Monday, November 14, 2011

Ensoniq SQ-80

I bought an SQ-80!

Wow. That flash really brings out the worst in machines as well as humans.

I've been curious about the ESQ-1 and the SQ-80 for a while but never really prioritized it.
Now with most of my analogue hunger stilled, I took the opportunity to grab a wavetable synthesizer with analog CEM filters. So, I bought it and had it sent to me in a hard case. Picked it up 10 days ago.
The previous owner took the old battery out and put a CR2032 in a holder in for me, so that's taken care of.
Nice! :)

Hmmm, I think this is my first "digital" synth. (I mean digitally created waveforms, don't start the DCO-discussions...), samplers and softsynths excluded of course.
Still, the filters are analog ;)

Unfortunately the filters don't self-oscillate, although the chip is able to make it happen. The filters can be automatically tuned (You want the cutoff frequency to be the same across all voices) by the OS and in the process it makes sure they don't go into self-oscillation, which is a pity. The filter does sound nice though.
I have an old firmware version (1.40 I think) so I have to find a couple of 27C256 EPROMs so I can burn the 1.80 firmware onto them. I have already found a bug :)
When using both velocity and envelope to modify oscillator frequency, if I hit a key hard, it seems the mod value "wraps". The velocity curve is just a simple slope with no attack or anything.
When I hit the key softly the pitch starts high and falls slowly according to the fall time.
When I hit they key hard the pitch starts a bit lower and falls but then suddenly jumps higher and continues to fall from there... 63+63 = 100? or something..  I don't know, but I hope it's fixed in 1.80 :)

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