Rhythmic Robot Audio SQ Drums

Rhythmic Robot Audio SQ Drums

We’re big fans of Ensoniq: the ESQ-1 and SQ-80 combine a lovely early-digital tone with a simplicity of programming that leaves most other 80s digisynths in the shade. Add in that big vacuum-fluorescent display and a ton of context-sensitive soft buttons, and you’ve got something that’s fun to play, fun to program and sounds fantastic.

A little known detail, though, is that buried in the digital depths of the machines is a full set of rather good drum samples, and those are what we’ve dug out for you in SQ Drums.

Part of the attraction of this drum set is that they’re naturally mapped across large portions of the keyrange, so there’s a wide pitch variation for each kit piece; play the kick really low, and you get an awesome subterranean thump. Play the toms really high, and you get little plicky-plucky staccato tones to sequence. We’ve carefully preserved all that by simply sampling every single note across the SQ-80’s full range. The samples are grainy, and the transposition brings in all kinds of wonderful digital aliasing effects; downpitching things sounds particularly cool to our ears. The sounds themselves are on the ‘punchy and aggressive’ end of the spectrum, though of course you can switch in Velocity Sensitivity to make them more responsive and tame them a bit!

And just to add some extra flavour, you can switch between clean samples and ones that we’ve run through our Aurora Audio Stinger, dialled up to get some serious Class-A analogue grunt going. This adds a whole new dimension to the original sound.

The hidden drumset of the Ensoniq SQ-80

Early digital drumset courtesy of Ensoniq’s ESQ-1 / SQ-80 digisynths
Kick, snare, hats, log drums and electro-toms, all pitched across wide keyranges for awesome downtuning effects – 176 samples in all
Switch between raw samples and Aurora Stinger saturation versions for added analogue attitude!
Aggressive, punchy sound perfect for hip-hop, uptempo EDM and similar styles

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