Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

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Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby Moxsam » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:56 am

Hello,

Newbie synthesizer question here...

Last week I purchased a mint condition Ensoniq SQ80 synthesizer. I'm new to synths and just learning the ropes. So far I love this thing!

Anyhow I was looking on Craigslist today and found an Ensoniq EPS sampler for sale.

I don't know enough to know whether I "need" this too :) I mean I know I don't NEED it but if the two units could be used together and do things I otherwise couldn't then I think that would be pretty cool. Especially two matching old school synths.

I just don't want to buy it if it is going to be redundant with what I already have.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Sam
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:01 am

I don't think the EPS is redundant to the SQ-80, or vice-versa. The SQ-80 sits just on the boundary between a hybrid digital/analog synth like the Korg DW-8000 and a sampler with analog filters like the Emax, but it's definitely closer to the synth side of the equation.
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby elsongs » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:06 am

The Ensoniq EPS and SQ-80 were both released at the same time and share the same casing (and visually match each other). They were both marketed together in Ensoniq ads back in the late '80s. You can use one without the other, and you gain nothing special by MIDI'ing or using them together. Basically the EPS was the successor to the Mirage and the SQ-80 was the successor to the ESQ-1.
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby meatballfulton » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:38 pm

The EPS is of course a sampler, which the SQ-80 is not. EPS was pretty hot stuff in 1988 but today, old samplers are mainly for folks nostalgic for them...they want that sound and are willing to put up with the limitations.

Ensoniq gear in general is hard to keep running because the company is long gone and parts are scarce. Owning two boards that need a lot of TLC is something to think about.

Disclaimer: I owned an SQ80 for 15 years.
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby mpa1104 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:51 pm

For reasons already stated, the two complement each other nicely. Similar architectures, a ton of flexible mod-routings, including the very useable poly-AT. You could do a lot worse than an EPS for a first-time sampler - there's a great deal you can achieve with it. Of course the main thing you're missing with both are effects, this of course depends on how much you want them and if you're prepared to spend a bit more on outboard stuff.
I don't use my EPS much at all these days as it's overshadowed by my ASR-10, but before I had the latter, the former paired beautifully well with the ESQ-1.
If you're as fond of the SQ-80 as you say, and you're prepared to spend some time with it and the EPS, you could potentially do some great stuff.
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby ninja6485 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:59 pm

So provided there is not a whole lot of redundancy, and the two are complimentary, the next questions are:

1. What styles of music do you like, listen to, and want to play? (And more importantly, are you into any sampler heavy music [of ANY time period]?)

2. Are you put off by something that might have a little bit of a learning curve?

3. Are you put off by something that may have a bit of menu diving?

4. Are you interested in having fun playing a new instrument, or are you interested in getting sampler functionality done quickly and immediately? (In other words, if samplers were cars, would you be interested in driving for fun and owning a classic, or do you just need something to get you from A to B?)

5. How much do you like the idea of what it is before actually buying it? In other words, can you imagine how you might use it and how it could add to your music, or is it more an interest because it's there and affordable? Would you want to seek another one out at that price if this one were to sell today, or would you not give it another thought?
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby tom Cadillac » Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:44 am

I'v had both of these and still have the SQ80 -its an amazing synth and congrats on getting a mint one!
The EPS is also an amazing instrument - I made some really great sounds on mine - but it malfuntioned and I ran out of space... so out it went but lots to explore on each.
I think the SQ80 is about as good as you're going to get as far as synths go - it sits fairly squarely in great analog sounding polys - the digital samples the sounds are built from give interest in my opinion rather than detracting from the sound.
As far as sampling goes the EPS though enjoyable is rather idiosyncratic.
There are much more interesting samplers and if you really want to get into sampling then later desktops ones - roland SPs Zoom st224 (my favourite) and yes the akai MPCs will let you explore sampling much more.
keyboard samplers are rather a thing of the past - though the Roland V synth is phenominal.
Ensoniq were a really great company. I think their instruments were some of the most interesting, so enjoy!
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby Alex E » Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:12 am

Is it weird that I wanna see a picture of both of them together? The OG adverts don't count. :P
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby Moxsam » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:13 am

Thanks for all the responses everyone.

I've emailed the seller of the EPS and he has yet to get back to me.

The world of synthesizers is new and exciting to me and also a bit overwhelming. As I say I don't know enough to know what I want. I have read that the Ensoniq stuff is a little rare and when I saw the EPS I figured I should jump at it. I'm still undecided.


ninja6485 wrote:So provided there is not a whole lot of redundancy, and the two are complimentary, the next questions are:

1. What styles of music do you like, listen to, and want to play? (And more importantly, are you into any sampler heavy music [of ANY time period]?)

2. Are you put off by something that might have a little bit of a learning curve?

3. Are you put off by something that may have a bit of menu diving?

4. Are you interested in having fun playing a new instrument, or are you interested in getting sampler functionality done quickly and immediately? (In other words, if samplers were cars, would you be interested in driving for fun and owning a classic, or do you just need something to get you from A to B?)

5. How much do you like the idea of what it is before actually buying it? In other words, can you imagine how you might use it and how it could add to your music, or is it more an interest because it's there and affordable? Would you want to seek another one out at that price if this one were to sell today, or would you not give it another thought?


These are some great questions I will try to answer.

1. My music tastes are all over the place. What got me interested in synthesizers was this youtube vid.
Watch on youtube.com

I'm not really sure why. I do like a lot of hip-hop music and this gave me that kind of vibe. Anyhow the more synth vids I watched the more interested I became. It's opened my mind to music I was never really interested in before.

2. I'm usually up for a challenge however these days my free time for music is more limited so I probably would be better served by something less difficult.

3. I'm not sure about menu diving. I looked at a few Yamaha synths (SY77 and V50) which were for sale here. I read a bit about how they are tough to program though. They did kind of turn me off a little as they seemed complicated. Is this what you mean by menu diving?

4. I'm just interested in having fun at this point.

5. I guess I was just interested because it was there and affordable but also because I'm a bit of a sucker for collecting vintage things that are a little off the beaten path. I have found another EPS albeit in a city further away so I may consider it as well.

Your questions have definitely made me think! :)

Thanks
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Re: Ensoniq SQ80 and Ensoniq EPS

Postby Moxsam » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:03 pm

Well I went to look at the EPS and it was also in mint condition and the price was right so I could not resist. I haven't even had a chance to try it out yet but I am thrilled to have found both these older units in such great condition. I'm sure I will have lots of fun and questions for you guys in the future.

P.S. The guy I purchased from had a most impressive collection of vintage synthesizers. Probably 20 or more and all in perfect condition. I wish I would have taken photos.

Thanks for the advice.
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