Co-inventor of the The Gristleizer. This new incarnation, now renamed the ASRX Pro Resampling Production Studio, includes a few brand new features and improves on some of the original's shortcomings. DEVIL IN A RED DRESS The most immediate and obvious difference is the matt finish flame red case, which is actually a pleasant change from the original black and makes reading the function buttons slightly easier, though for some reason Ensoniq still insist on using a very small point size and a hard to read colour for many of the button names. Housed in the same type of slightly industrial looking steel case the ASRX pro is robust enough for gigging and heavy enough to survive the occasional drop by a careless roadie. The most notable difference apart from the colour are ten new Essentials buttons below the LCD, where the Track edit buttons used to be, and the rearrangement of the left-hand button bank to include the ousted Track buttons. ESSENTIAL The ten Essentials buttons allow instant access to 15 of your favourite sounds, patches or drum kits the additional 5 sounds are called up by pressing the top and bottom buttons simultaneously.
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Co-inventor of the The Gristleizer. This new incarnation, now renamed the ASRX Pro Resampling Production Studio, includes a few brand new features and improves on some of the original's shortcomings. DEVIL IN A RED DRESS The most immediate and obvious difference is the matt finish flame red case, which is actually a pleasant change from the original black and makes reading the function buttons slightly easier, though for some reason Ensoniq still insist on using a very small point size and a hard to read colour for many of the button names.
Housed in the same type of slightly industrial looking steel case the ASRX pro is robust enough for gigging and heavy enough to survive the occasional drop by a careless roadie. The most notable difference apart from the colour are ten new Essentials buttons below the LCD, where the Track edit buttons used to be, and the rearrangement of the left-hand button bank to include the ousted Track buttons.
ESSENTIAL The ten Essentials buttons allow instant access to 15 of your favourite sounds, patches or drum kits the additional 5 sounds are called up by pressing the top and bottom buttons simultaneously. This is a very useful feature, particularly as favourite set-ups can be saved to Flash Ram, floppy or hard disk with any songs, sequences or projects you may be working on.
The Essentials buttons are also used as a numeric keypad for quickly accessing patterns and tracks when in Sequencer mode. Rearranging the access buttons for Disk, Effects, Tracks and Pads into a block on the left is more logical and makes finding your way around while editing slightly easier, though there are still no dedicated cursor buttons and new users may find navigating the endless editing screens confusing using just function buttons and the Parameter and Value knobs.
The SCSI interface also includes improved compatibility with most hard drives and removable media, including Zip and 3. The Ensoniq web site includes a list of compatible drives. This is a more realistic figure for general sampling use but could still be considered on the low side for sampling AND resampling. So, because of its speed and ease of use the ASRX Pro makes an ideal tool for remixing dance music tracks, which can often involve sampling recording complete stereo mixes, spinning-in sampled loops, breaks and sequences then resampling the whole lot, and so on and so on.
Add all this RAM based activity simultaneous sample playback and resampling together and you begin to see what sort of strain could be put on 66 Mb of RAM.
Hopefully this limit can be increased with the next software revision. Both of these additions work well, particularly Pattern Mode, which is great for trying out different song structures and live jamming or improvising. A welcome addition to the sample wave edit menu is time stretching, or 'Scale Time? Using the High quality setting retains the sound integrity impressively. But the time taken to process even a short mono sample is unbelievably slow, we're talking Atari ST speed, definitely not Pentium or G3.
As an example: a 2. STOMPER The new Stomper option is a software algorithm created by independent programmer Hakan Andersson which allows you to make your own 'vintage-synth-style' sic samples from scratch.
Each sound can contain up to 4 oscillators each using sine, square or saw waves , or up to 3 oscillators and one low-pass filter or combinations of oscillators and filters not exceeding 4. By adjusting these values you can build up a sound, or use one of six preset drum templates as a starting block. When you've entered all the parameters which can be 40 or more press the Enter button and sit back a wait for it to be processed into a sample.
To be honest I found Stomper a disappointment. Having previously seen the Stomper web site I suppose I was expecting more than the ASRX Pro can realistically offer in terms of processing power and visual feedback as part of the problem lies in the fact that Stomper is based on a Windows PC program using a graphical interface, and usually running under the wing of a Pentium processor.
Maybe I'm missing the point somewhere, but blindly inputting numbers as none of this can be done in real time and watching a progress bar for minutes waiting to hear often unpredictable results removes any spontaneity from the process and is about as uncreative as it gets.
If Ensoniq could make programming Stomper more visual AND speed up the rendering process it would be a useful addition to the ASRX Pro, but in the meantime my advice is to buy a decent sample CD of analogue sounds and use the ASR-X Pros superior and faster sampling capabilities to achieve quicker and more predictable results. Sorry Ensoniq but that's the way I feel about it.
One of the most frustrating aspects of using the original ASRX was the pitifully small display and the situation hasn't been improved by including even more editing options to navigate in the Pro version. I imagine this is why Ensoniq have included 10 new function buttons, but a more detailed display would have been far more useful for an instrument of this complexity.
Familiarity is everything and once you've sussed your way around its inner workings you'll be the envy of PC users everywhere because while they're struggling to record and sample using buggy convoluted software, you'll be sampling, resampling, composing and laying down tracks in the blink of an eye.
OK, it's probably not the best choice for beginners, dabblers or existing ASRX users but if you can live with some of its flaws and idiosyncrasies I can recommended the ASRX Pro to anyone serious about making music in the studio or on stage.
PROS: Top notch audio quality. SCSI 2 interface included as standard. Essentials buttons speed up patch access. Increased RAM capability. Even more editing and sound shaping options. MIDI control of almost every editable parameter.
Nice colour. Still only 2Mb RAM as standard. Stomper may disappoint. Inadequate display for such a well specified instrument. Can't read Akai S samples. Rear mounted audio input level. No load while play.
The new additions and improvements are very welcome and definitely improve its versatility and operation. Think carefully before you decide which one to go for, but either way I doubt you'll be disappointed. A Pro upgrade for pro musicians. However, a new upgrade O. Other than a small handling charge the upgrade is free and details of how to obtain it are available on the Ensoniq web site or from your local Ensoniq dealer.
Sample RAM expandable to 66Mb. Built-in 'Stomper' synthesis program. Improved hard disk compatibility.
ESP2 bit Multi-Effects. Two types: Insert and Global 40 algorithms. Stereo audio in Mic or Line and out plus headphones. Dual foot switch socket. Includes: waves, sounds and kits.
Featuring: Steinway D Grand and electric pianos. Solo Albums on iTunes. Solo Albums on Spotify. My YouTube Channel. Vimeo Solo videos. Soundcloud Free tracks.
It's got professional sampler specifications, and easy yet professional sample editing features. Process your samples with modern edit functions including copying, truncating, reduce bits, scaling, normalizing and inverting. Sequencing is also easy and hands-on. Microscopic Tempo control and resolution allow for punchy groovy sequences with plenty of feel and note capacity. There are also independent dual multi-mode dynamic digital filters with low-pass, high-pass, variable bandwidth band-pass, resonant low-pass and resonant band-pass. There's a new Stomper program that synthesizes phatt analog drum machine sounds a built-in drum machine - giving the MPC a run for its groove. Memory can be expanded to a whopping 66MB for over 12 minutes mono sampling time.
Ensoniq ASR X PRO Resampler/Sampler/Drum Machine w/FX & SCSI - look...
Ensoniq ASR-X Pro
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