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
September 8, 2010 @ 8:52 pm
for velocity control, go to edit: AMP scroll right to the Velocity Modulation page, pick mod source (Vol1 or Vol2 have diff volume curves) and then dial in amount. This ability to change the mod source and amount provides great control of volume dynamics (kinda annoying that it needs to be diallied in tho!). The sound of this thing rocks, drums are so punchy when sampled, gives plenty of mid range boost great for Hip Hop
Angry James
July 27, 2010 @ 2:47 pm
The ASR-10 was def the best all-in-one sampling workstation for a long time, but now that I have the Roland MV-8800, I sold my ASR-10 (to legendary Doc Martin) a few years ago.
July 25, 2010 @ 1:45 pm
I have Roland S-770 and ASR10R and would say it`s far easy to use Ensoniq than Roland. There was said a lot about sound quality and I wouldn`t go to prove this fact again. 8 tracks are enough for me when I triggering ASR from ext sequencer. The internal sequencer [beep] s. I use it with SCSI, works perfect so far.
The only problem I have, I do not know how to make my ASR to react on velocity change when I play it from external controllers - all the notes have the same velocity, and this
drives me mad. Exept of this, ASR10 is fantastic, intuitive but not 100% reliable machine (once display went dead and I was lucky to replace it for 150 usd)
May 26, 2010 @ 2:31 pm
There is still to date no sampler that can do everything with a sample that the ASR-10 can. Nothing. All the transwave stuff, all the crossfade looping algorithms, all the beautiful effects algorithms, all the modulation capabilities... This thing is a sound design monster.

Brian, the ASR-10 is not making a comeback in hip hop/r&b, because it never fell off!!! Who do you think (for better or worse) has kept the price of used ASRs so high for so long???
May 17, 2010 @ 5:26 pm
Bought one of these back in 1993 when I was doing industrial dance music. This was an upgrade from my trusty Ensoniq EPS that I had bought in late 1988. The ASR-10 is absolutely one of the best sampler workstations ever made. Period. I finally sold mine, but I still have all my floppies with my sounds and songs on them. The only sampler workstation I have been as happy with since is the Roland MV-8800 which was just recently discontinued in Spring 2010. Ensoniq was a visionary company.
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Rated 4.61 (1091 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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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