Ensoniq TS-10 / TS-12

Ensoniq TS-10 Image

The TS series workstations introduced in 1993 were the culmination of the line that started with the ESQ-1 and progressed through the SQ-80, VFX, VFX-SD, SD-1, and SD-1/32. The resulting TS contained the most advanced feature set, most powerful sequencer and sound engine, and provided high quality sound and powerful effects processing.

The TS series consists of two models: The TS-10 with a 61-note synth action keyboard with velocity and polyphonic aftertouch, and the TS-12 which is virtually the same instrument, but it has 76-note hammer action keyboard with a channel aftertouch feature from Fatar. No rack-module version was produced.

The synthesizer section has 32 voices of polyphony (12 MIDI tracks of multitimbrality). It uses a ROM bank with 6 MB of samples from various acoustic instruments, synth waves, percussion and sound effects. A single patch is called a "Sound" and can be made from combining up to six waves. Each "Sound" can have up to four variations which are selected via two "Patch Selector Buttons" above the Pitch-bend and Modulation wheels. A performance patch, called a "Preset" can be made from up to three "Sounds" with independent settings for each "Sound". Arranged by banks are 120 user "Sounds" and 120 user "Preset" performance patches plus 180 preset "Sounds" and 180 preset "Preset" performance patches. There is also one bank for 10 sampled sounds which can be doubled if the RAM is expanded. The General MIDI sound set is also available in the TS.

The TS-10/12 makes use of the following four types of synthesis technologies:

Wavetable synthesis with the following parameters for each tone: Three envelopes, two multistage filters (unfortunately without resonance), an LFO with settings for tone pitch, output, panning, delay, multisample shift + modulation matrix, and more.

Transwave: Similar to Wavetable synthesis, this technology allows real time changes to the tonal timbrality. The Transwave consists of 128 single cycle waves, each of which is part of the original (highly processed) sample. The loop start and end points can be modulated in real time by various sources like the LFO, envelope generators, modulation wheel, etc. The TS series synthesizers ROM includes eight types of Transwaves (far fewer than the SD-1 had, unfortunately) and new ones can be created as a sample and imported into RAM.

Hyperwave technology is a kind of wave sequencing similar to that used by the Korg Wavestation. The wave list can contain up to 16 steps and allows you to create impressive textures or rhythmic patterns.

Sampling: The TS series instruments can load samples from compatible Ensoniq samplers (EPS, EPS 16+ and ASR-10/88) into its RAM via 3.5" floppy disks or the optional SP-4 SCSI interface. Many sampled sounds will not fit into the standard 2 MB memory and therefore the memory expansion option up to 8 MB is recommended. Sample editing is very similar to the EPS/ASR systems. The only problem is that the TS can not save the sample data directly on EPS/ASR disks. You must use another disk (formatted using the unique TS format) to save your sample data, and to load an edited sound you must use both these disks because the TS saves only the edit settings without the actual samples. The RAM is volatile and the sampled sounds efface each time you turn the instrument off.

Ensoniq TS-12 Image

The effects section is based on Ensoniq's famous DP-4 effects processor. It includes 73 preset algorithms with up to 10 variations of each algorithm. There are 692 variations of effects including various Reverbs, Delays, Choruses, Flangers, Phasers, Distortions, Speaker cabinet simulations, Rotary speakers, and a lot more. Each algorithm can consist of up to three simultaneous effects. The effects section is fully programmable and can be modulated by various sources. The user's setting is stored together with the appropriate "Sound" or "Preset".

The 24-Track sequencer has a typical Ensoniq structure: There are 12 non-linear Tracks for composing short blocks (called "Sequences") and another 12 linear tracks. It features many functions like quantization, mixing, event editing, controller filtering, etc. Its capacity is 30,000 notes and that can be expanded up to 97,000 notes.

The TS-10 Plus (a later model) used a conventional LCD screen and was equipped with the SCSI interface and fully loaded RAM options as standard. The weak point in the TS series workstations is that they are totally incompatible with anything other than the aforementioned Ensoniq samplers. They can not load nor save .mid files, .wav sounds, etc. and they can not use standard DOS formatted disks.

Despite the non-resonant filters, the TS series workstations are very powerful synths with a rich and thick sound. They can produce complete musical arrangements in a number of genres. The succeeding generations of Ensoniq workstations (KT series and MR/ZR series) lost a lot of the TS's features and many users consider the TS to be the best of Ensoniq's workstations.

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Comments

Are you looking to buy or sell a Ensoniq TS-10 / TS-12? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

55 Visitor comments
Krazz
November 24, 2010 @ 8:42 pm
One of my friends is really into TS 10 and wanted to buy one for himself. Anybody know where I can find one, used or new doesn't matter as long as it works fine. Had no luck searching the web...
Frank Zappa fan
November 22, 2010 @ 10:45 am
The keyboard player (Jordan Shapiro) from the Frank Zappa cover band Project Object used the TS-10 extensively. He nails a lot of tones from the FZ repertoire with this synth, especially the "Sy Borg" lead from the "Joe's Garage" album.
pajacke
November 21, 2010 @ 9:02 am
btw: The SCSI-Interface SP4 is read-only. So samplesounds can only be loaded from an Ensoniq SampleCDROM or HD/ZIP etc. As mentioned sampleedits made by the TS10/12 are saved seperately on floppy. So having an Ensoniq sampler like an EPS16/ASR10 around for doing the 'rough' work on samples makes a perfect duo..
Dave S
November 20, 2010 @ 2:33 pm
I loved the TS-10 and used it in a lot of compositions. If you would like to hear it in action, feel free to visit this site: www.soundclick.com/davidalansmith - The song "Another Wandering Path" was done entirely with TS synths and a couple of ASR samplers.
slippast
November 19, 2010 @ 3:32 pm
I recently got lucky and scored a TS-10 for next to nothing. It's a beautiful sounding keyboard. User interface is simple considering the programming depth. When I stack it up against other boards from that era there's a reason why these still go for a grand and others can't be given away.

My complaints:

#1 Sound/sample resources are becoming increasingly rare. Sample libraries are still expensive. There are no free resources on the web as far as I can tell. There's no online community to support the TS line, something I find surprising.

#2 Ensoniq's proprietary data formats will have you pulling your hair out. And will soon be completely obsolete.

An upside to this keyboard is that upgrades that originally cost a fortune can be had for next to nothing. You can max it out for ~$30.

Bottom line is if you're looking for a machine to do rich sound stages this is it. Everything that's great about Ensoniq is here. But be prepared for some frustrations.
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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 - 32 voices
  • Multitimbral - 12 parts
  • Sampler - 2MB (expandable to 8MB) compatible only with EPS and ASR sample formats
  • Oscillators - up to 6 per Sound
  • Waveforms - Samples, Transwaves
  • LFO - 1 LFO per voice
  • Filter - Two DCF's per voice
  • Envelope - 3 Envelopes per voice
  • Effects - 692 preset variations, up to 3 effects simultaneously (Reverbs, Delays, Choruses, Flangers, Phasers, Distortions, Speaker simulations, etc)
  • Sequencer - 24 track (12 non-linear, 12 linear). Store 60 songs (up to 30,000 notes or 97,000 if expanded)
  • Arpeggiator - None
  • Keyboard - TS-10: 61-keys with velocity and poly aftertouch
    TS-12: 76 hammer action keys with velocity and channel aftertouch
  • Memory -
    Patches: 180 preset / 120 user
    Performances: 180 preset / 120 user
  • Control - MIDI In/Out/Thru
  • Date Produced - 1993 - 1996

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