The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

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madtheory
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The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:09 pm

Looking for views of those of you who are Ensoniq fans. I'm considering the SQ-R, seeing as this seems to have a similar architecture to the classic ESQ-1 and SQ-80, and it's smaller and a good bit cheaper. Plus it has trasnwaves which the earlier synths don't AFAIK.

I know it has digital filters, but can it get in the ballpark of the earlier synths? For example, could it do all of the SQ-80 sounds from Killer by Adamski?

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:48 pm

SQ-R is the rack version of the SQ-1/2, not the ESQ-1. All three are reduced versions of the VFX models.

ESQ-1, ESQ-M and SQ-80 are probably what you are looking for. Of the three I would recommend the SQ-80 because of the extra waveforms, poly aftertouch and disk drive for storage.
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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Jabberwalky » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:01 pm

Isn't the VFX the most powerful of the Ensoniqs? Always wanted to try one out.

The analog filters on the ESQ stuff were a huge part of their sound. The Sq80 was awesome aside from the garbage keybed.

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:58 pm

meatballfulton wrote:SQ-R is the rack version of the SQ-1/2, not the ESQ-1. All three are reduced versions of the VFX models.

ESQ-1, ESQ-M and SQ-80 are probably what you are looking for. Of the three I would recommend the SQ-80 because of the extra waveforms, poly aftertouch and disk drive for storage.
Understood. I guess my question is- can I get SQ-80 sounds with an SQ-R, or is that completely impossible?

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Ashe37 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:58 am

Not really, The filter is non resonant and you end up burning one voice to use the resonant waves to fake a resonance point. The filter is a good digital filter but yeah it doesn't sound analog. some of them, sure, you can approximate... but many you can't. Also, the SQR has no sync. Doing a resonance sweep is difficult and if the sync you want isn't available in the waveforms...

The SQ-1, SQ-2 and SQR are half of a VFX, and are also related to the KS-32, but have no patch compatibility with the VFX. They also have an abbreviated list of transwaves.

The 'half' is because the VFX uses up to six waves per patch and the SQ series has max three.

The most powerful of the VFX series was the TS series, which added sample ram and the ability to make user transwaves, and had a polyphony of 32 . the models go VFX (and VFXSD)-> VFXSDII-> SD-1 -> SD-1/32-> TS.

The fizmo is also related, but lost most of the waveforms of the VFX in favor of all transwaves. However, it has a resonant filter and an arpeggiator.

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:17 pm

madtheory wrote:can I get SQ-80 sounds with an SQ-R, or is that completely impossible?
Completely impossible. Having owned both for many years, I can tell you that they sound nothing alike.
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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by mis psiquicios y yo » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:07 pm

Over several years I have had in my arsenal a SQ-80, SQ-1, Mirage module and now a VFX-SD and all are wonderful machines.
In the second part of the 80s when you talked about a workstation you were talking about Ensoniq, the M1 came almost at the end of the decade and although Emulator II and Emax could be considered workstations, they were samplers, the sequencer was very limited and they were excessively expensive. In contrast, the Esq-1, SQ-80 and EPS sampler were workstations that almost anyone could access, with a great sound and a powerful sequencer.
In my opinion the SQ-80 could be what you are looking for, because it has the classic Ensoniq sound and they are not expensive. I do not recommend the SQ-R, for me that is not the classic sound of Ensoniq and the VFX, although excellent, could be expensive.
Now, I have only a few weeks with the VFX and I can say that it is an impressive synthesizer, yes, it does not have a resonant filter, but one would have to ask if in the palette of sounds of several synthesizers it matters if one of them does not have resonance, when the VFX has many other parameters to build very complex sounds.
From what I know, the VFX-SD is without a doubt the most powerful of the Ensoniq synthesizers, but I would recommend you to try first a SQ-80, ESQ-1 or its module the ESQ-M
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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Hyde » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:03 pm

Follow the link below to hear the SQ1+ in action. All of the songs posted there are were completely composed within this machine. The SQ-R is a basically a tone module version of the SQ1/2 keyboards. So, you hear it's capabilities. I have 3 of the original sound cards with mine. They are really nice to have, as well. Regardless of the majority of opinions, the SQ series is one of my favorites. I really like the sounds i can get from digging in & editing. They have recently jumped up in price. I've been been looking for the rack version to match my SQ1+.
Things to note. The SQ-R PLUS has more sounds to it & doesn't transfer everything to the base SQ-R during data dumps. So having matching versions, if you get 2 ;) , is helpful. I have the SQ1 & the SQ1+ . I use both for writing. Both are great machines. Go in informed & you'll be happy with either.

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by philip » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:43 pm

Esq 1/SQ80 reminds me Emulator 2 very much, especially when I hear em both in a mix. SQ80-is a very powerful synth,but very unreliable(( I had 3 of them, two died,one still remains.

BTW, I never thought that TS10/12 has anything common with the VFX. I always thought it sounded very 90s in a bad cheesy way.

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:11 pm

Thanks for all the info folks. There's clearly a lot of love for the Ensoniqs. Despite philip's reservations above, it's reflected by the prices they go for- and have, for a long time now. I found a sample library that's far better than the UVI offering, it will serve my needs for now:

http://www.binarymusic.co.uk/crosswave.html

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Baus » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:47 pm

If you were looking for software you might as well had downloaded the free SQ-8L VSTi... but it might not work on your computer system though.

http://www.buchty.net/ensoniq/index.html#sq8l

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:08 pm

Hyde wrote:The SQ-R PLUS has more sounds to it & doesn't transfer everything to the base SQ-R during data dumps.
The original SQ-1/2/R were 21 voices.

The Plus versions added (surprise) a new, larger grand piano sample.

The Plus-32 versions were upped to 32 voices.

As I recall, Plus and Plus-32 machines are patch compatible with each other and can read patches from the first version but the first version cannot read patches from the Plus versions. I owned both an SQ-R and later an SQ-R+ and they have a number of cute tricks up their sleeves including a feature that can turn any MIDI keyboard into a master controller with 8 zones! The SQ-1/2/R were also the first Ensoniqs with onboard effects.

For some reason the VFX synth was never offered in a rack, so the SQ-R family is as close as you can get without a keyboard. The VFX and SQ lines were neither patch or sequence compatible with each other despite having the same underlying architecture.

After the VFX, the synth naming gets more than a little confusing. The original VFX had no sequencer or disk drive, so the VFX-SD came out with both. The upgrade from 21 to 32 voices resulted in the new name SD-1, then sample memory was added and the machine was renamed the TS-10 (61 key synth action) and TS-12 (76 key piano action). Each new iteration could read patches from previous versions. Meanwhile the final version of the SQ family was renamed the KS-32.
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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by JeEA » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:22 am

Try the sq8l sq-80 softversion.
It sounds really great. I do not know if it sounds like a sq 80
but I know it sounds great. One of my favorit softsynth
along with korg wavestation and Emu vx

Cheers
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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:47 am

Baus wrote:If you were looking for software you might as well had downloaded the free SQ-8L VSTi... but it might not work on your computer system though.

http://www.buchty.net/ensoniq/index.html#sq8l
You're right, it doesn't. It's clearly different from the original anyway, the tone is harsher, you can hear it in the demos there. It's an amazing achievement though, the functionality is identical, envelopes behave the same. It just seems to be the filter is not quite right? Or perhaps it's the transposing? It's a pity one of the bigger VST houses can't take it on and finish it- the developer appears to have given up on it himself.

The Kontakt samples definitely capture the tone of the SQ80, I was able to do a cover of an Adamski track that had the same vibe. It's got "that" piano sound, which is what I needed from some retro style tracks I'm working on- actually they're finished now, with that sound in there :)

However there are no samples of those resonance drenched 303 type tones, so I'll still want a real SQ80 at some point.

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Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Rasputin » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:37 pm

madtheory wrote:You're right, it doesn't. It's clearly different from the original anyway, the tone is harsher, you can hear it in the demos there. It's an amazing achievement though, the functionality is identical, envelopes behave the same. It just seems to be the filter is not quite right? Or perhaps it's the transposing? It's a pity one of the bigger VST houses can't take it on and finish it- the developer appears to have given up on it himself.
That's one of the problems with loving synths that base their sound on some form of digital waves stored in ROM -- there's no way to legally make a virtual instrument because the waveforms are copyrighted -- barring spending money to license them, of course. You can sample an 808 or Minimoog all day long and be free-and-clear, but if you've after an Ensoniq SQ80, Roland D50, Alesis HR-16 (is anybody? :lol: ), Prophet VS, etc. then it's magically illegal.

Intellectual property is such a jumbled mess of a concept.

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