Synth Site: Ensoniq: ASR-10: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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herutec a professional user from Bronx, Where It All Started writes:
Many sampler products out there, some better than others...none all complete of course. Tried some myself, & noticeably as the years progress these new machines, whether they're keys' or 'boxes sound cleaner & cleaner & cleaner. No grit, no ummph, no soul; input=output & that's it. Whatever fx are within to saturate & mesh, more often sounds/feels like Libby's tin cans. StraightUP, I will never part with my ASR10. Quite simply, it is STILL the BEST sounding sampler I have ever heard, barnone. Like, don't you buy these things to transform whatever the source sound is to something else to your liking??? Even more so, why hasn't the EMU company duplicated this engine & put it in a new unit with all it's 'soul' intact?? Why are these companies run by f**kin'idiots who don't know jacksh*t about pleasing their customers who know something great when they hear/see/touch it??? Jeezus, all you naysayers who sold your unit or gave it away or trashed for some Akai or other bulls**t will never have your jointz sound HOT! ever again. Peep the Amp fx (#31 I think) for those who still do (21 gun salute) & use that for your drums or bass don't getz no betta...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-02-2002 at 09:37
David Khan a hobbyist user from New Zealand writes:
Two things really attracted me to the ASR-10. Firstly, the studio-in-a-box concept &, secondly, the ability of the ASR-10 to resample sounds through its internal effects processor. Even today this is something several samplers (i.e. the Korg Triton) can't do!

Although recording to a PC or a dedicated digital recorder with real knobs & faders is far less cumbersome, I can report that the ASR-10, with a fair amount of "nursing", is able to operate as a production studio. Around 1998-99 I recorded an entire album using my ASR-10 & a Seagate Barracuda 2.1GB 7200RPM external SCSI hard drive. I would not really recommend audiotrack recording to anyone unless they have increased the ASR-10's internal RAM (I specified 16MB RAM & SCSI at the outset - loading sounds takes all day using the ASR-10's floppy drive - a ZIP drive makes much more sense). Basically audiotrack recording worked as advertised. I was able to bounce audiotracks together & to themselves, repeatedly, through effects (usually the 44kHz reverbs & the 44PARAM EQ effect) without any trouble. Everyone raves about 24bit 96kHz recording now, but I thought that the Ensoniq-controlled recordings I did sounded great. If all you've ever used are analogue portastudios or even PC's with mediocre sound cards you'll hear the difference immediately! The only problems I encountered using audiotracks pertained to the ASR-10's achilles heel - its bug-ridden on board sequencer! To prevent crashes I saved SONG+SEQ & BANK data frequently. Even so, I was never able to get the audiotrack punch-in function to work. This meant I had to perform vocals in single takes! Nowadays I record to a Fostex VF16, although I still perform much of my sound design & basic sequencing on the Ensoniq.

It's as a sound design beast that the ASR-10 still shines. I'm into a lot of what, these days, they (Wire magazine) call electro-acoustic music. Not so long ago terms like ambient/industrial or electronica described similar territories. For creating wonderfully rich, unearthly sound effects & drones I have found the ASR-10 to be most effective. The trick is to resample sounds through effects & the MAIN OUT channel. The most prosaic & boring sounds can quickly be transformed into something entirely unexpected. All that's required is a little recklessness when it comes to selecting effect parameters. For example, resampling through the 44CHO+REV+DDL effect with heaps of reverb mix (70% or more) & chorus regeneration quickly smooths almost anything out into an unearthly drone. String sections, guitar sounds & the like often sound wimpy/cheesy straight off disk. Try resampling these sounds through the COMP+DIST+REV, CHO+DIST+REV (with the Q values set ludicrously) or guitar amp simulator effects for instant sonic demolition. These 30kHz effects are also good for "adding" a lo-fi "warmth" to sounds. If things get too murky you can always resample through the 44PARAM EQ effect to add sparkle. Some people have complained that the ASR-10's effects sound a bit tinny. I think these opinions are bound to be subjective. Before I purchased my ASR-10, my main effects unit was a Peavey Addverb II - this was definately much noisier & murkier than even the 30kHz reverbs on the Ensoniq. I still find the 44kHz reverb a good all-round effect. The 44LUSH PLATE effects are even shinier, yet add a warmth that my newer technology Yamaha REV500 (20bit converters, 32bit processing) takes a fair amount of twiddling to emulate.

I've never really used the instruments that came with the ASR-10 or on the 4 Invision CD-ROMs I own except, perhaps, the GRAND PIANO. Although this instrument must be pretty long in the tooth by now, I still really like it & use it a great deal in my song/lyric music. Other sounds, available from CD-ROMs, that I've used, have usually been customised to a considerable degree - but that's what sampling & sound design are all about!

Considering that EMU/Ensoniq have washed their hands of the ASR-10 I couldn't really recommend one to a prospective buyer unless the price was really right. There is quite a bit of third party support out there, but with older, 2nd hand gear you always have to take a calculated risk. I will say that, in the 5 years I've owned my ASR-10, only recently did it develop power supply fuse problems which were easily & inexpensively fixed. I would recommend any buyer of a 2nd hand ASR-10 to get one with expanded RAM (10MB at least) & SCSI. If the manual comes with the machine, so much the better. It's BIG, but well written & crucial to getting the most out the keyboard. I believe the ASR-10 manual can still be downloaded from the EMU/Ensoniq website.

Lots of people had problems with the ASR-10 in its early days. I believe these can be attributed to a combination of OS bugs (particularly the sequencer which will NOT perform to its theoretical limits), dodgy power supplys (or uneven mains power - you should run your ASR-10 through a line filter like any computer, I suffered less hangs & crashes when I bought one) & faulty or damaged RAM. My ASR-10 was a late model with the LCD display & OS3.53. Once I bought a line filter & learned to "nurse" the sequencer it gave me very few problems. It's still a fabulous machine, it still sounds really good. I'm still discovering new ways to create sonic bliss & mayhem on it. One day I suppose it will finally stop working - but may that day be a long way off!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Nov-21-2001 at 02:03
JOHNNY M. BOJINOFF a hobbyist user from FORT WAYNE INDIANA writes:
ENSONIQ WAS AHEAD OF ITS TIME FORGET THE MPC and the sp 1200 they simply cant do what this boss 8 layers, the effects/ resampling. ensoniq changed the game take it to all its levels before you even think to doubt it. specificately speaking all modulators, edit amp envelope,and filters.Ive been using this board since august of 93 with 10 meg and consider myself an asr-10 master so those guys at korg and the rest of them salesreps can keep there korg triton also who cares if timbaland uses it. ensoniq asr-10 and i wanna keep doing me. and that goes for those mpc and sp1200 heads out there those drum machines dont do what are sampling hidden syth does. oh yeah we have you sampled as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-15-2001 at 04:48
mikeB a professional user from Charlotte,NC writes:
ASR-10 Rox0rz! I've been using the asr-10 since 1993, and it's still better than any new keyboards out there.

peace, mikeB

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Aug-04-2001 at 14:21
abe a part-time user from USA writes:
Folks, I need to find a SCSI kit and a reputable electronics Tech. to install it. I live in seattle, so please, no great advice about some dude in anaheim. thanks

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-02-2001 at 19:16
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