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Acoustic emission (AE)-signal-based techniques have recently been attracting researchers' attention to rotational machine health monitoring and diagnostics due to the advantages of the AE signals over the extensively used vibration signals. Unlike vibration-based methods, the AE-based techniques are in their infant stage of development. From the perspective of machine health monitoring and fault detection, developing an AE-based methodology is important. In this paper, a methodology for rotational machine health monitoring and fault detection using empirical mode decomposition (EMD)-based AE feature quantification is presented. The methodology incorporates a threshold-based denoising technique into EMD to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of the AE bursts. Multiple features are extracted from the denoised signals and then fused into a single compressed AE feature. The compressed AE features are then used for fault detection based on a statistical method. A gear fault detection case study is conducted on a notional split-torque gearbox using AE signals to demonstrate the effectiveness of the methodology. A fault detection performance comparison using the compressed AE features with the existing EMD-based AE features reported in the literature is also conducted.