  • Sample rate: 39 kHz[1]
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit[1]
  • Audio out: stereo pair (×3)
  • Control: MIDI
  • CPU: Motorola 68000[2]
  • ROM: 8 MB[2]
  • Display: 16×2 character LCD
  • Features: Different tuning systems[1]
  • User programs: 128 × 2 banks[1]
  • Preset programs: 128 × 2 banks[1]
  • Size: 1U

The Orbit 9090 was released by E-mu in 1996, as part of their second wave of romplers. It's filled with sampled sounds designed for making techno, house, and jungle music.

As the sounds are genre-specific, you can theoretically make whole albums using just this and a MIDI sequencer, and maybe an effects unit or two. In practice, you'll probably want to move beyond these limitations and swap out some of the comparatively static digital sounds for more tweakable analogue equivalents. That still makes the Orbit a great starting point for sketching out ideas, especially considering its multitimbrality.

Orbit 9090 V2

Orbit 9090 V2 tech specs

  • Released: 1997
  • Company: E-mu
  • Type: Rompler
  • Polyphony: 32 voices[3]
  • Timbrality: 16 parts[3]
  • Sample rate: 39 kHz[3]
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit[3]
  • Control: MIDI
  • ROM: 8 MB[4]
  • Display: 16×2 character LCD
  • Features: Different tuning systems[3]
  • User programs: 128 × 2 banks[3]
  • Preset programs: 128 × 3 banks[3]
  • Size: 1U

The Orbit 9090 V2 brought the OS up to date with the Planet Phatt and Carnaval, adding a third bank of presets, and officially grouping them together as banks in terms of how they're numbered, so you can recall them without any casual modulo arithmetic.

Curiously, these presets are crafted from an everso slightly reduced set of underlying multisamples, sacrificing "Short Horns" and "DrkShrtStgs". It seems the OS is now more internally consistent, placing everything in multiple banks of 128 in light of the revised MIDI spec, underlying multisamples as well as MIDI-selectable programs.


Orbit 9090

I've only had this about three days. I must admit the drums are good. With most sound modules, you never get good drums, do you? I haven't really got into programming it yet, though.

— Liam Howlett, The Prodigy, 1996[5]

I hardly use it at all. It's a dance-based synth, and that's what's horrible about it.

— Rick Smith, Underworld, 2000[6]

Notable users

Orbit 9090


  1. "Orbit 9090 manual" E-mu, 1996
  2. "E-mu Orbit 9090" Martin Russ, Sound On Sound, Jun 1996
  3. "Orbit 9090 V2 manual" E-mu, 1996
  4. "E-mu Orbit V2" Martin Russ, Sound On Sound, Aug 1997
  5. "Liam Howlett: The Prodigy & Firestarter" Paul Nagle, Sound On Sound, Sep 1996
  6. "Underworld: The Making of Everything, Everything" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Dec 2000


Orbit 9090

Orbit 9090 V2



E-mu: Carnaval | Orbit 9090 | Planet Phatt | Vintage Keys

Romplers: Carnaval | JV-1080 | Orbit 9090 | Planet Phatt | R-8 | U-110 | Vintage Keys