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
April 29, 2010 @ 7:25 am
Bought one of these babies back in late 1988 when I was composing industrial dance music. This masterpiece of an instrument was all I needed to do gritty full productions. I even had an 80MB SCSI hard drive hooked up to it with its SCSI expansion port and I must say people were in awe of that in 1988. I graduated years later to an ASR-10 which is still one of my favorite samplers ever. Ensoniq was visionary in their designs and way ahead of their time. End of story.
Mr S
April 22, 2010 @ 12:18 am
Sh!tty is Pretty! 12 bit is where I stop. I love this machine in tandem with my SP 1200 really gives that great grit that you can't get with the samplers now.
April 12, 2010 @ 11:10 pm
im in love with the gritty sound of this machine, especially on drums! get one of these if your into wu-tang, i heard 36 chambers was made with just one of these and 8track cassette. i also love how u can stack your sounds and split the keyboard very fancy for '88. people, please stop compairing different units on this site that have really have nothing in common. just because your 1000$ sampler can blow this 100$ beauty out of the water does not make you special.
March 30, 2010 @ 7:11 pm
It is a great sampler for creative people. It can slice and dice samples in realtime! try this on a k2500 ;-) it can have a very punchy and dirty 12bit sound if you use lower sample rates. Samples are stored in memory as reverences.. so you can have lots of different keys with different settings (samplestart, loopspoints, envelopes, filter settings etc. ) using just one sample
... and of course ... it has polyphonic-aftertouch!
my favorite keys to use as a masterkeyboard for my symbolic sound pacarana ....even better then the later asr 10 keys.... and it is really cheap in 2010!
March 28, 2010 @ 6:19 pm
Ensoniq Products are un-reliable and are too fragile to rely on when on a tour or on the road. Ensoniq is no longer in business, and most of the reliable keyboard manufacturers that have competed with Ensoniq are still in business. Kurzweil K2000 or K2500 are the BEST Sampling Workstations ever created, not this junk.
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User Rating

Rated 3.89 (357 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 - 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
  • Resources & Credits
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