Siegfried Kullmann: SQ8L / SQ8X
SQ8L is a software model of Ensoniq's classic 1980s synth SQ80. The SQ80 features 3 digital wavetable oscillators for each of its 8 voices which are fed through analog 4-pole lowpass filters (-24dB gain) with resonance. Sound parameters can be mod... read more
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Very good emulation of the Ensoniq SQ-80
Very good emulation of the Ensoniq SQ-80 and completely free of charge. Unfortunately only 32-bit and it still a few omissions. If only Mr Siegfried Kullmann would ever complete the SQ8X that he promised us, I'd happily pay 50-100 EUR for it.
Its hard to beleive this is freeware.
This is just a fabulous emulation. I own an ESQ1 which came before the SQ-80. Both are basic wavetable synths with analog Curtis filters and fantastic midi implementation but the SQ80 is more fully featured and that's what this plugin emulates. Tonally this sits in the PPG wave and Korg wavestation camp though the wavetables are very simple and the 4 envelopes and LFOs aren't complex enough to make insane evolving patches like those synths are known for. I think this type of synth shines on post-FM keys patches and strange mono sync-leads. The filter emulation gets pretty close to my ESQ1 and if you set the saturation control to 'ensoniq' mode it certainly gets the whole thing in the gritty ballpark of the hardware I own. I find this guy a lot easier to program than my ESQ1 because its really easy to read the virtual display. Its pretty intuitive just like the hardware and if you've owned an ESQ1 or SQ80 you'll be right at home and dialing up killer patches right away. It maintains the ensoniq menu diving though, so not a tweak fest, but just like the ESQ1 this guy shines as a performance synth assigning parameters to wheels, velocity and aftertouch. Often I cannot be bothered to take my ESQ1 out of a closet and I roll with this plugin. Its great. Its also a lower CPU hit and easier to program than the legacy collection wavestation plugin, so if you don't need long, evolving pads from the wavestation try this guy. it can get grittier too. Its free so you owe it to yourself to try it if your DAW hosts VSTs.
SQ8L is a software model of Ensoniq's classic 1980s synth SQ80. The SQ80 features 3 digital wavetable oscillators for each of its 8 voices which are fed through analog 4-pole lowpass filters (-24dB gain) with resonance. Sound parameters can be modulated by 4 envelopes, 3 LFOs and several MIDI sources. The SQ80 also has a predecessor, the ESQ1, which can do most of the same stuff.
Although the technology may seem obsolete, these synths can produce a wide variety of interesting and extremely usable sounds. Thanks to the lo-fi oscillators and the analog components it can sound very digital and dirty, but also very analog and warm. Which is a good thing because modern synths often tend to sound rather clean.
The SQ8L ("L" stands for "Light") is the free demo version of the forthcoming SQ8X ("X" for "eXtended"). Besides any bugs that will be fixed in the full version and planned features that won't find their way into the light version, there are only a few limitations:
Polyphony limited to 8 voices. Program change messages ignored. Common MIDI controllers (Master Volume, Pan,...) by default have no effect and must be programmed as modulators. When used with a sequencer, the only sound the host can save within the song file is the one in the edit buffer. The full version will store the entire library (which makes sense when program change messages are used). LFO humanization not implemented. No Split/Layer to combine several sounds. No internal sequencer (and there will never be one). The full version SQ8X will have the following additional features:
Combinations of up to 4 single sounds. Adjustable polyphony (far more than 8 voices). New Filter algorithms with different modes (lowpass, bandpass, highpass). 2nd Filter and different routing modes for the filters: serial, parallel, split. Improved GUI.