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Ensoniq ESQ1
Overall Rating
Submitted: July 1st, 2004
by gothicindustial
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Sound Quality
In my view, this category is the most important. The ESQ-1 sounds good. For the $99 that my wife paid for mine, it's the best synth deal ever. It is in league with much more expensive synthesizers. It is very versatile, since it can sound like a true analog synth or more like a digital/analog hybrid (which it is), or even dupe some rompler sounds (it's piano sound isn't great, but it's passable with a healthy dose of reverb). Sync sounds are strong, and AM sounds are clangorous and weird, just how I like them. It can do great pads, Moogy leads, and bells, and its complexity allows for all manner of weird evolving textures! There is a tradeoff, though. The ESQ doesn't quite have the sheer power of a true analog synth, nor does it have the sheen and realism of a true rompler. That said, it is capable of some powerful and beautiful sounds.
I received it with the battery warning on. I desoldered the old one and solder in a new one without trouble. I programmed for about a month, and then the ESQ-1 crashed. I had to do a soft reset to get it working again. Unfortunately, a soft reset deletes all your saved pathes, so I'm back to the mostly lame presets. However, I think mine had a hard time in shipping (sustained a little damage to it's plastic endbell). Plus, it fell off it's keyboard stand once, breaking a few keys. I suppose that it's good that it works at all.
General Comments
This synth is absolutely wonderful for the money. I can't imagine a better bang for the buck synth. It does a little bit of everything, and it sounds damn good doing it. The only issue for me is that it doesn't do much of anything better than the other gear I have. I like my Pulse and Bass Station better for basses and leads, I like my sampler better for realistic sounds, and I like my Virus better for pads (Virus and ESQ are about on par for digital sounds). I'm still trying to find a real niche for the ESQ-1 in my studio. It certainly is deeper than my other synths, so maybe as I become a better programmer, I will make it really soar! At any rate, I will never sell it. It's worth almost nothing because ESQ-1's are cheap and mine is beaten up. It's worth much more to me than the $50 or so I could get for it. If it were stolen, I wouldn't replace it. It is a good synth, but it hasn't really found place in my heart. That said, if my entire studio were stolen, I would buy this first, because it is so versatile, has a sequencer, and sounds great.
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