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Ensoniq ASR-X

27-Mar-2017

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Ensoniq ASR-X



Category:  Products / sampler / ensoniq

Added: 05-Jan-99  |  Author: admin

New price: discontinued  |   S/H price: a few hundred max

Ensoniq ASR-X

Is it a sampler ?..... Is it a drum box ?..... Is it a sequencer ?.... or a synth ?..... nope.... it's basically all of those things, the ASR-X Sampling workstation draws from the areas of Ensoniq's previous products to create an all in one system, that for the money, I think it is fair to say has very little competition......

The ASR-X takes the top end ASR sampler, slings it in a nice tabletop unit, ad's an Ensoniq sequencer and MR Synth chip, along with a compliment of drum sounds and a nice 24 bit multi-fx processor.., and there you have it.......Plus.... that magic ingredient....resampling !!....

Well, the more i find out about this unit, the more it seems to shine as a production center, either as a stand alone unit, or to build around with extra kit and a mixer etc.......First up lets check the basic spec's.....

SAMPLER
16 bit, 44.1 sampler, comes with 2mb ram expandable to 32mb with 72 pin simms (25 quid to go to 32 mb !!!!!... heh heh compare that to an S-1000 8 mb.....ho ho !!)....oh yeah..... long samples CAN be saved to a series of floppies, and it reads Wav files, AAIF, & Dos !!.....excellent !!.....it uses 20-bit Analog-to-Digital converter, and 18-bit Digital-to-Analog converters......It does stereo or mon sampling/resampling.... and you get 10 seconds stereo, 20 sec's mono with 2mb, and 6 minutes mono, or 3 minutes stereo with the extra 32 mb for a total 34 mb ram..... if you add scsi, it'll read akai s-1000 / s-1100.....(latest model comes with scsi as standard)

SYNTH
The synth is from the MR chip with 128 presets, and features 18db resonant filters.... 16 part multitimbrel....and it's expandable to 26 mb rom with the MR - EPX expansion rom boards..... one of the boards is called 'The urban dance project'.... it's supposed to be pretty shit hot, and would alone get you as good a pallette of dance keyboard waves and sounds as on any non-modelling dance synth....There's also a 'World Sounds' board too....... ,Well, with that many sounds at your disposal.... before the inclusion of samples, it seems pretty good, but it's got some nifty features.......
There's something called 'Soundfinder' .....you can basically build a reference database of all the locations of different styles of sounds, and re-arrange all the sounds into categories etc to help you quickly get a type of sound a a basis for an edit.....ok...these boards are 250 quid......but bloody hell....you're basically adding a 20 mb sample rom synth...... but with sounds from analog's to basses and pads..... plus extra drum sounds & loops, fx etc...... and you get over 40 GM kits !....

The synth has filters and lfo's etc etc, and performance sounds....like what you hear when you hit the pads or an external midi keyboard, can be constructed of any wave source, rom or sample for a layer, and layers can be stacked up to 16......with synthesis parameters added, this makes for a lot of versatility, because..... the sampler basicaly can sample from the units stereo output...... this means you can use up polyphony to get say a 7 layer bass sound, create a bassline in the sequencer....and when it's groovin', just add a few fx, and sample a loop as it plays...!!... oh yes !!..... the use the bassline as a loop in the track played back from a sample, and reset the synth to do other things !.... Oh yes...... you can also obviously then synthesise the loop you've just made !!........dont let your imagination run away with you !!....

SEQUENCER
16 track sequencer, the unit is set to be a 16 channel multimode sequencer....just assign sounds to channels and sequnce by tapping on the velocity sensitive pads.... or wire in an external keyboard and do it from there !!.... or bung stuff in in steptime, whatever,.......The sequencer basically is ..... Select a track..... select a sound..... sequence it...... nice and freindly....just add sounds to tracks..... next up.....128 max songs ..... save and load from midifile...and dos disks !!......so i'd say the sequncer is for getting a groove together.....fast.....and for the fine detail work, all the usual copy etc functions are there, plus some stuff like creating groove quantise settings and saving and loading templates ....blimey !!.... Ok so a great sequencer....easily up to doing a show.......

DRUMS
drums again are as for the synth, they can be samples or rom samples and can be up to 64 sounds and again all the resampling stuff applies here.... heh heh.... what about a 4 layer kik drum with some fx !!....with the next sound being a loop, then a few percussion sounds, some weird off the wall drum type samples...whatever......a great drum box as you can imagine.... hey... make a drum kit..... load a groove template you've made..... make a loop.....resample it..aaarrrgggggghhhhh !!!!.... fuck.... I think i want one of these baby's actually......bloody hell, i have to say, I'd be very tempted to swap the Kurzweil for this and definately would if i wanted to do alot of lite portable shows.....I mean....you could do a real effective...and original set with this, and add a mall mixer, and a modelling synth, blimey......

cos really....although I sit around in front of this computer alot, and have done some good toons on it, you cannot beat standing up, and jumping around and running up to the keyboard to add another lick !!..... it's just the best, and this unit is designed to work like that... but you can load over your carefully constructed mdidfiles and play them live too !!.....bloody awesome !!!!......oh shit !!..... there's more !!

FX
er......I'm getting excited now !!..... 24 bit fully editable 2 buss fx unit, and we're talking fx with filters, lfo's, eq, etc, with one fx per sequence being patchable.... so you can just like with a mixer, have up to 16 channels/tracks palaying, and add a delay to those you want, to the amount that just makes the track start to really get busy, without it being obvious why it sounds like it's on a roll.....y'know ?.... like that very subtle triplet deay added below a kik drum..... so lo in volume, it's not apparent, yet the track just starts to roll !!........
You get a second fx as global.....and check it....... you can assign fx to midi control, and record fx stuff to a dedicated midi track....then your wild and wacky fx can be modulated and tweaked over time, or in rhythm, or whatever and will just playback with the track......oh hey yes......you can again, set up a loop sequence of sound and fx either or both with controller data manipulating them over time or whatever....and resample the lot to create a new sample loop........

Well........er...... I just dont see the point of getting into fine technical detail.......you can find that elsewhere, what's important is this units ability to do a gig....and sound original, or what the punter wants to hear.......expand it up to 32mb 72 pin simms, for a measly 25 quid now (25/3/98), and all the edits and sequence data & samples are just loaded from disk/s.....

The unit has a stereo out.....but with all the resampling facilities, and then the addition of global and insert fx with sends for every track/sound that's playing, this still is not a problem.....but check it, you can get an optional 8 output and scsi board.....so add a cdrom......how about a hard drive to roam thru a massive library of samples..... hey , it'll already play your midifiles....so why not get a scsi card for your pc, and port the samples over for editing to and from the pc......

You can also record an incoming sound thru the fx......it's in a steel case.......is about 17" x 12" x 4" in dimension (to give you an idea of the scale....when there are no keys, it's hard to tell huh from the picture.........I was well surprised the first time i saw a 309 ??

what else........ Oh yes.... some people think it's not good, that the patch edit and stuff dont get to save to internal memory.... but er...... i think it's cool that the sounds and samples and sequence you need are loaded when you wanna get to work on a piece......pads are velocity sensitive.......you can get into more 'playing the keyboard' type stuff by just patching in a midi keyboard.......but, you can play chords with the pads as well as patterns or drum stuff....and of course you can play the pads over a sequence live........you can get a pattern going, then scroll thru sounds and hear them play the pattern, just like using an outboard sequencer and seperate keyboard....... excellent......

So...... all in all very interesting..... you could add this to a cheap lo power pc, such as a dx-266, running win 3.11.....then swap between working on the cheap pc sequencer (with no audio) and asr-x for the midi composition, then, port the midi-file over to the asr-x, and boot up a 16 bit h/d programme, like Sawplus or Samplitude etc, and sync up the h/d audio with the asr-x, to get vocals down too or add extra long loops or whatever... maybe some rebirth ? on win 95?....... if you want to do alot of portable live shows, but also to do recordings, and you're stretched for cash, you could try that method......it's gonna be cheaper than upgrading to an expensive pc to get good audio and midi sync...... hey !..... wire in the scsi with the optional expander, and totally link up the pc.......manage samples etc on the pc, load to and from the ASR-X......just work between the two, and then load it all over for live gigs.......
oh well, I should have added this unit before, I'd never really checked it out in depth before, and I'm well impressed.......especially with the sequencer..... it's exactly what you want for live gigs......and the 2.5 upgrade add's loads more features.... check out the Ensoniq website for details...... The ASR-X, is around a bit secondhand now, and well worth a look......I mean.....seriously Rufus mate !!.....

STOP-PRESS...(1/4/98)..... THE ASR-X NOW COMES WITH THE SCSI AND 20MB DANCE EXPANSION INCLUDED AS STANDARD !!.... YOU GOTTA BE MAD TO NOT CHECK THIS IN THE UNDER 1000 NEW AREA....... PISSES ON THE S-2000 & ESI ETC (IMHO !!)













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User Comments

Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: raasa
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://come.to/raasa
Activity: Professional
Date: 28-Apr-99

i'm using this machine as the centre of my production now.
i have the pro version and its really cool.
The FX!!
And why Asrxpro aint got a good review in Future Music?
Because they like roland and yamaha stuff...

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: BONES
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://www.ar.com.au/~novakill
Activity: Professional
Date: 03-May-99

For the 12 months or so that I struggled with this monstrosity I got next to nothing done. It is an absolute dog to program thanks to it's pathetic display and parameter navigation. As a drum machine it was great but as a sampler/synth it blows.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: skul
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 13-May-99

very nice sounding sampler, awesome FX, terrible user interface.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: Slags ting
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 25-Jun-99

What is a realistic s/h price for the pro-version? Around 800?

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: luciano
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 01-Aug-99

THIS IS AN AWSOME PIECE IF YOU DONT USE THE SEQUENCER.....IT SUCKS.....BUT I USE IT AS A SAMPLER/DRUM MACHINE AND THE RESAMPLING FEATURE AND EFFECTS RULE!!!!!!!AKAI IS KNOWN FOR HAVING GREAT SEQUENCERS ON THEIR MPC MODELS BUT I HAVE AN MPC 2000 ALSO AND I THINK THATS ALL THE AKAI IS WORTH CUZ EVERYTHING ELSE EXCEPT WORDCLOCK AND SEQUENCING.....SUCK...THE ONLY THING IS ENSONIQ HAS A TENDENCY TO TAKE A PRODUCT AND STOP MAKING TOOOOOO QUICK. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO SEE A FEW MORE UPDATES TO FIX CURRENT BUGS IN THE SEQUENCING.....BUT OH WELL AT LEAST THEY GOT THIS FAR WITH IT,,,,AKAIS SUPPORT IS VIRTUALLY NON EXISTENT.....HOOK UP A CD-ROM DRIVE TO THE "X" AND WATCHOUT .......IT READS AKAI S100/1100..WAV,AIFF,ASR,EPS, GOOD LUCK FOLKS

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: jondl
Email: Email supplied but hidden
http://www.jdlx-musique.com/
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 14-Aug-99

I've been using an ASR-X Pro for the last five months and recently built a web page in support of the Red X. There are alot of positives to this box that far outweigh any perceived limitations.

The physical interface, i.e., Pads, are terrific for laying down a groove. It's far more satisfying to 'bang' out a rhythym than it is to stare at a rack mount module connected to your Mac/PC.

The sound quality is outstanding for both the built in effects processor as well as the Sampling/Resampling. The sequencer is the weak link in the chain but it is certainly usable if you spend the time becoming familiar with it's workings. Be aware that there is no step level editing of Note On events - either play it right the first time or re-record the track. Otherwise, export the ASR-X/ASR-X Pro sequence as a .MID file and import it to your SW MIDI Seqeuncer. This works very well.

File compatability with previous Ensoniq samplers is a mixed bag. Some formats translate well, others less so, i.e., EDE and EFE seem to to do better than EDA (these are all Giebler formats from the popular Giebler PC editing SW.) If you don't have an established library from a previous Ensoniq unit it won't matter much to you - it doesn't to me. AIFF and WAV files import well and the wealth of synth editing parameters are generous! I've not yet tried to import Akai or Roland format from CDROM but I'm told it works reasonably well - at least as well as on competing instruments in this price range.

The physical user interface is laid out in a simple manner - very similar to an E-mu Proteus: Buttons to select an editing mode; One Knob to select a Parameter to alter and another Knob to edit the value of that parameter. The most complicated aspect of the ASR-X and ASR-X Pro is the 'Patch' or 'Sound' structure. The flexibility in which sounds can be assigned to Pads and Key Ranges is remarkable yet there are not enough utilities built in to copy parameters from one Pad to adjacent Pads (they do exist but some built in templates would have been a welcome addition.) The 1-SOUND/RAM Kit structure can be very confusing to a beginner and even intermediate and advanced users may need to peek at the Reference Manual from time to time. I believe this is probably the biggest cause of frustration among those who complain about the user interface - not the actual mechanics of altering a sound but rather the overwhelming flexibility in which Samples may be assigned.

A trend which began in the late '80's and continues today is the lack of editing functions from the front panel for built in sounds, i.e., ROM sounds. The ASR-X/ASR-X Pro follows this trend (as do the Alesis Nano boxes, Roland JV-1010, Lexicon LXP series, Yamaha FB-01, etc. - get the idea?) On the plus side it keeps down costs - on the down side you have to hope 3rd party software will appear to permit you to edit those sounds. In the case of the ASR-X/ASR-X Pro you are in luck! There is a PC Editing package called ASR-X Tools from Rubber Chicken systems, a MOTU Unisyn Profile, a Freeware Macintosh editor, and a new, as yet unreleased, PC Editor named Xplora. Compatability with Peak and SMDI to the ASR-X/ASR-X Pro is very good (better than D-SoundPRO.) However, be aware that both models lack any form Crossfade Looping and the sample editing functions are not as complete as on previous Ensoniq samplers (again, this is probably a cost cutting measure.) You will need a 3rd party piece of SW like Peak or D-SoundPRO or AWAVE or Sound Forge.

Compatablity with Zip Drives is good but not so with the new Orb drive. Jaz drives reportedly work too. The ASR-X Pro seems to have a problem with certain types of EDO SIMMs in matched pairs but it has not yet been determined where the problem lies. This user has two 32 MB EDO non-Parity SIMMs installed and has seen no problems. My advice, don't buy EDO SIMMs for your ASR-X Pro (the original ASR-X does not have this problem.)

OS 2.67 is the last update for the original ASR-X - OS 3.04 is the current version for the ASR-X Pro. OS4.xx has been announced but not released (vapourware?)

All in all the ASR-X Pro is a highly satisfying instrument to work with. I could go off about the great sounding filters or ease of resampling but I think you get the idea by now. Check out my website for regular updates. The ASR-X Mailing list is very active and a great source of information & support.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: DNA
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 21-Sep-99

I must point out that in my opinion the ASR X sequencer is absolutely worthless.
It must be used with a SW sequencer or HW sequencer. You cannot buy this box and expect to have it as a basis for a studio. I must agree with jondl that the FX and sampling capabilities are it's strong points, but the fact that it puts your samples in so many places and when you save a whole layer of sounds and give it a name, it still loads back as "drumkit one" making it very hard to keep track or things. It is very fucking annoying!! If you load up a layer and want to add new samples to it, when you save it, sometimes it just does'nt load back all the work I just did. I had an ASR 10, when you made a layer in it, you named it and saved it, and it always came back the same way with the same name, no matter how much you tweaked each note's sound in the layer. Another thing is My Iomega Zip 100 just quit working. Ensoniq's response is "well the ZIP 100 works for about 3 mos than gives many errors" "Its not a very robust drive" Thanks for fucking telling me ahead of time! It was on the compatability list
when I bought the X.

In order to continue to use this box, I need like a $250.00 Glyph drive, their expensive disks, and strictly SW sequencing only. I'm thinking S2000 now, but thats another $Grand, with FX.
The timestrectch feature turns your samples into unlegible garbage. (though it may be the quality of sample I'm starting with)

Positives: Awesome filters, good FX, nice FX bus, Expressive pads for playing into other sequencers, easy loop finding/making.

I want this to work, buying another piece of gear sux. Any comments please feel free to help.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: sims
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 08-Feb-00

fuckin great!
but i dont have my own. How do i get one?

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: Jojo the dog faced boy
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity:
Date: 10-Feb-00

What's a good price for it s/h?

Ohhh oops somebody already asked that.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: dna
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 13-Feb-00

The sequencer is an utter useless piece of shit in this box, looping sucks! Owned one, sold it and bought an MPC 2000. Could'nt be happier. Beware,you can't get work done on this machine unless you're using it with a computer sequencer.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: Hydro
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 18-Apr-00

I've had the Asr-x (the regular black one ) for about a year now.Its the first peice of equipment I've had so I can't really compare. I like how its easy to create tracks, but hate how hard it is to try and go into song mode and arrange 20 different sequences for a full song..I also feel bound by the lack of sounds..What I am wondering if anybody knows (well any advice would help!) is in the article at the top of this page were he is reveiwing the ASR-X about hooking up an old 266dx computer with win 3.11 and using it to cheaply run MIDI...I have an old IBM 386sx that has windows 3.11, I'm wondering if anybody has any input on if that would work and were I could get the software or what particular software would be good for a beginner...any advice would be appreciated!

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: Chris
Email: Email supplied but hidden
n/a
Activity: part-timer
Date: 25-Mar-03

I have an asr x pro, I am wondering is the asr 10 better sound wise, or is the asr x pro better. Should I sell the pro or keep it.

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: Tomek
Email: Email supplied but hidden
-
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 06-Jun-03

hi could you help with ASR-X pro question?
does ASR-X have possibility of editing loops without using external computer?
Tomek

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: k
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 07-Jun-03

yup, all samplers have that ability, if you mean trimming the start & end

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: DJ D'Salaam
Email: Email supplied but hidden
www.urban-intalek.com
Activity: Professional
Date: 03-Oct-03

I'm an avid user of the ASR-X Pro AND MPC-2000. The ASR-X Pro, like any other sampler/sequencer, has its positives and negatives. Here's my run down:

Positives:

*64mb worth of sampling (plenty of sampling time...WAY more than the MPC2000).
*Great built in filters, FX, and sample editing.
*Built in sounds w/ expansion options (I have the Urban card which has alot of useful drums). You can start working the minute you power up.
*Extremely expressive pads, laid out in "piano" format so you can play keyboard tracks (w/ the many synth/keyboard/piano sounds that are built in the ASR-X Pro).

Negatives:

*Sequencer is not as powerful as the MPC 2000.
*The display is really bad...small, green LED...The MPC's have always had a great/detailed interface.
*Ensoniq was sold to Emu....Ensoniq products are no longer supported.

BOTTOM LINE: A skilled professional can make great music on anything. In other words, don't buy a unit just because it may offer you a "creative crutch".

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Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: Marc
Email: Email supplied but hidden
www.blackpegasusmusic..com
Activity: Professional
Date: 18-Dec-03

Question about the ASRX Pro:

I have a chopped up sample that works awesome rhymically when I quantize it at 1/6 (because I have to hit the pad really fast) and it falls on the 2 actually. When I chain the sequences together you can hear the empty space on the 1. How can I quantitize it to fall on the 1 but still make sense rhymically?

If anyone knows please help!

Marc

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Last added comment

Product:  Ensoniq - ASR-X
Name: norry hassell
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 11-Oct-05

I REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHY THE SEQUENCING IS SO OFF ON THIS SAMPLER AND CAN I GET HELP FROM SOME ONE EXPERIENCE TO HELP ME I FEEL AS THOUGH I'VE GOTTEN GOOD AT IT BUT STILL NEED TO LEARN WHAT ARE THE AUX OUTS USED FOR AND HOW AND WHAT TO USE THEM FOR PLZ HELP ME OKAY.

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