Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

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Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by boxed » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:57 am

Hi people. I just need some advice and general information on the above synths. Please help me choose. I'm really a plug-in guy and don't know much about hardware synths. A guy I know is leaving the country and is selling all his stuff. He's willing to sell me any of the above mentioned synths for quite a good price. The Ensoniq needs a battery replacement, he says - I dunno if maintenance will be a long run issue?

I'm looking for a synth whose raw oscillators produce high amounts of low frequency content. I want a really dark synth for doing phat basslines and leads. I make mainly dubstep, grime and hiphop. So naturally I will be doing alot of sub basses and wobble sounds.

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by Scories » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:17 am

If you are a plugin guy, you might prefer the versality of the Prophecy. It's harder to program but you can save patches. Just try it and see if you like its sound. Asside analog waveshapes, you can also get odd synthesis (like CombFilter) and physical modeling to create weird flute and plucked string tones.

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by boxed » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:30 am

Scories wrote:If you are a plugin guy, you might prefer the versality of the Prophecy. It's harder to program but you can save patches. Just try it and see if you like its sound. Asside analog waveshapes, you can also get odd synthesis (like CombFilter) and physical modeling to create weird flute and plucked string tones.
The ESQ1 has a higher rating on this website. Anyway I am leaning towards the Prophecy (based on Youtube clip I watched) - but the unit does seriously look like a toy. Are there many SYS patches and resources available for it on-line? Does it have much character, how would you describe its sound?

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by Scories » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:44 am

Never rate a synth over the look. The Prophecy is built very strong, don't worry. The main complain you might hear about it is that it donds more plastic than other real analog synth. But it's just a matter of taste.

I never tried the Jen but it might have a higher fun factor and a nice analog tone.

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by Tsarik » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:57 pm

Korg Prophecy if you're interested in learning how to program and how to play keys. For a lead synth this synth is insane with the mod wheels and ribbon controller.

if you aren't interested in programming your own sounds that much get the Ensoniq.

I've nothing against DCO synths.. but if its only just 1 DCO.. bah. if only one OSC, its gotta be VCO for me.

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by tallowwaters » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:50 pm

The music I make dabbles in the hiphop, grime/dancehall, dub realm and I love my Prophecy. I mostly use for weird, gritty sounding leads, but it is easily the most expressive instrument I have owned. It's a bit odd to program, but it's workable if you stick with it and remember your parameter codes. The wind/reed physical modeling is genius for making eerie high pitched timbres, and the plucked models are great for getting odd guitar sounds, and the comb filter can get downright greasy as h**l. It also makes a h**l of a controller.

The ESQ would be useful for making some dark pads and bright bells, ala Skinny Puppy, and I think would complement the Prophecy nicely (I haven't owned an ESQ in some time). It's insanely easy to edit, but isn't something I would make my go to or lead board. I think it's strongest suit is filling in spaces, not creating them, if that makes sense.
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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by Dano » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:39 pm

The only one of the three that I've owned is the ESQ and if I were to categorize it then it would be as "dark".

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by ensoniqphreak » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:26 am

Tsarik wrote:if you aren't interested in programming your own sounds that much get the Ensoniq..

Whaaaa? :shock: Programming the ESQ-1 is a breeze. Its not a machine for live tweaking because changed parameters only sound after the next key is pressed. But its *soooooo* easy to program--and a great synth to learn programming on-- because of the subtractive signal path and extensive but straight-forward mod matrix. Plus it has a greenlit Vacuum Florescent Display. And oh yeah those Analog curtis filters.... no-self oscillation but still beefy and warm... Id say get the ESQ... plus its DIRT cheap. Be sure to get the metal case, even if its an older OS. upgrading the Eproms is easy stuff for anyone who is remotely technically inclined.
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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by boxed » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:03 am

ensoniqphreak wrote:
Tsarik wrote:if you aren't interested in programming your own sounds that much get the Ensoniq..

Whaaaa? :shock: Programming the ESQ-1 is a breeze. Its not a machine for live tweaking because changed parameters only sound after the next key is pressed. But its *soooooo* easy to program--and a great synth to learn programming on-- because of the subtractive signal path and extensive but straight-forward mod matrix. Plus it has a greenlit Vacuum Florescent Display. And oh yeah those Analog curtis filters.... no-self oscillation but still beefy and warm... Id say get the ESQ... plus its DIRT cheap. Be sure to get the metal case, even if its an older OS. upgrading the Eproms is easy stuff for anyone who is remotely technically inclined.
From what I've seen those analogue filters do really sound sound. It sounds good and I think its more versatile than the Prophecy. But no character, most of the sounds I've heard (on demos) on the net are quite mellow, like pads and kalimba type sounds. So I really can't tell if it can make aggressive futuristic sounds like I've heard from the Prophecy. Its a tough choice both great synths I know I will enjoy.
Last edited by boxed on Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by boxed » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:06 am

tallowwaters wrote:The music I make dabbles in the hiphop, grime/dancehall, dub realm and I love my Prophecy. I mostly use for weird, gritty sounding leads, but it is easily the most expressive instrument I have owned. It's a bit odd to program, but it's workable if you stick with it and remember your parameter codes. The wind/reed physical modeling is genius for making eerie high pitched timbres, and the plucked models are great for getting odd guitar sounds, and the comb filter can get downright greasy as h**l. It also makes a h**l of a controller.

The ESQ would be useful for making some dark pads and bright bells, ala Skinny Puppy, and I think would complement the Prophecy nicely (I haven't owned an ESQ in some time). It's insanely easy to edit, but isn't something I would make my go to or lead board. I think it's strongest suit is filling in spaces, not creating them, if that makes sense.
How would you rate the filters? Can it be made to produce more analog type sounds? Any aliasing in the oscillators? I hope its beefier than most VST plugins.

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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by GameChanger » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:29 am

boxed wrote:
ensoniqphreak wrote:
Tsarik wrote:if you aren't interested in programming your own sounds that much get the Ensoniq..

Whaaaa? :shock: Programming the ESQ-1 is a breeze. Its not a machine for live tweaking because changed parameters only sound after the next key is pressed. But its *soooooo* easy to program--and a great synth to learn programming on-- because of the subtractive signal path and extensive but straight-forward mod matrix. Plus it has a greenlit Vacuum Florescent Display. And oh yeah those Analog curtis filters.... no-self oscillation but still beefy and warm... Id say get the ESQ... plus its DIRT cheap. Be sure to get the metal case, even if its an older OS. upgrading the Eproms is easy stuff for anyone who is remotely technically inclined.
From what I've seen those analogue filters do really sound sound. It sounds good and I think its more versatile than the Prophecy. But no character, most of the sounds I've heard (on demos) on the net are quite mellow, like pads and kalimba type sounds. So I really can't tell if it can make aggressive futuristic sounds like I've heard from the Prophecy. Its a tough choice both great synths I know I will enjoy.
ESQ-1, No character, Sorry but are you crazy?! You oviouslly havn't heard an esq-1. It has its own distinct sound and TONs of character, 2X as much as a prophecy. Plus its multitimbral, polyphonic, analog filters. Plus whoever said to use the presets for ESQ is nuts too. This synth is meant to be programmed, and shines when you do. Presets are just cheesey. Check out this demo below of jexus w/ a esq-1 and tell me if you still think this is just mellow pads and bell sounds. ESQ is to me the most underratted synths of all time:



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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by ensoniqphreak » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:11 am

I second that game changer. I would agree with everything that you said and add: The ESQ can has a modulation matrix that is extensive, flexible, and versatile in terms of routing. If you thought it had "no character" when you heard it boxed, then either the person who was playing it has no idea how to program it or they had a shitty amp! In fact, its so quirky that is has its own unique character unlike anything else...
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Re: Ensoniq ESQ-1, Korg Prophecy or Jen SX1000

Post by tallowwaters » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:19 pm

boxed wrote: How would you rate the filters? Can it be made to produce more analog type sounds? Any aliasing in the oscillators? I hope its beefier than most VST plugins.
Well, I'm not going to indulge in bullshit pissing match about which is better here. Each one has different sounds, covers different bases, and in my opinion, would work well together.

The filters could sound plenty analog if you were so inclined. I don't dig the whole emulating analog/divining sounds scene, so I am sure there a 4 dozen nerds here ready to tell you how analog it doesn't sound. Out of those 4 dozen, probably 3 of those guys actually make music with their synths, and the rest simply buy and sell them and talk about them here, so take that with a grain of salt. I have never noticed aliasing, and I don't use plugins, so for whatever that is worth...

Here is where I give the response nobody ever wants to hear, and that is how good the synth sounds mostly relies on you. The Prophecy and the ESQ-1 both can deliver a wide variety of sounds in spades, but it only if you can coax those sounds out. One is a monosynth capable of great leads, basses and far out sounds with a multitude of expressive controls, one is a polysynth great for pads, tines, and all manner of cool sounds and is a piece of cake to edit. Both have a distinctive character (I can pick both out of a mix), just listen to older Prodigy and Skinny Puppy tracks to hear each.

If I was in your situation, I would pick up both if the price was good enough and I didn't already have synths that covered the bases they covered. (I am ignoring the Jen here because I have zero experience with it). That said, if I had to choose one, it would be the Prophecy as I could see myself still making interesting sounds with it 3 years down the road, while the ESQ would eventually be sold or relegated to the shelf of ignored instruments.

Then again, I ain't you, am I? Really the only way you can ever know is to just buy one. Neither are very expensive instruments and you could likely resale them here for the same price you paid.
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