Overview Resources Sound Design Overview Resources Sound Design

Where digital dreams are made

Digital synthesizers are often known for sounds that are razor-sharp, crystal-clear, and precise - SQ80 V has other ideas.

Explore a detailed software resurrection of a digital anti-hero that’s out to break the rules.

Capture the grit, character, and charming imperfection favored by John Carpenter, Adamski, Mr Bungle, and countless others with an instrument that’s simultaneously complex and accessible, focused and intricate, edgy and dream-like - and unlike anything you’ve heard before.

{{ item.title }}

{{ item.text }}

Riding a wave

Created by the same engineers responsible for the Commodore 64 - considered the best-selling computer of all time - Ensoniq’s SQ80 was up against stiff competition.

At the time of its release, the digitization of hardware synthesizers was well under way - but it went on to become a cult classic.

Here was a digital synthesizer that offered a degree of warmth and character usually reserved for its analog peers; flexible voice and modulation controls that didn’t require 10,000 hours of practice to program; a workhorse keyboard that produced an unprecedented array of timbres to suit any style, without the stellar price tag of similarly capable instruments.

After finding success with the Commodore 64 computer, former MOS Technology engineers Robert Yannes, Bill Mauchly, Bruce Crockett, David Ziembicki, Al Charpentier, and Charles Winterble spent several years on projects that ultimately didn’t materialise. The best selling computer of all time was a tough act to follow.

Learn more

{{ story.text }}

Waveforms

SQ80 V’s unique voice is all about combining and manipulating waveforms.

Each of its 3 oscillators can be assigned a different waveform; SQ80 V unites classic waveforms from the original built-in library with hundreds more that we’ve added, ranging from the familiar to the abstract. The resulting range of sounds at your disposal is simply enormous; soft moving string pads, plucky pulse width basses, glitchy industrial percussion...

Just a small selection of the variety of sounds you can attain with SQ80 V, thanks to its diverse library of available waveforms.

{{ item.title }}

{{ item.text }}

Shades of analog

SQ80 V’s unique voice begins with its 8-bit oscillators and endless hybrid waveform combinations.

It’s when these components collide with its emulated CEM 3379 analog filter that it truly comes into its own. By processing digital sounds through its emulated analog filter and amp, SQ80 V can inject organic imperfections, crunchy harmonics, and tangible lo-fi distortion into your modern mixes.

Using our proprietary TAE® technology, we remodeled it in unparalleled detail to bring you a virtual instrument that sings, barks, and growls just like the original hardware.

Hear the richness of SQ80 V's modeled CEM resonant low pass filter and how well it complements the digital voices.

Layer upon layer

From the immediacy of its controls to its games console aesthetic, SQ80 V is as charming, edgy, and accessible as the real deal. Use it in your DAW or as a standalone instrument and, quite literally, make waves.

An authentic experience

The main interface is stripped down, as with the original, with a mini display menu providing instant access to your main voice controls, including tuning, waveform selection, octave switching, and more.

{{ `0${index + 1}. ${item.title}` }}

{{ item.text }}

Effects

Getting SQ80 V mix-ready is as easy as hopping over to the Effects tab. A familiar but powerful array of 15 effects add the final piece to its end-to-end sound design puzzle. From modulation to dynamics, configure the effects section in series or parallel to refine your patch into a finished product.

{{ item.title }}

What we added

SQ80 V strikes the perfect balance between ‘80s cult classic and modern production workhorse with character.

To achieve this, we added hundreds more waveforms and retrofitted its architecture with a number of extra creative features - without compromising its distinct retro charm.

Hear it in action

SQ80 V’s distinct lo-fi charm is best expressed through sound.

We enlisted the help of established sound designers, producers, and music-makers to put it to the test - have a listen and immerse yourself in the sounds of a classic resurrected.

Preset library

Enjoy perfect tailor-made sounds from the offset with SQ80 V’s expertly-designed library of 160 presets, including 40 replicated from the original instrument.

From metallic industrial percussion to synthetic keyboard patches, you’ll find a sound that suits you in no time.

{{ item.title }}

Artists corner

Included in
V collection

Legendary Keyboards Reinvented

This instrument is also part of the V Collection -your complete dream line-up of the legendary synths, organs, pianos and more that made keyboard history. They’re modeled with the most advanced technologies for authentic realism, and enhanced with new creative options. Whether you use it as DAW plugins in the studio or standalone at gigs, V Collection puts the greatest keys of all time at your fingertips for instant inspiration.

Learn More




TAE® Powered

The exclusive analog modeling technology that makes our emulations indistinguishable from the originals.

By accurately mimicking the characteristics of analog oscillators, filters, and soft clipping, we can provide astonishing component-accurate detail and authentic analog charm in equal measure.

Learn more

Gallery

All manufacturer and product names mentioned on this page are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Arturia. The trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose features and sound were studied during the development. All names of equipment, inventors, and manufacturers have been included for illustrative and educational purposes only, and do not suggest any affiliation or endorsement by any equipment inventor or manufacturer.