Synth Site: Ensoniq: ESQ1 Workstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5
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John Samborsky a part time user from Montreal,Canada writes:
Great machine good sounds, but have found it impossible to find new soundbank cartridges....real dinosaur! I use it to handle some deep bass sounds, I use an Allesis drum synth and AWE-32 to handle the rest. I add live guitar and bass tracks after all is done. Still need a picture? Anyways, probably the best 300$ (CDN!!) I've spent on technotoys

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:39
BENEDICTUS a part time user from MEXICO writes:
Very powerful, when used with a reverb and some delay, mostly mono sounds. This machine can make &quot;fleet&quot; solo patches. It's not a thin synth, I say. The drawbacks (personal opinion) are the bad piano sound and the limited polyphony, but I &127; better &127; sample it and play the samples thru my Maui soundcard.

Have you tried to modulate 3rd oscilator pitch with a square LFO at a rate of 4 or 5 and an amount of 63? Good &quot;cosmic&quot; sound. Or connect a small OpAmp to the CV input from your sweaty hand and modulate the filter... Barkin'! Once I had to sell some gear, and first let go a D-20 and a SY-35, but kept this dinosaur at home!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:39
Philip Cook a hobbyist user from USA writes:
This was a cool machine when it came out, especially at the price ($1395). Nice display. For as many parameters as it has, it really should have had more knobs or a remote programmer ala Roland. However, Ensoniq has always been budget-minded and this would have added to the cost. The sounds are decent. They don't cut it compared to today's synths or the analogs of old. It tried to be everything but wound up being a little bit of everything instead. This was a reliable synth and does have a very easy and fun sequencer. I wouldn't pay more than $250 or so. This would serve as a good 1st workstation for the budget-minded to write with.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:39
Colin Hird a part time user from England writes:
I bought my ESQ1 from a local music retailer some 8-9 yrs ago for a sum of £400.

I thought it was a bargain then but 3 yrs later I picked up another for £100!

It needed work on it but I was able to get it up and running and sold it for a

profit some months later whilst keeping the 8 bank sound cartridge that came

with it for myself! However the synth itself has seen me through many sessions in the studio and it is

still my 'main synth' providing pads, organs, leads, basses and just about everything

else. Sounds are easy to program thanks to the big display and there's lots of parameters

to play with. The filter is a good one but I wish mine would go into self oscillation,

(it will only start to ring if you have an audio input from one of the oscillators).

Despite this the resonance can still give a good 'squelchy' analogue emulation.

Apparently you can still buy from Ensoniq the version 3 software chip that improves the sequencer

user interface and adds more waveforms to play with, you need someone whose used to handling chips

to do the upgrade however as its easy to 'zap' the chip by small electromagnetic chargers. Unlike some of the reviewers listed here I quite like the sequencer. Before I bought a computer and

started to use Emagic Notator, (later Emagic Logic), it was my main sequencer. Yes its a bit basic and

the editing is descructive, but what the hell! Every time you switch on the thing theres a notepad sequencer

ready and waiting to be used no matter where you are! All in all great value for money, (in the UK a good example goes for about £300). A good basic workstation

with more than its fair share of good sounds. It will still find usage in even the most well specified midi

rig.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:39
William Eunice a hobbyist user from United States writes:
Think of it as a poor mans big analogue. You get the ability to use 3 oscillators (not like Jupiter 8, Oberhiem or real analogue oscillators) per voice. You get a REAL analogue filter that self oscillates so you can sort of fake a crummy acid bass sound (if you really want to try) and great JX sounding resonant sweeps. You get oscillator sync like some classic analogue synths (only the JD990 has included it since *i think*). You get a CV input that you can use as a modulation source for just about anything else on the synth. All for dirt cheap compared to the big boys. Of course this is no Jupiter, and I don't think anyone would confuse the two, but it sure is nice to know you do have some power sitting in this box. If you want to learn how to use the ESQ-1 it will reward you with its many now considered esoteric features. Go get one now. Contrary to some of the reviews here I found the seqencer to be a life saver and very simple to use (I have a copy of the manual though). Many of what I consider my best songs were ESQ-1 sequences first. My sequencer stays full.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-05-1998 at 23:39
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