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Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:26 pm
by raycastile
Hello. I bought an Ensoniq ESQ-1 a few months ago. It's a great synth, and I'm having a lot of fun playing it. But it seems a little glitchy. Among other issues, I've noticed distortion, like the kind you hear when you have the mixer gain turned up too high. It's not terrible, but it's there. It's especially noticeable on pad patches that sustain a long time.

I've read the ESQ-1 described as having a "dirty," "gritty" sound. Is this distortion to be expected? Is it considered part of the "charm" of the synth? Or does mine have a problem that I should try to correct?

I've had other issues. It seems no modern volume pedal works with the ESQ-1. I've tried it with the master volume setting set to "volume," so that's not the problem. I've tried five different manufacturer's pedals. Do I have to buy a vintage CVP-1 pedal? Or is there a problem with the synth? I've read that they are prone to volume-related problems.

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:14 am
by philip
No. My sq80 is silent as nothing else.

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:41 am
by meatballfulton
Yes, you need the CVP-1 pedal or you have to mod a generic pedal. Read this.

Not sure about the noise without hearing it in person.

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:28 pm
by Baus
Hi Ray,

Your ESQ-1 sounding distorted is not normal. Raw, gritty and dirty...yes... but not distorted.

As for the Volume/Control Pedal: No, you don't need a CVP-1.

I thought the same thing. I still had a Volume Pedal that belonged to my 2nd keyboard, a GEM DSK-8 from the 80's, laying around in the attic. I never bothered to plug it in and try it out because I assumed it would not work.

Then, when I found a used Ensoniq CVP-1 on the internet and bough itt, upon opening up the box it came in, I thought it looked similar to the pedal I still had laying around upstairs....very similar.

I tried both...and guess what... both pedals work.

Then I read that the Ensoniq pedals are from an Italian manufacturer....and so was my GEM DSK-8 keyboard. I think they're from the same manufacturer.

Good luck with that ESQ-1.

Robin.

Image

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:42 am
by raycastile
Thank you for the responses! I will try to make a recording sometime soon. I don't know if it would be worth it to take the keyboard to a repair shop. The repair would cost more than the keyboard is worth.

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:30 pm
by micahjonhughes
I believe that it is possible to overdrive the filter stage. Have you tried turning down the oscillator levels as a solution?

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:54 pm
by sam
Mine needs a new display board....can't find one either..

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:23 am
by groy
micahjonhughes wrote:I believe that it is possible to overdrive the filter stage. Have you tried turning down the oscillator levels as a solution?
This is totally true, although it's usually sort of subtle you should definitely look into this. Here's an article on it:
http://www.scoreforsale.com/html/overdrive.html

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:16 pm
by Baus
Sam.... the famous Rainer Buchty recently (May 30, 2016) finished the cure and made the 'replacement display controller kit'.

You can contact him through his website or find him on FB and message him if you're interested.

Good luck,

Robin
The Netherlands

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:19 pm
by raycastile
groy wrote:
micahjonhughes wrote:I believe that it is possible to overdrive the filter stage. Have you tried turning down the oscillator levels as a solution?
This is totally true, although it's usually sort of subtle you should definitely look into this. Here's an article on it:
http://www.scoreforsale.com/html/overdrive.html

Thank you! This could explain what I am hearing. I will check the levels like the article says.

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:59 pm
by rhino
ESQ's are a great old machine, but Ensoniq had problems with the plating they used on conncetors. First, try opening the synth and cleaning and re-seating the connectors - DANGER !!!!!! DO NOT REVERSE OR MIS-PIN ANY!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, try cleaning with Caig DeOX or similar the output jack. work the plug in and out to clean the contacts that switch the stereo/mono connection inside.
Output is kinda hot on this board, have you changed your mixer/amp level?

sadly, 99% of the music comes out of custom Ensoniq chips that that are near bullet-proof, but extremly hard to source.

The voulme slider and the pedal both are DC voltage - no audio here.

let us know

EDIT: If you play one note at a time, do some notes sound ok, and some distort? There is a seperate "filter" chip for each of the 8 notes. Again, I have never seen one fail, but it so, they are available, but not cheap.
They are CEM3379's - go for about 30-40 dollars right now.

New thought try tuning the filters? Press and hold RECORD and FILTER buttons at the same time. Takes a few minutes. Turn down your amp first

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:14 am
by raycastile
The DCA volume was the problem. Some third party sound designers set the DCA levels over 50, resulting in distortion, sort of like digital clipping when gain is too high. When the levels are reduced to 45 or so, the distortion disappears. The patch still sounds just fine with the slightly reduced DCA levels.

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:25 pm
by Baus
Yes, happens to me most of the time in the EPS-16 Plus too when layering different wavesamples. Just lowering the wavesample amplitude always works.

Glad you found out and it's not a hardware thing.

Robin
The Netherlands

Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1 - is it supposed to be noisy?

Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:22 pm
by BlackGnosis
raycastile wrote:The DCA volume was the problem. Some third party sound designers set the DCA levels over 50, resulting in distortion, sort of like digital clipping when gain is too high. When the levels are reduced to 45 or so, the distortion disappears. The patch still sounds just fine with the slightly reduced DCA levels.
At least it's an easy remedy. :D