SynthsEnsoniq ⇝ Ensoniq VFX

Ensoniq VFXEnsoniq VFXEnsoniq VFXEnsoniq VFXEnsoniq VFXEnsoniq VFXEnsoniq VFX

The VFX is the first all-digital synthesizer created by Ensoniq. It can combine up to 6 waveforms in a single patch, resulting in some complex layered sounds. Its sample ROM includes a set of transwaves that can be used for a wave sequencing synthesis.

The VFX contains a set of 17 transwaves that can be used for wave sequencing. Here is the transwave list:

How do I check my OS version?

Press Preset + Master.

What is the newest OS version for the VFX?

2.30

What other key combinations can I use?

Preset + Compare: Runs analog tests

Preset + Soft Button 1: Initializes system (Beware: will erase all patches.)

Preset + Soft Button 3: Reset (Soft-reboot)

Differences between the VFX models

The waveforms in the VFX-SD that are not contained in the VFX are the two wave classes, DRUM-SOUND and MULTI-DRUM. Here's what's missing:

 DRUM-SOUND       MULTI-DRUM
 gate-kick        all-perc
 room-kick        all-drums
 gate-snare       kick-drms
 rim-snare        snar-drms
 close-hat        hi-hats
 open-hat         cymbals
 ride-cymb        tom-toms
 dry-tom-l        percusson
 dry-tom-h        dry-toms
 gat-tom-l        room-toms
 gat-tom-h        gate-toms
 rm-tom-l         congas
 rm-tom-h         std-kit
 timbale          gated-kit
 conga-lo         room-kit
 conga-hi
 tamborine

VFX Keyboard Recalibration Errors

Note: Follow the instructions below only if you know what you're doing.

The VFX keyboard problems can be solved by the hardwired keyboard fix. When buying a used VFX you should know about this and be certain that the keyboard you buy has had this done. From the VFX mailing list:

"This afternoon I decided to get the low down on the VFX problems myself from Ensoniq's own Joe Paschal, an Ensoniq Customer Service Rep with whom I have dealt with before (To my satisfaction). Beleve it or not the Apex problem and the Keyboard Calibration problem ARE RELATED and CAN BE FIXED. (finally:-)"

Under the keyboard proper, there are 3 circuit boards that control the poly-key (tm) pressure. They do this:

 
  | # # | # # # | # # | # # # | # # | # # # | # # | # # # | # # | # # # |
  | # # | # # # | # # | # # # | # # | # # # | # # | # # # | # # | # # # |
  | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
  -----------------------------------------------------------------------
  
  +---------------------------------+ +----------------------------------+
  |                                 | |                                  |
  |   Board #2               +------------------+   Board #3             |
  |                          | Board # 1        |                        |
  |                          +------------------+                        |
  +---------------------------------+ +----------------------------------+

Now, It turns out that Ensoniq mis-diagnosed the problem TWICE! and this new (one month old) conclusion is the result of the senior Ensoniq tech's research and testing. The first problem (they thought) was the solder flux thing which would be on board #1. No. They then thought it was the cable that goes from board #1 to the motherboard. Wrong again.

There is a connector that connects board 2 to board 3. Over time and use, the keyboard begins to sag a little bit and this connector eventually starts to corrode (get dirty), come loose and the like. THERE'S THE PROBLEM! Ensoniq has determined that hard-wiring that connection solves the problem.

My VFX won't initialize. What do I do?

Someone had the problem that the display would come up, and then only partially draw the "initializing" message, and then hang. They were told by Ensoniq to power-cycle seven times, always turning off the machine at a particular point in the power-up sequence. On the seventh time, the display came up with something like "RE-INITIALIZE?" and if you answer yes, everything gets wiped.

Manual

This is one of those manuals that was impossible to find on the 'net in digital form. We tracked down and bought a copy (for $30) and spent a while scanning it, creating a PDF you can download for free. See below for download link.

Specifications

Year Released: 1989

MSRP: $1995

Keyboard: 61 keys with velocity and aftertouch

Polyphony: 21 notes

Multitimbral: 12 parts

Preset Patches: 60

User Patches: 60

ROM: 109 waveforms

User Demo Videos

Rating


4.5
(2 votes)

Sound Samples

WAV samples are available on freewavesamples.com.

File Downloads

Ensoniq VFX Manual

Ensoniq VFX Firmware Version 2.10

Items for Sale on Reverb

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