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This page is not affiliated with the Emu/Ensoniq Corporation.
If you were looking for them, please follow this link.


A word from the editor
Trying to reach me?

This page exists since mid 1997. During this time it has steadily increased -- many thanks to all contributors! I'm rather amazed how much feedback I get and how many ESQ1/SQ80 users are still out there.

In issue 8/2000 of the German KEYS Magazine, our beloved Ensoniq synth was featured for which they interviewed me.

Suggestions, questions, acclamation, or simple curiosity about who that guy is you might want to place here:

rainer@buchty.net

To fight spam, I'm running RBL-based filtering and Greylisting, so if your ISP's mail server is blacklisted or doesn't play according to the SMTP RFC, you might encounter bounces.


Please check out this page first before mailing me!
I really appreciate your trust in me, but I also hate typing the same over and over again ... So if you're just searching for a manual, ROM dumps, help replacing the batteries (many thanks to Rick C. for his well explained Howto!), you'll find all this and even more on this page.

If you have a question about machines different from ESQ-1 (and no, the SQ-1 is not the same, not even the same family), ESQm, SQ80, and the Mirage line of samplers please go straight to SynthZone. I couldn't tell you anything else ...


Navigation
I've accumulated too much stuff on this page. However, I still believe in a "one page fits it all" design, keeping clicking to a minimum. After all, they invented mouse wheels for easy web-site scrolling ;) So if you want to spare yourself some scrolling, you may want to click on one of those:
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One day I was really amazed finding a cashier's cheque in my mail. Some kind visitor of this page sent me a $5 donation as a gratitude. In case you too want to support this page, there's now an easier way than sending paper around the globe :)
Support this page →
SQ8L: An SQ80-emulating VSTi

Please note:

  • I'm not the author of this plugin, Siegfried Kullmann is. If you have questions about this plugin, please ask him, not me. You will find his contact data in the README linked below.

  • Yes, it's sad, but development of SQ8L has effectively stopped years ago. Use it as it is. Further updates are highly unlikely.

  • No, I don't have the source code, and yes, there were more than one attempt at publicly releasing or even buying the source from the author.

  • I'm fully aware that several of you would love to see an Audio Unit, a Reaper plugin, and possibly some other plugin versions of this. For the above reasons, these are even less likely than a further update of the VSTi. Like above, there have been several unsuccessful attempts at convincing the author to write such.

  • You want to re-create the plugin and need my expertise? I'm all open -- drop me a mail. But please, please not regarding the above matters.

Having said this ... Enjoy!

SQ8L VSTi

A picture says more than 1000 words. Click on it to download or here for the README.

Timeline

  • (2008-06-19) V0.91b
    New & improved LFO and EG models, immediate parameter changes, minor bugfixes
  • (2007-11-18) V0.9b
    Improved voice management and synthesis, enhanced MIDI capabilities, Polypressure support, GUI rework
  • (2007-05-31) V0.84a
    GUI rework, improved filter algorithms and additional sound engine enhancements
  • (2007-02-26) V0.831a
    Fixes rendering problems in Ableton Live
  • (2007-01-28) V0.83a
    Installer bugfix, SQ8L now requires no installer anymore -- just unpack it into a directory of your choice.
  • (2007-01-25) V0.82a
    Several bugfixes, especially problems with hosts using full-screen should now be fine. Minor code rewrite to further lower CPU demands.
  • (2006-12-04) V0.81a
    Fixes some aliasing problems the original SQ80 doesn't show. Due to some minor code rewrite it even takes less CPU power than V0.8a.

How does it sound? (Examples are versions prior to V0.84)

  • Click here. 11 Instances of the Plugins, each calculating a single sound. No effects, no EQ.
    (Song composed and arranged by Siegfried Kullmann.)
  • Direct comparison between original (A) and plugin (B).
    Done by Chris Hülsbeck.
  • SQ8L in the mix: 6 instances plus a drum loop.
    Done by Subject of Ski Rize Studios
  • Another nice demo featuring just SQ8L plus external effects.
    Done by Sami Koskivaara.

But I don't run Windows!

  • SQ8L and Linux
    SQ8L works under Linux (tested w/ Ubuntu 8.04 and Slackware 12.0). You need the following packages installed on your machine:
    • Wine (1.0.x or up)
    • jack (0.109.2 or up)
    • dssi (0.9.1 or up)
    • dssi-vst (0.7 or up)

    Create an install directory where you plan to store all your VST files, e.g., /home/buchty/VST. Install SQ8L (and eventually other VSTi) into this directory, then perform the following steps:
    1. Configure Wine for jack output by running winecfg and selecting the JACK driver from the Audio section.
    2. Export the VST folder path, e.g. export VST_PATH=/home/buchty/VST/
    3. Register the VSTi with dssi by running ./dssi-vst-scanner from within your dssi-vst installation directory which is /usr/local/lib/dssi/dssi-vst/ on Ubuntu and other Debian-derived distros. If you're unsure where to to find the dssi-vst directory, try locate dssi-vst.
    4. Fire up the jack daemon by typing jackd -d alsa. You might want to enter this into your boot process, if not already done. (If you don't use the ALSA sound system or have more than one sound cards installed, refer to JACK manual.)
    5. Finally, start SQ8L by typing jack-dssi-host dssi-vst.so:SQ8L.dll or from within your preferred sequencer software, e.g. Rosegarden.

    Lazy typers might want to create individual start scripts for each VST and place them, e.g., into /usr/local/bin/ or ~/bin. Don't forget proper access rights (chmod 755), otherwise they won't start...

  • Mac OS X
    First of all, you may want to consider VSTi Host from defectiverecords.com/. Given the media echo it got on the web, it seems like a solid solution -- and with $35 also rather affordable. However, I don't have any experience on whether or how it interacts with SQ8L. For those who want to go the hard way: jack, dssi, and Wine are also available for Mac OS, but might require some more work to get them up and running. If anyone wants to take on this one and maybe even providing readily installable packages, let me know.

    For the moment, all I can do is providing the following pointers:
    • Jack OS X is available from here.
    • dssi and dssi-vst you can download here.
    • WINE is available from here. Please note that there's also a commercially available WINE port to Mac OS called CrossOver Mac which you may already have running on your system.
    As I don't own a Mac and have also no experience with Mac OS whatsoever, please understand that any question in this direction will be answered by something as helpful as a friendly shrug.

Please note: This software was not written by me but by Siegfried Kullmann, so see the README for his contact address. If you encounter problems or glitches, find bugs etc., please contact him directly.



Repair and spare parts available!
In 2005, I was lucky to acquire what was offered to me as the last existing stock of Mirage, ESQ1, and SQ80 supplies. This is all so-called "new old stock", i.e., not parts cannibalized from defective, pre-used machines but virgin stuff.

If I hadn't bought these parts from a former authorized Ensoniq repair center they would have been dumped and destroyed ...

So if you are searching for replacement parts to repair your beloved machine, check out the Ensoniq Shoppe. What's not in here, I don't have -- sorry.

Please note that this is not my primary business (actually no business at all). Please allow a day or two for checking out shipping costs and coming back to you.


ESQ1/SQ80 Mailing List
The ESQ1/SQ80 Mailing List is accessible via

http://lists.buchty.net/listinfo/sq80

Feel free to subscribe yourself! In case you want to post from more than one email address, register all of them (and eventually switch off list mail delivery for all but one). It is not possible to post from other than registered email addresses.

Please notice that the same site also offers the cancellation procedure in case you want to cancel your subscription.


Software (Programs, Sounds, ROM Dumps) Tech and Non-Tech Information

SQ80 Toolkit
For the lazy readers: This software is only running on Linux systems. It will neither work under DOS, MacOS nor will I provide a Windows version. (You still want a DOS/Windows/MacOS port? Use the source, Luke!)

This software allows to read & write SQ80 disks on Linux systems aswell as sound bank conversion from .ESQ and .MDX files to the toolkit´s own bank dump format. V0.91 includes source code & documentation.

Since more and more people are asking for a non-Linux version, I've started to rewrite the SQ80 toolkit to make it easily portable. Also, it should be much more reliable - and finally, it doesn't need any assisting software package. However, this software is still in pre-release state which currently means that the sq80copy program is still under development. Also, the converters aren't included yet.

A word of caution: This code is messy, ugly, outdated, and if I rewrote it today I would do it differently. But it still does the job (for me, that is), so why waste time with beautifying. If it doesn't compile on your machine, sorry, but I don't have the resources to provide compilation support.

SQ80 Toolkit V1.0 pre-release

SQ80 Toolkit V0.91
fdutils (needed for SQ80 Toolkit V0.91)
 

SQ80 disk dumps  (for use with SQ80 Toolkit only!)
SQ80 Factory Disk (VSD-99) [Contents]
SQ80 Essential I (VSD-2) [Contents]
SQ80 Performance I (VSD-3) [Contents]
Collected Sounds I [Contents]
Collected Sounds II [Contents]
Collected Sounds III (removed due to copyright reasons) [Contents]

The Collected Sounds Disks contain all the sound banks listed below.


SQ80 sound bank dumps  (for use with SQ80 Toolkit only!)

2K ESQ (54 Banks)
ESQ cartridge (2 Banks)
ESX cartridge (4 Banks)
ESX Double Brass cartridge (8 Banks)
MT32 Emulation (3 Banks)
PA cartridge (4 Banks)
Transoniq Hacker Patches (10 Banks)

The Cesium Sound patches have been removed due to copyright reasons. If you are interested in them please visit www.cesiumsound.com.


Disclaimer:
I got the above bank dumps from public FTP servers and by eMail, so I don't know whom the copyright of these banks belong to. It even may be that some of these still are sold - if this is the case please drop me a mail and I will remove the concerned sound bank(s) if desired by the rightholder.


SQ80 OS Dumps


Keyboard Controller (KPC) ROM V1.5

OS 1.8 ROM low
OS 1.8 ROM high

OS 1.7 ROM low
OS 1.7 ROM high

The 1.7 version is just there for completeness sake and historical reasons. In case you need to replace your OS ROMs for any reason, go for OS 1.8.

Create your own customized SQ80 OS V1.8 version

Thanks to Steve Gilmer for the 1.7 and KPC dumps!


SQ80 Waveforms

WaveROM #1
WaveROM #2
WaveROM #3
WaveROM #4


ESQ-1 OS Version 3.5

ESQ1 OS3.5 update manual
OS ROM low
OS ROM high

Create your own customized ESQ1 OS V3.5 version


ESQm OS Version 1.0

OS ROM


ESQ1 Waveforms

WaveROM #1
WaveROM #2


Other Ensoniq stuff

Please do not ask me questions about these machines. I haven't played neither hacked them yet - I just read out the ROMs for your pleasure...

VFX OS 2.10b (high)
VFX OS 2.10b (low)

EPS-16 OS (high)
EPS-16 OS (low)
JEDEC file for EPS-16 PAL
Logic Equations for EPS-16 PAL

AWP-5000 OS (high)
AWP-5000 OS (low)

Thanks to Jon Corley for sending me a bunch of main boards plus schematics!


Disclaimer:


The copyright of the above ROM dumps still belongs to the EMU-Ensoniq Corporation (read: Creative Labs) or whoever they might have sold the rights to.


Historical and other stuff

The following are various bits & pieces which might be of some nostalgic value. Please remember that some of those are highly outdated.

Authorized Ensoniq Repair Centers
Voice Cartridge #1 Manual


For the die-hard hackers

  • Here's a piece of software I quickly hacked together to reverse-engineer the display/panel processor protocol. You would require a patched serial card (16MHz instead of 14.7456MHz / 2MHz instead of 1.8432MHz -- depends whether your card gets the clock via ISA or uses a crystal) to achieve the desired comm speed of 62k5 (8n1).


Software not coming from me

  • Stuck with your old Ensoniq sequences? Translate them into Standard MIDI Files using Margus Kliimask's converter software (external site).
  • The SQ80 waves made computer loadable (AIFF) by //christian as gzipped tar (.tgz, 309kB) and ZIP (.zip, 455kB)
     
  • ESQ138, a pretty helpful librarian by Steve Day (sad001@ccnet.com). If you need a program to handle MIDI SysEx dumps (.MDX, .ESQ) you should give this one a try. AFAIK this software is free.


The Transoniq Hacker Archive

Unfortunately, one of the most valuable magazines for our beloved synthesizers has not only gone out of business but also completely vanished from the net - I'm speaking of the Transoniq Hacker.

For this reason, the Transoniq Hacker Archive was created. As time allows, more and more issues will be filed. Please be patient, scanning in the old issues takes time.

This archive is run with the former publisher's permission and endorsement. If, however, you are an author of individual articles and do not like this article to be included here, let me know.

 

Ensoniq's original Schematics & Manuals

Here's the authentic stuff. Unfortunately, copies lose quality with every copy generation - and what I got looked like a 3rd generation copy. So don't expect something like readability, sometimes you just have to use imagination. I've scanned the schematics with an enlargement factor of 200% so hopefully they won't be completely unreadable.

ESQ-1 Schematics

Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Display/Panel

Digital Part (1/3)
Digital Part (2/3)
Digital Part (3/3)
Analog Part (1/3)
Analog Part (2/3)
Analog Part (3/3)

Scroll down for Tony Gonzalez' hand-drawn and documented schematics.

 
ESQ-1 Service Manual

Index (808kB)
General Part (2.2MB)
Metal ESQ1 (2.4MB)
Plastic ESQ1 (2.5MB)
ESQm (2.1MB)

Windows Users: WinZIP can handle .tar-files.

Thanks to Eddie K. Lee for scanning.

 
ESQ-1 Musician's Manual

Intro (89k)
Part 1 (1.35M)
Part 2 (1.44M)
Part 3 (239k)
Complete (3.1M)

Thanks to Thierry Pottier for scanning and Per Mattsson for creating the PDF archives.

 
ESQm Musician's Manual

Manual (4.9M)
Thanks to Mark Wynkoop for Scanning, OCRing and PDFing.
(Yes, I know. Verbing weirds language.)

 
SQ80 Musician's Manual

Manual (5.9M)
Thanks to Mark Wynkoop for Scanning, OCRing and PDFing.

 
SQ80 Schematics (updated, 2002-07-24)

Keyboard Processor Circuitry (KPC)
Keyboard (lower)
Keyboard (upper)

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

Display/Panel

Digital Part (left half)
Digital Part (right half)
Analog Part (left half)
Analog Part (right half)
Thanks to Jon Corley for sending me SQ80 (and many other) schematics for free.

 
SQ80 Service Manual

SQ80 Service Manual

Retyped and PDFed by me.


Disclaimer:
The copyright of the above schematics and manuals still belongs to the EMU-Ensoniq Corporation (read: Creative Labs) or whoever they might have sold the rights to.


Non-official Schematics and Manuals


ESQ1 Schematics
drawn by Tony Gonzalez (∗May 17, 1963 †Nov 4, 2012)

PSU (1)
PSU (2)
Clock Generator
DOC Arbiter
Reset Generator
CPU
Address Generation
OS ROMs
OS and SeqRAM
Keyboard Controller
Cartridge Interface
Seq. Expansion Interface
Wave ROMs
DUART & MIDI
DOC
DOC trimming & analog voltages
Voice output/routing
CV Generation
CV Distribution
Analog inputs
Voice Processor (CEM3379)
Components for VP
Output stage & volume VCA

Awesome work, Tony!
SQ80 Schematics
Page 1
Page 2
Memory Map
Program Cartridge
Cartridge
ESQ-1 Sequencer Memory Expansion
SME-1
Official Manual


Technical Manuals

Inside SQ80 (PDF, 8MB)


Documented ROM Listing

available here (ZIP, 200kB)


Turn your ESQ-1 into a SQ80


Documentation of ICs

Sound generation
5503DOC (Soundengine)
ICS1261 (aka 5503D or DOC)
CEM3360 (Dual VCA)
CEM3379 (Analog Voice Processor)
SSM2300 (8x S&H Multiplexer)

Please note that the original Q chip as used in those Mirages featuring the piggy-back PCB is different. It does not include the ADC, and also features a slightly different pinout for lacking the S&H stages which are included in the 1261D.

Computing engine and I/O
6809E (Microprocessor)
6809E Programming Manual
WD1772 (Floppy Controller)
WD177x data sheet (1.6MB)
MC2681 (DUART)
Display components
R6500 (Auxiliary Processor)
TL5810 (Display Driver)
TL4812 (Display Driver)
10957-50 (ESQm display buffer/driver)
Misc analog
AD7524 (DAC)
AD7574 (ADC of Q chip / integrated in DOC)
LM2925 (Voltage Regulator)

The R6500 is used on several machines in various configurations. It serves as display/panel processor on both, ESQ-1 and SQ80, and also as keyboard processor on ESQ-1 and Mirage.


Miscellaneous Information


Repair FAQ: Replacing the Battery
(external site)

Repair FAQ: Upgrading the OS
(external site)
Repair FAQ: No Sound Checklist
Repair FAQ: Replacing the LM2925
Repair FAQ: Replacing the disk drive
FAQ: How to factory reset ESQ-1/SQ80
FAQ: Hidden Functions of ESQ-1/SQ80
SMP08: a pin-by-pin replacement for the SSM2300

SQ80 Expansion Project
Hidden Waveforms - an introduction

External Resources
By following the below links you are leaving ensoniq.org and buchty.net; I can and will take no responsibilities for anything you find on those external pages. Please also note that the order of listing does not reflect any evaluation or ranking. As I run this page for my personal fun, don't get payments of any kind from 3rd parties, I also take the right to change or even entirely remove this list at will.
  • Stuck with your old Ensoniq sequences? Translate them into Standard MIDI Files using Margus Kliimask's converter software.
  • Check out Rick C's photo documentation on various ESQ1 repair projects.
  • If you search for replacement batteries or disk drives visit the Route 66 Studios
  • Free banks for ESQ1/SQ80 and SQ8L on Mark Wynkoop's Score for Sale.
    Plus a really great advertising for SQ8L, I must say ;)
  • Glenn J. did some nice sounds for the SQ80. Check out his page.
  • Even more sounds you can get from Cesium Sound.
  • Other Ensoniq Resources from SynthZone.

Thanks & Acknowledgements

Until now I spent a lot of time analyzing the SQ80 and partly the ESQ-1. Since I got no support from Ensoniq at all I had to gain the knowledge presented on this page totally by my own. People I like to thank are
  • Alan D. Kok for providing an excellent 6809 page
  • Thomas Tahsin-Bey for lending me his copy of Rodney Zak's "Programming the 6809"
  • Henrik Gudath for sending me the DOC programming information (derived from the Apple IIGS hardware manual)
  • Martin Käser for even more DOC information including the pinout.
  • Jon Nicoll for providing the ESQ-1 ROM dumps and donating me two books about the 6809 and other ancient microprocessors and peripherals.
  • Again Jon for providing dumps of various sound cartridges.
  • Glenn P. Landry for the original ESQ-1 schematics.
  • Jan Pniewski for selling me the SQ80 tech manual.
  • Eric "Earache" Nofsinger for sending me 1600 sound programs.
  • Geoffrey Mainwaring for sending me ESQ138.
  • Dave O'Neill for the R6500 datasheet.
  • Eddie K. Lee for scanning the ESQ-1 service manual.
  • Clint Turner for providing SSM2300 and SMP08 datasheets
  • Again Clint for the ESQ-1 wave ROMs
  • Thierry Pottier for spending so much time scanning the ESQ-1 Musician's Manual
  • Per Mattsson for creating PDFs out of Thierry's scans
  • Jon Corley for donating me plenty of invaluable stuff
  • Eberhard Pichowiak for the ESQm ROM dumps
  • Again Eddie K. Lee for sending me a defective ESQ-1 display unit
  • Paul Maddox for sending me a defective ESQ-1 main board
  • //christian for doing the raw-to-AIFF conversion of the SQ80's waves
  • Steve Gilmer for the SQ80 OS1.7 and KPC1.50 dumps
  • Kirk Slinkard for continously scanning in Transoniq Hacker issues
  • Michael Hyman for the original ICS1261 (5503 DOC) datasheet
  • Paul Maddox for PDFing the ICS1261 datasheet
  • Richard Choy for the battery replacement and OS upgrade howto
  • Mark Moulding for scanning in and PDFing several issues of Transoniq Hacker
  • Caithleann Pont for providing further issues of Transoniq Hacker
  • Christopher Souza for scanning various "historical" documents and additional manuals.
  • Again Kirk Slinkard and William Pont for establishing contact with the former TH publishers.
  • Eric Geislinger, the former TH publisher, for giving his permission to setting up and running the TH archive.
There's still a lot of work to be done. The documentation of the ROM routines is far from being complete. All information offered here is provided as is and based on my investigation, correctness cannot be guaranteed - use it at your own risk.

What I love to get is all type of (E)SQ related hardware to support my further work on these since Creative Labs/Emu/Ensoniq doesn't give us tech support on this "ancient" hardware anymore.
 


Disclaimer
I recently was informed that on eBay some website harvesters are selling CDs with information which -- to my knowledge -- is available pretty much nowhere but here or originated from here prior to spreading.

This website was set up to provide information for free. Because of this, not only me but numerous people contributed to this website either by offering information to publish (like hand-drawn schematics, or software) or donation of hardware to support reverse-engineering.

In accord with other major contributors to this website I hereby interdict any re-selling of information found on this site, especially as some sort of "collector CD" on eBay.

If you run across such a rip-off, drop me a note.


www.memi.com