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
Kevin
January 16, 2012 @ 7:03 am
To Don: If it says "no instruments loaded" that means you haven't loaded any in from disk. When it boots from the OS disk, it ONLY loads the operating system. You then have to load instruments. OR, if you're going to start a sampling session, you may not want any samples loaded at all to max out the memory available. This instrument retains nothing when powered down, so if you create anything, samples, sequences, songs, etc. you must save to disk before shutdown. Consequently, upon bootup, it's an empty canvas asking "where do you want to go today?"
l07
January 15, 2012 @ 12:32 pm
The best thing about this machine is its simplicity. Skim the manual and you are sampling and writing crude sequences inside of an hour. The sound is dirty and brittle. Not bassy and warm like the Emus of the same generation. Compared with an Akai, way easier to use, perhaps even dirtier sounding. Run it through a moogerfooger if you want nice filtering. . Best feature overall? Its ability to stack sounds. You can't sample in stereo, but you can multi sample, stack sounds and pan them to create samples that play back in stereo. Great for spontaneous sampling and composition.
UF
January 7, 2012 @ 5:47 pm
Also used by Autechre.
don
December 12, 2011 @ 12:47 pm
I have one of these machines, don't know how to use it. It says it has no instruments loaded. Any Suggestions ???
SoniqTheSledgehog
December 8, 2011 @ 11:21 am
also: I use it mostly when making electro; for some reason the bit-crushing sits in the mix more comfortably than any vst i've ever put hands on.
 
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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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