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8bit or 12bit rompler type synths Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 20th August 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

8bit or 12bit rompler type synths

Can someone recommend a good rompler type rack synth with dirty grimey vintage sounding sounds. I don't exactly have incredible knowledge on this particular market or gear. But I kinda like the idea of weird crazy synth sounds but with a vintage and dirty taste.

Right now I'm looking at the Ensoniq ESQ-M and the Roland D-550. If anyone can give feedback or input on these two synths or even better suggest other alternatives and even things that I might wanna consider or look out for that would be helpful as well.

In general I would like something simple and easy to use. Something that I can pick up on quick without having to memorize a manual. But I don't want to sacrifice flexibility and tweaking options either. Of course cheap is always nice as well.

Thanks Slutz
Old 20th August 2007
  #2
Gear Addict
 
fn86's Avatar
 

if you want dirty and y, cop the mellotron.
Old 20th August 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
Hands down one of the BEST old-skool ROM digital synths is the Ensoniq SD1. I have one and I use it on everything. Whenver someone says, "what did you make that sound on" it's almost always the SD1. I've had so many people offer to buy it off me. It's technically a 16 bit keyboard, but I SWEAR most of the sounds in it are 12 bit. 3.5 megs of ROM waveforms. You can get really great funky grit and character out of it - primarily because the envelopes have lousy resolution and can be a bit dirty.

The programming you can do is insane. 6 voices, 3 envelopes, two filters (no resonance), LFO, and massive flexibility and routing that you won't see on anything else. The depth of editing is silly. When it came out (1991?) it was the mother of all keyboards and listed for $3k (in '91 dollars). Has a floppy drive and a great LED display. Very good built-in effects.

The downside: You will have to program the thing. The sounds it comes with are lame 'cause it's from back in the day. I don't think I've used a preset on it in years. That said, it's a lot more intuitive than Roland or Korg gear. It was the first pro keyboard I'd ever owned and I knew NOTHING about subtractive synthesis and I picked it up really quickly. I'm sure there are folks on the web with libraries you can get, but I've never bothered. Other downside is no resonance on the filters - but it makes such cool sounds you really won't give a f*ck!

Anyway, if you get one you WON'T be disapointed. It's not a rackmount though. BTW - it turned into the TS10 and TS12 which weren't nearly as cool. Prior was the VFX which weren't as cool either. ESQ is a complete joke in comparison.

Only hard part is finding one. I see them on ebay from time to time. The one service guy Thesoniq does sell them from time to time. In good condition they are at least $500 and up.
Old 20th August 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
PhonoquO's Avatar
 

check out the cult sampler, or nostalgia vstis if you do the computer thing. great sounds from all the old units
Old 21st August 2007
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Not really looking to spend $500 on this. But I will keep the SD-1 in mind. If I am as impressed by the sound I might save up for it.

I'd like to keep my price range under $200 and still prefer a rack (I just don't have the space for a keyboard).
Old 21st August 2007
  #6
Old 21st August 2007
  #7
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KevWest's Avatar
 

i just bought an ensoniq esq1 last week and I love it I am still learning it but its a really powerful synth especially for the price that I got it for. I would recommend it to anyone who is into tweaking synths. I need to find some program carts for it tho
Old 21st August 2007
  #8
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Zacchino's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee702 View Post
Wohohooo !!! Nice !!! If you have other oldies-resurection VSTis you know about I'm taking it !
Old 29th August 2007
  #9
Quote:
Ensoniq ESQ-M and the Roland D-550
i've got an ensoniq esq1 & roland d20. the Ensoniq SQ & Roland D series are very different beasts soundwise. personally i like stacking them

The SQ is rompler routed thru analog filters. it has a very gritty "wave" sound. lots of rez & plinky tones. good for whooshing pads, bells & digital buzzy type sounds. you wont be fooling anyone with the instrument "emulations". factory drums are WEAK & with a ton of programming are slightly less so. extremely old school electronic sounding. great for droning atmospheres & supplimental robot farts.
programming is fairly intuitive & fun.

the D is a little more diverse & organic sounding, (though on the organic end not quite as convincing as say an EMU Proteus module). linear arithmatic synthesis is the heart of the D series synths. it stretches the rom waves like a sampler, so expect about an octave or 2 before you start seeing odd things happen in either direction(sometimes that makes for cool gritty on the low end & odd pulsing rings on the upper). the rom selections are more diverse. theres a really cool ring modulator in the D20 (not in all D series synths). theres some respectable percussion. i've got some awesome pads out of mine. bass sounds are kinda meh. theres a preset called 'warm pad' thats great to tweak on. programming on a 2x16 LED is a bitch.
Old 29th August 2007
  #10
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KevWest's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
i've got an ensoniq esq1 & roland d20. the Ensoniq SQ & Roland D series are very different beasts soundwise. personally i like stacking them

The SQ is rompler routed thru analog filters. it has a very gritty "wave" sound. lots of rez & plinky tones. good for whooshing pads, bells & digital buzzy type sounds. you wont be fooling anyone with the instrument "emulations". factory drums are WEAK & with a ton of programming are slightly less so. extremely old school electronic sounding. great for droning atmospheres & supplimental robot farts.
programming is fairly intuitive & fun.

the D is a little more diverse & organic sounding, (though on the organic end not quite as convincing as say an EMU Proteus module). linear arithmatic synthesis is the heart of the D series synths. it stretches the rom waves like a sampler, so expect about an octave or 2 before you start seeing odd things happen in either direction(sometimes that makes for cool gritty on the low end & odd pulsing rings on the upper). the rom selections are more diverse. theres a really cool ring modulator in the D20 (not in all D series synths). theres some respectable percussion. i've got some awesome pads out of mine. bass sounds are kinda meh. theres a preset called 'warm pad' thats great to tweak on. programming on a 2x16 LED is a bitch.
the esq1 has drums?? i dont see any on mine. Ive had it for a couple of weeks and I am still learning it. I am loving it as a synth tho. I don't know that I'd call it a straight rompler. Do you know of any free software editors available for the esq1 or how to do overdubs on sequencer tracks without deleting what was already there. For example last night I was doing a drum track (I have it sync'd to reason) and I did the kicks and snares in one right and I went back to add toms and hats and it erased my kicks and snares when I did it on the same track. 8 tracks aren't a lot so I am trying my best to make the most of them. Please help
Old 29th August 2007
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by xabiton View Post
the esq1 has drums?? i dont see any on mine. Ive had it for a couple of weeks and I am still learning it. I am loving it as a synth tho. I don't know that I'd call it a straight rompler. Do you know of any free software editors available for the esq1 or how to do overdubs on sequencer tracks without deleting what was already there. For example last night I was doing a drum track (I have it sync'd to reason) and I did the kicks and snares in one right and I went back to add toms and hats and it erased my kicks and snares when I did it on the same track. 8 tracks aren't a lot so I am trying my best to make the most of them. Please help

i dont have mine in front of me @ the moment, overdubs should be in the manual. if i recall correctly theres some bouncing track features, where you record to multiple tracks then bounce back down to 1 like you would a submix on tape. & you can always duplicate a sequence so you dont lose previous work when you goto tweak on a track.
the manual

theres a lumpy thud kick, some simmons sounding toms, a couple gritty snares & some plinky percussion sounds in the presets.
ESQ-1

i'm not aware of any software editors at all. welcome to old school synth programming.
Ensoniq ESQ1 Hacker Page

if we want to get into rompler semantics, the esq1 does playback samples stored in ROM chips, which makes it a rompler. it also happens to have a decent synth engine you can edit as well which makes it a lil more like a traditional synth. i'd consider anything with ROM's as an oscillator a rompler though.
Old 30th August 2007
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the replies fellas.

Yeah I'm actually not lookin for anything organic or natural sounding. The more digital, grungy, or lo-fi the better. Stevil thanks for the link to the mp3 samples of the ESQ. You wouldn't happen to have a link for Roland D samples would you?
Old 30th August 2007
  #13
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cynic one's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tohtruck View Post
Thanks for the replies fellas.

Yeah I'm actually not lookin for anything organic or natural sounding. The more digital, grungy, or lo-fi the better. Stevil thanks for the link to the mp3 samples of the ESQ. You wouldn't happen to have a link for Roland D samples would you?
http://www.synthmania.com/Synthesize...otest_D550.mp3

D-50

cool thread......right up my alley

you know, if you're looking for old, grungy, ****ed up sounds you might scour the internet for free soundfonts. lots of cool **** there to dump into kontakt and tweak.
Old 30th August 2007
  #14
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cynic one's Avatar
 

OK, so this thread really got me thinking. If we could get a hold of all of the basic waveforms of these old synths, we could dump em into a modern sampler (kontakt, emulator, whatever) - and basically sound like the old synths.

Sure the filters and converters would be different, but the basic building blocks would be the same.

The question is....how do we get at em? I'm sitting here programming this mc-505 right now, messing with all these waveforms. How could we dump this **** out of the rompler and get at the raw waveforms? Anyone with good ideas?
Old 30th August 2007
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynic View Post
OK, so this thread really got me thinking. If we could get a hold of all of the basic waveforms of these old synths, we could dump em into a modern sampler (kontakt, emulator, whatever) - and basically sound like the old synths.

Sure the filters and converters would be different, but the basic building blocks would be the same.
you could sample the raw ROM's. just get a blank sound & go thru them one @ a time & record em into yer PC. the thing is the ROM's arent really that impressive. it's what you can do with em that defines the sound of these machines. the filters, signal paths & programming limitations are what makes em unique. if you wanna take some crap waves into a massive VA synth engine i'd suggest sampling your own sources (cd's, movies, sound fx, toys, mic-ed up random crap). you'd get much more interesting results than old PCM sounds.

what i enjoy is the exact opposite of what you suggest above. take new tracks & run em thru the aux in path on the old synths. take clean digitized sounds & dirty em up, or a raw old instrument thru a digital VA synth.
Old 30th August 2007
  #16
Quote:
The more digital, grungy, or lo-fi the better.
yeah the old ensoniq gear is great for that sound. you might look into an ensoniq mirage sampler. you can pick em up for next to nothing these days. they only have a few seconds of sampling time but they are awesome for getting those gritty 8bit beats.
Old 2nd September 2007
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
you could sample the raw ROM's. just get a blank sound & go thru them one @ a time & record em into yer PC. the thing is the ROM's arent really that impressive. it's what you can do with em that defines the sound of these machines. the filters, signal paths & programming limitations are what makes em unique. if you wanna take some crap waves into a massive VA synth engine i'd suggest sampling your own sources (cd's, movies, sound fx, toys, mic-ed up random crap). you'd get much more interesting results than old PCM sounds.

what i enjoy is the exact opposite of what you suggest above. take new tracks & run em thru the aux in path on the old synths. take clean digitized sounds & dirty em up, or a raw old instrument thru a digital VA synth.
Yeah that's kind of what I was thinking. I imagine its the sound processing that really makes the sounds so unique. I like that idea of running clean sounds through old processors and chips.

Although I also like Cynic's notion of takeing the old waveforms from the ROMs and then throwing them into something convenient on the computer.

Yeah I thought about the Mirage but I am not sure about the workflow on it. I've heard that it can be difficult to work with. I have enough samplers already. I just want instant dirty synth sounds that I can just tweak the hell out of without having to sample and then find loop points to sustain them.
Old 4th September 2007
  #18
Quote:
Yeah I thought about the Mirage but I am not sure about the workflow on it. I've heard that it can be difficult to work with.
they are tedious. 2 digit display & menus are punched in thru 10 key.
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