Synth Site: Ensoniq: SQ-80 Synth Workstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Eric a professional user from canada writes:
The SQ-80 and ESQ-1 are great synths. I really like them. They have become my trusty "scratch pads" for idears over the years. With little effort in programming you can get nealy all of the classic fat synth sounds plus a bunch of really nifty crisp original purcussive sounds.

For the relatively little money you dish out for an SQ-80 or ESQ-1 also get a built in sequencer that is dirt simple to operate and has enough features to make it worth while on it's own. It's great having it in the studio when you're just playing around and don't feel like having the formality of a big production with the PC going and all that... Come up with a cool idea? No problem, sequence it and play with / build it up then save it to disk....

My SQ-80 is currently hooked up to some of the older synths and tone modules I have in my set up and as a controller it has worked well without any problems. The only draw back (very minor) is the clanky (noisy) keyboard. That's the only place where the ESQ-1 is better, it's keyboard is noise free and it has a nicer feel to boot.

The COOL thing with both the SQ-80 and ESQ-1 syths is that you can slave a second SQ-80 or ESQ-1 (or other synth/sampler ) so that when you run through the 8 voices on the first, additional notes beyond the 8 get passed to the second slaved unit. In essence you end up getting a 16voice SQ-80 or ESQ-1 ! You have to give up some of the standard midi functions but it's a really neat feature that comes in handy when you have a complex layered patch that needs a more bit more voicing power. In my set up I have an ESQ-1 with a slaved ESQ-M (rackmout version of the ESQ-1) which I use exclusively for creating really complex layered textures. Often times it's the only way to get the sound I want.

The SQ-80 and ESQ-1 are great starters or additions to any rig or setup. I highly recommend them!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Nov-19-1998 at 19:11
Acid Freak a professional user from Germany writes:
Great Synth But the ESQ-1 is better-why- Reliablity They are almost the same synth only the ESQ-1 won't reset on you in a live situation Maybe its not important in the studio... but in the club circuit...

check the spec

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 10:09
Edmund a professional user from US writes:
Great synth. With little time you can get a lot of nice sound.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Sep-14-1998 at 07:10
niles a professional user from London writes:
This synth is my favorite to use my ambient and drum and bass tracks. The potential to make wicked sounds is unparalled (imo). Very user friendly and quite powerful as a controller.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-09-1998 at 22:07
euromidi from Nederlands writes:
Both this and the Esq-1 are incredible for doing dance/electro/drum and bass or any producion requiring very Original sounds. Still quite underrated by the masses so can be had for reasonable amount. Not many produced so this won't be for much longer as many big acts use them extensivly....

I got mine do you?

; )

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Sep-06-1998 at 19:30
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