Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler Workstation

Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler
Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler

Wow! I just picked up a used Ensoniq EPS Classic in fantastic condition today for real cheap. The EPS Classic had been sitting in the used shop for a couple of months in the junk bin and still nobody had bought it. A couple of days ago, I asked the clerk if I could plug it in and give it a test spin. He said that the EPS Classic made no sound and that it would only work as a Midi Controller. I didn’t have the time to talk about it with him, but I figured I would come back and try again later to test the ESP. Well, today I had some time to visit the used music store and this time a different sales clerk was working.

This time, the sales clerk allowed me to start up the Ensoniq Classic EPS. He said he had no idea how it worked and thus it was the reason why it was in the junk bin. There were about 65 floppy disks and quickly I was able to find the OS startup disk. I did some homework about this sampler so I kind of had an idea about how to get it going. I powered up the EPS Classic and everything booted just fine. I then found a Moog Disk and loaded up a Moog Instrument in the first bank. I found that the headphone jack was the right plugin jack so the sales clerk allowed me to use the store’s headphones. It took me a minute to figure out how to access the Moog instrument I loaded up, but sure enough I found the sound.

Wow! Did that Moog sound fantastic. Instantly I knew I had to have this EPS Classic Sampler. I can’t explain it, but it’s the sound that just clicked with me. It definitely sounds different than my Roland W-30 or S-330 Sampler. It has that old school sound which really reminds me of the 80’s. Along with the Ensoniq EPS Classic, I got an Ensoniq pedal, case, manual, 65 disks, and the 2x Expander hooked up in the back of the sampler. The keys are all in terrific shape and work very well.

I’ve actually heard a lot of great things about the Ensoniq EPS Classic especially the sound and sequencer. Indeed the sampling time is very small but the loading times and sample swapping are very fast. In fact, I already have plans to use the EPS Classic with my Boss RC-50 and loop sounds as I play them. I can then load up new sounds and record on the fly. My Roland W-30 would be a little slower in doing this, so I’m curious how the EPS will work. I think the EPS should be fun for some creative new ideas.

I don’t know much about software or other editing utilities for the Ensoniq EPS Classic, but I’ll be looking into that this week. I’m hoping to find a way to create disk images with Wav files so that I can use them with the HxC SD Card Floppy Drive Emulator that will work with the ESP. I actually just got my second HxC Emulator in the mail today and plan to set it up eventually with the EPS Classic. There is a guy on Youtube below who successfully was able to install the HxC SD Card Emulator with the Ensoniq EPS Classic. I just did it with my Roland W-30 and S-330 Samplers, so I’m confident it will work.

Update: On Win98, I installed a program called EPSdisk that allowed me to copy Ensoniq EPS Floppy Disks into .GKH image files onto my PC. I was then able to open the .GKH files in AWAVE Studio using my Windows 7 PC. I also was able to effectively make backup copies of the EPS Classic OS. When I bought the EPS Classic it came with OS version 2.20. I downloaded and made a new OS Disk for version 2.49 using EPSdisk. The EPS Classic loaded the udpated OS 2.49 version just fine. The Ensoniq EPS Classic OS v2.49 fixes COPY FLOPPY DISK and adds several SCSI and Sequencer functions.

Furthermore, I found that I could import wav files into AWAVE Studio and create and instrument file. This instrument file could then be saved into .efe EPS Instrument Format and then be saved to an EPS Classic formated floppy disk using EPSdisk very easily. This is my ticket now to importing WAV files of my own into the EPS classic. I actually did this with some example wavs and it worked perfectly! Once I found ESPdisk and discovered that AWAVE works with EPS Classic .efe and .gkh formatted files, I knew it would be easy to import WAV files. Excellent!

By the way, I found that my Ensoniq EPS Classic is now running OS 2.49 with Rom Bios version 2.0 and Keyboard version 2.10 using the Software Information Command on the EPS Classic.

Another interesting tidbit I found with the Ensoniq EPS Classic is that I had to run two high quality cables out from the left/right output jacks and into my decent Yamaha mixer to effectively get a clean sound out of the EPS. Tweaking the gain, high, mid, and lows, I was able to get a very quiet, clean, along with a very solid punchy sound.

Some people experience lots of static coming out of the output jacks. I sense this is perhaps mainly due to the fact that you might need to run the EPS through a good mixer with decent cables. The EPS sampler will make a small amount of noise due to it’s characteristics and also because the output is slightly lower than more modern samplers. However, it’s easily adjusted when using a good mixer. At least it worked great for me. I’m getting some really great analog oriented sounds now and it’s awesome!! My EPS Classic is definitely very phat sounding now.

The video below shows a guy on Youtube opening up his Ensoniq EPS sampler, removing the disk drive, and replacing it with an HxC SD Floppy Emulator.

Frankothemountain is a Youtube user that uses the Ensoniq EPS Classic on most of his early music. I really liked some of his songs and emailed him about some more info. He said he had four EPS Classics and indeed he used them extensively on his recordings. He said it required “lot’s of looping, editing, and down sampling” but the creative possibilities were endless. It’s a very inspiring Sampler Keyboard. You can check out one of his songs and videos below.

http://www.youtube.com/user/frankothemountain

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8 thoughts on “Ensoniq EPS Classic Sampler Workstation

  1. Today I created my first instrument (mult-sample) on the Ensoniq EPS Classic. It was a fun learning experience and I’ll share some of my observations.

    First I use three software programs to convert Sample CDs to Ensoniq EPS format.

    1. ESC 3.6 (Extreme Sample Converter) to access and convert EMU samples in this example.

    2. AWAVE Studio 10.3 to convert my ESC converted samples to Ensoniq EPS Classic .efe instrument format.

    3. EPSDisk v.1.30b to finally copy my EPS Classic .efe image to an Ensoniq Floppy Disk.

    First, using Extreme Sample Converter (ESC), I converted a Prophet 5 EMU multisample from an EMU Vintage Synths CD-Rom to Akai S5000 format. The reason I used ESC is because it rips EMU samples of just about every kind real easily. You can convert to any format but since I also have an Akai S2000, I generally choose to convert to an Akai format.

    I then open up Awave Studio and import the newly converted Prophet 5 Akai s5000 program. Once opened I then proceed to examine and adjust the program so that I have the appropriate samples and key ranges. Two things I specifically do for the Ensoniq EPS Classic in Awave are:

    1. Uncheck override Wave Parameters.

    2. Resample to 22000Hz for space reasons. (I heard somwhere that the EPS converts 22050 to 22000 automatically when loading so I just use 22000 to avoid any pitch problems. Not sure if that’s true.)

    3. Important!! If you plan to use the samples along the entire key range, you must set the lowest and hightest key ranges in Awave for the first and last sample. It’s easier than doing it from within the EPS Classic. I use C1 for my lowest key and C8 for my highest.

    Periodically I view “Item Count” in Awave to get the total disk size. I found that anything under 800K will fit nicely on the Ensoniq ESP Classic Floppy. So I shoot for getting a total file size under 800K.

    Finally I convert the edited Akai S5000 program to an Ensoniq EPS Classic instrument .efe image file.

    Once that is done, I open up EPSDisk v1.30b and first format a DD floppy Disk. Note that I run EPSDisk under Windows 98. I run Awave on my Windows 7 program because it only works on XP or Windows 7. ESC ( Extreme Sample Converter works on any Windows OS pretty much. )

    I then write my Prophet 5 instrument .efe image to the newly formatted Ensoniq EPS Classic Floppy Disk.

    When all that is done, I load it up into the EPS Classic. Usually all of my keys are mapped and pitched correctly. This is always true when I uncheck override Wave parameters and set the low/high keys accordingly. If I forget that, then I always get pitch and key range errors.

    The only thing I need to fine edit are either/both the start or end loop points. I noticed that I need to adjust both ends by a tiny bit and then I get a perfectly looped sample. If I have 7 samples in my multi-sample I have to do it for each sample, but since it’s quick and easy I don’t mind.

    Finally, don’t forget to push Command, Instrument, and then Save instrument to Disk or you’re changes will revert back to what you initially loaded with.

    That’s it! I now have a terrific sounding Prophet 5 multi-sample on the Ensoniq EPS Classic.

    For those that are new to the Ensoniq EPS Classic I should point out this valuable tip…

    It’s important to understand that one instrument can contain as many as 127 different Wav Samples. To access your Wav samples that you loaded you need to hit the Sample button and then edit. You can hit a key to find the wav you want to edit. Then hit the Edit button again to get to the parameters you want to edit. To change the wav, simply hit edit to get back to the sample wav select menu. It took me a while to figure out how to access the wav select and edit menu.

    Hope this bit of into helps some EPS enthusiasts or new users. Feel free to ask any questions if you like.

    Thanks!

    Jim

  2. This evening I tried converting a Roland S50 Disk to an Ensoniq EPS Classic formatted disk and it worked great. I used Awave Studio to import the Roland S50 disk. I then resampled from 30000hz to 22000hz. I have found that samples set to 22000hz sound really good in the EPS Classic. This allows me to also get more samples on board.

    I then saved the five sounds on the S50 disk into five Ensoniq EPS Classic Instruments. Using EPSDisk I saved them to an Ensoniq formatted Floppy Disk. The instruments loaded up really fast in the EPS.

    The really cool thing about the EPS classic unlike my Roland W-30 or S-330 is that it’s really easy to stack and mute sounds on the fly. It was really cool to stack some of the instruments to not only get a “Phat” sound, but to also create some cool new sounds. Layering Samples this fast on the EPS is fantastic.

    Now I can convert my favorite Roland W-30, S-330, S-50, and S-550 Samples to Ensoniq format. By down sampling to 22000Hz I can actually fit more samples into the EPS without really loosing all that much sound quality. There’s something about this 12 bit EPS Sampler that really makes it sound cool.

    I should also mention that the EPS Classic holds the loop points really well when I load up the converted Roland Samples. The S50 Disk I converted and loaded didn’t require any tweaking at all with regards to the loop points or key ranges. I’m quite impressed with that.

    I’m so glad I bought the Ensoniq EPS Classic. I can hardly wait to start diving into the Sequencer section next. Currently I have the 2x Expander and so far it has given me a fair amount of sample space. As long as I have no problem stuffing all my samples onto one Floppy Disk, I can pretty load anything into the EPS. I recently saw a place to buy a 4x Expander, but I’m not sure if I’ll really need that yet. Actually I’m not sure it’s worth the price they are asking for it really.

    It’s going to be a fun weekend!

    Jim

  3. Here is a great site for finding new and used Ensoniq EPS Classic parts.

    http://www.thesoniq.com/PARTS.html

    Update: I have emailed THESONIQ twice now with no reply. Not a good sign in my book when a company of any size does not respond to emails. At this point I wouldn’t recommend THESONIQ for business. I’m currently looking for an alternative place to find what I need.

  4. Lars Jacobsson

    Hi,

    I just read your article about how you got your Classic and wonder if you can advise me. I bought my Classic in the late 80’s, but raising kids and work took over, so for a long time it was stored away and almost forgotten. Recently, though, I took it out and thought of just disposing of it (!), but when I searched the web I found out there is a growing interest for it . And that’s when I found your article.

    But now my problem: The disks (boot and sounds) were probably thrown away in some effort to modernize the digital standard of my home! So here I am with the silent Classic. Do you think it would be possible to copy the boot files OS 2.49 and send them by e-mail to me? Or is there any easier way? Anywhere on the Net where I can download OS 2.49 and a few sound banks?

    Please?

    Best regards
    Lars Jacobsson
    Stockholm, Sweden

  5. Rudy

    i ALSO USE THE EPS ENSONIQ CLASSIC SAMPLER.Question.I just bought a Motif Rack ES.What i am trying to do is take the new Motif sounds and lay them across the 8 tracks on my EPS sampler.What am i doing wrong.

  6. Nab. Otoo Neizer

    I have an ensoniq eps keyboard but no os disc and haven’t made a sound with it. Can you send me the disc image so i can create one for my keyboard and sampler as well. My email address is naboneizer@gmail.com
    thanks. Nab. Otoo Neizer, Ghana.

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