Ensoniq EPS Grand 88 Sound Review


Name Grand 88
Type Acoustic Grand Piano
Blocks 1822
Library   Ensoniq SLT-6
Disks ESD-51, ESD-52


5/5. This is by far the best piano sound I've heard for the EPS. There is no comparison. Those in the EPS-16+ libraries (SL-4 and SL-5) do not sound good on the EPS Classic and should be avoided. I've also heard many of the piano sounds throughout the SLT libraries, and they are quite bad as well.

As its name implies, Grand 88 offers the entire 88 keys worth of piano, and it sounds great from one end to the other. You can tell that this one was somebody's labor of love. It shows what these old keyboards were really capable of when programmed well. This rivals even the best piano simulations of today. This one sound makes the Ensoniq SLT-6 library worth buying. If you need organ sounds too, then the SLT-6's organ disk (ESD-55) should close the deal.

On the down side, Grand 88 sounds a bit hollow, and a few of the keys sound slightly out of tune. But these are minor issues that aren't very noticeable. The demo hits one of the out-of-tune notes while going through the entire range in the beginning to give you an idea of how noticeable it is.


Grand 88 Demo (mp3 2mb) - Goes through the entire range in octaves, one sustained note, one quiet note, and my favorite demo song that is included with Grand 88. I have no idea what this song is, but if anyone can enlighten me, I'd love to know. It may be copyright, and if the copyright holder comes forth, I will remove the song at their request.


OO - The regular piano sound.

*O - Una corda. One string instead of the usual two for this simulated piano. This patch doesn't affect the loudness very much, but it does double the polyphony and render the sustain static.

O* - Octava. Takes the keyboard up an octave. You can almost reach those really high keys with this.

** - Parallel octaves. Gives a parallel octave sound while only using 3 wavesamples on the sustain portion. This gives slightly more polyphony than playing parallel octaves.


Wavesample Transitions

5/5. There are so many perfectly balanced wavesamples that wavesample transition issues are non-existent. This thing sounds great from one note to the next all over the full 88 keys.


5/5. The attack is perfect. The hammer wavesample sounds really great.


5/5. The sustain is wonderfully alive and very long. The two wavesamples are slightly detuned to give a nice gentle piano-like chorus effect. If only every sound had a sustain this nice. Many piano sounds for the EPS cut off the sustain rather abruptly to hide how poor their sustain is. This one just rings and rings.


3/5. @ 20 voices, 6 to 9 notes. Here's where you pay for a good sound. This is due to the fact that the attack portion of this sound requires 3 wavesamples. One for the hammer sound, and two for the note itself. Worst case with the EPS set at 20 voices, you can only play 6 notes at the same time. However, since the hammer sound is rather short, if the notes are staggered in time, you can play up to 9. I wonder whether the hammer sound could have been included in the main string sound to increase polyphony. With the "una corda" patch, you can improve things significantly and potentially squeeze a good 19 notes out of this sound. Of course, the sustain suffers when you do this.


5/5. Velocity sounds great.

Mod Wheel

The mod wheel brightens the sound.


This sound does not support aftertouch.

Where To Buy

Syntaur appears to be the only place that still sells the old EPS sounds. You can buy SLT-6 from them.

Copyright ©2007, Ted Felix. Disclaimer