No Sound from the SQ-80?

Just a short post that I hope will find its way into the search engines in the hopes that it helps someone in the future. My Ensoniq SQ-80 stopped making any noise a month or two ago. As it turns out, I ran into an RTFM error. Except that I bought this synth second hand and didn’t have TFM.

The SQ-80 Master Settings Page
The answer was right in front of me…

Earlier today, I was on the excellent Buchty.net Ensoniq Resource page and found not only a PDF of the original Musician’s Manual, but several other manuals and schematics as well. Had I been smart, I would have scanned through it first. I went the long way, but in the interest of Internet time, here’s a choice bit from page 18 of the user guide:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you don’t have a CV Pedal plugged into the SQ-80, you should NOT leave this parameter set to PEDAL=VOL when you turn the unit off. If you do. the next time you power it up, the SQ-80 will set the “straight synth” volume to zero — it won’t make any sound. To get the volume back to normal, just go to the MASTER Page, select this parameter and set it to PEDAL=MOD.

Of course, I took the long way around and, in fairness, would not have turned to the Master Settings page information first. But once I knew where I was looking, there it was!

It’s been a long time since my Ensoniq OS chops were strong, but I’m glad to have this synth back in the mix!

Organizatiageddon

Last week, I embarked on an organization and purging binge I have dubbed “Organizatiageddon.” The end goal of this is to have my studio cleaned up and functional, the rest of the house decluttered, and nearly all of the unpacked cardboard boxes sorted and out of the garage.

I’m a proponent of the “One Home” approach to organization – everything has a single place in which it lives. When you need it, you use it, then immediately put it back in its home. Putting this in practice, however, is not always easy. To quote Andie in Pretty in Pink, “that’s a beautiful theory.”

I’ve attempted this many times in my life, but I tend to be a stacker. After a few weeks, I end up with piles of things that I had to defer due to other things taking priority. Sometimes it’s a more important task; sometimes it’s a Dr. Who marathon. But the end result is the same: piles of things scattered around the house that end up getting shuffled each time I need to use the space. Or worse, company’s coming over and I move lots of piles to a different room to “clean up.” That’s how the studio got out of control.

One limiting factor of the “One Home” approach is that you have to have enough homes. I’ve long had a dream of neatly organized storage. The kind you see on Pinterest. The kind that makes you look at your own clutter and just know that a crew from Hoarders is going to be showing up any day now.

When reaching my latest “Something must be done!” moment, I realized that the primary thing that keeps me from attacking the problem is this: I don’t have sufficient homes. I have plenty of storage, but it’s mostly U-Haul small boxes or big  (70 quart) storage tubs. Cardboard is the greater evil – out of sight, out of mind. I have no idea if I was accurate when rushing to label boxes while the movers were taking them to the truck. The problem with the plastic tubs is that I end up being too coarse with my sorting. This one is “electrical,” that one is “computer,” and those are pretty broad categories.

I needed better granularity. More specific sorting. USB cables, unbalanced patch cables, balanced patch cables, audio snakes, soldering supplies, GoPro stuff… this requires lots of smaller containers.

Now, I’ve bought plastic containers before, but they’re expensive and there are never enough in stock at the store for what I have in mind. If only there was a place where I could buy them in bulk. Oh yeah… Amazon. And it was a perfect storm because I paid off my student loan for grad school in June. I decided to use what I had been paying monthly to do a bulk purchase of containers.

There are now 92 new Sterilite containers in my house of various sizes from 6 quart to 70 quart, and all with locking lids. I did end up going over budget, but I didn’t want to give myself an excuse. I also made an impulse buy: 400 velcro cable ties. The keyboard racks are still a little messy, but they’re so much better than they had been.

Last weekend I got the studio cleaned up. It’s probably 80% there, but I’m waiting on some gear that’s out for repair before tackling the last bits. The living room is full of containers. Eventually, most of them will go in the garage. I’m processing one box at a time; I don’t move to the next box until I’ve completely emptied the current one. I’ll probably need a new shredder by the time I’m finished.

I estimate another few weeks before I have the majority of it handled, but my approach is finally working. I haven’t gone into vapor-lock-avoidance mode because of an overwhelming number of things that must be dealt with and no place to put them. Things are getting homes.

Organizatiageddon is upon them!