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what happened to ensoniq Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 5th March 2019
  #211
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7Wave's Avatar
 

I remember talking to a traveling Ensoniq rep back in the early 90s at Musicmakers in Austin, and he predicted that the advent of ROM based workstations and computer based sampling and sequencing would be the demise of the company unless they thought of something radically different by that time. He mentioned that Ensoniq was founded and run by computer engineers from the 80s, and though they were innovative there were problems in how the company was managed.

They really peaked around the time of the ASR-10 -- I still have mine, and my EPS and ASR-X Pro -- but a lot of their other ideas (though innovative) didn't catch on in a big way. I still think my ASR-10 and EPS have some of the best scratchboard sequencers ever made.
Old 5th March 2019
  #212
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HerrSteiner's Avatar
 

The founders of Ensoniq created the SID chip for the C64
Old 5th March 2019
  #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Wave View Post
I remember talking to a traveling Ensoniq rep back in the early 90s at Musicmakers in Austin, and he predicted that the advent of ROM based workstations and computer based sampling and sequencing would be the demise of the company unless they thought of something radically different by that time. He mentioned that Ensoniq was founded and run by computer engineers from the 80s, and though they were innovative there were problems in how the company was managed.
It sounds like they knew well in advance. Therefore Paris?

I have a VFX-SD and regretfully sold my ASR-10. I would add that there were reliability issues with the VFX series...at least taking them on the road you would want a back up. And part supply problems? I once inquired why the ASR-10 display had shrunk compared to the wonderful VFX display and was told the large displays were no longer manufactured.

Another aspect of Ensoniq was the Transoniq Hacker which was a wonderful magazine for all Ensoniq products. This was an independent magazine therefore could be openly critical without punishment. At some point near the end, Ensoniq stopped including packaging a promotional copy of the Transoniq Hacker...
Old 5th March 2019
  #214
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Korg killed them

The Trinity came out and it swept up the hip hop, R&B community I was in. The Trinity was ALL you heard about and it became a coveted item. Ensoniq with it's clunky screen and old design couldn't keep up with the modern, high fidelity slick interface and look of the Trinity then later... the Triton which sealed the deal. People used the MPC and Trinity/Triton together as a killer combo. I was swept up in that wave.. but now prefer the thick organic sound of Ensoniq.
Old 5th March 2019
  #215
PHG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTRAS View Post
The Trinity came out and it swept up the hip hop, R&B community I was in. The Trinity was ALL you heard about and it became a coveted item. Ensoniq with it's clunky screen and old design couldn't keep up with the modern, high fidelity slick interface and look of the Trinity then later... the Triton which sealed the deal. People used the MPC and Trinity/Triton together as a killer combo. I was swept up in that wave.. but now prefer the thick organic sound of Ensoniq.
Yeah, I prefer the sound of my ASR-10 over the Triton for sure. The Triton has some sampling features which I really wish the ASR-10 had though. And the option to use USB or Flash cards is really nice.

I really wish Ensoniq could have made at least one more model in the ASR series to compete with some of those Korg Triton features.
Old 5th March 2019
  #216
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Pindrive's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Wave View Post
I remember talking to a traveling Ensoniq rep back in the early 90s at Musicmakers in Austin, and he predicted that the advent of ROM based workstations and computer based sampling and sequencing would be the demise of the company unless they thought of something radically different by that time. He mentioned that Ensoniq was founded and run by computer engineers from the 80s, and though they were innovative there were problems in how the company was managed.

They really peaked around the time of the ASR-10 -- I still have mine, and my EPS and ASR-X Pro -- but a lot of their other ideas (though innovative) didn't catch on in a big way. I still think my ASR-10 and EPS have some of the best scratchboard sequencers ever made.
The sequencer is pretty amazing. very capable, useable & versatile. One could write great music with it. Modern DAW software certainly has its advantages over this old technology. However, that shouldn't convince anyone that it wouldn't do just about anything they needed.
Old 12th April 2019
  #217


Hi guys! Yesterday I did this video on the EPS & with a little history & demoing the sequencer. Hope you'll like it!
Old 12th April 2019
  #218
f33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTRAS View Post
The Trinity came out and it swept up the hip hop, R&B community I was in. The Trinity was ALL you heard about and it became a coveted item. Ensoniq with it's clunky screen and old design couldn't keep up with the modern, high fidelity slick interface and look of the Trinity then later... the Triton which sealed the deal. People used the MPC and Trinity/Triton together as a killer combo. I was swept up in that wave.. but now prefer the thick organic sound of Ensoniq.
i loved that era. everybody had their favorites but you're right about the korgs, they kinda took over. Every brand had their big dog.

yamaha ex5
korg trinity/triton
roland xp 60/80
ensoniq of course with the asr 10 and x and mr 76
eventually e-mu came with the command stations
kurzweil still had the k2000 and 2600

great era for hip hop, very musical. the houston style in that 95-2000 era was my favorite.
Old 12th April 2019
  #219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f33 View Post
the houston style in that 95-2000 era was my favorite.
You must be a big Jazze Pha fan then.
Old 12th April 2019
  #220
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post


Hi guys! Yesterday I did this video on the EPS & with a little history & demoing the sequencer. Hope you'll like it!
ot: A question regarding this as I am living just outside Uppsala in Sweden; is my english doable or horrible listening to? I try to improve but while doing somewhat "advanced" tasks at the same time I noticed my pronunciation was quite bad. My 14 year old son kind of facepalms when I speak, and it's hard without training. Haven't been in England since 1987 & never visited the USA. Always been a) broke or b) bought a synth instead of travelling. Let me know!
Old 12th April 2019
  #221
f33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
You must be a big Jazze Pha fan then.
hes from atlanta

more double d, knoke d and solo jemison
Old 12th April 2019
  #222
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Releaux's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post
ot: A question regarding this as I am living just outside Uppsala in Sweden; is my english doable or horrible listening to? I try to improve but while doing somewhat "advanced" tasks at the same time I noticed my pronunciation was quite bad. My 14 year old son kind of facepalms when I speak, and it's hard without training. Haven't been in England since 1987 & never visited the USA. Always been a) broke or b) bought a synth instead of travelling. Let me know!
Native English speaker here (well... American. The folks in England might disagree that I speak English). Your English is excellent and I found you completely understandable. I don't have kids, but it's my experience that 14-year-olds facepalm pretty much anything their parents do.
Old 12th April 2019
  #223
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Your English is perfectly fine, bitley. You may have overdone the noise gate because a lot of your words have chopped off start or end, though
Old 12th April 2019
  #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f33 View Post
hes from atlanta

more double d, knoke d and solo jemison
He's actually from Memphis raised in LA, but through Breed he reached the whole South Central US, including all his Houston artist work and his heavy mid 90's influence on Houston music. He later moved to Atlanta, but trust me he not from Atlanta.
Old 12th April 2019
  #225
Thanks guys! Yeah I set the mic for a closer position & kept moving around
Old 12th April 2019
  #226
f33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will The Weirdo View Post
He's actually from Memphis raised in LA, but through Breed he reached the whole South Central US, including all his Houston artist work and his heavy mid 90's influence on Houston music. He later moved to Atlanta, but trust me he not from Atlanta.
ah, that was from the internet. i knew that was where he blew up from. def not houston

edit after looking at his discogs page, he did do tela's 'sho nuff' which was big in tx. saw tela once with 8ball & mjg in austin. i remember thinking what a weird flex that the cops had 4-5 german shepards there. but texas...
Old 13th April 2019
  #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f33 View Post
ah, that was from the internet. i knew that was where he blew up from. def not houston

edit after looking at his discogs page, he did do tela's 'sho nuff' which was big in tx. saw tela once with 8ball & mjg in austin. i remember thinking what a weird flex that the cops had 4-5 german shepards there. but texas...
He has a real Houston connection via his 90's Memphis work, I worked with Bun B and him 10 years back in Atlanta, trust me he had a serious 2nd half of the 90's influence in Houston. His Atlanta work is what people remember but his Breed until Atlanta work ruled the Midwest down through Texas.
Old 18th April 2019
  #228
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Ensoniq was the best thing to happen to electronic music.
Old 18th April 2019
  #229
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Originally Posted by bitleyTM View Post


Hi guys! Yesterday I did this video on the EPS & with a little history & demoing the sequencer. Hope you'll like it!
Oh yes. But the Emax II didn't crash and had all the outputs standard...


I sold both of them back in the day at the music store.
Old 18th April 2019
  #230
Hej, great EPS video. i could see you were having a good time


i haven't used internal sequencer on mine yet, only driven it via daw. but doing it standalone looks like fun.

btw, if i'm lucky, i'll finally grab the OEX output expansion this weekend.

cheers
Old 18th April 2019
  #231
Thank you! Yeah try it, quite wonderful really.

I've also made a whole EP once driven by the ESQ1 sequencer:

1 | bitley the refill cat

It controlled a JV1080, a TX81Z, a VZ8M and itself :-)
Old 18th April 2019
  #232
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Landers View Post
Ensoniq was the best thing to happen to electronic music.
As much as I love Ensoniq, I would rate them 2nd after Roland...... the TR 808 IMHO was the single most important thing to happen to electronic music.
Old 18th April 2019
  #233
Quote:
Originally Posted by DTRAS View Post
The Trinity came out and it swept up the hip hop, R&B community I was in. The Trinity was ALL you heard about and it became a coveted item. Ensoniq with it's clunky screen and old design couldn't keep up with the modern, high fidelity slick interface and look of the Trinity then later... the Triton which sealed the deal. People used the MPC and Trinity/Triton together as a killer combo. I was swept up in that wave.. but now prefer the thick organic sound of Ensoniq.
I bought my first synth at this very time, 96/97 or so?? The Triton was the big bad brand new Korg Workstation I drooled over hehe (that screen AND sampling OMG!). At the time I only had experience with a T3 and an SY-88 so I thought that's what synths were (didn't see my first Juno until about a year later).

I ended up with a crappy Korg N364 rompler in the end, but looked at all the Ensoniq stuff at the time too (wanted an ASR10 BAD). The problem with Ensoniq was, they had too many models, and for me it was too difficult to tell the differences between them. Everything had transwave this or that, I remember a couple said you could load your own sounds in, but I was very confused as to what did what so I passed and got the simpler 'heres what you get' Korg workstation. The TS series was one of the ones I was looking at, can't really remember the other models that were out. I remember going over all the flyers I got at the store over and over again and going 'God which one is the right one?'.
Old 18th April 2019
  #234
Back in the day used to love the EPS. Great sampler and sequencer. Wound up upgrading to first the EPS 16 and then the ASR-10. Should have just not bothered and added other things instead. Also had an ESQ-1 for a while, those were big at the time.
Old 19th April 2019
  #235
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Roland and Yamaha were the biggest for the contribution from Japan. Ensoniq for American. Although Dave Smith has had two era's so the speak.
Old 19th April 2019
  #236
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Fay Smearing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRAZZ View Post
Roland and Yamaha were the biggest for the contribution from Japan. Ensoniq for American. Although Dave Smith has had two era's so the speak.
E-mu and Kurzweil managed to put a couple of things out there for a year or two.
Old 19th April 2019
  #237
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Pindrive's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
I bought my first synth at this very time, 96/97 or so?? The Triton was the big bad brand new Korg Workstation I drooled over hehe (that screen AND sampling OMG!). At the time I only had experience with a T3 and an SY-88 so I thought that's what synths were (didn't see my first Juno until about a year later).

I ended up with a crappy Korg N364 rompler in the end, but looked at all the Ensoniq stuff at the time too (wanted an ASR10 BAD). The problem with Ensoniq was, they had too many models, and for me it was too difficult to tell the differences between them. Everything had transwave this or that, I remember a couple said you could load your own sounds in, but I was very confused as to what did what so I passed and got the simpler 'heres what you get' Korg workstation. The TS series was one of the ones I was looking at, can't really remember the other models that were out. I remember going over all the flyers I got at the store over and over again and going 'God which one is the right one?'.
Just about any ENSONIQ with a sequencer was a great machine. Well, the Mirage had a sequencer that wasn't quite useable but, that was early on... I wrote an Albums worth on the SQ1, by itself. Sounds really nice. That was a low end Ensoniq. ASR10 was really the top Sampler. It's capable of so much.
Old 19th April 2019
  #238
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fay Smearing View Post
E-mu and Kurzweil managed to put a couple of things out there for a year or two.
The E-mus were spendy, and well outside my reach at the time. I wanted an Emax sooooo bad, but it was what? $3.5k in 1989 money? The Emulator III was the eBay kidney sale model. The Kurzweil was comparable.

Ensoniq were the ones to bring the technology to the masses. Sure, you had to learn some hex, but hey... It sampled, it sequenced, it was wonderfully 8-bit dark and crunchy!

Last edited by syntonica; 19th April 2019 at 02:50 AM.. Reason: Had Emu and Kurzweil backwards
Old 19th April 2019
  #239
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Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
The E-mus were spendy, and well outside my reach at the time. I wanted an Emax sooooo bad, but it was what? $3.5k in 1989 money? The Emulator III was the eBay kidney sale model. The Kurzweil was comparable.

Ensoniq were the ones to bring the technology to the masses. Sure, you had to learn some hex, but hey... It sampled, it sequenced, it was wonderfully 8-bit dark and crunchy!
I never had a problem with the sound of the EPS, but it didn't have resonant filters. I saved my money for a whole year more to get an Emax II. (With 4 megs of memory and 8 outputs)... Blew my whole wad on that thing but it was my main sampler for 15 years, so I got my money's worth.
Old 19th April 2019
  #240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
The E-mus were spendy, and well outside my reach at the time. I wanted an Emax sooooo bad, but it was what? $3.5k in 1989 money? The Emulator III was the eBay kidney sale model. The Kurzweil was comparable.

Ensoniq were the ones to bring the technology to the masses. Sure, you had to learn some hex, but hey... It sampled, it sequenced, it was wonderfully 8-bit dark and crunchy!
The many Proteus variants and models alone were all but ubiquitous. I doubt Ensoniq moved more units in total than just that range alone.

Of course the Mirage was a breakthrough and a hit at the time, and later on the EPS to a fair degree, but that's primarily within the realm of user sampling, which was a big thing for a few years (and where Korg also eventually muscled in), but overall it's a somewhat rose-tinted-glasses claim to say the Ensoniq was top of the tree with regard to being the biggest American contibution overall. And it's not like Akai didn't cater to a lot of user-sampling needs from across the pond either.

I understand the sentiment, still having a VFX I bought new, but the others were around longer (Kurzweil still around in its current form), and more so than Kurzweil, E-mu products over time trickled down through Emulators>Emaxes into the affordable enough Proteus lines with the clout-for-dollar to end up being all but a must-have for even modest hobbyist budgets. The Proteus 2000 range, not to mention the 2500, were powerhouses, but Workstations were taking over.

Given that they both ended up under Creative, it's equally a shame they're not both still around.

Alesis also sold a lot of related gear, even if not so much synth-wise in the lower end, given that the Ion/Micron never quite got up.

Just with the American contingent of E-mu, Ensoniq, Alesis and Kurzweil, the market was awash with gear in the 80s and 90s before even adding Japan Inc and some of Europe.
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