Synth Site: Ensoniq: VFX: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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matthias weber from Germany writes:
For "peter muyenga": You'll find support for ensoniq products at e.g. OS 1.30. Btw nice sampler (read a lot about it). I own a SQ80 and a VFX SD and will never part with it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-12-2005 at 08:31
Wade Van Orman a professional user from United States writes:
Little did I know how powerful the sound designing capabilities of the VFX were until very recently. I purchased the synth in 1989 when it first appeared because the piano and string sounds were great (and were the main reason I got it) but was turned off by the lack of knobs and analog-like userfriendliness. Fast forward several years (during which time I bought a Prophet 5 and forgot all about the VFX) as I rediscovered how amazing the VFX really sounds. Now I can't stop programming new and wonderous sounds! What I love about the VFX is what I also love about my Waldorf Microwave: very distinct, unique sounds, great blend of digital sheen and analog fatness, flexible modulation, and a kind of dark horse, underdog status that trumps more common synths, old and new. If you see one for a decent price, grab it. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-28-2005 at 20:51
Harry Ebbeson III a professional user from Cedar Rapids, IA (USA) writes:
I finally got another VFX after not having one for many years. This one needs a new floppy drive, but everything else seems to work fine. I know this synth like the back of my hand and am so glad to have another one again. This is an incredibly powerful synth and is almost unlimited in its sound creation capabilities. Compared to today's synths, some of the sounds are very bad and outdated. The pianos are very anemic and most synths today can outdo the piano sound on the VFX-SD. I write mainly easy listening and orchestral/classical type music on my albums, and this is where the unit shines for me. I also have an SQ2, which I bought because of the VFX itself. The classical instruments on the VFX-SD are top notch and very realistic. The Double-Reed patch is very real for an oboe and I have been hard-pressed to find anything to compare to it (except for the SQ2, which I bought because I did not have the VFX at the time many years ago). The flute sounds and most of the orchestral sounds are better than what is even out today (with the possible exception of Kurzweil, but I do not have one of those in which to compare sounds to). The bass sounds are not as good as what is out today, but there is an advantage to the VFX to make things more realistic: There are two sets of outputs. In my multi mode, I simply run a drum track (configured to be semi-compatible with General MIDI Specs least the Kick and Snare sounds comply), and the bass track through the Aux Outs so I can mix them apart from everything else.

The drums are very punchy and I exclusively use the Ballad-Kit in my songs. Since there is not a Rim-Shot sound, I trigger that via GM from my Roland and Alesis units and combine all of the other sounds.

The lead sounds are great and there is a lot fo wonderful power with the instrument.

If you can find one of these boards, take the time to find out which one it is and possibly get it. The VFX-SDII and SD-1 pretty much had the keyboard calibration errors corrected and they ran a little cooler than the original units did. If you get an earlier one, you will probably have to send it in for repair, but once you do, it will perform as if it were new. You might as well haev the tech replace the battery while he is in there and clean out the disk drive, to ensure many years of life. Ensoniq became known for have 'light-years ahead' features, but their design problems and proprietary file formats caused them to eventually be bought out.

I give this unit a 4.8 out of 5 overall.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Nov-05-2004 at 15:59
Carl Ashwin a part-time user from UK writes:
I have a love/hate relationship with this baby. I gigged it twice before I stopped gigging it! No synth, regardless of sound quality is worth using live when its OS crashes so frequently. Even once per gig is too much when you've got an audience in front of you. The first time I just rebooted and all was well. The second gig saw it throw a complete fit and wouldn't get past the error message. I reset it, unplugged it, plugged it back in again and still no change. Not good enough! My other gripe would be the casing. Creeky plastic casing is no use when your gigging regularly and didn't lend itself well to the overall feel of the product.

The sounds are a different ball game all together. I loved 'em. I got some beautiful (there really is no other word to describe it) sounds out of this and only wish it had been more stable.

I could never get on with the keyboard action. It was definately solid but a bit clunky. I used it on recordings for a while and ended up giving it to a friend who needed a reasonable board.

Its a shame because Ensoniq nearly got it so right with this one but its unreliable system and weak build quality let it down big time.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-23-2004 at 19:58
Paul Glaspie a part-time user from Nebraska, USA writes:
I've owned a VFX-SD Version II since 1990 and despite the cantankerous lock-ups, crashes and various reliability issues (especially power line sensitivity) this remains the one most versatile and user-friendly keyboard I've ever owned. I've forgiven it for a lot of things, even costing me $500.00 and 5 weeks so that it could go back to Malvern PA for a motherboard and "Megapiano" upgrade. Not usually something you could accept from a 'board four months old. With the Mega (also known as 'Version Two') upgrade, it was a full 21 voice polyphony board and very cutting edge at the time regarding features.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Apr-14-2004 at 13:35
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