Ensoniq SQ-80

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The SQ-80 is basically a reved-up ESQ-1 with a total of 75 waveforms, a 61-note keyboard with velocity & aftertouch, floppy disk drive for storing patches and sequences, and an enhanced sequencer. Great for organs, analog-type sounds, pads and sound effects. Like the classic ESQ-1, the SQ-80 functions in providing analog-type 4-pole lowpass filtering and editing of digital waveforms. Each voice can combine up to 3 of the 75 waveforms. These waveforms include multi-sampled transient attack waves such as violin bow, plectrum picks, mallet, hammer, breath attacks and percussive sounds. There are also 5 sampled drum sets. Three LFOs are onboard for some pretty wild modulation of the sounds you create or edit. Complete MIDI implementation makes the SQ-80 great for any studio or live use too.


As for playing the SQ-80, it is a dream! Its 61-note keyboard is full, responsive and has polyphonic aftertouch. Polyphonic aftertouch simply means that each key pressed will respond to aftertouch independently of the other keys. The aftertouch can be used to control a variety of modulation parameters such as the LFO. Pitch and mod wheels and plenty of front-panel buttons and a few sliders make accessing and editing fairly easy and hands-on. The keyboard can be split or layered. The pattern-based 8-track multitimbral sequencer is great for creating short to complex sequences live, or in step time with quantization, bounce-able tracks, 60 sequence patterns and 20 songs. And they can be saved to disk along with any patches you've created and any SysEx Midi data. Unfortunately, the SQ-80 has no built-in effects. The SQ-80 is certainly a classic analog/digital hybrid of the late eighties which still holds up well today. It has been used by filmaker/composer John Carpenter.

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Demos & Media

Ensoniq SQ-80 CrossWave Synthesizer
by
retrosound72
ManualFind patches, info and sequences for the SQ-80 at this Ensoniq synth site.

Specifications

Polyphony - 8 voices
Oscillators - 24 osc.
LFO - Up to 3 per voice - can route to pitch, amp, filter, pan
Filter - 1 4-pole analog filter per voice w/sweepable resonance
VCA - 1 digital amp per oscillator + 1 global amp per voice
Sequencer - 8-Track, 60 patterns, 20 songs, 20,000 note capacity
Keyboard - 61 keys with velocity & aftertouch
Memory - 40 patches onboard + 80 with EEPROM cartridge, floppy drive
Control - MIDI (8-part), switch pedal, CV pedal, wheel, breath, mono/poly aftertouch, kybd mapping
Date Produced - 1988 - 1989

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Resources

Images from Perfect Circuit Audio.

Thanks to Tony Evans for providing information.