Ensoniq VFX / VFX-SD

Ensoniq VFX Image

Following up on the heels of the ESQ-1 and SQ-80 synths from Ensoniq comes the VFX with more polyphony and waveforms. The VFX allows for PPG-like synthesis using a sort of wavetable synthesis. This puts it into a unique class of digital synthesizers along with the PPG Wave series, Waldorf Microwave series, and Ensoniq SD-1, SQ-80, ESQ-1, and Fizmo.

The VFX has 21 voices of polyphony. A single patch can contain up to 6 of 109 waves in its ROM memory that can be combined and layered. Advanced and analog-like synth parameters including its dual multi-mode digital filters, three 11-stage envelopes, LFO, and 15 modulation sources allow you to further shape and morph your sounds. There's even a built-in 24-bit VLSI dual effects processor with reverb, chorus, flanging, and delay.

The VFX has a standard 61-note keyboard with velocity and polyphonic aftertouch. The synth also has full MIDI implementation with 12 channels for multitimbral functions. The VFX has a cartridge port as well, for storing sounds onto Ensoniq's proprietary media. The VFX is a digital synth, and its filter is pretty weak but the VFX makes some sweet strings and textural sounds but it won't be very handy for any "meaty drum and bass sounds. It has been used by Front 242, Rick Wakeman, Nick Rhodes, Tony Banks, Peter Vettese, T Lavitz, Jonathan Cain (Bad English, Journey), Richard Barbieri and Oscar Peterson.

Ensoniq VFX-SD Image

The VFX-SD adds a powerful 24-track sequencer for a total music production workstation. This is a professional quality sequencer with 25,000 note capacity expandable to 75,000, and it holds up to 60 sequences and songs. There is quantization (96 ppqn), real or step time input and auto-punch in/out. One thing that's kind of quirky, the sequencer's operating system gets loaded into the instrument's RAM memory from floppy disk (they replaced the bulky and proprietary cartridges of the VFX with a standard 3.5" floppy drive). This allowed Ensoniq to provide new operating systems that you could load in real easily. This was a good thing since the VFX was plagued by bugs during its early years and there were several subsequent OS versions released by Ensoniq, the most recent of which can still be downloaded.

The VFX-SD also adds new drum and percussion sounds including 24 drum kits. A disk originally shipped with the VFX-SD full of pre-sequenced drum patterns to get you going or inspired! Despite these newer features, the VFX-SD is totally compatible with the original VFX sound library. The VFX-SD also featured four individual outputs, MIDI Automated mixing, and an on-board 3.5" disk drive for storing your sound patches, sequences, songs, and SysEx MIDI messages. Unfortunately the VFX-SD did not do too well when it was released, so Ensoniq re-released it with a few enhancements and called it the SD-1.

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46 Visitor comments
Ashe35
May 28, 2011 @ 3:54 pm
You can trust them just fine if the keyboard fix, which has been known about for over 15 years, has been done. There are still a bunch that do not have it, tho. These thins are pad machines, and with the 11-stage envelopes and three envelopes per 'oscillator' you can make very complex sounds.
Gocoa
April 11, 2011 @ 5:01 pm
There are some "ok" sounds. But, overall, the VFX is like most women.....Cant trust them. Like marriage, it wont last. Couple of years and far gone.
Sebastian
March 8, 2011 @ 9:01 am
4 SALE - Ensoniq VFX-SD (used, of course), including accessories (power cable, foot switch, keyboard stand, manual)

Interested? Email me @ Sebastian_Schulz@gmx.de
Gizmo
January 5, 2011 @ 5:06 am
After further research I believe I have found the problem, time to break out the soldering iron and hard-wire two boards together. Apparently the culprit connector was the common problem, a combination of age/corrosion and pressure on the just-left-of-center keys.

To add to my earlier comment, this instrument has the perfect voices for my space game, zirconium, starbrass, new planet, merlin, just name a few, very atmospheric sounds :D
Gizmo
January 5, 2011 @ 3:31 am
I recently discovered a VXF-sd (that I thought was a dinosaur lol) in our studio and within moments of giving it juice and two cables to our ZoomR16, I was in love! I have been working on a space shooter game for a few years now and this instrument has inspired me to write some powerful, dark/light and ambient music for the game!

However, after about 15 minutes it begins resetting, calibrating and working normal for a minute or two, then floppy disk light blinks, resets... and repeating this cycle over again ... help?!?
 
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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 - 21 voices
  • Oscillators - 1 to 6 per voice. Wavetable has 109 waveforms (multi-sampled acoustic instruments, sustained waveforms, harmonic and inharmonic structures)
  • LFO - 1 LFO
  • Filter - Dual multi-mode digital filters; High- and Low-Pass with 12 or 24 dB/Oct. Band-pass filter with 12 dB/Oct.
  • Envelopes - 3 11-stage envelopes
  • Sequencer - (VFX-SD only) 24-track, 25,000 note capacity (expandable to 75,000), 60 songs and sequences, 96 PPQN quantization resolution
  • Effects - 24-bit Dual VLSI Multi-Effects: reverb, chorus, flanging, and delay
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (velocity and polyphonic aftertouch)
  • Memory - VFX: 120 patches, 12 performances
    VFX-SD: Over 200 patches, 3.5" disk drive for external loading and storage of sounds, sequences, songs, MIDI SysEx and VFX-SD sequencer Operating System.
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (12-channel multitimbral)
  • Date Produced - 1989

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