Synth Site: Ensoniq: Fizmo: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.6 out of 5
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Harvey B. a part-time user from Canada writes:
After reading all the FIZ's reviews twice it's quite obvious that at least 50% of those reviews were unfortunately written by people who should really switch to gardening or microwave cooking . And even microwave oven might be difficult for 1/2 of the 50% to figure out. You don't play the blues on the FIZ, you don't do jazz although u can get some great patches for fusion. You don't play Chopin with the FIZ. You don't practice scales, you don't buy it for your nephew's tenth birthday .When I see reviews like and I quote "whatever patch you're in, it sounds like a big mess" , I just shake my head . That's what those patches are, a big mess and it is up to u to extrapolate them, to isolate one or two sounds out of those patches and tweak them. They were not disagned to be played as is. The manual is not bad but you have to experiment with the FIZ . So far I had no problems with mine. I bought it used and I replaced the PS right away. You do not sit and play the FIZ like most other synth. You go to a patch then you choose one or two of the sound making this particular patch, then go to your osc. disable osc 1 and start to tweak, mod,env. etc etc, then go up to 12,24 or stay at zero, then disable osc 2 and proceed like for osc 1. You can also assign a different trans-wave patch to osc. 1 or 2 . Then press OSC1 and OSC2 little buttons at the same time .You can add some special fx to them as well and some reverb. Then you can tweak the all thing a little more, but remember to release the note(s) b 4 tweaking then try the F then the I then the Z knobs, then the ADSR ....... my gosh that's a hell of a lot. But hey folks that's WHAT THIS SYNTH IS ALL ABOUT. You have to analyze it, tweak it, listen to it and that's important . For those who claim that nothing happens when they turn the knobs, they should really quit the music bussiness entirely and dedicate their time to something maybe a little less demanding intellectually or physically. Release the note(s) first duhhhhhh . I hope, but I wander if the majority of FIZ's owner actually read the manual, or can even read ? This is pathetic . Granted it sounds a bit thin at time but there are ways around it. Even on it's own I can get some ground shaking bass. The FX are great. I never liked arpegiators on synth but I have to admit that the Fizmo has great one in quantity as well. OK it's got Daewoo chip. So what, probably 80% of your appliances are made in China anyway. Back to the FIZ. I hooked up a Korg POLY61M to it and this combination can rock when well played and by going crazy with the joystick of the Korg. This is almost like sex when played loud. And in stereo the effects can be stunning.But again it takes time to program all this, but I enjoy it. I don't mind tweaking and going deep into those synths to find a sound that I really dig. There is no piano/sax/ukulele/trombone sound in this thing. This is a very different kind of synth that requires some work and tweaking .When you understand this synth, and the purpose of this synth, then you realize the possibilities. True the display sucks,the ps was a real poor choice from Ensoniq, MIDI is not very well implemented, you need a computer to edit the effects , the paint work sucks ,but the keyboard action is great, semi weighted with a nice feel to it .I am getting a hell of a lot out of this synth and all this for Can $500 in mint shape . I tried them all, Q,MS2000,OB12,Novation,8000 etc etc. They are great -over priced- synth. The only one that really impressed me was the Nord 2. I think the 3 will cook and hopefully a year from now there will be some 2's in the $500 price range. So here we are. I'll give it a 5 just to upset those who gave it a 1 without really digging deeper into this synth. I should give it a 4. Nothing deserve a 5 nor a 1. But somehow the rating of this baby has to increase slightly because, and I am repeating myself, I feel that most reviews were written by some very very inexperienced would be "musicians" . FIZMO, you rock .

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-22-2000 at 17:01
LabyaMynora a professional user from USA writes:
I posted a review about a year ago and figured I should do a follow up. I've had the Fizmo for a little over a year and have had no probelms with it. The knobs don't flake off, things don't rattle around inside, and if you keep an eye on each wave's amplitude setting, as well as the level of the line input, you don't get any unwanted distortion. I replaced the power pack with a Nintendo one early on, and I agree that it does indeed suck that Ensoniq would ship these things with faulty power packs.

I have had the editing software, which is just a crippled Fizmo-only version of Emagic's Sounddiver, and I have no problems editting it. Unfortunately there are parameters that are inaccessible via the front panel, so a software editor is necessary. I can see how people could get frustrated if the front panel was their only way to edit the patches. However, if you have the software and you still cannot program this beast, then you need to bone up on yer programming skills. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you're willing to learn. If you're not, then go out and get the latest Synth of the week and don't bitch when your mix sounds just like everybody else's. Personally, I don't want to sound like anyone else, I'm trying to create a sound all my own, and the Fizmo allows me to do that. My dream synth would be the Nord Modular, but since it will take me literally years to be in a position to spend that kind of money, I'm happy to settle on the Fizmo. When the day comes and I can afford the Modular (not the damn micromodular, mind you) I'll still keep the Fizmo. It still has its own flavor. It's butterscotch in a chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry world.

As for the durability of this thing, I've carried it on foot in a softcase at least 100 yards many times, once while it was snowing. I've transportted it all over town via car. It's still alive and tickin'. I've carried it up flights of stairs, and banged it against railings and doors. It's not especially fragile. While it's not the tank that my ASR-10 is, it's still more resiliant than many other boards I see these days.

Like I mentioned before, the Fizmo has a sound all it's own. Aside from the many transwaves you have, there are also the effects. Damn near every effect in this thing can take any sound into a completely new direction. I didn't even start using the effects until after owning this thing for 8months, and once i started, it was a whole new world of amazing sound.

I use the Fizmo in a few different projects. I have also done a couple of quicky "demo" tunes with the Fizmo, which you can check out at http://www.mp3.com/LabyaMynora

A lot of people who have listened to my tunes have commented on how "organic" the Fizmo sounds. Entirely unrelated people, musicians and non-musicians, have used that exact word, "organic." I think this is very cool. The idea of non-musicians listening to an electronic piece and sensing a feeling of life out of it just blows my mind.

Anyway, for those of you who've gotten this far, thanks for reading. For those of you who own a Fizmo or are thinking about purchasing one, check out http://www.onelist.com/community/FIZMO

it's a mailing list some Fizheads started about a year ago.

Also, for more Fizmo tunes, there is an mp3.com station http://stations.mp3s.com/stations/86/fizmo_users_group.html

And finally, there's the Fizmo User's Group website http://www.cortidesign.com/fizmo/fizmo.html

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-15-2000 at 02:44
MWGacy a professional user from U.S. writes:
The people that bash this thing all seem to have one thing in common: Lack of scope or originality. They all want that 303 sound, or that polysix. This is something new and they don't have the power to understand it. It doesn't even sound like any of them plugged it in to sounddiver. If you are looking for something new, strange, and really warped, this is it. It has it's own sound. All the rest of you wanting those usual analog sounds should go back and rebury their heads into the sand.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-08-2000 at 03:13
XeNO a professional user from USA writes:
Anyone who says this synth is bad was too lazy to work with it. This is a digital synth that does not give you immediate gratification. The presets are not very useful beyond giving you a small glimpse of what it can do. With proper programming, you can create some incredibly complex evolving sounds. Unfortunately, the only way to properly program it is by using sounddiver, which is why I only give it a 4. This is not a copy-cat analog synth, if you want analog, go buy an analog or VA synth. This is a synth for programmers, not preset fools. It is dead because it was too far ahead of it's time, it sounds really futuristic, perfect for sci-fi or ambient trance. To those who say it's not "phat," I say you're lazy. You have to program it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-08-2000 at 02:56
John Smith a professional user from UK writes:
The man from Holland has right. The Fizmo is a machine for professionals. First learn how to program a syntheziser before you judge the Fizmo!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Oct-20-2000 at 19:13
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