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Although it has since been replaced by the ASR-X Pro, the original ASR-X is still pretty great.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.

Lookup Ensoniq ASR-X Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


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
November 17, 2010 @ 4:00 pm
yeah - awesome sound. same as the asr-10. way more features and smoother sound than an mpc. programming isn't any harder than any 80s/90s synth. the rom upgrade to 2.67 fixes most of the sequencer woes, except hickupping when muting and unmuting tracks - I used the 8 outs card with a mixer to get around that. it has a great midi implementation, unfortunately parameters are reset when the pattern loops which ruins the potential for controlling the filters and stuff with a knob box. The pad layout is nice.
October 11, 2010 @ 4:09 am
Realy nice sound ( sometimes a lil 2 deep in my opinion )... But whats going down with the sequencer?! Its like the machine is on pot or something, after 4 - 5 tracks it just starts to mess up the previous tracks - leaving out a note here and there. And whats realy good with those encoders - on crack? Thats why i just sequence it externally with the asr10 or a mpc...

September 4, 2010 @ 3:16 am
Yeah the sequencer [beep] s-the paint job is awful (half of mine has worn down to the metal.)--and i've replaced the rotary encoders 3 times...BUT the sound is amazing. and the workflow of sampling and resampling through the effects is a mad scientists dream. Paired with a proper sequencer, this machine is an MPC-killer.
Hannibal Lekcha
May 15, 2010 @ 8:30 pm
it is the greatest machine ever made kinda like a dreamcast way ahead of its time and literally it is a timeless piece . every thing about it is raw , simple controls once accustomed to its controls u can become unstoppable. i have had one since its inception. give me that machine vs any room full of equipment and i will force u to submit. too bad they went out of biz, maybe someone will invent a new one , just make the screen bigger. all owners know that this the greatest sequencer ever. even the mp4000 isnt a match when u have the X maxxed out. peace im gonna keep banging.
dub d
February 20, 2010 @ 10:24 pm
I used it for drum and synth sounds on my album Spliftight 99 and beyond. It is also one of the greatest samplers I have ever had the pleasure of using.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating


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
  • Images from

    Review updated May 2012.

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.