Synth Site: Ensoniq: SQ-80 Synth Workstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Graham Hunter a part-time user from California, USA writes:
Very nice synth, and an incredible bargain these days. The filters add a very nice warmth to the digital waves. The extra waveforms make this a better buy than the earlier ESQ-1, and the sound quality in later Ensoniq transwave synths got cleaner (and wimpier!). IMO this is the best "vintage" Ensoniq synth to have in your rig.

The filters have a self-test mode... hold down the record and filter buttons at the same time and when you release them you will see a series of tests. If any of the numbers are below 140 then the unit needs serviced. Of course, don't blame me if you didn't back up your patches before trying this :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Apr-29-2000 at 01:31
Chris G. a part-time user from USA (Texas) writes:
I have to say that this keyboard is just incredible for what it does. I use my SQ-80 mainly for ambient Gothic/Metal type music and for a little bit of industrial stuff. The sounds are just massive sounding on this thing. They're not super Hi-Fi like on a big Korg Trinity or something, but they are still nice and rich sounding. Like others I didn't find the piano too hot but still usable. I just finished a piece where I used the Piano patch to good effect. The key to really making this keyboard sound incredible is to use outboard reverb. I have mine hooked up to a Digitech RP-1 effects processor and it just sounds a 10 times better as the stereo reverb of the RP-1 gives the SQ-80 a wide luscious sound. Overall I think it's very organic sounding and can be used for a wide variety of music. The sequencer is also one of the most straightforward MIDI sequencers that I've ever heard. I didn't even need a manual to get the sequencer up and running, though for some of the more advanced features like step editing, you might need the manual. I only barely begun to mess around with the filters after about 3 years of steady use. So even after 3 years I'm only beginning to tap into the amazing potential of this keyboard. It really screams out to be reissued as I've not played any modern keyboards that come close to this one. The only sounds I really lack are realistic acoustic sounds and also some of the special effects found in the Korg keyboards like the N-364 and Trinity where you play a chord and it sounds like an instant movie soundtrack. Also for realistic drums, you'll need a drum machine. It really was only too easy to sync up my Alesis SR-16 drum machine and I'm a total moron when it comes to MIDI. The only negative comments I have is that occasionally I'll get some glitching in the sequencer on some parts that sound like drop outs. If anyone has any suggestions as to what might be causing this or how to get rid of this please email me. Also the diskdrive seems to only accept my old 3.5" disks that I used for my Commodore Amiga computer. Anyone know if Ensoniq will replace the disk drive for a newer model that accepts standard high density 3.5" disks? This isn't a big problem though as it has two other methods of backing up song data (MIDI and tape in/out jacks). Truly a versatile machine.

But anyways, if you see one of these bad boys for under $500 scoop them up as they are well worth money for just about any style of music.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-25-1999 at 11:25
Eric Fauss a part-time user from USA writes:
This keyboard rocks... but not for digital. For whacked out, go for this keyboard.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Nov-13-1999 at 22:54
loserrgirl a professional user from USA writes:
This synth kicks ass. It pukes out super-unique timbers effortlessly. I love designing and creating new sounds, and this synth comes with like, 40 waveforms i can make my sounds from. With all the availible waveforms and the modulation power, I'm startled continuously by the sounds and sfx me and my friends produce. This synth is alive. Ensoniq's (at least the older ones) have a unique sound... it can be really gritty, harsh, but also smooth. also, the sounds can be scary.

i love this baby so much :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-26-1999 at 12:56
Johan Kotlinski a hobbyist user from Sweden writes:
I got hold on my SQ80 for 3.000 SEK (think that equals 350$?), what a bargain!!! I think it's outdated as a workstation nowadays, wouldn't dream of using the drumsounds, but as a synthesizer it's GREAT! I have never encountered a single synthesizer that's more fun to program... It's a DREAM. Very intuitive and smoot-operated, as all values are accessible within two keypresses... I also own a Kurzweil K2000 but more often use the SQ80 for programming, it's really direct and simple but also got all the features needed for creating all kinds of wonderful analogue synth sounds. Brass sounds and similar sucks of course, but if you're in it for the tweaking... you can't go wrong with the SQ80. :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jun-08-1999 at 11:06
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