The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5174
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:55 pm

Rasputin wrote:
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.
Jumbled enough that it's mostly to do with copyright of recorded sound, and furthermore it's possible to buy SQ80 samples, and for UVI to have the VFX, SY99 and other similar in Digitsl Synsations? And the Arturia VS? I sell D50 samples myself. I think it's a mixture of de minimis non curat lex. I don't see Roland or Linn or Oberheim going after NI for including their digital drums in Battery for years now.

I'd definitely buy a HR-16 Kontakt instrument :) would prefer SR-16 though. I've considered doing it myself, but I suck at scripting.

User avatar
ninja6485
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2766
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:13 pm
Gear: Virus Ti, Jx-8p, Juno 60, Radias, Maschine, 101,303,606,707,727,808,909, odyssey, mirage, akai s5K/s2K/s1k, drumtraks, E6400ult, M1R, rx5, fizmo,d50
Band: Lyra, The Sun Worshipers
Location: Exton/ westchester

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by ninja6485 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:18 pm

Would you consider a Fizmo?
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5174
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:29 pm

ninja6485 wrote:Would you consider a Fizmo?
Yes :mrgreen: when I win the lottery. And I'd still want the SQ80.

Rasputin
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 742
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:52 am

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Rasputin » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:16 pm

madtheory wrote:I think it's a mixture of de minimis non curat lex. I don't see Roland or Linn or Oberheim going after NI for including their digital drums in Battery for years now.
Yep, but then Linn sends a cease-and-desist to Aly James (ROM distribution, not the actual software) and Binary Music pulled their Roland D50 because of lack of licensing. I guess it's a combination of some people being too small to bother with and some people being too big to conveniently push around.

But more on topic: I know someone that spend a ton of $$$ a Fizmo rack (oooooh, so rare) and I think the allure quickly wore off when they actually got it. I think the mystique of it being harder to get than (let's say) the EPS16 does more for it than the actual transwave sound it has.

User avatar
Hyde
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:45 pm
Real name: Hyde
Gear: Ensoniq Mirage-EPS-EPS16-ASR10
Ensoniq SQ1-SQ1+
Akai S2000
E-MU ESI2000
Band: When Violets Turn Grey

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Hyde » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:13 am

meatballfulton wrote:
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.
Yes, to an extent. I'm able to transfer my libraries. They communicate fine. What happens is that the SQ1 doesn't have all of the samples of the SQ1+. So those patches with the updated sounds play funny when transferred to the SQ1. Other than that, everything works fine
Makin' Noises

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5174
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:59 am

Rasputin wrote:
madtheory wrote:I think it's a mixture of de minimis non curat lex. I don't see Roland or Linn or Oberheim going after NI for including their digital drums in Battery for years now.
Yep, but then Linn sends a cease-and-desist to Aly James (ROM distribution, not the actual software) and Binary Music pulled their Roland D50 because of lack of licensing.
Actually Aly James never had the ROMs, that was Electrongate, they got a letter from Forat who own the sounds now- they'd been up for years, but it was the plug-in that brought it to their attention. Aly got a letter from Linn for using the name Linn for the first version of the plugin. I wasn't aware of the binary music issue- when did that happen? I strongly suspect that was for using the name rather than the sounds, seeing as UVI have D50 in digital synsations.

Rasputin
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 742
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:52 am

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Rasputin » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:55 pm

madtheory wrote:Actually Aly James never had the ROMs, that was Electrongate, they got a letter from Forat who own the sounds now- they'd been up for years, but it was the plug-in that brought it to their attention. Aly got a letter from Linn for using the name Linn for the first version of the plugin. I wasn't aware of the binary music issue- when did that happen? I strongly suspect that was for using the name rather than the sounds, seeing as UVI have D50 in digital synsations.
Regardless, while it may be sporadically enforced, the concept still applies. Why would you buy a V-Linn if you "can't" get the ROMs? I mean, that's one of those "if you already own a Linndrum and want a virtual version" wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind of things. There's always going to be that specter of "this is crippled unless you 'break the law' and get the forbidden ROMs" hanging over the product -- whether or not they used to be available via James or only Electrongate by proxy is immaterial, the fact is that the direct usability has been compromised as a result because users that aren't savvy enough won't have easy access to the digital waveforms that the product centers on. (Yes, I realize V-ROM isn't useless without the Linn ROMs, but you get my point.)

The Binary Music thing was because Eric Persing claimed that the preset programming was his intellectual property and that Roland still owned the waveforms themselves. As for Arturia, Native Instruments, et al, I would be surprised if they didn't pay for licensing on anything they felt they needed to. Given how prominently named and styled the Arturia Prophet VS stuff is, I would very much suspect they went through proper channels to secure usage. It's not like they went the route of making a similarly styled clone and giving it some cleverly referenced name like "Vector Messiah", etc. to avoid trademarks, this uses the exact name and interface layout.

And many people have created sampled instruments of various D50 patches and gotten away with it, yeah, but who has actually created a programmable virtual instrument (other than Roland themselves)? SQ8L is an exception in that it comes close to the original in sound, is fully-programmable, and patch compatible. Now, if I was going to try to make an exact Ensoniq VFX clone on the scale of trying to sell it at Guitar Center then I might be wary about those pesky waveforms coming back to bite me.

I'm not saying it's a hard-and-fast rule or overwhelming obstacle, just potentially more headache than virtually cloning an analog, that's all.

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5174
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:37 pm

Rasputin wrote:I'm not saying it's a hard-and-fast rule or overwhelming obstacle, just potentially more headache than virtually cloning an analog, that's all.
Yes, that's just it, the "rules" are unclear, and we don't have a whole lot of precedent to go on because our little synth world is such a minority sport. There's not enough money for a lawyer to care. Who owns Ensoniq sounds? Creative? Digital Sound Factory? Syntaur? Would they have the money/ desire to pursue use of the sounds? Has anyone asked? The Arturia example just shows it can be done (as does the existence of Digital Sound Factory and Syntaur).

Even the cases we know about, we don't really know exactly what went down because it's almost entirely hearsay and assumptions.

But it seems to have only even been cease and desist letters? No actual court cases? All that means is that the party on the receiving end most likely didn't have the money for legal advice, or simply felt it was easier to back down without pursuing it.

It would probably be better to ask permission beforehand- pissing people off is how you end up with a cease and desist letter. I know Rob Brady did that with the Digital Domain Fairlight CD back in the early nineties. He simply wrote to Fairlight, and they said OK. Didn't ask for money. There's a twist to that story- apparently Pro Rec are selling copies without permission now, and Rob gets nothing from those sales.

Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3803
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, BS II, JV-1080
Band: Eridani V
Location: Central VA

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Ashe37 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:24 am

meatballfulton wrote: The SQ-1/2/R were also the first Ensoniqs with onboard effects.
.
That would be the VFX (1989), the SQ-1 was 1991.

User avatar
BlackGnosis
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:18 pm
Real name: Stormy
Gear: See signature image.
Band: Eridani V
Location: San Angelo, TX
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by BlackGnosis » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:23 pm

If you get a ESQ-1, keep in mind it cannot sweep its filters unless you program it to do so. Adjusting filters after a note is triggered wont take effect until the note is triggered again.

It's my main complaint on the ESQ-1. So unless you're constantly triggering notes, don't expect to pull off filter sweeps with it.
Image
Ashe37 wrote:I find it funny that you're a guitar pedal snob and yet don't own a single analog synth.

User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 5174
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, Thermostat, Buck Owens' Moog.
Band: Minim
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by madtheory » Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:37 pm

I don't think that is correct? You can't use the data slider to do it, but you can assign the mod wheel (or pedal, or external MIDI cc) to cutoff and that's continuous and real time... or so I've read.

abruzzi
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 172
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:46 pm

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by abruzzi » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:15 pm

Basically, changes to programming of a sound are not updated until there is a new keypress, however you are correct that you can program the mod wheel to control filter cutoff, and sweep the filter with the mod wheel.

User avatar
BlackGnosis
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:18 pm
Real name: Stormy
Gear: See signature image.
Band: Eridani V
Location: San Angelo, TX
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by BlackGnosis » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:24 pm

madtheory wrote:I don't think that is correct? You can't use the data slider to do it, but you can assign the mod wheel (or pedal, or external MIDI cc) to cutoff and that's continuous and real time... or so I've read.
Nope, doesn't work. you either program it into the envelope or re-trigger the key to have a noticeable change in filter.
Image
Ashe37 wrote:I find it funny that you're a guitar pedal snob and yet don't own a single analog synth.

Rasputin
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 742
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:52 am

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Rasputin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:56 pm

BlackGnosis wrote:
madtheory wrote:I don't think that is correct? You can't use the data slider to do it, but you can assign the mod wheel (or pedal, or external MIDI cc) to cutoff and that's continuous and real time... or so I've read.
Nope, doesn't work. you either program it into the envelope or re-trigger the key to have a noticeable change in filter.
Hmm, you must mean something different than what it seems you mean because I have an ESQm and it does indeed work the way madtheory and abruzzi say.

Patch editing cannot be used as a realtime controller as it requires a new note to be triggered, but CV pedal, mod wheel, etc. can be assigned to the filter frequency to enable standard performance sweeps, as would be expected.

User avatar
Big Gnome
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:14 am
Gear: E-mu Proteus 2500
Ensoniq ESQ-1
Ensoniq VFX
SCI Prelude
Waldorf Blofeld
Band: The Nondescript
Location: Oakland, CA
Contact:

Re: The classic Ensoniq sound- best choice?

Post by Big Gnome » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:32 am

BlackGnosis wrote:Nope, doesn't work. you either program it into the envelope or re-trigger the key to have a noticeable change in filter.
That's not true. The filter responds in real time to the mod wheel or pedal, just like any other modulation source.

I realize I'm late to the party, but I thought I'd chime in having an ESQ-1 and a VFX. Both are excellent, both are capable of complex, sophisticated patches, but they could hardly sound more different--the ESQ is really gnarly and aggressive whereas the VFX tends towards a clean, lush character. If you regard the "classic Ensoniq sound" as low-resolution PCM through analog filters, a VFX (or related models) will not cut it.
"Sure that's fine in practice, but what about in theory?"
Some of my c**p

Post Reply