Gracie and Ensoniq SQ-80

Gray and white cat looking at a keyboard synthesizer "SQ80" on a gray carpet.

The indomitable Gracie is back, this time with an Ensoniq SQ-80 waveform hybrid synthesizer. She is clearly taking her quality-control inspection duties seriously! From our friends at Synthetic Dreamscapes.

The SQ-80 allowed one to mix up to three waveforms at once (e.g., a transient and a long time), along with an analog four-pole VCF and a VCA. It was a successor to the popular ESQ-1, and paved the way for modern wavetable synths.

Arturia created the SQ-80 V virtual version of this classic, which we reviewed here at CatSynth.

Persephone in the Studio

Persephone (aka “Mewskers”) is in the command chair of her very impressive studio. This studio is also used by our friend Rob Robinson and his industrial/noise/EBM project Order of the Static Temple (where we found this photo).

In front of Persephone is a Nord keyboard, to her left is a Sequential synthesizer, behind that a venerable Roland SH-101. We also see offerings from Behringer, Akai, Korg, and Ensoniq!

You can see more of Persephone via her tag.

Pinkie and Ensoniq VFX

Pinkie the cat and Ensoniq VFX

Pinkie has just written a new sound patch on the Ensoniq VFX and she is very proud of it 😺. Submitted by Edda Jayne Hill via our Facebook page.

She will probably switch on the Atari ST and get a sequence going next 👍

Sounds like a great combination. The VFX was the successor to the Ensoniq SQ-80, a flexible wavetable synthesizer that could achieve complex timbres by shifting through different waveforms, a technique pioneered by the PPG Wave. It was released at about the same time as I got my Ensoniq EPS (as I was very focused on sampling at the time). But the VFX is particularly intriguing now as we are in the midst of a proliferation of wavetable-based instruments.

The Atari ST is another interesting electronic-music artifact from the late 1980s, but that’s a story for another time.

CatSynth Pic: Esper and Ensoniq DP/4

Esper has found a nice napping spot underneath an Ensoniq DP/4 effects processor. Submitted by Xeper Kalypso via Facebook. Photo slightly enhanced in the studios of CatSynth HQ to bring out the cat and the synth 😸

The DP/4 was quite the popular and powerful effects system in its day. Some of the algorithms were included in the Ensoniq ASR-10 as well.