Synth Site: Ensoniq: SQ1 Workstation: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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Danny B. a professional user from USA writes:
I may be a little biased because I cut my programming teeth on this synth, but for the money, it's an excellent beginner's workstation. The envelopes are very flexable and allow you to create some pretty cool sounds. Great for harsh metallic sounds, great for breathy pads, GREAT for noodley bits of ear candy. The Transwaves are this board's secret weapon, nothing out there sounds like 'em.

The sequencer is very easy to learn, but it does get buggy with age. I don't have a computer so I went out and bought another workstaion, but I still use the SQ as a sketch pad because I can lay down tracks very quickly and get my ideas going without having to negotiate the umpteen-million features my new workstation offers.

I bought my SQ 7 years ago and paid $850 for. I see now it fetches much less. I feel that I've got more than my money's worth on it so if you can get one under $400 consider it a steal! It rates a very solid 4 of 5 on sonic personality alone.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-May-11-2000 at 16:53
phosphiend a professional user from San Francisco, CA writes:
5/5 score for this one - here's why:

First, a correction to the spec sheet - the SQ1+ can transmit at least 8 channels of MIDI simultaneously. I do it all the time. I haven't tried for 16 (song mode). The little LCD screen puts some people off, but I've found that the layout of options both for patch editing and sequencing is intuitive and efficient.

I've read a couple of reviews that criticize the 'terrible' preset patches. I agree - the presets are in general awful. And it's true that the drum sounds don't leave you much to wrk with. BUT... I've been very successful at creating sounds with this keyboard that I've never heard before anywhere. The synthesis model is open-ended and allows many, many modulation schemes. If you are willing to actually learn a few basics of synthesis (which the manual explains very well), you can do pretty much what you want to. It's a great compositional tool, especially since you CAN record multiple parts quickly and easily, then quantize, event filter, scale, and tweak effects quickly and easily... then record all tracks to a 'real' sequencer simultaneously (eg. Cakewalk, which has built-in system exclusive support btw) and edit to your heart's content. This is a great buy - it's worth far more than it costs even new. It supports controllers in software that the hardware is incapable of (eg. two different channel pressures) so if you have something to send that controller with, you've got it. If you're using memory cards (or judging this synth by them) you should buy a cheap PC - a 386 will do - and use a shareware system exclusive program for storage. (KS32edit is completely compatible with the SQ1+ / SQ2.) Lack of storage is an inane argument against any synth with reasonably good MIDI implementation - the implementation for the SQ1 is excellent. I could go on - but here's a better idea: check out http://www.mp3.com/phosphiend/ . It's a small sample of some older work of mine, recently found, and at that point ALL THE SOUND WAS FROM ONE SQ1+ , no multitrack recorder, no effects box, nothing. :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Feb-21-2000 at 20:28
Jason Johnson a part-time user from USA writes:
I agree with what a lot of the people have said, but there are a few things to add. I have not had much luck with the sequencer on my unit. It would randomly shift notes around and generally produce unpredictable results, but I use Cakewalk now anyways. The sounds are all pretty digital, but if you get into the guts of it you can make some pretty good sounds. The filters don't self oscillate, but this really wasn't designed to be a beasty analogue stomper of a synth. It is good to make some pretty lush pad sounds with, and some relatively decent analogish leads and basses. I have noticed that notes tend to hang at times and the system has to be turned off then back on (panic buttons don't work). Also the output is a little noisy. The effects are relatively bread and butter, but using the phaser and reverb with a pad really makes it shine. The drums are absolute crap for anything except acoustic sounding music. The case is metal with plastic end cheeks and seems relatively sturdy, but I wouldn't try dropping it. Overall it's a good all around keyboard that these days can be found for $300 to $400. I use it pretty extensively in almost every song.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-21-2000 at 12:55
Eric Turner a hobbyist user from Canada writes:
I have owned the SQ1 for 2 years. I have been hunting around for sounds for it for awhile now. When the synth was manufactured back in 1990,

it was probably a nice buy, then. But now i'm becoming frustrated as I am

having trouble with using MIDI and my PC! ROM cards are also Very hard

to find too (at least ones with sounds on it). I think it will soon be

time to say bye to my SQ1. The idea of 80 or so sounds are peanuts compared

to today's synths with 200 or more sounds in which they come with drives!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-29-1999 at 10:39
Sören Sänd a part-timer user writes:
Well I was astonisked at first to hear it´s professional sound. My Music-store had made some songs on it so that I would have a demo.

Although I havent had anything to do with synth´s from 1995,

I have to say I´m satisfied and wont get rid of my ESQ 1. Ps this site is fine.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-29-1999 at 10:38
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