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Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

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Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby BillB » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:16 am

I wasn’t sure whether to post this in the Keyboards section, as the question is inspired by a feature of three (late period) Ensoniq keyboards: the MR61/76 and ZR76. But the answer is perhaps not limited to keyboards.

All of the above feature an ‘IdeaPad’ which is constantly recording anything played on the keyboard, and will allow you to go back and play captured ‘ideas’ from a list of recorded phrases. Ideas are regarded as distinct if they are separated by pauses or a change of sound programme. This feature is entirely separate from the onboard sequencer. Where it gets more clever is that a tempo can be tapped along to a given ‘idea’ after it has been captured. Once a rough tempo is established, it can then be quantised in an appararently clever way using ‘delta quantising’ (which I don’t understand and have not experienced) and sent over to the sequencer as an in-tempo phrase.

This sounds like a really attractive approach to someone like me who a) generally prefers to keep the PC off, b) likes to noodle and c) once in a while wishes he had captured something just played, but without striking up a sequencer/ DAW and playing it back in tempo.

So my question is.... is there anything like this on any other hardware device? I am guessing there may be something like this in a DAW, but I don’t want the computer opened up and ‘rolling’ in case inspiration strikes. An iPad, perhaps? Are these Ensoniqs really the only hardware with this kind of feature?

Thoughts welcome!
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Re: Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby resistorman » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:52 am

I bought a Tascam Model 12 mixer/recorder/ interface for my synth rig and use it like this. Every time I start playing I hit record. Not really the same thing, but memory cards are cheap,
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Re: Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby BillB » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:59 am

Yes, there is always audio recording, but I like the idea of capturing MIDI on the fly, aligning a tempo to it, then moving it into a sequencer for layering. Thought it might have caught on as a concept.
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Re: Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby BJG145 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:20 am

BillB wrote:I like the idea of capturing MIDI on the fly, aligning a tempo to it, then moving it into a sequencer for layering. Thought it might have caught on as a concept.

If you record continuously on something like, say, an iPad DAW, you can always extract a sequence later for incorporation via quantisation, tempo maps etc (eg Smart Tempo in Logic), though I guess nothing else is going to have quite the same level of automatic sorting and integration.

An iPad App that does that kind of continuous monitoring and reorganisation, an "Idea Pad" App basically, is an interesting thought, but I doubt if it's been done. (It would also be possible for an expert to set up something like a Raspberry Pi.)

Some DAWs like Cubase and Logic apparently offer a more basic continuous-monitoring function.
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Re: Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby BillB » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:20 pm

You would think there would be an app for that, but a rummage through the app store has not turned anything up.
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Re: Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby BillB » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:56 pm

Oh well, I originally wrote this post to convince myself that I did not need the Ensoniq MR76 advertised on Gumtree.

Setting out what it does, and there being no obvious alternative in hardware, rather had the opposite effect.

I am now the proud owner of an Ensoniq MR76! :headbang:

I'll come back at some point when I figure out how useful this feature actually is.
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Re: Ensoniq Idea Pad - equivalents?

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:49 pm

Yes - I’d be curious to know how those features you mentioned work after you’ve spent some time with them.
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