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Although it has since been replaced by the ASR-X Pro, the original ASR-X is still pretty great.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
September 11, 2009 @ 12:01 pm
This machine is literally AWESOME... Seriously - massive specs, great sounds, professional stereo sampling, powerful TRANSWAVE synthesizer, very impressive effects processor and the fattest bass response of any digital machine you'll ever hear!
Did someone say it looks ugly? I guess it's subjective 'cus I think it's beautiful... I like the way that all the controls are close at hand too.

Yes, the early version of the OS is full of bugs, but for 35$ you can get the upgrade.
The machine will function a lot more reliably with a memory upgrade too.
August 22, 2009 @ 4:00 pm
worth having just for its beautiful manipulation of sound waves,however the sequencer is a bit of a headache
June 17, 2009 @ 1:22 pm
the sequencer IS bad, unless u update the OS to the latest version, in which the timing is said to be fixed, but until then the more parts r runnung simultaneously the more unstable it gets
in this unit unlike, in the PRO version, OS update takes EPROMS replacement
one source to get them from is www.syntaur.com
June 3, 2009 @ 7:24 pm
This peice is ILL! Don't listen to the haters that down the sequencer. It's just as good as the person using it. Ensoniq por vida!!

April 20, 2009 @ 4:15 pm
i love this machine sure it may be ugly,but it puts out a mean sound.i am looking for the asr-10 to compliment my baby.if you get a chance to get you hands on one ,hold on to it.like my man said the pioneers of hip hop production used this beast.peace
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User Rating

Rated 3.94 (351 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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