“Time Synthis” a tour inside the Ensoniq SQ-80 Hidden Waves

October 6, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized 

Jack Girouard explores hidden waves on the Ensoniq, here are the details:

An electronic piece called “Time Synthis” explores some of the hidden waves of the SQ-80 “Cross Wave Synthesizer”. Photo slide show of pictures I took showing the steps of the upgrade as well as other shots inside and outside. This is a very special synthesizer, super clean inside too! (its not for sale).

I bought this synth from an ebay member: thomasb93. I don’t want to give a source away, but he does a great job refurbing synths! I found this one, and was well worth it!
Here is a description of what he did with this SQ-80: “All buttons, wheels, faders, keys and disk drive work as they should. It has a new 3V lithium installed. The power supply passes the correct voltage at all test points and the CEM 3360 analog filter sounds great. This synth also features polyphonic aftertouch. The insides of the synth look new and the key contacts, foam pads and keyboard pcb look new as well.” I feel proud to own this well cared for instrument! Thanks Tom!

I did the upgrade when I got it. Had a little scare, I put the Hi Lo eproms in backwards, for the record, when doing that and restarting your SQ-80, the display shows nothing but a single digit 3 off to the very left bottom corner of the display. Note: in the dark angle view shot of the main board, if you look closely enough you’ll see the eproms in reversed. I wouldn’t recommend doing this but fortunately taking them out and putting them in correctly brought me to the Soft Reset screen seen here. Press one button and the new OS version can be read…none of the patches were lost because it was a soft reset and had the latest eprom previously, 1.8. These eproms, Oshi and Oslo, are designated as version 1.8HW, I believe it can be refered to as version 1.83 as well.

This is an improvisation done on two tracks, all SQ-80 with a Lexicon MX-300 doing some effect processing. Note: these are patches I’ve created, the upgrade to 1.8HW doesn’t give you a new set of patches, it just gives you 52 more wave types that can be used for the three oscillators. They simply add to the list of waveforms simply as numbers 75-127. The patches used in this video used hidden waveforms 78, 79, 80, 82, .

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