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
December 8, 2011 @ 11:16 am
I somehow managed to trade an old Roland D-110 & Yamaha KX49 for mine (talk about a steal). Albeit dated with the sequencer, cracking into the nuts and bolts of an EPS is a breeze - it literally took about 15 minutes to have the basic features pegged by glancing over the owner's manua. Unless you're a samplerate junkie looking for Boards of Canada quality gear, this thing is incredibly versatile.

Of course, the real gem of owning a 61-key sampler is resampling all of those expensive Moog, Arp, Polivoks and SID vsts across the octaves at reduced bitrates - HELLO GRIT, GOODBYE LATENCY!
November 29, 2011 @ 7:23 pm
I just fitted a HXC floppy emulator to my EPS. My floppy was starting to die again 4th drive, i've got about 30 floppy drives in the attic I couldn't be bothered to convert one to work Its easy to do providing the drive has links or jumpers that can be moved. Anyway the HXC is a pic controlled board with a digital display 3 buttons and a sd card slot, I backed up my library 150ish disks as img files using omniflop, converted using HXC software put on A 4gbSDHC card with another 500 blank disks can be formatted read and write brilliant no disks needed stanalone not scsi and not fast but brill
October 12, 2011 @ 8:16 am
That would be the 4x memory expander then? The 8x expander is the 8 seperate output audio expander that plugs into the 9 way D plug on the back So dont go for the 8x memory upgrade because you wont find one.
I've got a 2x and a 4x but no 8x
October 10, 2011 @ 1:03 pm
Anybody need a memory upgrade for their Classic EPS? This will bump you up to
2041 blocks or 9.91 secs @52.1khz & 83.51 secs @6.25khz I'm asking 30.00 plus
s+h. email me if interested. Peace & Love
September 26, 2011 @ 3:41 pm
@matt the specs on here are noy correct, check your manual...and it's expandable to 2 mb if you can find the 8x's expander for it which is more rare than the scsi upgrade. @ThaLyricalWeapon91 ....dont get me wrong the SP is dope for drums primarily off gp...but if u know how to treat your source sounds b4 the hit the ad on the eps your drums will hit just as hard, but in terms of flexibility the EPS is a SP killer...i mean 2g's for a SP or 200 for a eps....SPP's are hella overated, cats just get caught up in hype...my man Ki is banging out joints on a Zoom SampleTrak and it's Killin the SP too
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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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