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Ensoniq... which is the best and why?
Old 27th March 2020
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
It has to do with the bushings, according to people who seem to know.
What is your definition of a brushing on this keyboard? There is no mechanical contact between the keys and the key pickup coil. Just a bit of metal on the underside of the key and a coil on the circuitboard under it. It seems like it could only be a computer calibration issue. Was the velocity also off? There is a bid of padding st the fulcrum of the key assembly, but that shouldn't effect the sensitivity so long as your board is properly calibrated.
Not suggesting you didn't have an issue, but I think it would be good if we can dispel the notion that there is something about these boards that goes "bad" overtime that wouldn't be fixed by being recalibrated.
Old 27th March 2020
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oberheim View Post
I must admit, the presets on the TG33 are terrible so my first action is going to figure out how to rapidly Init and wipe everything so that I can get into the deeper aspects of it.
The randomize function on the tg33 is your friend.
Old 27th March 2020
  #33
Here for the gear
 

I have the following:

Mirage
ESQ-1
EPS
VFX-SD
TS-10
MR-76

They are all great in their own way. If I had to just keep one then it would probably be the VFX-SD. It has a great vintage digital tone that I absolutely love.
Old 27th March 2020
  #34
Gear Addict
 
Franz Schiller's Avatar
I've had an ESQ-1, ESQ rack, MR61, and currently have a VFX-SD and SD1.

The MR61 was a weird and interesting synth. The best bit was it's "Idea Pad" which was like a free running midi recorder, so if you were improvising, and you did something you liked, you could go to the idea pad and pluck it out, and put it into the sequencer. The sequencer was also pretty cool, with buttons for every song section. It bordered on an arranger keyboard. I remember it sounding very very good. Also, I loved the physical build of the instrument, it had great feeling buttons and knobs.

The deal breakers with the MR61 were that it had a poor touch-to-sound-feel, like there was an odd little delay after you pressed a key before you heard the sound; this drove me crazy. The big problem though was that sounds were not editable from the panel. You had to use a software editor, which is/was rarer than unicorn poop, and I think Windows only? I dunno, I hate software editors, and eventually I sold it on, mostly for that reason. I wish though that the Idea Pad and Sequencer was available in a standalone desktop unit, or iPad app. It was so cool.

I tried to buy a TS10 once, but it arrived broken. I took it to be repaired at TWO different shops, and both FAILED at fixing it. I eventually sold it at a huge loss.

Otherwise, I think the SD1 is probably the most weird and inspiring synth, possibly the most reliable too (based on little to no evidence).
Old 27th March 2020
  #35
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
What is your definition of a brushing on this keyboard? There is no mechanical contact between the keys and the key pickup coil. Just a bit of metal on the underside of the key and a coil on the circuitboard under it. It seems like it could only be a computer calibration issue. Was the velocity also off? There is a bid of padding st the fulcrum of the key assembly, but that shouldn't effect the sensitivity so long as your board is properly calibrated.
Not suggesting you didn't have an issue, but I think it would be good if we can dispel the notion that there is something about these boards that goes "bad" overtime that wouldn't be fixed by being recalibrated.
I never got a calibration error. The aftertouch definitely worked, and I could get it to go the full range, but it took a crazy amount of force. Much more than I could comfortably do for periods of time. I also remember the feel of the TS-10’s board and it had a really satisfying amount of give that this one did not. In contrast, she S2 I replaced it with did give really nice and smooth aftertouch and it felt good... even better, IMO. I suspect it’s problem has to do with cracked traces on a board, as if I put the S2 on its end the aftertouch came back, but flat on its base it would go in and out.
Old 27th March 2020
  #36
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
Does anyone feel like there is much point to owning a TS-10, if I already have an ASR-10?

I use the ASR-10 as my main controller and center piece of my studio.

Honestly, just trying to make myself feel better after passing on a TS-10 a few days ago.
Old 27th March 2020
  #37
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abruzzi's Avatar
 

Best ensoniq's? the first and last:

ESQ1 - well, not quite the first. I love the Mirage, but it is a bit painful to use.

Fizmo - I've never owned one, but basically a MR with more electronic type sample, and resonant filters? gimme.

Of the middle ensoniqs, I'd give a nod to the EPS16+.

(not a synth, but the DP/4 absolutely deserves a mention too.)
Old 27th March 2020
  #38
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SkyWriter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
Fizmo - I've never owned one, but basically a MR with more electronic type sample, and resonant filters? gimme.
It was a disappointing instrument for me. It just seemed to play itself most of the time. It didn't invite me to play in anyway. Wavestation feels a bit like that too.
Old 27th March 2020
  #39
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I never got a calibration error. The aftertouch definitely worked, and I could get it to go the full range, but it took a crazy amount of force.
I'm not suggesting that you would get a calibration error -- that's typically only when there is no response for a key. The internal computer still needs to have the reference values properly calibrated for velocity and aftertouch sensitivity. This is done by a special computer interface in the shop, not everytime you turn it on.
Old 27th March 2020
  #40
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by PHG View Post
Does anyone feel like there is much point to owning a TS-10, if I already have an ASR-10?

Honestly, just trying to make myself feel better after passing on a TS-10 a few days ago.
Advantages of the TS-10 are no need for disks if you use the rom sound sources. (which are pretty good for what they are). Wavesequencing. A more advanced sequencer and somewhat different selection of effects.

If you already had an ASR10 keyboard, it's surely something you could live without. But if you only had an ensoniq sampler rack... nice to have.
Old 27th March 2020
  #41
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
Advantages of the TS-10 are no need for disks if you use the rom sound sources. (which are pretty good for what they are). Wavesequencing. A more advanced sequencer and somewhat different selection of effects.

If you already had an ASR10 keyboard, it's surely something you could live without. But if you only had an ensoniq sampler rack... nice to have.
Thanks! It was a good price, so I am kicking myself now for not getting it. But to be honest, I just felt like it would be too redundant with the ASR-10, and I have no room for it now. It would have just been in storage until I move to a larger place.
Old 27th March 2020
  #42
PHG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyWriter View Post
It was a disappointing instrument for me. It just seemed to play itself most of the time. It didn't invite me to play in anyway. Wavestation feels a bit like that too.
I want to get some hands-on time with a Fizmo eventually to see if I like it. I know I like some of the sounds that it shares with the MR. But I don't really enjoy working with arpeggiator stuff much.
Old 27th March 2020
  #43
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
What is your definition of a brushing on this keyboard? There is no mechanical contact between the keys and the key pickup coil. Just a bit of metal on the underside of the key and a coil on the circuitboard under it. It seems like it could only be a computer calibration issue. Was the velocity also off? There is a bid of padding st the fulcrum of the key assembly, but that shouldn't effect the sensitivity so long as your board is properly calibrated.
Not suggesting you didn't have an issue, but I think it would be good if we can dispel the notion that there is something about these boards that goes "bad" overtime that wouldn't be fixed by being recalibrated.
Here is a picture of the rubber bushings and where they are located. I think all non-weighted Ensoniq keybeds have these, except maybe the SQ-80.

When you push the key down, it should hit the top of the bushing first, then push down a little bit harder, and the bushing should give way to let the key drop a few more millimeters.

I had an old EPS-16+ (pictured below), which would run really hot. The bushings closer to the heat became harder than the other ones. They should be very soft to touch.

It would be nice if someone could 3D print brand new bushings some day. They are easy to get to and replace on the older designed boards (EPS, EPS 16+, ESQ-1, SQ-80, VFX, SD-1). They are much more difficult to get to on the newer boards (ASR-10, TS-10, MR, Fizmo).

Ensoniq... which is the best and why?-ensoniq-bushing.jpg

Ensoniq... which is the best and why?-ensoniq-bushing-2.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
Ensoniq... which is the best and why?-ensoniq-bushing.jpg   Ensoniq... which is the best and why?-ensoniq-bushing-2.jpg  
Old 27th March 2020
  #44
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abruzzi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyWriter View Post
It was a disappointing instrument for me. It just seemed to play itself most of the time. It didn't invite me to play in anyway. Wavestation feels a bit like that too.
That's funny, the Wavestation is one of my favorite synth's to program, but then I've been programming mine since 1992. Its very much a build up approach, adding complexity where needed, but the famous rhythmic wave sequencing is horrendously cheezy.
Old 27th March 2020
  #45
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SkyWriter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
That's funny, the Wavestation is one of my favorite synth's to program, but then I've been programming mine since 1992. Its very much a build up approach, adding complexity where needed, but the famous rhythmic wave sequencing is horrendously cheezy.
I see what you're saying. I meant the wavestation sort of plays itself - the cheezy stuff that seemed to be the first callback to wavestate. It's like Native Dance on the D-50 - who would ever use it? More than once? That kind of feeling - that you have to play to the patch rather than you playing it. Idk, maybe I'm nutz cownutz!

Oh i get it, no not programming. That would be fun :-)
Old 27th March 2020
  #46
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PHG View Post
Here is a picture of the rubber bushings and where they are located. I think all non-weighted Ensoniq keybeds have these, except maybe the SQ-80.

When you push the key down, it should hit the top of the bushing first, then push down a little bit harder, and the bushing should give way to let the key drop a few more millimeters.

I had an old EPS-16+ (pictured below), which would run really hot. The bushings closer to the heat became harder than the other ones. They should be very soft to touch.

It would be nice if someone could 3D print brand new bushings some day. They are easy to get to and replace on the older designed boards (EPS, EPS 16+, ESQ-1, SQ-80, VFX, SD-1). They are much more difficult to get to on the newer boards (ASR-10, TS-10, MR, Fizmo).



These are what the keys hit at the bottom of their travel? It squishes the "wings"? Syntaur had a replacement kit for these at one point. My SQ80 sounds like someone tap-dancing. RTV silicone in a mould perhaps?
Old 27th March 2020
  #47
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmanrock View Post
These are what the keys hit at the bottom of their travel? It squishes the "wings"?
Yes and yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmanrock View Post
Syntaur had a replacement kit for these at one point. My SQ80 sounds like someone tap-dancing. RTV silicone in a mould perhaps?
I think Syntaur's kit may have just been salvaged parts from old Ensoniq boards that were otherwise beat up.

For anyone that knows about 3D printing... How to measure and get stuff printed... I think RTV silicon material would work well. Unfortunately, I've never done anything like that before, so don't know where to start.
Old 28th March 2020
  #48
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
I'm not suggesting that you would get a calibration error -- that's typically only when there is no response for a key. The internal computer still needs to have the reference values properly calibrated for velocity and aftertouch sensitivity. This is done by a special computer interface in the shop, not everytime you turn it on.
OIC. Maybe. No idea really. Frankly, I didn’t want to deal with a repair. I don’t think there’s anyone near me who’d be capable and those things are heavy to ship. Frankly, I’m kicking myself for buying the S2. I should have just bought a Hydrasynth and I’d have a cool wavetable synth and the only downside is I’d be down an octave of keys.
Old 28th March 2020
  #49
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unease's Avatar
I went through most of the Ensoniq samplers back in the 90s. Starting with an EPS I then upgraded to the EPS 16+, then the ASR-10 and nowdays I have an ASR10r tucked away somewhere.

When upgrading I never once missed any of the older versions, so in my view the ASR is just better then the ealier ones. It’s also better built than the EPSs. If you’re mainly after a certain old style grainy sampler I guess the original EPS could be interesting, but you would maybe be more happy with the Mirage in that case.

The thing for me with the Ensoniq sampler line is that they can be very fast to work with when you learn the shortcut keys etc. The sequencer is really nice as a sketchpad but the problem is that it isn’t very tight timingwise :(

The other great thing with the 16+ and the ASR is the internal effects, the way they sound and how they are integrated with a lot of modulation possibilities. Plus, you can resample sound through the effects (on the ASR, not sure about the 16+). Really handy to FTU treatment of loops and the like! In general, the effects somhow had a pretty meaty/organic feel to them that I still can miss sometimes working with plugins or more hifi effects in other synths.
Old 8th April 2020
  #50
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Pindrive's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
$200? The two on Reverb right now are over $2000 heh.
SQ1?
Old 8th April 2020
  #51
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Pindrive's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PHG View Post
Does anyone feel like there is much point to owning a TS-10, if I already have an ASR-10?

I use the ASR-10 as my main controller and center piece of my studio.

Honestly, just trying to make myself feel better after passing on a TS-10 a few days ago.
Tough to say unless you have the machine & dig in for a while. I also use the ASR10 as my centerpiece. I have a few synths laying around. I kinda feel like, if I have a couple good samplers & a couple synths that suit my taste, plus decent analog synth, most synth bases are covered. If its price that can easily break even, or turn a profit, why not give it a try? Thats how I view it.
Old 8th April 2020
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHG View Post
I like them all. It depends what you are trying to do.

I have an EPS 16+, ASR-10, ASR-X Pro and MR Rack. The EPS 16+ is a very capable machine, but I just keep mine in storage right now for space reasons, because the ASR-10 can do everything I need.

The main thing I still want is the SQ-80, but I will probably end up getting an ESQ-M Rack instead to save space. A Fizmo keyboard or rack would be nice also, but not sure if I will ever have the money and space for it.

These are the main ones I have been interested in over the years, and the different family tree that I consider them in. Some people may argue that the TS-10/TS-12 belong in the same family as VFX and SD-1, but I think they are unique enough to classify differently.

Samplers Family 1:
Mirage > EPS > EPS 16+ > ASR-10

Samplers Family 2:
ASR-X > ASR-X Pro

Hybrid Synth:
ESQ-1 > SQ-80

Digital Synth Family 1:
Sq-1 > Sq-2 > VFX > VFX-SD > SD-1 > SD-1 32 Voice

Digital Synth Family 2:
TS-10/TS-12

Digital Synth Family 3:
MR > Fizmo


also :
ESQ-M (it's different than ESQ-1 in no sequencer and extra 9th multi-timbral part / channel)

ZR-76 (pretty much a redo of the MR only they added the "perfect piano" samples and patch)

As to the best to get:

SQ-80 (ESQ-1 with more samples, poly after-touch keyboard and floppy for patch / sequence storage)
TS-10
ASR-X pro (ASR-10 in small form factor and most add-ons included like 32MB memory and scsi HD)
Old 8th April 2020
  #53
Gear Nut
 

I follow the consenus that there is hardly one best Ensoniq machine. If I had to pick one I would go with the ASR-10. Probably all Ensoniq gig is still relevant, since very pice of gear has it's own sound/quality, that can hardly be substituted.

Had the mirage more then once. Complicated user interface, would not use it for simple, single hit samples. Sounds fantastic as a hybrid synthesizer with raw wave samples. Big classic CEM sound: dark, mysterious. Parted with it after I had a big based poly synth. Do I miss it? Yes, it is small I should have just kept is...

The ESQ-1 on the contrary has a fantastic interface. Kind of hard to predict sometimes while programming. Still super fast and fun to use. Truely unique sound. Raw, classy, moving. Don't feel I miss out on the extra waves of the sq 80. Probably ESQ-M rack is the one to look after. MY ESQ is in storage since I don't have the space. Will I ever give it away? Hell no!

The EPS Classic is a fantastic lofi digital sampler with tons of editing capability. In fact it is almost a EPS 16+ without the effects.

The EPS 16+ is not just ASR 10 the little brother of the ASR 10. More artifacts and variable sample rate from 11 to 44 khz. Both machines offer so much! I consider my ASR 10 a workstation. I can do sample based stuff, wavetables, record audio tracks and process external audio in stereo. The general sound engine sound just so good. 90's Hifi, warm, fanatastic effects. The sample engine is as good as it getts. Sample a short cycle modulate the pitch and size = pulse with modulation. Take the time to learn Transwaves you will be richly rewarded. The ASR-X is might be better if you are the one shot sample guy, but I never owned one.
Old 8th April 2020
  #54
EPS Classic. Punchy, raw, gritty sound, flexible and easy to use, powerful mangling capabilities and loads of excellent sample libraries available.
My EPSM came with more than a dozen libraries from Ensoniq and 3rd parties that are full of gold.
I recently bought the Sample Magic book so I can learn to dig deeper into the machines sound engine. It's fairly deep.
Old 8th April 2020
  #55
Lives for gear
 

if theres one thing we can agree on,

its that it sucks they werent able to stay in business as an independant company.

the stuff they could have made, with the backing of good finacials would have been astounding.

(not that what they did wasnt)
Old 8th April 2020
  #56
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lhm1138's Avatar
ESQ-1 series because of its uniqueness with that Yannes designed chip. And the ASR’s (ASR-10 & ASR-X). The effects units are great too. Ensoniq ADACs sounded so good to me, anything I put in came out sounding better somehow.
Old 8th April 2020
  #57
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Bignatius's Avatar
Mirage + SQ80
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