The Ensoniq VFX-Sd Arrives

Another new synthesizer has arrived. The Ensoniq VFX-Sd. This is an 80s synth and it was very much an impulse buy because I suddenly found out it has poly aftertouch and is fairly cheap. The one I got is in really good shape other than 3 buttons that aren’t working very well. The only other problem is the aftertouch itself, which doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped.

Ensoniq VFX-SD Synthesizer

I opened it up and tried to fix the switches but only one of the three came back to life so I will have to get replacements.

I cleaned all the keys individually, the rubber key bushings, and PCB underneath them but there was no difference with the aftertouch either. I did, however, find that if I slide my finger toward the center of the key and press down there I get much more of a response.

That’s because there is a metal plate there that causes some inductance in the PCB below it. The closer it gets, the more it works. The rubber bushings at the end of the keys are just too hard to compress so when you push down you don’t move the key very far at all. But when you press in the middle it depresses slightly further, just enough to get a nice response. This doesn’t work for the black keys, though, because they are more rigid and don’t really bend.

So for now I guess it stays as is. But this synth is definitely capable of some very cool digital sounds similar to the Roland D-50, but in many ways much more flexible so I suspect I will use it much more than the ESQ-1 that is sitting in the other room. I always like it when a new synth sounds unique and is capable of creating sounds that the others can’t. That’s what inspires me.

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