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ASR-10 in 2019
Old 3rd September 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 
MmBuddha's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
ASR-10 in 2019

A bit of a broad topic I’ll grant you, but since I’m a new member of the ASR-10 congregation, I’ve had a few questions about the best way to use these samplers in 2019.

The first thing I wondered about was storage. For years I’ve been aware that ZIP disks via SCSI have been the standard. I notice these days though, there are USB or SD-based floppy drive emulators available, some which even fit the floppy-drive slot, looking like a neat solution. Would this be a good option in 2019, or does SCSI still offer features that make it superior?

I also wondered about OS and BIOS versions. I’ve rarely seen this discussed, but I know that when they were still in production, the units could be upgraded to newer BIOS versions by replacing two EPROM chips on the board. And the OS version(s) your ASR-10 can run depend on the BIOS. Mine has BIOS v1, meaning I can’t use the later OS’s. Has anyone had experiences upgrading the BIOS, would you recommend it?

Lastly, since mine is an early model, I’ve been thinking about longevity. Has anyone had their ASR-10’s re-capped? If so, what prompted you, and how did it go?

Well, there we are, that’s kind of a grab-bag of questions, but any advice would be much appreciated. Also please feel free to add questions below, more experienced members may be able to help. Thanks in advance.
Old 4th September 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Man I’m bumping the purple scsi drive like a real one.

No problems in here in 2019.

The usb alternatives seem like a headache man

It’s an old machine, I just give it what it wants
Old 4th September 2019
  #3
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
I don't like any of the floppy drive emulators I have found, since as far as I can tell, they all save files in their own unique format. I would only get one if I knew for sure that it saved in the Ensoniq format just like a floppy disk.

Also, most of the floppy drive emulators look like they don't fit perfectly, and would leave a gap for dust to get inside the case.

What I decided to do is just leave my original floppy drive in place, since it still works fine. I use an external SCSI2SD v5, just plugged in the same way you would attach a zip drive. It's great so far.

I keep mine up on a nice keyboard stand. I took off the memory cover, and put a USB powered computer fan there. It sucks hot air out of the case, and blows it down to the ground. It's not too loud. Just have to remember to plug it in every time I used it. Keeps it icy cold.

Based on the paint job and serial number, I think mine is one of the earliest releases. But the previous owner must have upgraded the BIOs chips at some point, probably while it was under warranty. I remember checking the number on it when I opened it, and it was the latest version. It works great with the last OS version 3.53.

I have not really considered getting it recapped. It's in such good condition, I'm afraid to leave it at a shop and risk it getting scratched up. I'd probably have to be there while they did it. Maybe I will learn how to do it on my own eventually, or just completely swap out the mainboard if it ever fails.
Old 13th September 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...ic-production/

I’d ask in there.

I used scsi still in my ASRX until about 2008 when I sold it. I’d like a 10 one day.
Old 13th September 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Lando Calrissian's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My ASR-10 floppy drive died today and I'm in the same boat. Not sure if I should simply replace it with another floppy or try an emulator. I'm trying to spend as little as possible on this thing.
Old 13th September 2019
  #6
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
if your ASR has SCSI then SCSI2SD seems to be the way to go imo or just stick with good old Zip disks.
Old 13th September 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I would recommend contacting this guy: http://thesoniq.com/index.html He used to work for Ensoniq and when they shut down he bought all of their parts inventory and set up shop as the only official Ensoniq service center. He knows EVERYTHING. I met him once when I lived near there and drove my keyboard to him for a repair. I have also shipped a keyboard to him from the east coast - even with the shipping it was worth it. He can replace any part or board, upgrade BIOS, anything and everything. His services charges are very reasonable too.
Old 13th September 2019 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Lando Calrissian's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by meez61 ➡️
if your ASR has SCSI then SCSI2SD seems to be the way to go imo or just stick with good old Zip disks.
It does. Can I boot off of SCSI?
Old 13th September 2019 | Show parent
  #9
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lando Calrissian ➡️
It does. Can I boot off of SCSI?
If you put the operating system on the SCSI storage, you will be able to boot from it.

The only problem is that it is necessary to boot from floppy in order to format any SCSI storage. If you boot from the SCSI, the ASR-10 will not give the option to format SCSI storage.
Old 14th September 2019
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Thats a good point about formatting SCSI storage but along as you have a working floppy drive and os disk you should be fine? I don't actually have a SCSI2SD here but it seemed like the best option when I was thinking of changing my storage medium, I tried floppy usb emulator but I couldn't stand how long it took saving and loading after being used to Zip disks but if I didn't have the SCSI option I would still go with that.
Old 14th September 2019 | Show parent
  #11
PHG
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PHG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by meez61 ➡️
Thats a good point about formatting SCSI storage but along as you have a working floppy drive and os disk you should be fine?
Yes. Any time you want to format a new SD card for SCSI, you would need to boot from an OS disk in a floppy drive somehow. Or boot from the OS on a floppy emulator.
Old 14th May 2020
  #12
Gear Nut
 
MmBuddha's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the tips guys. Subsequent to this I did a fair bit of reading a corresponding, and came to a similar conclusion to what most people recommended here: a floppy emulator may be useful in some cases, but since it’s designed to trick the ASR-10 into thinking a file on a USB stick is a floppy disk, it’s bounded by all the same limitations a floppy disk would be. So it’s very slow, file sizes are small, you’d still have to split up most tracks over several (virtual) disks etc.

If you have the SCSI interface then it does seem to make more sense in every way to take advantage of its expanded feature set. I haven’t tried SCSI2SD but it looks like it’s the closest you can get to a fast, convenient hard drive for your ASR; plus you could easily back it up or take your whole library of sounds and finished songs and load them up on another machine if it’s got SCSI too. And due to the more robust file management system for SCSI drives in the OS you could organise your samples/drums/sounds into folders and sub-folders to your hearts content it looks like.

Saying all that, I haven’t tried it. Are the SCSI2SD solutions still working well for you guys who have them up and running?
Old 15th May 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MmBuddha ➡️
A bit of a broad topic I’ll grant you, but since I’m a new member of the ASR-10 congregation, I’ve had a few questions about the best way to use these samplers in 2019.

The first thing I wondered about was storage. For years I’ve been aware that ZIP disks via SCSI have been the standard. I notice these days though, there are USB or SD-based floppy drive emulators available, some which even fit the floppy-drive slot, looking like a neat solution. Would this be a good option in 2019, or does SCSI still offer features that make it superior?

I also wondered about OS and BIOS versions. I’ve rarely seen this discussed, but I know that when they were still in production, the units could be upgraded to newer BIOS versions by replacing two EPROM chips on the board. And the OS version(s) your ASR-10 can run depend on the BIOS. Mine has BIOS v1, meaning I can’t use the later OS’s. Has anyone had experiences upgrading the BIOS, would you recommend it?

Lastly, since mine is an early model, I’ve been thinking about longevity. Has anyone had their ASR-10’s re-capped? If so, what prompted you, and how did it go?

Well, there we are, that’s kind of a grab-bag of questions, but any advice would be much appreciated. Also please feel free to add questions below, more experienced members may be able to help. Thanks in advance.
I had an Ensoniq EPS 16+ with a SCSI drive and I still wish to this day I didn't sell it. What a stupid move!! Anyway, I ran everything off the SCSI. My SCSI drive had removable disks like a ZIP drive and it worked perfectly. The machine booted off the SCSI and I would save and load from the SCSI. It was fast and worked great. Just get the SCSI connector for the device and a good quality SCSI drive and use that.

I personally don't see any reason to use an SD emulator when you can just use a SCSI. You can get SCSI drives cheap and they are fast and reliable. Just use what the machine is built for as emulators can have issues and quirks. I ran the EPS with the SCSI drive for years and never had an issue.

I don't know much about the OS chip upgrade but as someone else mentioned, contact the guy who is the Ensoniq expert. He knows what he is doing and very reliable from other people's feedback. If you are going to run an ASR you need to use him for support and issues so you might as well establish a relationship with him. I would just buy the drive from him to do so. His prices always seem reasonable:

http://thesoniq.com/index.html


Good luck. Ensoniq ASR's and EPS 16+'s are special machines. Their sound engines are special and sound incredible. I missed my Ensoniq so much I made an effort to find a sampler that worked like the EPS as much as possible. I ended up buying a Pioneer Toriaz SP-16 because I missed the Ensoniq so much. I didn't get a used Ensoniq for a few reasons I won't go into here but I was very tempted to do so. I may buy an ASR or EPS in the near future though.

Take good care of it and don't make the mistake of selling it. You will miss it. Once you master it, you are really going to love that machine. Guys like Timbaland and Kanye still use them and make hit records to this day with them.

I personally think external (non computer) production is the way to go after using both computers and external gear for 20+ years. I find external gear to be more creative and it's closer to using an instument than using a DAW on a computer screen.

Anyway, good luck.
Old 19th May 2020
  #14
Here for the gear
 
Kaplans's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Is anyone still using their ASR-10 in 2020 and whats your workflow?
Old 20th May 2020 | Show parent
  #15
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaplans ➡️
Is anyone still using their ASR-10 in 2020 and whats your workflow?
a friend gave me an ASR-10 and an EPS-16+ (both rack units) a year ago. both worked for about 5 minutes before throwing up weird Ensoniq error codes. the last 15 years must have caught up with them. they were at the bottom of a crate, that was in the bottom of a closet, that was filled with every interesting audio or computer thing my friend had collected while working at a huge university's electronics deaccessioning dept.

anyway, i originally wanted to use the ASR-10 for the proto Ensoniq DP/4 living inside it as a ridiculously heavy and unwieldy FX unit in my home DJ/sampler hybrid setup. But the more I learn about the eps16+ and the ASR-10 racks as sampler/work stations, the more i want to restore them for the sake of using them as they were designed. it probably only needs a few fuses, but i have my multimeter, the service manuals, and 20 years worth of various ASR-10 forums ive downloaded from here, yahoo, etc to assist me.

is yours in a functioning state?
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