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TS-10 + ASR-10 Any reason to own both? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 14th September 2011
  #1
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TS-10 + ASR-10 Any reason to own both?

Good morning. I'm looking for some feedback and opinions. I currently have a TS-10 for which I recently picked up a SCSI card and 8 megs of RAM and I'm starting to think about getting my own sounds in into that excellent synth/FX engine.

So now I'm considering an ASR-10. I've messed with trying to create floppies on my PC for the TS and never had much success, screw that.

My understanding is that they basically have identical synth/fx/sequencer engines but that the TS has the internal rom library, am I wrong? If that's the case, should I just ditch the TS altogether and go with the ASR?

I've gotten rid of my Romplers (the TS is my last one) with the idea that I'll just create my own sound libraries...I'm sick of auditioning patches, 1024 presets may sound great to some but to me it sounds exhausting.
Old 14th September 2011
  #2
mp3
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-The ASR can sample and has twice as much sample RAM (16mb vs. 8mb).

-When dealing with user samples, the TS synthesis engine is pretty much the same as the ASR (including the ability to transwave'ify user samples). When dealing with the TS internal waveform ROM, it uses a quite different synthesis engine. That synth engine is not available on the ASR.

-The ASR has avaliable to it the excellent waveboy effects - the only way to get a resonant filter.

-The TS doesn't have any of the ASR's crosswave looping algorithms (including the excellent synthesize loop function) or most of the destructive wave editing features like fadein/out, clear, copy, merge, splice, reverse, etc.

-The ASR and TS sequencers are quite different, at least according to spec. I'm not familiar with the differences though, since I've never really used either sequencer.

Those are the primary differences I'm aware of.

As far as loading samples into the ASR/TS, they both suffer from the same limitations/frustrations when you're trying to get wav/aiff format samples into them. My advice would be to get yourself a cheap win98 PC (with an in-built floppy and PCI/PCMCIA slot for a SCSI card) and get some of the old ASR softwares (like chickensys ensoniq disk tools for example), if you plan on doing a lot of that. Me personally, I prefer to just sample them in, and of course you can't do that on a TS.
Old 14th September 2011
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
-The ASR can sample and has twice as much sample RAM (16mb vs. 8mb).

-When dealing with user samples, the TS synthesis engine is pretty much the same as the ASR (including the ability to transwave'ify user samples). When dealing with the TS internal waveform ROM, it uses a quite different synthesis engine. That synth engine is not available on the ASR.

-The ASR has avaliable to it the excellent waveboy effects - the only way to get a resonant filter.

-The TS doesn't have any of the ASR's crosswave looping algorithms (including the excellent synthesize loop function) or most of the destructive wave editing features like fadein/out, clear, copy, merge, splice, reverse, etc.

-The ASR and TS sequencers are quite different, at least according to spec. I'm not familiar with the differences though, since I've never really used either sequencer.

Those are the primary differences I'm aware of.

As far as loading samples into the ASR/TS, they both suffer from the same limitations/frustrations when you're trying to get wav/aiff format samples into them. My advice would be to get yourself a cheap win98 PC (with an in-built floppy and PCI/PCMCIA slot for a SCSI card) and get some of the old ASR softwares (like chickensys ensoniq disk tools for example), if you plan on doing a lot of that. Me personally, I prefer to just sample them in, and of course you can't do that on a TS.

So if what we want is transwaves, the ASR10 beats the TS10?

I thought they would be a good pair, but if the ASR10 is much better, I think I will try to find an ASR10 keyboard, for the polyaftertouch...
Old 14th September 2011
  #4
mp3
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You can make your own transwaves on either board. What the ASR has that the TS doesn't is crossfade looping (sorry I mistyped it in my original message - I'd go back and edit it, but you've already quoted me...). I think the TS also has polyAT. Most of the Ensoniq's of that era had that.
Old 14th September 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
You can make your own transwaves on either board. What the ASR has that the TS doesn't is crossfade looping (sorry I mistyped it in my original message - I'd go back and edit it, but you've already quoted me...). I think the TS also has polyAT. Most of the Ensoniq's of that era had that.
I know the TS10 has polyaftertouch too, but if I don't lose anything for transwaves in the ASR10, I think it would be a better choice to get that one, no?

I already have enough ROMpler, so the transwaves is really the only thing I'd be looking for in these Ensoniqs, and the polyaftertouch...
Old 15th September 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paugui View Post
I know the TS10 has polyaftertouch too, but if I don't lose anything for transwaves in the ASR10, I think it would be a better choice to get that one, no?

I already have enough ROMpler, so the transwaves is really the only thing I'd be looking for in these Ensoniqs, and the polyaftertouch...
The TS10 has HyperWaves, a form of wavesequencing. You can create really interesting textures with it. But the SCSI option on the TS is read-only.

Liste to some HyperWaves demos here:
Ensoniq TS-10: info and synthesis examples (contribution by Don Solaris)
Old 15th September 2011
  #7
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Interesting. So the question is, why does the TS go for a grand on the bay while the ASR is half that? Is it simply because there's a bank of good sounding waves on the TS? Or is it just one of those mysteries of life?

I've heard that the TS and ASR make great roommates, apparently that's not necessarily true? ASR for the studio, TS for the stage perhaps?
Old 15th September 2011
  #8
Well, yes, in the sense that you don't usually sample stuff live on stage. Some people do, though.

Here in Sweden, I'd say the ASR is of higher value than the TS. Alternatively you could look at the (compatible) EPS 16 Plus which comes pretty close to what the ASR does.

Also, a word of warning; Ensoniq instruments aren't always too stable.

My ESQ1 is rock solid though
Old 15th September 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slippast View Post
Interesting. So the question is, why does the TS go for a grand on the bay while the ASR is half that? Is it simply because there's a bank of good sounding waves on the TS? Or is it just one of those mysteries of life?

I've heard that the TS and ASR make great roommates, apparently that's not necessarily true? ASR for the studio, TS for the stage perhaps?
Also, the TS10 doesn´t receive SDS (samples via MIDI), so you can use the ASR to receive the samples from a PC (for editing) and then load them on the TS.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #10
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TS10 and ASR10 work well together.

I have TS10 for the excellent polyphonic-aftertouch keyboard controller, the sequencer (much better than ASR10), the nice wavetable instruments (ASR10 does not have those), ability to load up a GM bank of instruments, play standard midi files (after converted to unique Ensoniq format floppy disk), and the excellent warm/fat/gritty effects (better than ASR10 maybe).

But TS cannot sample (playback only of ASR samples) and cannot load effects algorithms, so I have ASR10 Rack for that. Also, my TS does not have SCSI, so I need the ASR10 Rack SCSI port for CD-ROMs and hard-drives and such.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #11
I think it's funny when people bitch about not being able to load wav/aiff into an ASR, the Chicken Systems software is full of bugs to boot. Wav/aiff wasn't a standard norm back in 1994 and sample CD's weren't what they are today. I know everyone is different, but one of the perks of ASR-10 ownership is actually doing some REAL SAMPLING using the ASR's converters and hearing the magic that comes out afterwards in combination with its limited filters, f/x processor and driving that into an outboard mixing console. Although I am completely ITB these days, this is my preferred method of use before tracking into PT or Ableton with my ASR-10. I would actually recommend the ASR-10r which is the rack version as it automatically comes with SCSI and has eight individual outputs.

As far as differences between the TS and ASR, IMO they were meant to work together. I am sure this has been mentioned, the TS is a synth workstation that has the ability to load ASR-10 samples. If you had an ASR, this was especially useful when you ran out of instrument slots or sample memory and needed to load more samples. ASR is eight part multi-timbral can only load 16mb worth of samples, so was nice to have a synth/sample playback machine with an extra 8mb sample memory. Something like today's downloadable free DAW (Reaper anyone?) kind of makes a machine line the TS somewhat obsolete, but back in 1994 it was the bomm-digity-shnitz-bitz to have that much sample memory at your fingertips and a synth to boot.
Old 22nd August 2012
  #12
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As a followup, since this thread resurfaced, I ended up owning not only a TS10 but a decked-out ASR10 and a TS12 as well. I traded the TS10 for a Little Phatty. The ASR will probably leave soon as well to fund other purchases. It's a great machine but there's other gear I want more, plus I don't have the space for all these boards. The TS12 kind of became my musical sketch pad because I like the sequencer so much. Sadly the analog output board is dying and Syntar doesn't have replacements. That's huge disappointment because I finally got the CD and Zip drives working consistently on both the ASR and the TS12. Oh well.

I'll probably end up keeping the TS SCSI card, parting out the TS12 on ebay and picking up another TS10 as well as an ASR10r. There seem to be a fair number of Ensoniqs where I live so it's only a matter of time before another shows up for cheap.

I love the sound of the TS series and it's the easiest digital keyboard I've used, plus the effects are top notch. The ASR can do some crazy stuff with Wavetables (convinced me to get a Microwave). Both are very fun and having SCSI in both machines is convenient. However, the sample engine in the TS is somewhat limited and I wish I could sync the Hyperwaves to midi like you can on the Wavestation (which I also recently acquired).

So yes, they're both great machines. I just wish there were an TS rack....
Old 11th January 2013
  #13
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+1 on wishing a TS rack had been made by Ensoniq, a rack that includes everything, including the sequencer.

The TS sequencer is great:
24 tracks (12 in each seq, chain them together into song, 12 more tracks in song mode).
Vol, pan, brightness, timbre, wheel, etc. can be automated into mix of each track.
Dynamic tempo control on track 24 (song track 12).
Full editing, by range of notes, measures, filtered by CC events, etc.
Cool neon LED display that is still perfect 20 years later, unlike LCDs on some of my newer gear.
Sound edits (attack, release, effect, etc.) can be modified in the sequence without changing original sound, so you don't need 20 separate versions of each instrument like with other gear.
Can save 1 song file that holds the associated sequences, programs, and sample banks.
Send track audio to FX1, FX2, both, none (dry), main out, or aux out.
Patch select buttons (highlights specific voice layers) along with velocity switching, makes acoustic instruments sound more realistic.

I can only name 4 weaknesses:
The floppy files/disks are in a proprietary format, so you probably need conversion software (still avail).
Cannot set both MSB and LSB independently on a track, so you cannot access all the hundreds of patches on external non-Ensoniq tone generators.
Cannot sync LFO/long-delay times to midi-clock, so you have to use these clock-to-bmp charts to set those things to be in time with the tempo, and if tempo changes, you are out of luck.
The SCSI is read-only, so you pretty much would only use it for sample CD-ROMs.

Anyway, TS and ASR go well together - TS for sequencer and wavetable programs, ASR for sampling and the effects on those samples.
Old 11th January 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slippast View Post
Interesting. So the question is, why does the TS go for a grand on the bay while the ASR is half that?
It's because the TS-10 is very popular with professionals who score orchestral music. (And electronic orchestral for films etc) No Joke. There hasn't really been a workstation that's improved on it. Poly AT is huge for that kinda work., and the sequencers on the TS series are great. Lack of Poly AT is why the TS-12 sells for so much less than the 10.

I know that TS-10s are a big rental item in NYC for travelling composers.
Old 11th January 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold View Post
It's because the TS-10 is very popular with professionals who score orchestral music. (And electronic orchestral for films etc) No Joke. There hasn't really been a workstation that's improved on it. Poly AT is huge for that kinda work., and the sequencers on the TS series are great. Lack of Poly AT is why the TS-12 sells for so much less than the 10.

I know that TS-10s are a big rental item in NYC for travelling composers.
Very interesting. It does seem that Ensoniq was on to something with the combination of features on the TS synths. It certainly has something great about it that I haven't seen on other workstations from the era.

I recently acquired another TS10, in far better condition than the one I traded away. I'm on the fence as to whether to keep it since I like the weighted keys of the TS12 much better. I sold my ASR10 last fall...
Old 13th January 2013
  #16
I have an ASR10 again, the idea was to go back to old 90's sounds of mine. I've got hundreds of floppies but they drive me kind of crazy, ending up being disorganized and so on, you know the drill from those days

I have heard about floppy emulator stuff but the word on the street was that those were out of production, what's the status now? It would be so neat having everything stored nicely on a CF or SD card or whatever is best. Possibilities? It has SCSI, would prefer something external to have the floppy drive there for those days of finding yet another tucked away disk box from 1994
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