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
HRR
March 4, 2011 @ 12:34 pm
This is still today one of the most over looked synthesizers. The ability to have a warm analog filter's and access to a plethora of digital waveforms aside from standard sine, saw makes the ESQ-1 a very flexible machine.

I just released a cd Alpha Wave Movement "Soniq Variants" composed on an ESQ-1 and a modified VFX-SD. Its all ambient and exemplifies the sheer lush beauty of the two machines working in musical harmony.

Heres where you can listen to the music:
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/alphawave14
Alec
February 1, 2011 @ 7:17 pm
I am selling one in Bristol, UK if you're from around here.
email me at vanalec [at] gmail . com
Shane Law
January 17, 2011 @ 2:54 am
Hi Everyone, I have had a lot of interest in this synth. If your interested have a look on Ebay we have just posted it. Cheers, Shane
Bruce Herbert
January 17, 2011 @ 12:07 am
Shane Law , I am looking at getting one and am in Australia. Please email me on vintagesynth at ubergrafik dot com.
Cheers
Shane Law
January 16, 2011 @ 3:37 pm
I am selling mine since the last comment from Isaiah asked. Had it back in the day and has been sitting in the cupboard, if anyone is interested. I am in Australia though
 
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  • 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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