Ensoniq EPS

Ensoniq EPS Image

EPS means 'Ensoniq Performance Sampler'. The EPS is just that with clever new features that make it not just a professional studio music production tool, but also a powerful live performance instrument. Its biggest feature is its ability to load new samples while playing the instrument, a feature you'd be lucky to find on current synth/samplers. The EPS is somewhat multitimbral in that you can have 8 instruments on-line one at a time or stacked* and switching between them is as easy as pushing one of the 8 instrument buttons. The 'Patch Select' buttons over the Mod-Wheel allow for on-the-fly patch switching from a spot where your hand is likely to be while performing!

Its unique 13-bit sampler is highly versatile with multiple sample rates to choose from (6.25 to 52kHz). However, higher sample rates mean less polyphony and sample time. Unfortunately sample memory is miniscule at 480 Kb yielding anywhere from 5 to 41 seconds of sample time. Fortunately it is expandable up to 896 Kb (with optional 2x expander) or 2.1 Mb (with optional 4x or 4x+SCSI expanders) allowing as much 167 seconds of sample time. Some of the EPS's goodies include an 8 to 16 track sequencer (which steals its memory space from the same RAM that holds the samples) with quantizing, digital filters that seem like analog and preset template envelope options.

Ensoniq EPS Image

The EPS brought together many facets of synthesis at its time: sampling, synthesis and performance. It blended these together in a superb machine that, despite its limited sample memory, is quite popular and useful even today. Though it was later upgraded to the full 16-bit EPS-16+, the 13-bit EPS is a very cost-efficient alternative for any musician in search of classic keyboard-samplers!

* Although you usually play one instrument part at a time, you can get all 8 up at a time. With the EPS in Load mode by first selecting an instrument and then double clicking another instrument both will be played together. Continue double-clicking the other instrument buttons to layer all 8 instruments! (submitted by Rod Wesson and John Rule).

The EPS has been used by Cirrus, Wu-tang producer RZA and filmaker/composer John Carpenter.

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68 Visitor comments
July 12, 2012 @ 12:28 pm
I have a ensonic EPS and when I started it up it will not start the systems check. it will not start the floppy drive and the display on the keyboard does not operate correctly. I just installed a new floppy drive and it did work correctly before the problem started. I also installed the old floppy drive to try and troubleshoot this problem and the keyboard did not start the troubleshooting sequence
May 21, 2012 @ 7:18 pm
The Floppy Drives are C**p Mines had at least 4, 2 of which I moddified a PC drive to work as I got fed up with the stupid price asked for replacements. In the end I fitted a HXC floppy emulator about £65 off ebay with a 4GB SD card I have all my library on there and have created 1000's of blank disks for new projects " will never use them as all the years i've had the thing my library was only 250 floppies" but I can take it out and don't need to take 2 or3 boxes of floppies anymore.
March 2, 2012 @ 3:37 am
MIDI controller - no. Cheaper to sell it and buy sth from tons of midi controllers.
Sampler - yes. IF you use 13bit sampling than keep it.

If you decide to sell, let me know -
March 1, 2012 @ 1:38 pm
Hi, I have an original EPS but the disk drive won't read anymore. It includes the 2X memory expander as well as the 8 channel expansion module.

What are my options without a working disk drive? What's it worth if I sell it?

I have the manuals as well as lots of sample disks including a morpheus pack from Rubber Chicken.

Should I be keeping it to use as a midi controller or something else I haven't thought of?

Any feedback from the group is appreciated.
February 28, 2012 @ 7:41 pm
If you're talking about the keyboard calibration error, the 'fix' is to bridge the pins with wires, just like the VFX.
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  • 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 - 12 voices at 52 kHz.
    16 voices at 39 kHz.
    20 voices at 31.2 kHz.
  • Multitimbral - 8 parts.
  • Sampler - Mono 13-Bit A/D input, 16-bit D/A stereo output. Variable sample rates from 52kHz to 6.25kHz; Sample-time: 5 seconds (52kHz) to 41 seconds (6.25kHz).
  • Filter - Independent dynamic digital filter per wavesample, multi-mode digital low pass or variable-width band-pass with many slopes
  • VCA - 6-stage envelope including envelope preset templates
  • Sequencer - 8 tracks with separate instrument, volume, and MIDI channel. 80,000 notes limit.
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (velocity and aftertouch)
  • Memory - 512 Kb (480 Kb to be exact) internal (expandable to 896 Kb w/ 2x expander, 2.1 Mb w/ 4x expander)
  • Control - MIDI, Disk Drive (800K double-sided 3.5" micro-floppy), SCSI (w/ 4x+SCSI expander)
  • Weight - 29 pounds (13 kilograms)
  • Date Produced - 1988
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