15 May 2008

Ensoniq ESQ-1

Don't you just love it when you get home and an E-bay packet is awaiting you in the hall? Well I do. I recently bid on an Ensoniq ESQ-1 on E-bay and I won it. It arrived today very quickly after the payment was made. So not all is scam on E-bay fortunately. On the left you see the box it came in and on the right the synthesizer after I unpacked it. I hooked it up right away after getting a power cord, because it didn't come with it. Probably the German guy I bought it from thought we have different power outlets here in the Netherlands, but actually they are exactly the same. But well I have about 50 powercords in spare here :) So no problem really. I knew from the auction text that the battery was empty, but did not realize that it didn't have any presets to play with. The first thing that has to be done is replace the battery now. I'm still doubting if I'm going to do that myself or leave that do the guy that is repairing my Juno 60 as well.

It turned out also that it has no headphones out. Normally the first thing I do is hook a pair of headphones up and fiddle around. Well I did put it anyway in audio out left/mono and got some sound, but only on one ear and quite soft. Not surprising off course, but at least I heard how it sounds. I played around with it for a little while. It sounds nice and digital like it is supposed to :) Editing on it is quite easy. The display is very big and you have a lot of knobs that go with the function you are editing. It has even a build in sequencer, but I'll probably never be using that, because I do everything in Sonar. It actually has very nice LFO's en very nice envelopes, much more parameters than on most synthesizers. That will mean that you can make complex sounds with it. Promises nice things :)

Well this is my first Ensoniq synthesizer and it sounds quite different from everything I already have, so it is a nice addition. I hope that I can use some nice sounds from it on future tracks. But first I'll take it to the studio and play around with it there and look on the internet what kind of battery I need. And well I don't have to backup the presets, because there are none :) Probably I'll put the factory default presets in it when it is finished. Oh and before I forget to mention it, Jean-Michel Jarre used this synthesizer as well, that was one of the reasons for me to buy it. You can find some more information on this synthesizer here if you like:



Jonah Dempcy said...

I just picked up an ESQ-1 today from a friend of a friend, who was giving it away after it collected dust in the basement for some years. It came with a card loaded with a bunch of great sounds he made, and I'd like to load them into the computer. Know how to do this? Maybe a sys-ex dump or something? I'll look around and try to figure it out. That way I can upload it and share with the community. Also it's saying I need to replace the battery so I guess I better figure that one out too.

Overall, I really like the sounds, and the analog warmth on account of the 8 analog filters it has.

Good stuff!

Synth.nl said...

Great that you have one too. I liked the sound as well. Mine is still in repair though. Do I can't lookup how to make a sysex dump. Usually I use Midi Quest from Sound Quest (http://www.squest.com/) for this purpose by the way. A very nice program that I use as remote programmer but also to load sounds into my synthesizers.

Mark said...

Great synth, guys. there are a zillion quality sounds out there for it.

Rick C. has a website that walks you through the patch save and dump procedure. Also the Windows VST clone can be used as a editor/librarian for the (better sounding) hardware version (which you are lucky enough to own).


Also, BuchtyNet's SQ80 page is the central location for all ESQ/SQ80 knowledge (the SQ80 is essentially the same machine).


Synth.nl said...

Thank you very much for that useful information :)

pascal clavier said...

Great synth! Check my ESQ-1 demos @ youtube:

demo 1:


demo 2:


demo 3:


Anonymous said...

A great synth. Still have my original bought new in the 80s. Here are a couple of tracks recorded with the ESQ-1 and a reverb (and that's it) so you can hear what it can do (output using the onboard sequencer in one pass):


All recorded back in the 80s on a Yamaha cassette multitrack

Anonymous said...

what do i do if my esq 1 is just playing one note automatically but others still play

Synth.nl said...

Automaticly? I'm not sure what you mean by that.