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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66 Visitor comments
Chris Holl
September 12, 2010 @ 9:15 am
I just dusted my old EPS off and am starting to use it again. What is the latest OS and can copies still be found? Is there any community for sharing samples?
July 16, 2010 @ 8:37 pm
I do like this machine a lot the 16+ and the ASR10 are better but all suffer the worn out disk drive the build quality isn't that fantastic Providing its got the latest firmware update and latest software no real problems. Mine is on its 3rd or 4th floppy disk drive. If you know what you are doing you can moddify a 1.44mb 3 1/2" floppy from a pc to work. the original was a 720k type. Still sort after and fetch good money on ebay. Still a very usable bit of gear. The load while playing feature is brilliant for live work and even though 12bit it sound pretty good.
June 4, 2010 @ 4:56 pm
I am a hobbyist an really enjoyed the sequencing ability of the EPS and other ensoniq products. I am to lazy to go thru a computer to do sequencing and still use the EPS sequencer in conjunction with an emu proteus 2000 and akai 5000. there probably is not a finer onboard sequencer than ensoniq.
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.
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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