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.

CatSynth Pic: Finnegan and Ensoniq Samplers

Finnegan shares his latest composition on a pair of Ensoniq Samplers. Submitted by Greg Cole via our Facebook page.

samplers rather than synths but this is Finnegan who spends most days in the studio with me…’helping’.

We at CatSynth are quite familiar with Ensoniq’s venerable line of sampling workstations. I got an EPS in 1989, and then upgraded to an ASR-10 a few years later. The latter is still in storage here at CatSynth HQ.

CatSynth Pics: Gracie and Ensoniq SQ-80

Gracie and Ensoniq SQ-80

Gracie is back!  This time with an Ensoniq SQ-80 synthesizer. From Alsún Ní Chasaide (Alison Cassidy) via Facebook.

It seems that Gracie really likes this particular synth 😸

The SQ-80 is an interesting synth that came out about the same time as the Ensoniq EPS (which along with its successor the ASR-10 were mainstays of my studio until about 2000).  From Vintage Synth Explorer:

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.

CatSynth video: Stonewall Catson (Ensoniq SQ-80)

Submitted by Carl Peczynski via our Facebook page.