Stand by for some new Ensoniq Goodies!

13th May 2015:

Back in the 1980’s:

1984: There was the Beverley Hills Cop Movie and Soundtrack. Featuring tracks like Axel F. by Harold Faltermeyer and The Heat is On by Glenn Frey.

1987: Mega stars like Whitney Houston (I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Didn’t We Almost Have It All) and Michael Jackson (I Just Can’t Stop Loving You) dominated the charts.

Synth Pop was cool.

big hair

How I remember the Eighties…

July 1987: I discovered and bought an Ensoniq ESQ-1. There was no internet then. No mp3’s. No CD’s. At the time we had cassette tape recorders. We also had 4 track (multitracker) cassette recorders like the Fostex X-15.

DSCF0071-1

The Classic Fostex X-15 Series II Multitracker

The ESQ-1 came along and was a game changer. It was a synthesizer and a sequencer at the same time! All in one! That was a big deal.

The Ensoniq ESQ-1 Digital Wave Synthesizer

It had its own expandable memory (to boost its sequencer to what was then a massive 10,000 notes) and a series of additional plug in cartridges to boost the sounds available.

It was a keyboard powerhouse and a recording studio all in one. And I loved it! Here’s what it sounded like:

It came with two lots of 40 sounds. Version 2.0 and Version 3.2.

A while back I decided that it would be cool to re-sample these sounds and use them directly in a Digital Audio Workstation, like Reason. I still have the ESQ-1 but at the time there was no midi out in Reason, so I embarked on a quest to sample it.

After doing so, My son James gave me a midi to import and here  is the result.

Then I retrieved some more sounds from on old Ensoniq orange cassette. I have half a dozen audio tapes with saved sounds and saved sequences on, waiting to be retrieved and re-discovered. But tapes can snap, and mangle up, so one has to tread carefully. And the old cartridges are a bit iffy now too. So retrieving and then reformatting the archived sounds for posterity – in case of an equipment failure – seemed to be a pretty good idea. The reboot was born.

Combinator Backdrop Template Original ESQ-1 7

The ESQ-1 Combinator: “I’ll be back!”

BANK

You select your sounds from the Internal Banks [INT 1] with the grey buttons. The underlined 4XFADE is the voice selected.

 There is a slot in the ESQ-1 to allow one program cartridge to be used at a time, giving the user an additional 80 sounds to access – That’s 40 from “Internal”, 40 from “Cart A”, and 40 from “Cart B”. You simply use the black buttons to the right of the volume slider to switch between the “Internal” & “Cart” sounds and the numbered buttons 1 -4 to select your Banks (i.e. your blocks of ten sounds).

CART

Close up of the Cartridge Slot (for an extra 2 banks of 40 sounds = 80 extra)

The sounds you are about to hear are from the first cartridge in the series. When they were released they came with a little card showing you what the sounds were on each cartridge. Here’s a scanned version.

VPC-1aSo here are the first ten ESQ-1 sounds [BANK 1] re-sampled from VPC-1A – allocated to the first of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Sequenced in midi by David J. Grossman · ©1997 – and used with his kind permission.

By the way, Dave has an excellent resource for Bach fans here:
http://www.jsbach.net/midi/

And a Soundcloud page here:
https://soundcloud.com/electricbach

Why not go check it out and say Hi?

Variatio 1 a 1 Clav  – From The Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)
By Johann Sebastian Bach
Sequenced by David J. Grossman · ©1997
Adapted for ESQ-1 By Neil Paddock
Used with the midi author’s kind permission.

Thanks Dave. Your midis are awesome! Hope I haven’t messed it up too much. ; )

The Midi file used was 988-V01.mid from
http://www.jsbach.net/midi/midi_goldbergvariations.html

Be sure to check out Dave’s excellent midi resource for J.S. Bach at the link above and his Soundcloud page too!

https://soundcloud.com/electricbach

Track Notes:
This is all a bit of fun really. I am following in the footsteps of distinguished company. J.S. Bach, Wendy Carlos
I wanted something to showcase the Ensoniq ESQ-1’s latest soundpack, and I love the Goldberg Variations, so here it is.

STARTING TEMPO 100
ESQ-1 PATCHES IN ORDER:
1) TPIANO
2) BEGONE
3) ICEPOP
4) PNOSTR (+ REVERB)
5) STRBAS
6) PNOSTR & SING 6
7) TPIANO & STRBAS
8) BEGONE & SING 6
9) HRNSEC & SING 6
10) HRNSEC & SING 6 & STRBAS
11) BEGONE TPIANO ICEPOP & KICK2 & SEGULS
12) KIEV KICK & SEGULS

Recorded in Reason 7.1 with an imported midi file and the VPC-1A Sound Pack 01-10

For more details check out:
https://neilpaddock.selz.com/item/552381e7b79872135cfaea95

The Challenge:
I have tried to utilise all of the first ten sounds I re-sampled from the ESQ-1 Cartridge VPC-1A 01-10
which are, in order, with Patch Number:

41 TPIANO
42 BEGONE
43 HRNSEC
44 STRBAS
45 KICK 2
46 PNOSTR
47 SING6
48 KIEV 0
49 ICEPOP
50 SEGULS

Introducing them in order wasn’t really an option, as some work better than others. I transposed a few sections and experimented a bit with the bass line and the melody so that it sounded okay to me.

I really like the organ sound BEGONE in the second passage.

And the STRBAS rocks!!!

I threw KIEV & SEGULS in last as they really, really don’t work well with this piece. The KICK 2 sounds nice though.

Bach is great, amazing etc. etc. If you haven’t discovered him yet – Do it right now! ; ) Put his midis in a DAW and mess with them. The hours will disappear! It’s great fun. Try it. It’s what synthesizers were made for.

The good news is that you can grab these sounds for yourself with pretty much one click. No Tapes. No cartridges. Just a click or two. Check out our e-shop to see what patch sets are currently available.

ESQ-1 Rebooted VPC-1A 01-10

Soon, soon…

In the meantime, you can grab the second lot for FREE.

ESQ-1 Rebooted VPC-1A 11-20

More ESQ-1 FREEBIES!

And, if you want to know at a glance what other “recycled” ESQ-1 goodies we have available, click here:

Discarded ESQ-1

Catch up on our Recycled and Rebooted ESQ-1 Goodies here!

https://neilpaddock.selz.com/categories/synth—ensoniq-esq-1

A Reason Refill of all 40 patches is on the way too. This is what each patch sounds like. If you want to know more, refer to the individual Soundcloud songs notes for the patch names. The Refill is available now from here:

UPDATE: Six new Reason Refills launched 21st May 2015

Want to know more?

Simply click here:

http://www.howtoprogramdrums.com/new-reason-refills-for-esq-1-launched/

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