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rockerdiva

ensoniq e-prime question

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Anybody ever own one of these, or another ensoniq product?

 

Someone has loaned me this and wants to know if I want to buy it. Surfing the net, I find out that it came out in 1997. Seems ensoniq is no longer in business, they merged with emu or something. Maybe I should direct my questions to emu, but I was wondering if anyone here had any info.

 

I did find an owner's manual online ... it mentions that there is an internal battery that should last about 5 years and that once the battery dies, the keyboard loses presets and the battery has to be replaced at an ensoniq service center. It says that when the battery is dead, owner will get a message when they start it up - there is no message - so either the thing was barely used or had a battery replaced at some point - My question is this - will keyboards like this still work once the internal battery dies, but just wont save things you have programmed into it? I may buy it just to have a decent sounding weighted keyboard to practice on, I don't have to use all the features. I just want to know that the thing wont crap out on me soon so it doesn't play at all.

 

Looks like it was a pretty nice keyboard when it came out, lots of different sounds, drum kits, midi, etc. But like I said , I am just looking for a practice piano and would not mind if it just continued to play with piano sound ...

 

Sorry for the long post, any advice? Info?

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Well, I had never heard of the E-Prime, but I took a look:

 

http://www.sweetwater.com/publications/sweetnotes/sn-fall97/page-04.html

 

Looks like a solid professional instrument to me, not as adventurous sonically as other Ensoniqs (I have a Fizmo & a ZR-76 ROM) but full of those classic Ensoniq sounds and with that nice keybed. I wonder if the piano samples it uses are from William Coakley, like with the Ensoniq ZR-76? Anyway, my advice is to buy it and try to maintain it. There should be some place in your area - here in Los Angeles it's Advanced Musical Electronics - that can open it up, blow out the dust, make sure it's fully functioning, and replace the (most likely lithium) battery when needed.

 

I am not sure exactly how much functionality you would lose when the battery dies on this particular model, but it looks like a quality keyboard that you would want to maintain. How much is the seller asking?

 

It's also great you found the owner's manual - that is a big plus.

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Anybody ever own one of these, or another ensoniq product?


Someone has loaned me this and wants to know if I want to buy it. Surfing the net, I find out that it came out in 1997. Seems ensoniq is no longer in business, they merged with emu or something. Maybe I should direct my questions to emu, but I was wondering if anyone here had any info.


I did find an owner's manual online ... it mentions that there is an internal battery that should last about 5 years and that once the battery dies, the keyboard loses presets and the battery has to be replaced at an ensoniq service center. It says that when the battery is dead, owner will get a message when they start it up - there is no message - so either the thing was barely used or had a battery replaced at some point - My question is this - will keyboards like this still work once the internal battery dies, but just wont save things you have programmed into it? I may buy it just to have a decent sounding weighted keyboard to practice on, I don't have to use all the features. I just want to know that the thing wont crap out on me soon so it doesn't play at all.


Looks like it was a pretty nice keyboard when it came out, lots of different sounds, drum kits, midi, etc. But like I said , I am just looking for a practice piano and would not mind if it just continued to play with piano sound ...


Sorry for the long post, any advice? Info?

 

I used to own an E-Prime, back about 8-10 years ago. It was a nice unit, but heavy as a mutha. And the action on it bothered my hands. YMMV.

 

The keyboard will still work if the battery goes dead, but all your preset sounds will be lost. You can get around that by storing the internal memory contents onto a RAM card (the E-Prime uses PCMCIA cards) or a computer by doing a SysEx dump. That way if you ever lose the memory, you can reload it.

 

Even if you don't do that, you can always initialize the E-Prime back to its factory settings. You'd lose any custom sounds or sequencer data you've stored in it, but you'd be able to recover the factory patches.

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The Ensoniq E-prime is my prefered keyboard. I own two of them. I repair keyboards and electromic gear (since 1975), and repaired an e-prime for a friend. After learning about it, I bought two! It has a flying hammer weight keyboard with 76 keys - the Goldilocks of keyboards sizes. It is designed especially for the gigging keyboard player. Its pretty easy to use to set up the 8 possible zones and 300+ sounds. BTW, the piano sounds are totally excellent, with 64 voice polophony. There are ten or so organ sounds I use - all of them are credible. I have worked on Yamaha, Korg, Rolands and others, but this is the best all around keyboard. It weighs almost 50 lbs however. Good thing I have a solid stand.

Also, don't worry that ensoniq is outta business - parts are easily obtained from Syntaur in Texas.

Battery replacement is easy but you need a soldering iron. I replaced the lithium battery with a coin cell holder and CR2354 (560maH) battery. The original was BR2330 (255maH). You will probably need a PCMCIA memory card to save your settings - I have two 512K byte cards, but all you need is 256K. These cost about $100 on the street and have an internal battery (coin cell) which you should probably replace if you buy your card used (thats probably the only way).

We have a Kurzweil PC88 with the SAME key bed type (Fatar flying hammer) that was made about the same time as the e-prime (1997). They are similar in the keyboard feel, but the e-prime piano and organs sounds are MUCH better (sorry Ray). Also the e-prime wins with better midi channel control and layers, which I use all ther time.

One thing I don't like about the e-prime is that, although the expression pedal can be used for output volume control, it can omly change the volume of the total stereo output and cannot be assigned to individual zomes (like if I split the keyboard, I'd like to have bass output constant volume, while the right hand would be assigned the volume exp pedal).

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