various polyphonic and monophonic play modes and layering functions,
the ESQ1/SQ80 gave the contemporaneous (but wholly analogue) Oberheim
Xpander a good run for its money. The SQ80 was basically identical
to its innovative predecessor, the ESQ1, but offered far more multi-sampled
oscillator waveforms to use as the raw sound.
However, at the heart of the SQ80
(and the ESQ1) were truly analogue filters (the same Curtis chips
used in the Sequential Circuits' Prophet V) which gave the SQ80
a warm, genuinely analogue character despite its digital sound generation
That the SQ80 had a versatile sequencer
and flexible multi-timbral mode only enhanced its capabilities as
one of the world's first synthesiser 'workstation' (limited only
by its 8-voice polyphony).
Its specification may look modest
today but it was (and still is) capable of making some truly great