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
michael g.
December 17, 2013 @ 10:08 pm
how can i upgrade my O.S. eproms in my ENSONIQ EPS.i have 1.20 firmware version which is prolly the oldest.my ram version is 2.49.i having issues with bugs like rebooting and and screen freezes.i need answers
December 1, 2013 @ 2:28 am
Had mine for a few days and woah, this is great.

If you have an ESQ-1, this is the sister synth to that IMHO. ESQ-1 handles its waveforms and resonant filtering, while this provides you with poly AT, more voices and the ability to do some interesting sampling

Very easy to make great, booming pads and strings with this. Sampled my Juno-60 in 6.25khz - what a sound! Loads of low end that my X7000 doesn't have. Disk loading isn't fast but if you have a 2x or 4x expansion you can load in a fair bit.
November 21, 2013 @ 6:01 am
Finally got one, no aliasing at all, but instead very interesting *chunk* it's very different than any other 12bits I've heard, opposite to akai
October 9, 2013 @ 11:00 am
"Bitcrushing the sounds"

Yes! but does it aliases when pitching (like Emax/SP does), I would like to know that, it has 13-bit to 16-bit internal way so it is possible with lower rates it does. Can anyone inform with this, for comparison, even they crush very nice 12-bit Akai's do not aliase.
Passable Plastic
October 8, 2013 @ 11:10 pm
Also, I have to disagree about the "no effects" statement for the EPS. True no "standard" effects, but between the in-depth control over LFO, the 3 separate envelopes, layering, pitch control, etc, etc, plus the fact that you can pretty much make anything modulate anything, you can seriously warp your sounds.
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  • 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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