Using the ES2’s Global Parameters

These parameters affect the overall instrument sound produced by the ES2. You can find the global parameters to the left of the oscillators, and above the filter and output sections.

Figure. Global parameters.

Choosing the ES2 Keyboard Mode (Poly/Mono/Legato)

A polyphonic instrument allows several notes to be played simultaneously—an organ or piano, for example. Many older analog synthesizers are monophonic, which means that only one note can be played at a time, much like a brass or reed instrument. This shouldn’t be viewed as a disadvantage in any way, because it allows playing styles that are not possible with polyphonic instruments.

Figure. Keyboard Mode buttons.
  • If you choose Mono mode, staccato playing will retrigger the envelope generators every time a new note is played. If you play in a legato style (play a new key while holding another), the envelope generators are triggered only for the first note you play legato, and then they continue their curve until you release the last legato played key.

  • The Legato mode is also monophonic, but with one difference:  The envelope generators are retriggered only if you play staccato—releasing each key before playing a new key.

Note: On several monophonic synthesizers, the behavior in Legato mode is referred to as single trigger, while Mono mode is referred to as multi trigger.

Using Unison and Voices for a Richer ES2 Sound

One of the great strengths of polyphonic analog synthesizers is unison—or “stacked voices”—mode. Traditionally, in unison mode classic analog polysynths run monophonically, with all voices playing simultaneously when a single note is struck. As the voices of an analog synthesizer are never perfectly in tune, this results in an extremely fat chorus effect with great sonic depth.

To enable monophonic unison mode for the ES2
  • Activate either Mono or Legato mode, and turn on the Unison button:

To use the ES2 in polyphonic unison mode
  • Activate the Poly and Unison buttons.

    In Poly/Unison mode, each played note is effectively doubled—or, more correctly, the polyphony value of the Voices parameter is halved. These two voices are then heard when you trigger the note. Activating Poly/Unison has the same effect as setting the ES2 to Mono/Unison (Voices = 2), but you can play polyphonically.

Setting a Glide (Portamento) Time in the ES2

The Glide parameter controls the portamento time. This is the amount of time it takes for the pitch of one played note to travel to the pitch of another played note.

Figure. Glide knob.

The Glide parameter behavior depends on the keyboard mode you choose. See Choosing the ES2 Keyboard Mode (Poly/Mono/Legato).

  • If the keyboard mode is set to Poly or Mono, and Glide is set to a value other than 0, portamento is active.

  • If Legato is chosen, and Glide is set to a value other than 0, you need to play legato (pressing a new key while holding the old one) to activate portamento. If you don’t play in a legato style, portamento won’t work. This behavior is also known as fingered portamento.

Determining a Bend Range in the ES2

The Bend range fields determine the range for pitch bend modulation, typically performed with your keyboard’s pitch bend wheel.

There are separate range fields for upward and downward bends. When you set the right-hand Bend range field to Link mode, the bend range is identical in both directions—if you assign a downward bend of 4 semitones, this will be mirrored in the upward bend field, resulting in a combined bend range of 8 semitones—9 if you include the standard pitch, or “no bend” position.