Ensoniq ASR-X

Ensoniq ASR-X Image

The ASR-X is a sampler, synthesizer, sequencer and effects studio workstation in a tabletop unit. It makes for a nice alternative to the Akai MPC3000 (and other MPC series) instruments which traditionally set the standard for this type of desktop music workstation format.

The sampler samples in stereo to 2MB of RAM for a max of 20 seconds. That should be enough to get the sort of sounds the ASR-X is intended for: drum and perc sounds, vocal stabs, and other quick short sounds. The built-in synthesizer is based on Ensoniq's unique Transwave technology for really unique synth sounds and life-like real instruments. A powerful effects processor gives you all you need to bring life and character to your samples and synth sounds.

Of course the sequencer is the heart of this instrument. Though it can be used like a sound module or desktop sampler, those big “house” shaped pressure pads are not there just for decoration. This instrument begs to have it sounds tapped into sequences in real-time (or step-time) so you can bring your patterns to life in seconds. If necessary the sequencer does allows you to delve in deeper for fine tuning - although it was a buggy headache on early models, that could be rectified via OS upgrades.

Although it has since been replaced by the ASR-X Pro, the original ASR-X is still pretty great. For the most part, they're both the same, except that the ASR-X is not as expandable. However it still has easy programming, excellent analog-like filters (low, high and bandpass), a great sampler, digital effects and easy sequencing. Like the MPC-series, the ASR-series has been a mainstay production tool for HipHop and Rap music.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Ensoniq ASR-X? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

24 Visitor comments
August 21, 2013 @ 10:13 am
This box has great sounds, but the two knobs used for parameter changes and tweaks, are the worst I've ever experienced. They tend to "jump ahead" thus frustrating the user. Upgrading the operating system to the latest version and cleaning the knobs has no effect on it. It's best to use it as a sound module.
Luigi Funcis
April 11, 2013 @ 8:10 pm
I have two Asr-x. I think it's a very cool machine, with powerful sounds (try its synths... come on, they're simply great). At the moment, I'm totally lost inside Korg Microsampler and Mini Kaoss Pad 2 for a reason: SCSI data storage is maybe the slowest, ugliest thing in the world. I had a lot of problems with this and I tried to find solutions for a long time. Until the future has come.
January 9, 2013 @ 11:50 am
with regards to value: personally I wouldn't pay more than £200 for one (maybe a bit more for the Pro version). You could pick them up brand new in the late 90's for about £600! Nice unit but check the pads trigger ok before buying.
December 27, 2012 @ 6:21 pm
kadaceus, 350 Euro is certainly steep, but your E150 counter-offer was too low. 250-300 would be a reasonable price, because it sounds like a monster. Make sure you buy a model with SCSI installed and test the front-panel encoders, which tend to go bad with overuse. Realistically, you need to figure on using an external MIDI controller...and probably an external sequencer too, as it starts to bog down with much more than 4 tracks.

Yep, it's a headache in that regard...but it sounds like a beast. It's criminal that Emu bought Ensoniq and then killed the product line. One of the best ever.
December 10, 2012 @ 2:36 am
So this guy is asking silly 350euros for this little baby.Do you reckon its worth that much??I laughed, said the usual comparison PC versus 2MB of sampler pleasure, offered him 150E.He respectfully declined.I already have Emax and YSU700, so do I really need this one too??Hmm...Dillema
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.93 (354 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 - 32 voices
  • Sampler - 44.1kHz; 20-bit A/D, 18-bit D/A, 16-bit Memory; Stereo or mono; Sample-time: 2MB standard (20.5 seconds max), expandable
  • Filter - low-pass, hi-pass and band-pass resonant filters
  • Effects - 2 effect processors
  • Keyboard - 13 Velocity sensitive trigger pads
  • Memory - Disk: 1.4 MB Quad-density HD, 3.5" micro-floppy disk
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1997
  • Resources & Credits
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    Review updated May 2012.

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