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In-depth Feature:  Inside Synthesis 002
Using LFOs to Sequence on an ESQ1
Unlock the hidden sequencing power of your synth
William H writes: .

Page 1   of 1

No flash plug

    MP4 7:23 mins
Digital Music
This week, William H demonstrates how the use of simple LFOs waveforms can be combined to form complex patterns. Use them to trigger arpeggiations, melodic sequences, and drum beats.

Synthesizers with digital LFOs work best, like the Ensoniq ESQ-1,Oberheim Matrix series, Alesis Andromeda, and DSI Evolver series.

Modular synthesizers (including those made 40 years ago) can duplicate the tutorial with the use of clock divided LFOs. If you're lucky enough to have the appropriate setup, the effect is truly stunning.

The ESQ-1 has an underpowered CPU driving the LFOs, which means that the timing can slow down if more than 4 notes are played. Newer synths like the Andromeda won't have this problem.

As with the first tutorial, you'll sometimes need to double route parameters to have the effect strong enough. This is particularly true of volume routing.

    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, and they will work together.

Comments Welcome
We'd like to encourage you to comment on this series, if there's anything you'd like to see covered, we'll do our best to incorporate it into future episodes. Also, ask a question and William will reply here.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • William H Blogspot

  • Page 1   of 1

    Florian Anwander    Said...

    Great visualizations! Thats how teaching synth technology has to be done today. Best regards Florian Anwander (who had to do it with an example CD back in the 90ies)

    24-Dec-07 03:42 AM

    Alfonso Alba    Said...

    Amazing tutorial and great presentation. My cousin borrowed my ESQ-1.... maybe it's time to get it back.

    I hope you guys do an episode on modular synths.

    24-Dec-07 10:49 AM

    embry0    Said...

    Been trying to learn the synthesis basics for a while now, and i must say that your tutorials are much easier to follow and understand than all of those books that i've read through. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for not being too technical. Can't find a better teacher in this genre, atleast in my book. Keep up your most excellent work and i'll keep my fingers crossed that the series will be released on DVD in the future.

    Ps. If it ain't too much of a problem or even possible i'd like to request a tutorial on how to reach/create that famous Commodore 64/128 SID-chip sound on a Korg Radias or the likes. DS.

    24-Dec-07 12:20 PM

    sean ocean    Said...

    hey have you tried sampling sysex data from the analog tape outs of the esq-1? it seems that this would be an easy way to store sysex data without actually having to use a tape recorder. plus you could save it on a hard drive if you had a laptop or a sampler with usb. i haven't tried this because i'm a newbie at my sampler and esq-1 and don't have enough ram.. but theoretically you could sequence a ton of things on the esq-1 by just hitting pads??

    i really enjoyed this tutorial and if you had a dvd on the ESQ-1 or any synth i'd buy it. and btw the esq-1 is highly underrated. i love the digital analog hybrid sound, and this is it. `;)


    27-Dec-07 08:59 PM

    radar23    Said...

    This presenter is a genius! Brillent.. I got 3 ESQ-1s.. I I didn;t know how to do this until now. Funny thing is that the esq-1 has a 8 strack sequencer built into it! Great analog filters. Here goes for some SID maddmess

    30-Dec-07 06:08 PM

    vlasis    Said...


    31-Dec-07 05:49 AM

    Inside Synthesis    Said...

    To Sean Ocean:

    You can use a digital recorder to store any tape output signal - that goes for a Juno 60, or a Jupiter, or an ESQ-1. Much easier and less prone to data corruption.

    But personally, I prefer using SysEx via MIDI whenever its available.

    There's a certain sound that I like when doing keytriggered sequences with the ESQ-1, but the main point of the tutorial is to look at LFOs in a different way.

    31-Dec-07 10:13 AM

    Robbie Ryan    Said...

    Absolutely smoking! Keep up this great series. I've gone from having gear envy to tweak envy! You really know your synthsh*t!

    02-Jan-08 06:54 PM

    Carlo    Said...

    this is a test

    03-Jan-08 05:45 PM

    jef    Said...

    these in depth tutorials are really great. i love the digging to use one piece of gear in totally weird ways.

    04-Jan-08 02:24 PM

    CountFeedback    Said...

    this is so RAD!!!!!!!!!

    06-Jan-08 07:13 PM

    Zac    Said...

    I'm 18 and very excited about getting into synthesis. I chose the ESQ-1 as my first synth because it was cheap and I wanted the analogue 80s sound for Skinny Puppy-like industrial.

    The one thing I miss on the ESQ ia an arpeggiator - thanks for showing me how to do it with LFOs though!!

    PLEASE possibly do another video on the ESQ-1? Anything??

    15-Jan-08 07:33 PM

    mkdelta    Said...

    Very creative! And those drums were awesome!

    30-Jan-08 10:10 AM

    [XC3N]    Said...

    =( I wish I could find someone to fix my ESQ-1's power supply

    Thanks for showing me neat stuff on both the synths I happen to own: ESQ-1 and MS2000R

    I've been watching the videos like 32 times in a row trying to grasp all the theory, thanks a lot!!

    16-Feb-08 01:40 PM

    L.C.    Said...

    Enjoying this useful series! I strongly urge you to do another ESQ feature. For many of us, pushing a unit to its limits is more musically useful than the latest "me-too" plug-in sound.

    22-Feb-08 02:05 PM

    kevin    Said...

    Applying what is presented in these tutorials has got me off the ground with synths. Before it was just randomly moving buttons to see what happens. Now at least i am beginning to see what the machine actually does. Thanks William.

    11-Apr-08 01:10 AM

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    25-Sep-08 07:47 PM

    ss    Said...

    25-Sep-08 07:48 PM

    Wax78    Said...

    Very nice and intuitive tutorial. Real thanks for sharing that.

    11-Nov-08 01:19 PM

    herehEAR    Said...

    still lost on this anyone with help ?!?

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    03-Jul-09 10:36 PM

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