Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

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Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by loungedumore » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:14 am

So I just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1 in trade and man I love this thing . Lush sounding , Big , and phat in the low end kinda hard to believe considering the very low bit rate and very small samples ....and the fact that I forget it is samples when using the Saw or Sqr waves in general says a lot too ! It make my Alpha juno sound like a bad 90's va in comparison ... strange but beautiful ( and heavy ) beast indeed .

So bragging and gloating aside any ESQ-1 users know what makes the 3.5 eprom upgrade worth it or not ?
So far I haven't ran across any bugs or weirdness . I have no plans to really utilize the sequencer either . Now I know I could more than likely find this stuff on bucky's page , but that's the point of using this forum to talk to other people .

Also... The Battery is dying so I am in cue already to get it fixed I was quoted 45-60 $US for repair/ solder - Fair ?
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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:14 am

loungedumore wrote:So I just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1 in trade and man I love this thing . Lush sounding , Big , and phat in the low end kinda hard to believe considering the very low bit rate and very small samples ....and the fact that I forget it is samples when using the Saw or Sqr waves in general says a lot too ! It make my Alpha juno sound like a bad 90's va in comparison ... strange but beautiful ( and heavy ) beast indeed .

So bragging and gloating aside any ESQ-1 users know what makes the 3.5 eprom upgrade worth it or not ?
So far I haven't ran across any bugs or weirdness . I have no plans to really utilize the sequencer either . Now I know I could more than likely find this stuff on bucky's page , but that's the point of using this forum to talk to other people .

Also... The Battery is dying so I am in cue already to get it fixed I was quoted 45-60 $US for repair/ solder - Fair ?

I have an ESQm so there is no 3.5 ROM upgrade for me...

$45-$60 is ridiculous for a battery replacement, but that's probably the going rate. Its a part worth a few dollars , removal of screws, and soldering... yea, i guess labor kills it.

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by loungedumore » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:22 am

Ashe37 wrote:[$45-$60 is ridiculous for a battery replacement, but that's probably the going rate. Its a part worth a few dollars , removal of screws, and soldering... yea, i guess labor kills it.
Yeah I know . The Battery is like 5.63 + 5.00 shipping - that's not included of course .
I had a couple other estaminets they were both 100+ or close anyway . I don't own any solder eqp ...and my hand is not to steady either so no chance I am doing it on such a sensitive piece as this :o for sure .
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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by pmanderson » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:23 pm

I have very fond memories of the ESQ-1. Its very easy to program and back then (early 90's), about 85% of all my music resulted from custom patches on the ESQ-1. The manual was the best.
I still consider it more "analog" than digital. Despite the 8-bit digital VCOs. The ESQ-1 featured oscillator sync and AM modulation (kinda like ring modulation).

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by upfineclouds » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:13 pm

I used to own one. Yes, it's a wonderful synth. I loved the sounds but due to lack od space I had to choose between the ESQ-1 and my DX7 which I had already had. I kept the DX7 since I gelled with it much more and it seems to be a much more open-ended synth as far as creation of new sounds is concerned. But I wish I had the space for the Ensoniq. It wasn't easy to let it go.

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by StepLogik » Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:54 pm

Ashe37 wrote: $45-$60 is ridiculous for a battery replacement, but that's probably the going rate. Its a part worth a few dollars , removal of screws, and soldering... yea, i guess labor kills it.
yeah the battery replacement is a real PitA. If you are REALLY good with a soldering iron you can do it without removing the main board, but i don't think i could have pulled that off. in order to remove the main board you have to remove the keyboard assembly which really makes the battery replacement a hassle.

i've got mine completely disassembled right now cleaning everything, replacing the battery, replacing the two sliders, and re-capping the power supply.

if the ESQ-1 had knobs, it would be much more sought-after. the simple panel hides the incredible monster poly underneath.

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by colmon » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:13 pm

i really miss mine. only had it for a year before it crapped out beyond repair, but i used it everyday as my only synth

despite only having access to one of the 4 envelopes (front panel buttons died a week after i bought it and replaced the battery) i knew it inside out and got to creating some of the most beautiful, rich, and organic sounds

i got really into making evolving pads using the lfos and amp section, i can only dream of what sounds i would've made if i'd had access to all the enevelopes. really cool mod section on this synth, and such a pleasure to program

one of my fav things on this synth was the noise waveforms, really digital and synthetic sounding, like static

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by speak_onion » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:02 pm

StepLogik wrote: If you are REALLY good with a soldering iron you can do it without removing the main board,
I did it that way on my old SQ-80. BTW- if you have a disk or cartridge, there's no real reason to worry about the battery, just don't save your patches on the internal memory. I only changed my battery when I was getting ready to sell it because potential buyers didn't like that "battery low" warning on powerup.

Anyway, cool sounding synth, enjoy.

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by jeeroj » Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:09 pm

StepLogik wrote: if the ESQ-1 had knobs, it would be much more sought-after. the simple panel hides the incredible monster poly underneath.
is it possible to hook it up to a knobby controller, like the behringer one and control parameters that way?

i understand that it won't affect the sound until you press the next key but would you be able to change more than one parameter at once?
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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by Sir Ruff » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:42 pm

Here's another question-is there a way to cure fluctuating screen luminescence? Mine starts off bright and usually ends up pretty dim. Pressing on the front panel often revives it, so I'm imagining this is due to some bad ribbon connection (which I had read about somewhere). How easy is that to fix?
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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by pmanderson » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:52 pm

"if the ESQ-1 had knobs, it would be much more sought-after. the simple panel hides the incredible monster poly underneath."

I've used a lot of synths over the years and I consider the ESQ1 one of the easiest to program.
For one, the large display shows several parameters on the screen at a time... Very few synths do this.
Simply push the button closest to the parameter on the display, and adjust the data slider.
On the right side of the panel is a flowchart layout of the audio path with buttons next to each label.
You can quickly jump from envelope to LFO to oscillator with no effort.
Last edited by pmanderson on Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by tryan225 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:26 pm

I got one about a month or so ago on the cheap. It is a very fun synth, despite my expectations. The only other synth I have is a juno 60, which I love for its ease of use. I had a matrix 6, but sold it due to its interface, so I was weary about the esq-1.

The esq-1, after a few weeks of messing around with, is as easy to navigate, to me, as my juno. The lack of immediate editing is frustrating at times, but can be worked around.

You can put so much modulation into it and then have it affected by the mod wheel, ever so slightly, so that it never feels like a stiff preset synth, but much more organic. I almost always have the filter frequency set to the mod wheel, so it can be adjusted in real-time.

A poster informed me on how to achieve PWM, and I would like to share the technique, thanks to whoever showed it to me in the old thread:

1. Set a square wave on the second oscillator
2. Modulate the pitch of the second oscillator with lfo, envelope, wheel or whatever you want to change the pulse width.
3. Turn Oscillator sync on

I'm pretty sure this works by changing the width of the square wave while its pitch is being modulated. However, the oscillator is synced and the pitch stays at whatever key you may be playing, while the width changes due to whatever modulation you may have set. I'd like to know if I'm right or wrong about this, so anyone, feel free to chime in.

Also, I would highly recommend playing with the sequencer. The limited space can be annoying, but I just delete whatever I'm not going to use. It is very easy to use and sounds so sweet synced with my tr-707. I then have my juno 60 arpeggiator triggered by the 707's rimshot out. It sounds like I'm making dirty sega genesis jams.

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by StepLogik » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:07 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:Here's another question-is there a way to cure fluctuating screen luminescence? Mine starts off bright and usually ends up pretty dim. Pressing on the front panel often revives it, so I'm imagining this is due to some bad ribbon connection (which I had read about somewhere). How easy is that to fix?
hmm, that actually sounds like a power supply problem but the panel-pressing action is curious. the display is soldered directly to a PCB and doesn't really rely on a ribbon connection. whereabouts on the panel do you have to press to brighten it back up?

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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by loungedumore » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:05 pm

Nice to see all the love for the ESQ-1 . It is a great synth . It is very easy to program so no knobs necessary ... though sure knobs instead of " soft "buttons , but I am cool with it just the way it is .
speak_onion wrote: I did it that way on my old SQ-80. BTW- if you have a disk or cartridge, there's no real reason to worry about the battery, just don't save your patches on the internal memory. I only changed my battery when I was getting ready to sell it because potential buyers didn't like that "battery low" warning on powerup. Anyway, cool sounding synth, enjoy.

Well no cartridge and the thought of having to use a an ipod , or cd player to send in patches on the tape in every time I want to recall sounds horrible and sending a midi dump sounds just as tedias too So no big deal I'll pay for it . Just wanted to see if that was a fair price is all . I suppose if it get's the full check up as suggested in the service manual when the "low battery" warnings comes on then it's worth it . Side note I got lucky it has V3.5 eproms installed already too .

BTW : according to the service manual a healthy battery reads 000 on the analog test page mine reads 051 . The sm gives no explanation as to the span as say 000 - 063 or 000 - 127 or 000 - 999 . Just curious I guess ?
Funny if the service techs only have this info and the info only comes from the service book then maybe no one but ex ensoniq know . lol
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Re: Just got an Ensoniq ESQ-1

Post by Joey » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:35 am

colmon wrote:i really miss mine. only had it for a year before it crapped out beyond repair, but i used it everyday as my only synth

despite only having access to one of the 4 envelopes (front panel buttons died a week after i bought it and replaced the battery) i knew it inside out and got to creating some of the most beautiful, rich, and organic sounds

i got really into making evolving pads using the lfos and amp section, i can only dream of what sounds i would've made if i'd had access to all the enevelopes. really cool mod section on this synth, and such a pleasure to program

one of my fav things on this synth was the noise waveforms, really digital and synthetic sounding, like static
i bet you got some nice coil type bell pads out of it
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