Dx7 VS ESQ-1

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.
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Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by ensoniqphreak » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:31 am

To compare such wildly different synths can obveously be problematic. Still, enough similarities exist between these synths to conduct our honest--even if biased--comparisons. One is fully digital--sharp, biting, even brittle at times, the other is mostly digital in terms of hardware, but in a limbo between digital and analog in terms of sonic texture. What do you think?

My comparison:

First and foremost, of course the ESQ-1 is easier to edit. That said, despite having the DX7 only a week, I have deleved right into the UI and really dont find it *nearly* as abysmal as it is cracked up (or down) to be. My ESQ can sound just as harsh and digital as the DX at times--especially with its pulse and various noisewaves used in combination--but the curtis fliters allow it to...emulate is not the right word... pull off a damn good imitation of analog that--importantly--retains just a bit of that digital grittines no matter how much you tweak and mod the filter. The ESQ--even for all its digital hardware--is reminesent more of the analog synths of the early 80s (Junos and Polysixs) with a very warm sounds that occupies the middle of any mix well. The ESQ, for all its warmness has a very unfocused sound--espeically on pads. The DX7 in comparison, sounds both *bigger* and clearer. Its pads are more alive than the ESQ, and can be even warmer with some solid tweaking and alot of patience. The DX7 kills--nay rapes murders and leaves it to bleed out in the gutter--the ESQ for Strings and Brass and Electric Pianos (duah). The two are on par for organs and sound effects. Also, the Keyboard on the DX7 is far more pleasent to play than the ESQ, though the latter deserves more credit that it typically gets in this dept.Obvesouly for analog sounding *anything* I typically go for my ESQ. Still, overall, I prefer the DX7 and would even venture to say that it is a better synth. Its a tough one, mostly because they are both *so* flexible, (the Dx7 IS sonic flexability, period-- and the ESQ has a mod matrix that will even get you and lucky rich assholes with Buchlas and Synthis to turn thier heads) but I am really coming to love my DX7 more...and I have only known her for a little more than a week. That has got to mean something.....
There ya go. What do y'all think?
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by memory cords » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:03 am

There was a guy on Youtube who used an ESQ-1 to mimic the Vangelis CS-80 horn sound. I was surprised at how good the ESQ-1 sounded, very expressive.

Brian Eno created a lot of his work with just a DX7 and a bunch of outboard effects units.

Both great synths if they are in the right hands.

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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by Alex E » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:52 am

It's hard to compare the two for me, because they are so sonically different.

But to me the DX7 is a real weirdo, unlike the ESQ-1 which I used to have. It sounded wonderful but I think I can get similar sounds out of my MS2000 and JP-8000.

FM will always be FM, but there's something so bizarre and alive about the DX7. I don't sit in front of it and make a sound I have in mind. Instead, I end up with something so unique I'll never hear it again without saving the patch.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by braincandy » Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:51 pm

ensoniqphreak wrote:but I am really coming to love my DX7 more...and I have only known her for a little more than a week. That has got to mean something.....
There ya go. What do y'all think?
Your comparison was skewed from the beginning (you've designated the DX as your synth "God"). I think it means you have abundant enthusiasm about a new toy. We all understand that feeling.

About your comparison--I've owned an FS1r, DX21, ESQ-1, and SQ-80 and I just don't get why you think the DX "rapes" (really?) the ESQ-1 for strings. Except for the FS1r, I've never heard any overly-impressive string pads from a DX-series synth (I've heard plenty of original DX7, DX7 II, and TX816 sounds). The SY77 is a different story, but we're talking original DX7, correct? The ESQ-1 isn't ideally suited for string pads, either, but to each their own. I just didn't hear the night-and-day difference in quality in strings that you do.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by ensoniqphreak » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:29 am

braincandy wrote:
ensoniqphreak wrote:but I am really coming to love my DX7 more...and I have only known her for a little more than a week. That has got to mean something.....
There ya go. What do y'all think?
Your comparison was skewed from the beginning (you've designated the DX as your synth "God"). I think it means you have abundant enthusiasm about a new toy. We all understand that feeling.

About your comparison--I've owned an FS1r, DX21, ESQ-1, and SQ-80 and I just don't get why you think the DX "rapes" (really?) the ESQ-1 for strings. Except for the FS1r, I've never heard any overly-impressive string pads from a DX-series synth (I've heard plenty of original DX7, DX7 II, and TX816 sounds). The SY77 is a different story, but we're talking original DX7, correct? The ESQ-1 isn't ideally suited for string pads, either, but to each their own. I just didn't hear the night-and-day difference in quality in strings that you do.
I take your good point about the new toy business. I am sure my opinion of every synth will change over time. I was more stating my general observation that most synth heads I know *hate* their DX7s at first and often wish they had not bought them. The DX7 is not like my ESQ or my Juno: it is not an instant gratification synth. Knowing only a few very general things about FM coming into owning the board I had assumed that I would be in the same boat. Being an English-History double who is *not* mathematically inclined made me expect to hate the DX7 even more. So perhaps I am reading too much into the fact that I am programming it fine and really enjoying it already. And *yes* this is a DX7 MK1. I think the MK2 sounds marginally better but the original has a more lo-fi sound that layers well with my current lineup. Plus, the MK1 looks f**k awesome, while the II looks like an over-sized black gameboy with a keyboard. But I digress.

Now onto the strings issue. It is not so much that the ESQ cannot pull off good strings. It can. But its saw wave--while Iove it in its own right-- is a bit dull with the filter at more open frequencies with no resonance. It is lacking the raw and crunchy sound I would want to program an analog "string ensemble" patch (for that I turn to my Juno), nor does it offer the shimmering high-end of the string patches I have coaxed out of the DX7 thus far. If resonance is added to the filter on the ESQ, and AM used while negatively modulating the amplitude of OSC 2, I can get some sharp and clear string sounds, albeit ones that still sit in the mid range like the vast majority of ESQ sounds. And I guess that is getting at my point. When I use strings on a patch i tend to want either deep and drone-like or crystaline, hence why I let the ESQ watch my DX7 or Juno pull string patches.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by druzz » Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:15 am

ensoniqphreak wrote:
braincandy wrote:
ensoniqphreak wrote:but I am really coming to love my DX7 more...and I have only known her for a little more than a week. That has got to mean something.....
There ya go. What do y'all think?
Your comparison was skewed from the beginning (you've designated the DX as your synth "God"). I think it means you have abundant enthusiasm about a new toy. We all understand that feeling.

About your comparison--I've owned an FS1r, DX21, ESQ-1, and SQ-80 and I just don't get why you think the DX "rapes" (really?) the ESQ-1 for strings. Except for the FS1r, I've never heard any overly-impressive string pads from a DX-series synth (I've heard plenty of original DX7, DX7 II, and TX816 sounds). The SY77 is a different story, but we're talking original DX7, correct? The ESQ-1 isn't ideally suited for string pads, either, but to each their own. I just didn't hear the night-and-day difference in quality in strings that you do.
I take your good point about the new toy business. I am sure my opinion of every synth will change over time. I was more stating my general observation that most synth heads I know *hate* their DX7s at first and often wish they had not bought them. The DX7 is not like my ESQ or my Juno: it is not an instant gratification synth. Knowing only a few very general things about FM coming into owning the board I had assumed that I would be in the same boat. Being an English-History double who is *not* mathematically inclined made me expect to hate the DX7 even more. So perhaps I am reading too much into the fact that I am programming it fine and really enjoying it already. And *yes* this is a DX7 MK1. I think the MK2 sounds marginally better but the original has a more lo-fi sound that layers well with my current lineup. Plus, the MK1 looks f**k awesome, while the II looks like an over-sized black gameboy with a keyboard. But I digress.

Now onto the strings issue. It is not so much that the ESQ cannot pull off good strings. It can. But its saw wave--while Iove it in its own right-- is a bit dull with the filter at more open frequencies with no resonance. It is lacking the raw and crunchy sound I would want to program an analog "string ensemble" patch (for that I turn to my Juno), nor does it offer the shimmering high-end of the string patches I have coaxed out of the DX7 thus far. If resonance is added to the filter on the ESQ, and AM used while negatively modulating the amplitude of OSC 2, I can get some sharp and clear string sounds, albeit ones that still sit in the mid range like the vast majority of ESQ sounds. And I guess that is getting at my point. When I use strings on a patch i tend to want either deep and drone-like or crystaline, hence why I let the ESQ watch my DX7 or Juno pull string patches.

i disagree , i much prefer the way my DX7 IIfd looks compared to the original DX7. with its radiant- oversized lcd (i usually hate those) its dual REd led patch display and its slick black plastic body. they dont make plastic like that anymore, exept maybe for military purposes.

come on! turquoise membrane buttons ... :|

my synth looks better than yours 8-) . the dx7 II is a real badass!! oh and it also sounds good.



about the topic: both are full of possibility but the DX is just so out there

for me the dx7 is a better complement to the analogs and VA i use and plan on using . and i think i already mentionned somewere that the evolver satisfies my hybrid needs.

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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by ensoniqphreak » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:16 am

As I said--the monoaural DX7 I layers better with my other gear. The looks are only a plus :twisted:
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by projectwoofer » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:09 pm

ensoniqphreak wrote:As I said--the monoaural DX7 I layers better with my other gear. The looks are only a plus :twisted:
Haha! Being a proud owner of a TX7 (rack version of DX7 mark I), I can also say that the mark I sounds better to my ears, more gritty and warm than the mark II plus I've found a very easy way to layer sounds on my TX7 when I use it in the studio..and layered, my friends, it sounds awsome!!
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by adamstan » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:42 pm

slick black plastic body
Only sides are plastic (at least on mine) - the panel and bottom are metal.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by druzz » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:20 pm

adamstan wrote:
slick black plastic body
Only sides are plastic (at least on mine) - the panel and bottom are metal.
yeah it is kind of heavy. i'll knock on it when i get home

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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by ensoniqphreak » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:58 pm

Braincandy: Also, the DX21 is *not* the DX7. Four operators and only a hand-full of algorithms. No where near the sonic possibilities of either make of the 7.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by Alex E » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:10 pm

druzz wrote:
adamstan wrote:
slick black plastic body
Only sides are plastic (at least on mine) - the panel and bottom are metal.
yeah it is kind of heavy. i'll knock on it when i get home
Both the Mark 1 and 2 are metal. But the Mark 1 is heavier and probably tougher.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by adamstan » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:15 pm

But the Mark 1 is heavier and probably tougher.
It's heavier, mainly because it has "classic" power supply with transformer, while mkII uses switching one.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by braincandy » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:21 pm

ensoniqphreak wrote:Braincandy: Also, the DX21 is *not* the DX7. Four operators and only a hand-full of algorithms. No where near the sonic possibilities of either make of the 7.
I included it with the FM instruments I've had experience with. I never claimed that it was the equivalent of a DX-7, but they are related in that they're FM synths, just like the FS1r is, too.
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Re: Dx7 VS ESQ-1

Post by impaler42 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:37 am

Ive had both synths. The DX7 seemed to be a bit overrated to me. Its a great FM synth, but I dont see what puts it above the rest. I found it great to use with distortion pedals to emulate heavy guitars.

The ESQ-1 has got a really nice sound. Very unique. Its great for all sorts of sound, from low to high end. I would pick it over a DX7 if I had to choose between the two. Although I dont find them very comparable.
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