The last synthesizer model produced by Ensoniq, just before the company was bought out by Creative Labs. The Fizmo was promising on paper, based on the company's Transwave wave scanning technology and equipped with a large number of envelopes and modulation sources. Featured on the panel were five performance control knobs, labeled 'F', 'I', 'Z', 'M', and 'O'; some of these controlled the wave scanning parameters in real time.
The Fizmo had two main problems. The first was that, in order to reduce costs, Ensoniq had designed it such that only about half of the parameters could be edited from the panel; the others could only be viewed or edited via MIDI using a special version Sounddiver that was only available by mailing in a postcard that came with the synth. In addition, there was no patch initialization function. This created huge amounts of confusion among performers who tried to build their own patches, and found that hidden parameters were effecting their patches in ways that could not be changed.
The second problem was more serious. A few months after the start of production in 1998, Fizmos started coming back under the warranty with dead DSP chips on their motherboards. Ensoniq replaced the motherboards, but the returns continued, and some of the repaired ones failed again. The DSP chips were being fried by voltage surges. Ensoniq changed the wall wart power supplies with a different type, but the problem was still not solved when Creative Labs shut down the Fizmo factory line in April 1999, and the Fizmo's reputation was sunk.
Several years passed before a diligent E-mu technician (Creative had merged Ensoniq with E-mu) figured out that the voltage regulator was shorting out and applying excessive voltages to the motherboard. E-mu developed a modification which replaced the regulator with a more reliable type, and added some capacitors to absorb voltage surges. This finally solved the problem for units that were still working, but E-mu was nearly out of spare parts and many failed Fizmos could not be fixed. Because of this, it is difficult to tell how many Fizmos remain serviceable today. About 2000 of the keyboard version, and less than 200 of the rack mount version were made, and possibly only about half of those are still working.