Welcome to my site devoted to one of my favorite line of synthesizers of all time. The Ensoniq VFXSD and SD-1. I created this page to keep a little record of the happenings, comings and goings of Ensoniq VFX/SD-1 information on the web since over the years many of the Ensoniq official sites, as well as user sites have disappeared. I have compiled information about the keyboard from various sources with links to help you find what you are looking for since there are very few companies that sell parts or service Ensoniq keyboards anymore.
My Ensoniq Experience
At the time the first VFX came out, I was in high school and played mainly guitar in bands since trying to play out with keyboards back then meant spending tens of thousands of dollars on multiple keyboards, synths and effects to come close to sounding like the songs you were trying to cover from the radio.
I had worked a summer in a local piano and organ store doing sales and delivery and was impressed with the technology, sound and features that were coming out on the higher priced organs. Like many of us keyboardists, back then, we had a couple analog and digital synths but I could never get a "feel" of those keyboards and never liked the sound of the lower priced synths.
I think it was my senior year when I walked into the local music store with my boss to talk about artwork for the store's T-shirts when I worked after school at a silkscreen company doing artwork and printing. As soon as I entered the store I heard this amazing rich sound coming from the keyboard department. The VFX had an amazing sound that I hadn't heard before from a synth. I was immediatly hooked and my boss was so impressed (since he played keys a little on the side) he loaned me the money for it and let me work it off since it was a pretty hefty price tag at the time). It really was an amazing sounding keyboard and since I was friends with the two guys in the sales department, I learned a LOT of the real power of what the VFX could really do.
As a live performance and midi board, it truly is amazing. The presents and amazing options on the keyboard let you pretty much do anything you could think of in the way of sound creation with the combining of the waveform's and presets and I found myself able to do almost everything with only two keyboards allowing me to go back to playing keyboards in a band. The next year I traded in my VFX for the VFXSD. The added waveforms and sequencer made this keyboard second to none at the time since it was the first true music production synthesizer.
That keyboard I used in playing at least 600 gigs and thousands of rehearsals. In the beginning I had a few problems like many people did. I had a lot of errors and the whole thing needed reinitialized and finally wouldn't work, but after I had the SD-1 Upgrade in.....hmmmm was it 94??? I didn't have any problems until 2007 when the keyboard finally died after years or hard use. I've had a few attempts to try and fix it but it now sits retired in my basement for possible future parts or one day hopefully fixed.
My next Ensoniq to replace my old VFXSD was a SD-1. This keyboard had a bunch better sound for some reason and had a clearer and less distorted sound than my VFXSD. I dragged this keyboard around all over during the time when I was playing in 5 bands at one time and recently purchased another VFXSD that I hope to upgrade to an SD-2.
Although the VFXSD is now 20 years old, it still stands as one of the best all around synthesizers for playing gigs with in my opinon. I can easily set up the sounds and presets for all the different songs on a setlist and store them on disk. It's great for laying down sequences for song ideas but the lack of computer compatibility might make it a less viable option for studio gear heads.
It's my hope that someday the SD-II will be resurected like the Hammond organ with better computer compatibility, a heavier duty case with buttons and knobs for easy live control of LFO and envolopes.