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Sonic State’s “Inside Synthesis” with William H.

Old, outdated synthesizers like the ESQ1 are some of our favorite pieces of shiznit (as William H. might have it).  --Actually, at the end of the video the author praises the ESQ with some examples of its versatility.



If you just want to see the synth in action, without the training content, you might want to watch the second video first.

Follow this link to Sonic State so that you can download the two examples patches (detailed below) that allow you to play the same sounds as in the video .  The sounds you can download are:

  • Arpeggio.syx- An 8 note LFO “sequence”.  Even though the article says the file is for the ESQ only, it works just fine in the SQ80 and SQ8L.
  • Drums.syx - A kick/snare/hihat beat with the same timing as arpeggio.syx.

NOTE:  These are PATCH files, not BANK files!  Be sure to load them into your rig using the “Load Single Patch” command, or you will not be able to play these sounds.

The “underpowered CPU” they refer to in the article is the Motorola 6809.  Most models will use a Motorola MC68B09EP, which is one of the faster incarnations of the chip, although not as fast as the Hitachi 6309.

And here is the second “bonus content” part of the video.

I enjoyed these well-produced videos, both for their content and the good-natured fun the host pokes at the machine.  I think you’ll agree that the techniques outlined here are good tools to add to your bag of tricks, no matter what kind of music you play.

 Even though I’ve used LFOs in this manner for years, it never occurred to me to consider a square wave LFO as a "bit". I like the analogy that three LFOs can work in concert as a 3-bit sequencer. With 3 bits you get 8 steps, which resembles some of the classic step sequencers.  And the SQ8L features an additional LFO, for full 16 step sequencer goodness!


Direct Links to the sound files:

With the kind tolerance of the Sonic State website, Here are William H’s drum and arpeggio patch files:

Sysex Example Files

  • Arpeggio.syx - An 8 note sequence for the Ensoniq ESQ1 only
  • Drums.syx - A kick/snare/hihat beat with the same timing as arpeggio.syx.

Layer the two programs on the ESQ1/SQ80. They are timed to will work together via “magic” LFO frequencies.


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