Ensoniq EPS-16+

Ensoniq EPS-16+ Image

The EPS-16+ was an innovative early sampler workstation designed for the 90's. Its sampler specs are impressive: 16-bit, variable sampling rates from 11.2kHz to 44.6kHz. With a slim 1Mb of memory this gives just about 11.5 seconds of sampling time in mono at 44.6kHz. Editing functions are quite nice: normalizing, sample splicing, merging, phase switching, auto-looping, auto-truncating, sample rate conversion and more.

On the synthesizer side it has two great filters with switchable hi, low and band pass, 6dB to 24dB cutoffs. BUT, they aren't resonant. The keyboard is velocity and pressure sensitive and it has full MIDI implementation. There is also a sophisticated 8-track sequencer that can really be fun in a live performance situation. A wildly flexible and variable LFO with seven shapes always adds a new twist to your samples! Topping it off is a full suite of on-board effects like reverb, delay, chorus, flange, phaser, Leslie sim, distortion and wah-wah and these effects can be re-sampled to become a part of the sample! It can even be played while it is loading samples!

Ensoniq EPS-16+ Image

In its time, the EPS-16+ was a revolutionary machine. It brought a lot of power and musicality to sampling. These days, the EPS-16+ is still useful. It brings back the early crunchy sampler sound but with a lot of features that make it really fun to play with. Even with its non-resonant filters you can still find yourself filtering a 'garage-beat' drum loop for hours while muting and un-muting other loops on the 8-track sequencer!

Ensoniq EPS-16+ Rack Image

The EPS-16+ was also made available in a rack-mount version. All EPS-16+ synths can be upgraded via non-volatile flash ROM (available on-line from Chicken Systems, Inc.) to expand your EPS's memory, effects algorithms and creative potential! It has been used by Autechre, LFO, Massive Attack and Slam.

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41 Visitor comments
September 23, 2010 @ 2:06 pm
Having said all that, I agree with all the comments about how good a machine it was *when* it was actually working. The sounds still have a quality that I haven't found in any other make.
I still have a rack version and I use it fairly regularly but it has also had more trips to the repair shop than any of my other pieces of gear. I'd never depend on it on the road.
I actually feel a considerable degree of envy for those who bought a keyboard which still works! It probably WOULD have been my favourite keyboard if there hadn't been so many malfunctions.
September 23, 2010 @ 2:06 pm
Interesting comments. Like PETE, I found the EPS16+ to be far too unreliable. Even before I took it on the road, I'd taken it back to the store for repair. I eventually received a replacement. (Both were brand new.) The second one seemed stable for a while but then it also let me down. I was given a third brand new machine. When that crashed, I gave up on it altogether. I learned later from the music store that more than half of the units they'd sold had been returned with serious faults within six months.
April 22, 2010 @ 12:30 am
pete must have bought a broken EPS. I own a lot of ensoniq gear and I have never had any problems. Well I guess after 2 hours of beatmaking you can cook your breakfast on my ASR but that dosnt affect the machine. Ensoniq has a unique sound and is by far the best samplers I have owned. Sold my MPC2000 for a lollipop
Mr S
April 22, 2010 @ 12:12 am
Don't agree with PETE. I have several vintage Ensoniq machines that work just as good as the day they were built. AND Kurzweil will never touch the filters of the early ensoniqs. That is what made them great, not the transparency of the sampler, but how the sampler effected the sample. I've owned a K2000 and a K2500 sold both. I still own all of my ensoniq gear. I can get a Reason refill if I want a Kurzweil sound, the only way you get the filters of an Ensoniq is to own one.
March 28, 2010 @ 3:15 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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Rated 4.01 (427 Votes)

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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 - 7 to 20 voices
  • Sampler - 16-bit mono, 11.2kHz to 44.6kHz; (up to 11.5 seconds sample-time at 44.6kHz)
  • LFO - 7 shapes
  • Filter - 2 high, low, band pass 6dB to 24dB filters
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (velocity & pressure sensitive)
  • Memory - 1 MB (expandable to 2 MB)
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1990
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