Ensoniq ESQ-1

Ensoniq ESQ-1 Image

Similar to the Mirage synth/sampler, the ESQ-1 was Ensoniq's highly affordable and impressive digital synthesizer, released in 1986. Although the waveforms are digital in nature, the filters are all analog as on the Mirage. In fact, for a digital synth the ESQ-1 has many good old analog-synth features such as a ring modulator, sequencer, and oscillator-sync. The envelopes and LFOs are can be freely routed to each DCO, VCA and or VCF. There are 40 preset sounds which are the usual not-so-great sounds. Luckily the VFD display screen is large enough to make editing the sounds somewhat pleasant.

What really sets the ESQ-1 apart from other similar synths is the voice architecture. Choose from analog, digital, or samples or any combo since there are three independent oscillators per voice! Once you start editing on the ESQ-1 you will come up with interesting and unique results. Using dynamic voice allocation it can seemlesly switch from 8-voices of analog to 8-voices of digital or sampled voices! This gives you a wide array of different sonic elements at your fingertips!

Then there's its built-in sequencer. It can store up to 24,000 notes in 30 sequences and 10 songs via battery back-up. Anyone in search of an alternative synthesizer should consider the ESQ-1. More analog than a DX-7 or D-50 and also much cheaper, the ESQ-1 is a tasty option that is worth a try.

Ensoniq ESQ-< Image

The ESQ-M (pictured above) is a rack-mount version released in 1987 which is identical to the ESQ-1 except that it excludes the on-board sequencer option. The ESQ-synths have been used by Anything Box, Skinny Puppy, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Steve Roach.

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124 Visitor comments
origowneresq1
November 28, 2010 @ 4:54 am
I loved my esq1. Am hoping to get it up and running again, I wrote so many song tidbits using the sequencer, it was so easy to use. And had the same logic as my Alesis HR16 drummer. Linked them together so easily and had a blast 20 years ago with them. I lost operation on a block of keys, would love to get it fixed, or sell it to someone who could use it. Its been sitting for 10 years. let me know! rick_l_mpls@hotmail.com. Put ESQ1 in the subject line!
TEAC3440
October 14, 2010 @ 11:33 am
Has the ability to sound like a commodore 64, nintendo 64 and virtually every videogame system in between. Pretty sweet.
rokusan
October 2, 2010 @ 12:37 pm
Im in a progressive band... we just received an esq1 and it is a beautiful synth! It is quite excellent at imitating oberhiem and profit voices... it has a decent mellotron sound as well! It works well with our Nord lead 2!
Umac
September 2, 2010 @ 12:40 am
take a walk on the dark side!
amazing synth...
Pug
September 1, 2010 @ 9:01 am
Nice synth and was out when the DX7 was breaking records for the number of sold synths than any before it.
This was a good priced workhorse that sounded nice. Ensoniq never quite repeated their public interest after as this synth was just right for what it gave for money.

Nice synth.
 
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Excellent

User Rating

Rated 4.68 (827 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 - 8 voices (dynamic voice allocation)
  • Oscillators - 3 digital oscillators per voice, 32 waveforms
  • LFO - 3 LFOs per voice; triangle, saw, square, random
  • Filter - 4-pole analog resonant filter with 6-stage envelope
  • VCA - 4 VCA + 4 Envelopes with 7 parameters per voice
  • Sequencer - 8-Track (30 patterns, 10 songs w/ up to 99 patterns each)
  • Effects - None
  • Keyboard - 61 note (velocity)
  • Memory - 40 patches
  • Control - MIDI (8-parts)
  • Date Produced - 1986 - 1988
  • Resources & Credits
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