Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.

Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Tiger Jackson » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:32 pm

I've been wanting to ask this. The ensoniqs are easier to program, selectable wave forms, while the DX's it's like you sculpt your own sounds from scratch kinda. But do either have any more capabilities (sound wise mostly) over the other?
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby meatballfulton » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:28 am

SQ80 has polyphonic aftertouch.

Both Ensoniqs have an analog filter.

Both Ensoniqs are multitimbral.
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Big Gnome » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:51 am

E/SQs and DX7s are completely different machines; both have capabilities the other lacks. I see you have an ESQ-1 and a DX100 (which I know, I know, is 4-op, but 6-op FM isn't any different, there's just more components to work with), so you should be able to determine their relative strengths and weaknesses fairly well yourself.
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Pro5 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:21 am

...But DX7 is from another world and has infinite sounds (and is a classic and has a great keybed AND can even sound analogish when you know how). :D
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby max badwan » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:17 am

Pro5 wrote:...But DX7 is from another world and has infinite sounds (and is a classic and has a great keybed AND can even sound analogish when you know how). :D

I concur...
The Ensoniqs are very easy to program, but if you get some DX editing software ( I used to use a CX-5m and later Steinberg Synthworks on an Atari) they are just as easy to program once you get your head around FM.
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby xanadu97 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:52 pm

I want both of them :D
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Big Gnome » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:27 am

Now you're talkin'... ;)
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby philip » Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:32 pm

sq80 is a fantastic machine, capable of almost everything. it's still amaze me after so many years
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Jags » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:11 am

xanadu97 wrote:I want both of them :D


Resurrecting this old thread. I was lucky and just picked up an ESQ-1 at an estate sale for $100.00! Had been in storage for 15 years. Needed a good cleaning and I did the battery mod and she is working 100%!! Then I remembered my old TX7 that was sitting in my music storage room unused for the past 15 years so I decided to pull that out. Amazingly still working including the original battery. The LCD screen is very weak so I will be replacing that soon and also doing a new battery mod.

Both these synths are classic mid 80's wonders and it's great to be able to marry them and bring them back from the dead. I have midi'ed them together and as a pair they sound great. The TX7 still has the various digital piano, brass, organ, and string patches that I had loaded to use with my top 40 band that I played in back in the late 80's. The ESQ-1 has the factory internal sounds which blend very nicely with the DX7. The DX7 digital piano and the ESQ-1 strings sound gorgeous together and I'm sure back in the day this was a quite common pairing.

Strangely I went to youtube to check out what others may have done with this pair. And to my surprise there are no youtube videos at all showing these two great classics paired together! Has anyone else paired these two together? If so what sort of things have you done or are doing with them together as a pair?

Currently my little experimental synth lab has a Moog Sub Phatty, Dreadbox Erebus, Korg Volca FM, Korg Minilogue, Waldorf Streichett, Nord Drum 2, and a MAM ADX1 drum synth. Everything controlled with an Arturia BeatStep Pro and Keystep. NO COMPUTER!! Sequencing only with the Arturia controllers and the built in sequencers. I plan to use the ESQ-1 sequencer to control the TX7 and keep them married up as a pair. It's really cool to be able to bring in the vintage ESQ-1 and TX7 into my setup and I look forward to the wonderful new palette of sounds they will provide.

Please share any stories you may have of the ESQ-1 and DX7/TX7. Thanks!! :D
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby jxalex » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:09 am

Good to hear. I am also into this kind of old vintage hardware (and software).

I have not "paired" them together, but I would if it means somehow a comparison to see and hear what others have done with it.
Still it would be interesting. I have SQ80 and TX802

Also the end result is possible to compare it with its VST counterparts somewhat (There is also SQ8L and FM7 vst which I can run on the WIN98SE non-official tweaked-to-max setup)
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby JeEA » Tue May 02, 2017 1:44 pm

Maybe i should play with the sq8l and DX-7 ;-)

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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby commodorejohn » Tue May 02, 2017 5:26 pm

The answer to "DX7 or SQ-80?" is "yes."
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Bitexion » Mon May 29, 2017 8:49 am

The thing is that the SQ-80 is a subtractive synth like other analogues, but it has 3 oscillators with 99 waveforms available on each. The usual ones like saw, square, sine, triangle, 3 assignable LFO's, 4 multistage envelopes, analog (not self-oscillating) filter, then a plethora of digital ones of all shapes and sizes. Everything from glass tines and organ samples to vocal formants and dark noise is there. It's not a wavetable synth like the PPG's, though, it has no ability to sweep through the waveforms like those do. That would sound like a horrible glitchy mess anyway. Another great thing is that you can hardsync any two waveforms to create really weird sounds and timbres unheard of before.

Whereas the DX7 is a whole thing on its own, almost nothing is similar really.
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Re: Yamaha DX7 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1/sq-80

Postby Kenneth » Tue May 30, 2017 4:18 pm

Gosh, it's always "apples and oranges" around here. I read a shootout thread between the Juno 60 and the Polysix where someone said "you can't even compare the two, they're completely different". What??? Yes you can! They are both analog polyphonic synthesizers that are quite difficult to tell apart if you're not a synthesizer freakazoid (yes, there are people using this forum who are not very familiar with synthesizers. Anyway, I think a lot of people can also get hung up on specs when considering these comparisons. Yes, structurally the DX-7 and the SQ-80 are quite different and have almost nothing in common in terms of how sounds are created. That's true, being that the DX is an all- digital 6-operator FM synth, and the SQ is an analog/digital hybrid with digital waveforms and analog filters. But, sonically (which is shockingly more important than technical details that most people will never care about at all) there is quite a lot of overlap between the two. I think they both do strange, otherworldly digital ambience and alien pads very well; also plucky, punchy bass and other metallic percussive sounds. The ESQ / SQ obviously has an analog filter, but the DX-7 has the ability to "filter" sound by subjecting the modulating operators through envelopes. The results can be similar to a lowpass filter, or completely different. It's up to you. Anyway, I think we should remember to consider the actual sonic character and tonal capabilities of these instruments when people ask for comparisons, instead of just loading them down with a bunch of technical specs about the synth engines and being dismissive about comparing synths because you are knowledgeable enough to see minor technical differences between instruments that the world at large would see as being fairly similar. I don't think that matters as much as what comes out of the speakers.
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