Arturia Intros SQ80 V, “Ensoniq’s Classic ‘80s Cross-Wave Synth Reborn”

Arturia has introduced SQ80 V, a new virtual instrument for Mac & Windows that’s based on the Ensoniq SQ-80 from 1988.

The original Ensoniq SQ-80 is a hybrid synth, with three digital wavetable oscillators per voice paired with an analog 4-pole filter. It also is one of the few classic synths to offer polyphonic aftertouch, a feature that lets you expressively control the sound of individual notes, after the initial key press.

Here’s the official video overview:

With SQ80 V, Arturia has recreated the sound of the original using hardware modeling. But they’ve also expanded on the original’s design with a variety new features, including:

  • The arpeggiator – including arp direction, sync, octave range, and hold.
  • Unison – SQ80 V offers up to 16-voice polyphony – twice that of the original hardware instrument – plus ann 8-voice unison option for creating massive sounds.
  • Dispersion – subtle variations and inconsistencies in the behavior of its emulated circuitry that mean no two notes will ever be exactly the same,.
  • Envelopes expanded – Arturia included 2 additional envelope modes: DADSR and MSEG. The former adds a delay stage to the traditional ADSR for staggered strikes and interesting rhythmic patterns. The latter is a fully-customizable looping function generator.
  • The Mod Mixer – Combine any 2 modulation sources, from envelopes to keyboard controls, to distort, mangle, and refract your patches in interesting and unexpected ways. With 6 different modes of modulation mixing, the combination possibilities are enormous.
  • MPE compatibility – SQ80 V supports MPE-compatible controllers for advanced expression.


  • 3 digital oscillators based on the original DOC chip
  • Over 400 waveforms across 4 unique banks
  • Amplitude Modulation and Hard Sync
  • 4 analog DCAs; 1 for each oscillator, 1 master output
  • Analog resonant low-pass filter based on the original CEM chip
  • 4 polyphonic envelope generators with 3 modes; SQ80, DADSR, MSEG
  • 3 LFOs with 6 waveforms
  • 8 MIDI sources
  • Modulation mixer for combining 2 modulation sources
  • Built-in 7-mode arpeggiator
  • Up to 16-voice polyphony with Unison mode
  • 4 FX slots across 2 busses, configurable in series or parallel]
  • 15 master effect types
  • Advanced Brightness, Timbre, Time and Movement macro controls
  • 200+ factory presets, including 40 from the original SQ-80 instrument
  • MPE compatibility

Pricing and Availability

Arturia SQ80 V is available now with an intro price of $99 (normally $199).

15 thoughts on “Arturia Intros SQ80 V, “Ensoniq’s Classic ‘80s Cross-Wave Synth Reborn”

  1. One of the best things about the ESQ1/SQ80 was the unique way in which adjusted parameters would not affect the sound until the next keypress. It was a limitation in many ways (the only “live” parameters you could tweak would have to be assigned to the mod wheel or after touch), but the results could be fascinating. I am doubting this “emulation” follows the same path?

  2. so the sq-80 had an onboard 8-track sequencer (20,000 notes, 60 sequences, 20 songs).
    where is it, arturia?
    not there? well, then count me out.

  3. Just bought it and it sounds fantastic. I had an ESQ-1 I bought new that I later regretted selling and the SQ80 V reminded me why. I hope Arturia does the Fizmo next.

  4. Yeah this will probably have to happen. If the emulation is really good, maybe I’ll be able to sell my hardware synth and create some space. It’ll be nice to do a direct A/B comparison at some point and maybe post a video.

  5. for a company not exactly renowned for their upgrade deals, the current upgrade price from version 5 to version 8 was amazing low. Almost to the point I think it might be a mistake?

  6. Frank Sampedro (above) has a point.

    This feature enabled played notes to decay, while a new preset was selected. The new npreaet notes to be played over the top of previous decaying ones!

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