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About Me

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  1. I downloaded Cakewalk by BandLab a couple of weeks ago and I am astonished at what it can do. Granted, it's been about 20 years since I last did any digital music recording (using Cakewalk Home Studio, as it happens). The advances between then and now are about as amazing as they had been between then and the 1980s, when I did a bit of work in recording studios with 2-inch tape machines. The whole world of VST effects and instruments alone has changed everything. Anyway, I managed to get my 1987 Ensoniq ESQ-1 working with CbB, even to the point of opening twenty-year-old .wrk files in CbB and finding them already set up to play the ESQ-1 again, after I'd loaded its instrument definition, which I don't think I had to change at all. I also found a pair of AKG headphones I bought in 1974 that still work too. I have to say that the videos by Mike at Creative Sauce were crucial to how quickly I got to understand CbB. The only tricky part of getting everything back the way I left it at the turn of the century was reloading stored ESQ-1 programs. I originally stored them on audio cassettes, later transferred to .mdx files about 1999. None of my old MIDI software now runs on 64-bit Windows 10, so I had to search around for something that would at least let me try sending stuff to the synth. I settled on Bome Software's SendSX in the end. It is clear and straightforward to use. The mysterious .mdx file format, once I could inspect the contents in SendSX, turned out to be standard MIDI codes, but the sysex headers and footers were oddly messed up for some reason. With a bit of assembly-style code-breaking, and reference to the appendices of the ESQ-1 manual, I figured out where the program data began and ended, and simply appended the sysex headers and footers that should have been there. Instant success! The ESQ-1 thought for a moment about what it was receiving and then lit up with all my old voices. So not only was I able to get old songs into CbB, I was also able to get them to sound right on the ESQ-1. There is a problem in the ESQ-1 that is causing it to lose internal program and sequence data every time it is switched off. This I can live with, as the programs can be safely stored in the 80-voice EEPROM cartridge, and the sequences are better off in CbB anyway. I suspect the problem is more than a flat battery, as I am not getting a battery warning at start-up. Unfortunately the engineer who last worked on the synth (Phase Engineering, in Sydney) appears to have retired to the mountains.
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