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Ensoniq VFX

Created by nick. Last edited by nick, 7 years and 6 days ago. Viewed 5,826 times. #3
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This is an article culled from archive material, circa 1997.


The VFX is one of the most frustrating synthesisers I've ever owned. The voice architecture is extensive and the sound quality of the instrument is superb; in addition, it's easy to program and has a good keyboard feel (with polyphonic aftertouch) and nice performance features. From the features and sound quality alone, it was worth being forced to pay the extortionate UK list price by Ensoniq's exclusive UK distributor.

On the other hand, it never, ever worked properly. I uncovered more than two dozen bugs in the operating system in the year that I used it. A VFX belonging to a friend of mine worked fine until all the front panel buttons fell out. There was a well known, but unacknowledged, problem with a ribbon connector between two circuit boards which would cause many units to crash unrecoverably during use. While my unit was dead, I borrowed a replacement which crashed in the same way.

Eventually, Ensoniq acknowledged the keyboard problems, by offering free fixes in the US, although machines were never fixed in the UK to my knowledge. Instead, the VFX was orphaned as the VFX-SD workstation was upgraded and repaired. The last model of the line, the SD-1/32, was reportedly pretty reliable, although far from bullet-proof.

Even with the prospect of a fixed unit, the crashes and software problems had destroyed my confidence in the VFX, much as I loved it, and the day after a slightly stressed run of live theatre performances I took it back to the shop and came away with a Wavestation.

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