Page 1 of 2

War of the Waves

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:34 pm
by max badwan
There seems to be a lot of love for the hybrid 80s' Wave synths, and with good reason - they all sound good, and offer a combination of "digital" and "analog" sounds. Keeping the subtractive synthesis method made them accessible to keyboardists who were scratching their heads at the the DX family, whilst allowing some of the types of sounds that were so popular at the time (I'm looking at you, E.Piano 1). Today of course, we love them for their "analog" sound.

Choose wisely, for there can be only one.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:06 am
by meatballfulton
SQ-80 easily bests the ESQ-1, it's just more of everything. I owned one for about 15 years, only sold it to free up space.

Why no other mfr has managed to make such an intuitive knobless programming interface I just don't understand.

The floppy drive could store sysex dumps for your other gear, the tape I/O doubled as an FSK sync interface for your 4/8/16 track tape machine and of course polyphonic aftertouch allowed unbelievable expression possibilities.

The only thing that was a drawback was the 8-voice polyphony, which was actually pretty good for the time.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:21 am
by max badwan
meatballfulton wrote:SQ-80 easily bests the ESQ-1, it's just more of everything. I owned one for about 15 years, only sold it to free up space.

Why no other mfr has managed to make such an intuitive knobless programming interface I just don't understand.

The floppy drive could store sysex dumps for your other gear, the tape I/O doubled as an FSK sync interface for your 4/8/16 track tape machine and of course polyphonic aftertouch allowed unbelievable expression possibilities.

The only thing that was a drawback was the 8-voice polyphony, which was actually pretty good for the time.


I heartily agree - the interface on the E/SQ family is as good as it gets for "Digital Parameter Access" interfaces. The tape I/O on the ESQ is also FSK enabled, btw. You could always double the polyphony with MIDI overflow, but you'd need two - why didn't they bring out an SQ-M?

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:35 am
by megamanx
I voted for esq-1 as it is the only one I have owned or played.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:32 am
by Bitexion
I have both the mighty D-50 and the SQ-80. Haven't used either in a couple years, but I'd pick the D-50. It's easier to work with and has thousands of great sounds easily transferred via MIDI.

I got a disk with loads of soundbanks with my SQ-80 too, so I'm pretty well covered on both. But the SQ80 has those weird envelopes I could never get my head around.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:53 am
by max badwan
Bitexion wrote:I have both the mighty D-50 and the SQ-80. Haven't used either in a couple years, but I'd pick the D-50. It's easier to work with and has thousands of great sounds easily transferred via MIDI.

I got a disk with loads of soundbanks with my SQ-80 too, so I'm pretty well covered on both. But the SQ80 has those weird envelopes I could never get my head around.

The D-50 is in a different class, being all digital.
Don't know if you've seen this - Mastering envelopes, SQ-80 specific.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:54 pm
by Z
PPG Wave 2.2

/end of discussion

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:11 pm
by Jabberwalky
Why be tethered to an analog filter? The sq80 was good but I always felt the filter lacked emphasis. Lots of crazier options once digital filters were realized.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:19 pm
by Sir Ruff
Bitexion wrote:I have both the mighty D-50 and the SQ-80. Haven't used either in a couple years, but I'd pick the D-50. It's easier to work with and has thousands of great sounds easily transferred via MIDI.

I got a disk with loads of soundbanks with my SQ-80 too, so I'm pretty well covered on both. But the SQ80 has those weird envelopes I could never get my head around.


how could you find those difficult, and not those of the D-50? The D-50, even with the PG-1000, is a total PIA to program. The ESQ-1/SQ-80 are child's play in comparison. The Ensoniq envelopes are simply time/amount -- you set the time you want to to take to get to the amount. Pretty straight forward. There's a few extra parameters like velocity attack and scaling, but you can ignore those if you want.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:38 pm
by meatballfulton
D-50 isn't one of the choices in the poll, guys :roll:

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:09 pm
by max badwan
Z wrote:PPG Wave 2.2

/end of discussion

You're right, of course, but I didn't include the PPGs - the dynamic wavetable puts them in a different class - all the others have static waveforms.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:55 pm
by Chewy
Voted for the DW-8000 as it and the ESQ-1 are the only hybrids I have. I've also played a Casio HT-700, which actually wasn't bad! Nice little compact synth with 32 digital waves (running through VCFs).

The Casio SD series are other 80s hybrids (The HT-700 is one of them) with several different models: HZ-600, HT-700, HT-3000, and HT-6000. The 6000 is a beast. If I remember right, it has double the waveforms (64), 4 sources (digital "oscillators"), and 4 (or 8?) VCFs per voice

I know like no one would vote for them if they were on the list since they're Casios, but they are actual synths (not preset machines) and pretty good ones at that, so I figured I'd mention em

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:57 pm
by Z
max badwan wrote:
Z wrote:PPG Wave 2.2

/end of discussion

You're right, of course, but I didn't include the PPGs - the dynamic wavetable puts them in a different class - all the others have static waveforms.


What about SCI Prophet VS? It has static waves.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:07 pm
by max badwan
Z wrote:
max badwan wrote:
Z wrote:PPG Wave 2.2

/end of discussion

You're right, of course, but I didn't include the PPGs - the dynamic wavetable puts them in a different class - all the others have static waveforms.


What about SCI Prophet VS? It has static waves.

Damn. I should have listed an "other" option.
Vector Synthesis means you can dynamically modulate the wavetable between the four elements, I was really trying to keep it to apples and apples. I missed the Casios listed by Chewy, as well.

Re: War of the Waves

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:15 am
by Sir Ruff
You can fake vector synthesis on the ESQ/SQ-80 with clever envelope or LFO use.