Synth Site: ENSONIQ: ESQ-M: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
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Spectralab a professional user from Canada writes:
Just got this into my rack a few days ago for the minute price of $130 U$... a bit deceptive at first, as the programming interface is just cryptic enough to keep you from realizing the machine's full potential without a crack at the manual. But potential it's got and plenty of it... digital oscillators (3 of em) w/selectable sampled and analog waveforms through an other-wise analog (though digitally controlled) voice structure (ie. Osc.-Amp.-Filter)... the cake is in the modulation matrix, which offers 3 LFO's and 4 envelopes... each oscillator, amplifier, envelope, LFO and the filter can have two modulation sources... the only drag is that the oscillators them selves can't be used as mod. sources, which would be great for simple FM and other strange things (ie. modulating the LFO that's modulating that oscillator)... also has oscillator sync and ring mod (refered to as AM here) for further possibilities... oh, do I need to mention (yet again) the Curtis Filter chips? A very underrated machine IMHO, hampered only by the cumbersome programming interface... I don't mind not having knobs on everything, since working more slowly also means you'll hear more stages of a sound as you tweak it... but even my patience has it's limits. But when I'm in a patient mood, well, great things have happened so far...

posted Saturday-Nov-11-2000 at 06:57
monkey lewis a professional user from winter is soon upon us every year writes:
the monkey is back, and it's not summer anymore, I got my esq-m for 150$, I've only sat down with it for a couple of hours those hours were super, this thing get sounds that are way weirder then any analog hardwired synth, it sits pretty above my tg-77, and below my tg-33, it is the perfect cross between analog modular synthetics and digital workhorse behavior. I am a fan of the digital, I think I might even start to like DCO's..... munkeliek seems to have sort of dissappeared, but chipper jones is still an american ball player, and pronouns are constantly over used.

what to do, (we) don't KNOW

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Nov-14-1998 at 13:22
Acid Freak a professional user from Germany writes:
I owned this and the board. The board has a WAY BETTER INTERFACE AND OF COURSE A POWERFUL SEQUENCER and can be had for the same price (alsmost) Watch out for the rack ver 1.0 as it loves to freeze on notes. Stay with the booard if you can...

Subject: ESQ-1 opinions

>Do you >have any info/opinions on the ESQ-1 ?? Just curious .. before I take the >plunge and buy one !!! Thanks !

Yes, I recommend to buy one.


8 voice Multi Mode 3 DCO's, 4 ADSR's, 3 LFO's per voice Vast modulation routings, incl. panorama Same analogue filter chip as in Prophet VS Sync and Ring modulation Wonderful Pad sounds. If you add a Multi-FX you will beat any modern JD-/JV- etc. in this. Very easy to program. Immediate access to each page with its own button . Nice Keyboard feeling (similar to D-50; far better than cheap "modern" Keyboards) A lot of small details in the user interface you'd be astonished of and you'll miss in other synths afterwards ...

What are their architecture? What are the mod routing capabilities?

The ESQ/SQ80 have identical voice, filter , and processing/routing architecture. 8 voice polyphony. Three oscillators per voice. 5 stage envelopes and quite frankly mod and routes out the wazoo. They use curtis chips in the filters with resonance and cutoff, etc making for a nice warping of sound in a digital/analog type hybrid instrument. A gross generaliztaion of the sound would be to say it's grity and metallic but it can also do convincing sweeps and pads as well. Does good Moog too.

It uses 8 bit sampled waveforms which can be detuned, stacked, etc to create the overall voice. the usual Saw, sine, pulse,as well as 3 noise forms, pianos, synthforms, strings, winds, etc. It's forte is not in realistic acoustic instruments but in warped, fuckup synth versions of sounds. Splits, layers, and fully functional 8 track sequncers plus tons of midi stuff.

ESQ - Velocity keyboard (1-127) 30+ waveforms stereo outs (R is mono) Aftertouch via midi Sysex for saving sequences to a mirage sampler and patches to any ol' sysex beast a bank at a time.

... great for programming. There are 15 modulation sources, which can modulation things like filter resonance, panning, and so on. The LFOs can modulate each other or an LFO can modulate itself, this will give you and idea of what it can do.

.. a decent sequencer ... Full MIDI support as well. The OS is pretty decent, it has a big 80 character display like most of Ensoniq's stuff.

A beast in the programing department. Fat sounds. The large display and OS make it easy to program. Good for analog, PPG and Waldrorf type-sounds. Portamento and mono mode. 8-part multi-timbral.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-18-1998 at 10:04
Funkmaster a part time user from England writes:
True retro in a discreet but large way! This machine is A STEAL at 300 to 400 $$ becuse it's not a trendy piece YET! I hear it uses sequential circuits Prophet V filters and in only 2 rack spaces! WOW!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:38
Eugene a professional user from Canada writes:
Like every Ensoniq piece I've ever owned. Seemed like good value when it came out. Had to have it. Crashed many times. Filter chip finally blew. Dumped it along with my ESQ1 keyboard, EPS 16 Plus and VFX. Ensoniq has lost me for life because they build unreliable instruments. Too bad, because they really did have some excellent sounds and features. But when I play on stage, I need some thing reliable. Ensoniq ain't been there for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:38
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