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Ensoniq ESQ-1

17-Jun-2019

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Ensoniq ESQ-1



Category:  Products / synth / old digital dco

Added: 21-Jan-12  |  Author: admin

New price: discontinued  |   S/H price: 200-300 quid

Ensoniq ESQ-1

From Wikipedia: Ensoniq ESQ-1 is a hybrid digital-analog synthesizer released by Ensoniq in 1986. The ESQ-1 featured 8 voices with 3 digital oscillators per voice. Each oscillator could be set to one of 32 different waveforms. Some of these were standard simple waveforms such as sawtooth and pulse, while others were samples such as piano and voice. Each oscillator also had an associated DCA (not VCA) to control its volume in 256 steps. In addition to that, an ESQ1's voice featured 3 LFOs, 4 envelope generators, a 4-pole resonant analog lowpass filter (VCF), and a final VCA with left/right panning. It also sported a 61-key velocity-sensitive keyboard, full MIDI implementation, memory for 40 patches, a memory cartridge slot, and an 8-track sequencer. A rackmount version called the ESQ-M was also released circa 1987, with exactly the same specification minus the sequencer. The ESQ-1 was produced until 1988.

When the ESQ-1 was first produced it was marketed as an affordable workstation synthesizer and was a follow up to the earlier and relatively successful Ensoniq Mirage sampler. Following the trend of many synthesizers in the early to mid 1980s it could be classed as an analog-digital hybrid - the oscillators and modulation matrix are fully digital in nature whereas the filters and envelopes were analog circuits (CEM 3379 and CEM 3360, respectively). This enabled the ESQ-1 to sound like an analog synthesizer while at the same time reaping the benefits usually associated with digitally controlled parts, such as patch memories and the extreme stability of the oscillators, therefore making the ESQ-1 impervious to the infamous tuning problems that could be experienced with true analog synthesizers.

The 32 waveforms enabled the ESQ-1 to cover quite a lot of ground sonically. It also had a wealth of modulation possibilities with its three LFOs and four envelope generators, which were not of the typical ADSR variety but featured a more versatile level/time model instead: each envelope therefore contains eight controls—four levels and four time values, with the cutoff levels allowing both positive and negative values. The fourth envelope is hard-wired to control the amplitudes of all oscillators the after they have been mixed together. Note that, unlike on many other digital synthesizers of the era, the speed of the envelopes is defined not in rate, but in time, with higher values resulting in slower rates of reaching the step's respective cutoff level.

Another digital trait of the synthesizer was apparent at first glance—it has no knobs whatsoever, and only two faders, one of which being the volume slider. Thus all of the programming was handled by many "soft" buttons and one data slider that controlled the selected parameter. This approach to programming was very similar to that of the Yamaha DX7, at that time the most popular digital synthesizer of all, and is very different from having a dedicated control for each of the parameters. However, every internal module (all the envelopes, VCAs, filter, oscillators) have dedicated selection buttons, so you will never have to scroll through parameters to find what you want.

The ESQ-1 has a distinct sound, although the machine itself was overshadowed by other keyboards of the eighties, mainly other digitals like the Yamaha DX7, Roland D-50 and Korg M1 to name a few. The waveforms of sampled sounds do not produce realistic results by today's standards, but can be useful for creating patches containing hints of the instruments that they were intended to emulate. Also the inclusion of Amplitude Modulation and Oscillator Hard Sync strengthened its ability to emulate other analog synthesizers.









Product Videos


Ensoniq ESQ-1 demonstration

Swiftly browsing through some of my sounds and showing off the sequencer in realtime and step. Also ...


Ensoniq ESQ1 | demo (1 of 2) by syntezatory.prv.pl

Demo of 1986 Ensoniq ESQ-1. All sounds programmed by WC Olo Garb. Video editing by WC Olo Garb. ||| ...


Ensoniq ESQ1 | demo (2 of 2) by syntezatory.prv.pl

Demo of 1986 Ensoniq ESQ-1. All sounds programmed by WC Olo Garb. Video editing by WC Olo Garb. ||| ...







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