EMT was founded by Wilhelm Franz in Germany in 1940 and as a manufacturer introduced the EMT 140 Plate Reverb in 1957. The EMT 140 revolutionised the recording industry because it was the first artificial reverb to market. Prior to it’s introduction, reverb chambers were required, and those chambers ranged from a stairwell or large basement, with a speaker at one end, and a microphone at the other. The EMT 140 was developed with close co-operation with Dr W Kuhl and the Institute for Radio Technology in Hamburg Germany. A plate reverb is essentially a steel plate 2m2 and .5mm thick, on which a transducer would create waves. The EMT 140 remained the only studio reverb of quality for the next ten years.
The EMT 140 was originally fitted with a single microphone to pickup the reverberant sound of the plate. In 1961 the EMT 140 was fitted with two microphones, enabling two uncorrelated signals to be obtained, creating a stereo reverb effect. Even though the EMT 140 was very large and heavy, it’s footprint was significantly smaller than a basement or stairwell and as such it sold very well, for 25 years! In 1972 EMT introduced the world’s first digital reverb unit, the EMT 144, which was a largely unsuccessful unit. Undeterred, in 1976 EMT teamed up with American company Dynatron to produce the EMT 250 digital reverb. The EMT 250 was a huge success, and is much loved today as it was decades ago. The EMT 250 was not however, just a reverb, it was also the world’s first multi-effects unit offering delay, echo, chorusing and phase effects as well. There have been many models between the EMT 140 and the EMT 250, and more after the EMT 250, but it is the 140 and 250 that are most sought after today and they still command several thousand dollars a piece when they come up for sale.