Ensoniq SynthesizersBuying Guide

A guide to the classic lo-fi gems from the 1980s.

Ensoniq was an American company that began manufacturing synthesizers in the 1980s—some of the most affordable on the market at the time. The company was largely focused on producing consumer-grade instruments throughout its history, though several high-end models were produced as well.

The presence of lo-fi sounds is becoming more commonplace in a lot of today's musical genres and these classic Ensoniq synthesizers have the perfect character to capture that style and infuse it into your music.

The Mirage Series

Ensoniq's First Synthesizer Line

The first commercial synthesizer produced by Ensoniq was the Mirage, an 8-voice polyphonic digital synthesizer first produced in 1984. It features a 8-bit sampler with a maximum sampling rate of 32 kHz and 128 kb of ram. The limitations of this vintage build can inspire the creation of some truly fantastic lo-fi-style sounds.

The keyboard is split into two halves, allowing for two separate instruments to be used simultaneously. While the synthesizer creates digital sounds, it features some fantastic analog additions—most notably, an analog VCF with a low pass-filter and keyboard tracking. It also has five stage envelopes for the VCA and VCF, and has an LFO as well.

The Mirage has been released as several different model variations, both keyboard and rackmount offerings, which can be seen below.

Ensoniq's Popular Keyboard Synths

From the SQ Wave Series to the ASR-10

While Ensoniq manufactured several dozen synthesizer models throughout its history, there are several models in particular whose sounds have withstood the test of time and still remain highly coveted by vintage synthesizer enthusiasts.

These lines include the SQ Wave synths (featuring wave synthesis technology), the performance-oriented EPS synths, and some of the higher-end entries, like the ASR-10 and TS-10.

SQ Wave Synthesizers

EPS Synthesizers

High-End Hits

Ensoniq's Rackmount Synths

Space-Saving Versions of Keyboard Classics

More and more synth enthusiasts are forgoing traditional keyboard synthesizers in favor of space-saving rackmount units. The rackmount variations of these models can be great options for city dwellers or anyone else constrained by space limitations.

Ensoniq, Expanded

Effects Processors & Drum Samplers

While Ensoniq is most famous for its keyboard and rackmount synthesizers, the company also manufactured a handful of other great products including effects processors and drum samplers. Check out a few of them below.

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Editorial content by Michael Green

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