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ESQ/SQ80 Clav Shootout

Page 4 of 6

Results (first patches)

  JULY/AUGUST 2008

MARK WYNKOOP

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This 3-part results section gives complete info for each of the example sounds, including the source of the patch and the ratings as of June 2008.

Results 1 and 2 give all the painful details from the sounds in the Listening Lab.

The UPSHOT section is my offers my final thoughts, a “Lessons Learned” section, and the free patch bank, (including Kirk’s Hacker sounds and the patches I created based on the Shootout).

The colors of the individual patch sections below are supposed to look like little SQ80 consoles(!)

Details: Patches 1-10:

Clav INT bank 1

Sample 1:

CLAV 1.

 

Source:
Mark Wynkoop (available in the 2K ESQ archive)

Notes:
Clav I created years ago based on bass/bass/reed OSCs. There are 3 patches with the same name in the famous 2K ESQ archive. This is the one with more bite.

Rating:
2.33 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“Decent reference clav.  Not the worst or best. Middle of the road.”

Sample 2:

CLAV 2

 

Source:
Defunct commercial patch

Notes:
This was an abandonware sound that got published to the 2k ESQ index years ago.  I believe the original publisher was either Maartis or Vox Crystal.  Maartist was in business until late in the 20th century, but Voice Crystal, even though they admit they got started in the business with the ESQ1, withdrew their patch banks years ago.

Rating:
2.71 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
This one has a good presence for live work. It's almost *my* favorite!  But I see how it could be considered too nasal.

Sample 3:

CLAV2

 

Source:
Original Ensoniq cartridge 5 (VPC-5)

Notes:
The first of five official Ensoniq patches in this shootout. --Six if you include the SQ80 clav preset that shows up later.  The Ensoniq banks were generally solid, even if they didn’t take a lot of risks.  However the Ensoiq clav patches, by and large, do not represent the best programing for the E/SQ series.

Rating:
1.64 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“Don't care for the ones that use the BASS wave. I think the idea is that since Clavinets are built around a bass guitar, this should work, but in reality they are the worst clav sounds in this category.”

Sample 4:

CLAV*2.

 

Source:
Technsis Master Banks

Notes:
Very strong showing from Soundengine’s Technosis clav. Respondents seemed to like this one a lot.

Rating:
3.2 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“This one almost sounds like a real recording of a clav. A little EQ would get it there.”

Sample 5:

CLAV-2

 

Source:
Possibly Valhala

Notes:
I don’t know if sound designer Valhala made custom cartridges. I bought this cartridge on eBay a while back.  Instead of the original Valhala sounds, it had 3rd party and free patches (including some of my own!).  It’s possible someone installed their own custom eprom in the cartridge casing somewhere during the carts long and probably storied history.  If this cartridge could talk!

Rating:
2.2 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“Pretty good for a bass-sounding clav.  I would layer it with your clav sample 4 for a fat sound.”

Sample 6:

CLAV1

 

Source:
Hacker-C bank from 2K ESQ archive.

Notes:
There are patches with the same names from Maartists, Cesium and voice crystal, but this is a public domain patch, probably published in the Hacker (although it is not from Kirk’s article).  I agree with one of the comments that this is one of the most recordable clav patches in the shootout.

Rating:
3.7 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“GREAT!  Funky!! check out that built-in chorus effect!  This is my favorite!”

Sample 7:

CLAV3

 

Source:
Unknown. Possibly Maartis or VoiceCrystal.

Notes:
This patch sounds like a Yamaha DX7 clav processed through a 4 bit decimator!  I don’t hate this thin-and-reedy sound as much as some of the reviewers. Definitely usable, and would be fun to hear in a live band context!

Rating:
1.92 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“Too nasil by far. Sounds like a tape recording (in a bad way).”

Sample 8:

CLAVBS

 

Source:
ESQ-039 bank from 2K ESQ archive.

Notes:
The name is supposed to mean “Clav Bass”, so don’t hate on it because its another bass-sounding clav attempt. 
This is another case where sound designers had too much knowledge and didn’t follow their ears. “Hey, a clav is essentally a bass guitar, right? Then I’ll start with that BASS WAVE!  Yeah, that’ll get me there...”

Rating:
1.43 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“If a piano and an electric bass crashed into each other in a clav factory...”

Sample 9:

CLAVER

 

Source:
Ensoniq cartridge #2, (VPC-2 - Classic Mix 2)

Notes:
Early effort from Ensoniq includes a slap-back bass effect.  Not a distinguished sound by itself, the stereo implementation is very good.

This would be a good sound to tear apart and examine the LFO routings, play with different OSC waves, and so forth.

Rating:
1.46 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“Worst one in my opinion.  May have a use, but not in a normal context.”

Sample 10:

CLAVIN

 

Source:
Mark Wynkoop, Possibly available in the ESQ 2K archive

Notes:
I have no memory of why I created this patch, but its not as good as the poll comments would lead you to believe.  If you want digital grit, this patch has it in spades.  Running it through an ambient reverb and a chorus pedal would fix some of the flaws.
But the folks on the poll seemed to like it just the way it is!

Rating:
2.96 out of 5

Comments from the Poll:
“One of the best. (name witheld)...I have been very conserative with the stars btw. This one gets a 4”

Continue on to the next page to see the results and notes for the clav examples 11-19.

On the final page I will share my lessons learned from this shootout and offer a free patch bank for you to download.  The bank contains all the public domain patches from this shootout as well as a couple premium freebies!  (the commercial patches are the property of the respective copyright holders.  I will provide links to websites where you can purchase them, but they are not included in the free clav shootout bank.)

<<< PREVIOUS PAGE: 
Kirk Slinkard's original 
Transoniq Hacker article

NEXT PAGE: Last set 
of patches, results and 
details >>>

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