Synth Site: Ensoniq: Fizmo: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.6 out of 5
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foofish a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I've had my fiz for about 7 months now and I still love it. It's a very unique and creative synth for very unique and creative people. That's probably why there are so many people who don't understand it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Mar-06-2000 at 11:52
christopher price a part-time user from usa writes:
the truth about fizmo.i recevied my fizmo on oct30 1998 over 16months ago.i have not had any problems. i ordered my fizmo as soon as i seen the ads for it in the july98 keyboard.i love my fizmo it sounds great,its a strange sound but so was my first dx7 back in 86.i gave $1200 for it new and do not regret paying so much .because the first fizmos were made alot better,or so i belive.yes the presets suck but the alternate patches posted at ensoniq were pretty good.but the true power of this piece lies in the sounddiver software i got in the mail from emu/ensoniq in nov99.iam blownaway by this synth the editing software unleashes a leviathen from the depths of hell!if you can imagin it then you can build it! i use it for bass leads and pads all at once.this is a serious synth for those who dare to program.i will say this that the fizmo is not a good standalone synth you need to have other soundsorces for your"breadandbutter sounds".as a controller mine is great with the asrx/ts10 because the knobs control filter and transwave parameters on my advice get to know fizmo and dont buy a new one good luck christopher price the fizmoligest.

posted Tuesday-Feb-22-2000 at 00:19
Larry a hobbyist user from Bend,Or.USA writes:
I got mine for the odd noises,but it dosen`t make any noises because the power supply fried after two months.I had just purchased an Alesis QS6.1,and turned on the Fizmo to combine some different sounds,and I swear the Fizmo must have thought it was being snubbed,because when I hit the power,the LED said ESP,which must mean electrical supply.After that NOTHING.I called ensoniq,they told me to call E-MU,called them,no answer,just recording after recording.Anyone for a class action lawsuit?

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-21-2000 at 22:42
AdamT a part-time user writes:
Nice one Derek.. but other Ensoniqs do the transwave shuffle with far more class and power (I personally favour the SD1, the last of the Gritty old Ensoniqs). The Fiz seems bandwidth limited in comparison and despite the user-interface doesn`t let you get into programming anywhere near as deep as the old "loadsa buttons, one slider and a big gas readout" affair on the SD, VFX and TS`s. you CAN get massive fat pads and sub-basses from the earlier stuff too..

where the itch with the Fizmo is that .. it ain`t new tech.. it`s very old tech (1989 vintage) cheaply packaged to look like a VA with all sorts of corners cut and my advice is that if you want to try transwaves (rather than Wavetable like the XT etc which is another story) grab a secondhand TS10, SD1/32, or VFX-SD, because at least should you get bored with the evolving 6-osc per voice transwave weirdness (unlikely) you`ll still have a belting powerful synth with intuitive sequencer, disk drive and a Polyphonic aftertouch controller to use. the CPU in the SD1 BTW is a Motorola 68000 running at 16Mhz (twice as fast as an ST-E!!) for all you chip spotters.

Ensoniq Don`t suck, Ensoniq no longer exist, unfortunately.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-24-1999 at 05:31
derek a professional user from germany writes:
ok - perhaps this will help a bit so that this page actually makes some sense. since one *normally* comes to these pages to learn more about a synth, ill describe a bit WHY and for what i like the fizmo. i admit i was ranting a bit in my last post, thus only adding to the general noise level (though what i said still stands).

ill say it already now, i dont work for ensoniq. as you may know, ensoniq doesnt exist anymore anyway, so its not even an issue ;-)

WHY and for what i like the fizmo:

the fizmo sounds weird. the fizmo can sound dirty in a way a virus cant. it has some really cool effects (the ones found in most ensoniq boxes), and it has some very ill transwaves. it also has some very weak transwaves, but you can still scramble them in a way you couldnt with the virus (which btw is another synth that i LOVE, just so im not misunderstood)

ill give you an example: theres a bass transwave that goes from something thats more or less a simple sine wave to a really thin, hipass filtered sweep. now i understand why some people say the fizmo sounds thin: if you turn the transwave modulation knob with this sound loaded, and the sweep goes up, it *does* sound very thin. somebody who turned this knob because he wanted a fat lopass filtersweep will be very disappointed, fair enough. but, left aside that there of course are fat filtersweep transwaves (and resonant filters anyway), thats not the point. with this thin sound, you can make some really funny stuff. ill try not to go into too many details, but i basically created a sound that was a bass when played normally, but mutated into something that sounded like a cat on LSD when played legato. then again, putting a big and very resonant lopass filter on it made that LSD cat (that sure didnt sound "fat", just ill) deep and thick again. the result was that i could go from "typical sub bass sound" to "LSD cat" to "LSD cat filtered to become something thats close to a sub bass sound but still is strangely alive" to "something between all the above".i used many of the modulators and used one of the more ill distortions of the fizmo (with distortion response curve assigned to the F knob, as by default).also, i added a subbass transwave that was so low that you couldnt hear it - but by modulating its volume, the way the distortion reacted could be radically changed as well.

now, this sound of course was heavily processed and thus really didnt sound very pure or direct like i.e. a nice and warm analog bass sound. but thats not the point - the point was that i had a bass sound that sounded absolutely weird and unusual. i based a complete remix i did on this sound.

and you know what, during mixdown, i compressed it to death and filtered it so it sounded more like a hook than like a synthbass. now all fizmo haters could say "see, he didnt use it as a synthbass, the fizmo just doesnt sound PHAT PHAT PHAT enough" - while i dont agree at all, feel free to think so. the point still is, i had a fantastic hookline that i couldnt have gotten from any other synth - virtual analog or analog or whatever. those have strenghts in other areas where they of course can outperform the fizmo easily (you could try to make the fizmo produce a big synth brass as in "jump" forever - wouldnt work :-) - it would always sound very cheesy, transwaves suck for this kind of stuff. thats why i have other synths for that :-)

the fizmo simply is a typical "3rd synth" or "25th synth". its for somebody who already has all the basic tools and needs new sounds. that person (like me) also wont care too mcuh about whats below:

(for the fairness) what the fizmo really doesnt do good:

-the fizmo has some weaknesses that are caused by its architecture, weaknesses you probably wouldnt want to live with if you had no other "true" synth. im talking about details like the resonance strenght (note: NOT the cutoff of course) will not update until you repress a key, or the output being muted for half a second when you change sounds (due to the effect DSP that has to load the new effect, like in many other synths as well)

also, i.e. the vocoder is not able to replace the real thing (the almighty roland SVC-350...) - it will NOT give you that typical big kraftwerk robot voice sound - but it will give you a sound that sounds more like "around the world" from daft punk, thats also worth something isnt it? ;-)

also, the external power supply really was a BAD idea. ...but then, do you go on stage with just one synth like the fizmo or a nordlead or so? i dont think so - pretty much every professional live keyboarder i know typically has a fully expanded workstation or a masterkeyboard plus a big rack. for the studio, that external power supply makes no difference, and in my eyes the fizmo is a synth for the studio.

the display also isnt really impressive and people point their finger to that for a good reason. but then, do you buy such a synth for ease of use and luxury? as i said, it aint a workstation, and it aint an idiot proof groovebox either. and since you do almost everything via the knobs, ensoniq probably just thought it wasnt necessary. so what.

i wont list the "daewoo chips" as disadvantage though btw - not until someone comes to my studio and explains me how he can hear a difference between an audio signal calculated by a yamaha and a daewoo. feel free to mail me and we have a meeting so you show me ;-)

err, back to the topic, another problem is the audio input with mic preamp - its of course a nice idea, since you can directly plug a mic into it and use the effects and the vocoder. on the other hand, of course its not a very expensive preamp, and like all cheap preamps it can produce a lot of noise when turned up. thats of course why the mic input can be muted (and IS muted by default) in the settings menu - but i have seen lots of fizmos in the stores that had the preamp active and turned all the way up. probably a sales person wanted to show the vocoder to customers and forgot to turn the input off again. now, if somebody tests the fizmo in that state, he will think "sheesh, what an indirect sounding, noisy cheapo synth", just because the ensoniq techs wanted to give the user a quick way to plug a mic into it. probably was a bad idea as well, they meant good but the result was counterproductive (is that an english word) i guess. fwiw, the fizmo has 20bit converters, so noisy it definetly isnt :-)

one last thing i want to add (then ill shut up, dont worry ;-)

i will admit that transwaves or wavetables in general arent useful for everybody. somebody who loves and knows his way around the typical substractive synth (like almost all analogs and their virtual brothers such as virus,nordlead etc) wont neccessarily get good results or be happy with such a synth. sure they will hate it when they buy it with the hope it will be able to replace their old roland juno or reproduce its sounds - it will not. it will on the other hand produce sounds the roland juno could never do. one can like that or not, but thats how it is, and i personally like that (what you noticed? ;-) but im a wavetable maniac and so im biased - to each his own, and i can understand how a "not-wavetable-maniac" wouldnt find this synth very useful. but you dont know what your missing IMHO.

if i had to describe the typical fizmo sound in short, i would say it sounds like some very old analog synth patched into 8 guitar effect pedals, go figure ;-) yup, thats pretty much what the fizmo sounds like. with the difference that the signal to noise ratio is 10 times better. long as the mic preamp isnt activated ;-)

best and have fun with whatever tools you love.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-24-1999 at 01:58
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