Ensoniq released the original 12 bit EPS sampler in 1988. It was a big improvement over their first 8 bit "Mirage" sampler which was plagued with many problems from the start. EPS stands for "Ensoniq Performance Sampler" which meant it was designed for live performing. The EPS included two processors, so you can continue playing while another sample loads. One processor handles the IO while the other is responsible for keeping the audio running without interruption. This feature along with it's easy to use interface and built in sequencer made the EPS one of Ensoniq's best sellers.
The EPS was available as a 61 note keyboard or as the rackmount EPS-M. It shipped with only 512K of sample RAM, but you could purchase either a 2X memory expander which doubled the memory to 1 Meg or max it out with the 4X expander and get a whopping 2 Megs of memory. All very primitive today, but back then it was state of the art. An optional output expander (OEX-8) allowed you to access eight mono outputs on the machine, allowing you to separately mix levels and effects for each loaded sample. A SCSI port was also available as an option to let you connect a CD-ROM or hard drive. In 1991 Ensoniq followed up with the 16 bit EPS16+ which was pretty much the same as the original, only it also added a few digital effects.
1992 saw the release of the classic ASR-10 which took the EPS to the next level. ASR stands for "Advanced Sampling Recorder" The concept was that you did not need any equipment other then the ASR to record a complete track. The ASR had a more powerful sequencer, could load up to 16 megs of RAM and had the ability to resample a sound with the effects included. There are up to 62 effects (including vocoding) based on Ensoniq's DP/4 effects processor. This make the ASR sampler one of the true classic hardware samplers ever produced. Even today ASR10's are widely sort after, especially with the Hip Hop crowd and sell right away when one is being offered for sale on the used market.
The ASR-X and ASR-X Pro - The last in the Ensoniq line
Finally in the late 90's, Ensoniq produced the ASR-X and ASR-X pro which were in the style of the "sampling drum machine" made popular by the Akai MPC series. They were great boxes with lots of cool features, but never seemed to sell as well as the ASR10 or the Akai MPC's. These were among the last products that Ensoniq produced before selling out to EMU. Despite having many innovative features Ensoniq instruments suffered from reliability problems. The company also made some bad business decisions. The result is another great American electronic instrument company that is now just part of history.
The sounds listed above are available on floppy disks for the original EPS, EPS16+, ASR10 and ASR-X. They are also compatible with the Ensoniq TS10 and TS12 synthesizers. We also have the complete collection available on CD-ROM or ZIP Disk and also sell hard to find SCSI CD-ROM and Zip Drives if you need one. The ASR samplers also will read WAV files so be sure to check out our WAV database. Our WAV library is massive and filled with tons of cool stuff which you can download and start using in your tracks today. We also sell used music gear and often have a good selection of EPS'a and ASR samplers in stock at a very reasonable price. Unlike ebay we give you a three month warranty on all our used gear.
If you have any questions or comments please contact us via phone or e-mail. Thank's for your support and Happy Sampling!