Ensoniq ASR-10

Ensoniq ASR-10 Image

The ASR-10 stands for the Advanced Sampling Recorder - a completely digital music production studio. It's a 16-bit sampler that came in both keyboard and rack-mount versions. It shipped with 2 MB of sample memory which could be expanded to 16 MB for a few minutes of stereo cd-quality sampling time. It lets you choose from sample rates of 30 to 44.1 kHz and has all the professional sample editing functions you would expect to find from a pro sampler including autolooping, volume smoothing, normalize, crossfading, and time comp/exp. Even resampling through its effects, EQ, etc. is possible!

What's special about the ASR-10 is that it is a sampler using the synthesizer architecture of Ensoniq's classic line of synths from the SD-1 to the ESQ-1. Your samples are stored as part of its WaveSample memory. The ASR-10 can hold 127 WaveSamples, which can also consist of its two multimode digital filters, the LFO, one random noise generator, three envelope generators (hard-wired to the pitch, filter cutoff, and amplitude), and a modulation matrix with 15 routable modulation sources. Up to eight layers of WaveSamples can be combined to create your final sound. In this light, the ASR-10 basically looks like an advanced TranseWave (waveform modulation) synthesizer in which YOU create its WaveSamples!

The ASR-10 integrates a digital effects processor and MIDI sequencer on-board for a complete workstation. There are up to 62 effects (including vocoding) based on Ensoniq's DP/4 effects processor. A whole range of reverbs, chorus, flange, phaser, distortion, digital delay, speaker effects, etc. are available.

Ensoniq ASR-10 Rack Image

The ASR-10's sequencer has 16-tracks and with its 31 voices of polyphony you can create some pretty complete musical performances. The sequencer (reminiscent of the SD-1 and VFX-SD workstations) provides real time and looped recording modes, 96 PPQ clock resolution, an auto-locate function, punch in/out, and other useful features. And the ASR-10 can sample while the sequencer is playing. It can store up to 80 sequences or patterns which can be chained into a song (only one song can be in memory).

The ASR-10 also has a "Tape Recorder" mode in which you can record two tracks of audio for use along with the sequencer for an advanced all-in-one music making machine! Recording can be to its RAM or to external SCSI hard drives via the SP-3 SCSI interface (optional on keyboard version) for extended sampling/recording time and memory. It can support up to seven simultaneous hard disks and/or CD-ROM drives. You can even process external audio through the ASR, live or along with sequences.

As mentioned, the ASR-10 comes in a 61-note keyboard version and a rack-mount. But there's more. Over the years Ensoniq has continued to upgrade it adding an AES/EBU digital I/O upgrade, digital audio recording and importing of new sound formats, and more. The ASR-88 version is an ASR-10 with a fully-weighted 88-note keyboard and the SCSI interface comes standard. The ASR-10 is compatible with Akai (S-1000/1100) and Roland CD-ROM sound librarys. A high-density (HD) 3.5" disk drive comes standard on all models. The ASR-10 has been used by Atomic Babies, Autechre, Rammstein, Jimmy Edgar, Black Lung, Rabbit in the Moon, Timbaland, Pharell Williams (Neptunes), The Alchemist, Kanye West.

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86 Visitor comments
May 14, 2012 @ 10:05 am
I've had the ASR since '95 and still love it. It was packed away for several years until I recently bought out again. Thing is I find my sample collection is sounding a bit dated. If anyone knows of where I might pick up some recent samples to create music beds I'd really appreciate it. I can be reached at stev@stevs.net
April 20, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
I've used the ASR-10 since '94 & got one of my own in '97. The sampler & sequencer are fantastic and very user friendly. I've always felt that most of the sound kits you can get for it sound way too clean & bright though. I've also found that it and the EPS get uncomfortably hot during prolonged use.. That being said, at this point I tend to use it primarily as a sampler and rely on the MPC or SP1200 for drums.
shaun nicks
February 16, 2012 @ 9:54 pm
Ive had the asr 10 for about 1 year and a half.Overall impression-What a great sampling keyboard.It definately has a warm sound.Sounds awesome on vinyl samples.pretty nice on the hardware synths and modules ive sampled into it. Love the way it sounds on kicks.Hip hop,pop,r n b, dance,trance all that stuff! Lovely on snares thick hard sound with good weight to it.overdrivin the inputs isnt a bad thing on the asr.on the contrary lower healthy levels yeilds a very accurate clean sound.1 last thing.I have a roland fantom g6,mv 8800,the asr is the best sampler to me of those three.much more feature
January 26, 2012 @ 8:37 pm
Can some one teach me how to record using an external sound module with the asr-10 I'm sampling each patch now its to time consuming. my email blackoutentertainment2000@yahoo.com Thank you for your cooperation.
Dj Smoo
January 21, 2012 @ 10:29 pm
I got my ASR a year ago and I feel like I'm just starting to discover it. The ASR is DEEP - it demands your focus and time, and in return gives you incredible sonic possibilities. If you want to make boombap you can do it on the ASR but that’s MPC territory. The ASR is truly a keyboard instrument - it spreads samples across the keys because it wants you to PLAY it, not hit it. It wants you to craft samples into lush pads, drench them in effects, mangle them into sonic oblivion. The ASR has personality. It's the embodiment of that creamy, sparkly mid-90's dance/triphop sound. Get one.
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Rated 4.61 (1091 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 31 voices
  • Sampler - Sigma-Delta 64 times oversampling, 16-bit, 30kHz or 44.1kHz variable sampling rates; 127 WaveSamples, up to 8 Layers per Program.
  • Filter - 2 digital filters in series, one low-pass, one high pass. Up to 4-pole filtering with 6, 12, 18, and 24 dB/oct slopes.
  • Envelopes - 3 envelopes: Env 1 to WaveSample Pitch; Env 2 to WaveSample Filter Cutoff; Env 3 to WaveSample Amplitude.
  • Sequencer - 16 tracks, 80 Patterns (999 measure limit each), 1 Song at a time
  • Effects - 1 effects unit with 50 to 62 effects including vocoder (reverbs, chorus, flange, phaser, distortion, digital delay, speaker effects)
  • Keyboard - 61 keys w/ velocity and aftertouch (88 weighted keys on ASR-88)
  • Memory - Sampler: 2 MB expandable to 16 MB;
    Patches: 8 Instruments
  • Control - MIDI (8-parts)
  • Date Produced - 1992 - 1998

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