Over Complicated, Over Priced and Does NOT Perform
Ok, having been using MT4 for the past 2 years I had to start using Ensign because I bought Trendsignal. I will offer my conclusion first and then my review.
Conclusion Utter Shyte ! How they have the balls to charge $50 a month for this piece of cr@p is scandalous.
Without question, the most important expectation of ANY trading platform is that it displays the correct price of any given market at that time. Here Ensign fails miserably. The free data feed that comes with Ensign is supplied by FXCM but its tick update is atrocious. Charts constantly freeze and can do for 30 seconds or more at a time (record is 1min 30secs). Its not hard to see because a candle countdown will just stop and the next thing you will see is a new candle that is 10 seconds into its formation. Im Europe and all I can assume is that the tick feed is being sent from across the Atlantic and not local. You can opt for another signal provider but that requires an additional monthly subscription.
Again, performance is completely unbelievable. Never, ever trust any chart you open on Ensign until you do a refresh. For whatever reason, Ensign does not do this automatically. It is gobsmacking the differences you can see in a chart before and after a refresh. To compound this, if you have a gap in your chart Ensign just completely ignores it, without warning, and just blends it into the previous bar.
There is an online chat room available for support but it seems to be manned by only one person who is based in the states and is only available during US business hours. The problem is, you will need this guy as Ensign is incredibly complicated. I am way off being an idiot when it comes to driving a PC and Ensign has seriously tested my resolve. Nothing is simple. Ensign is powerful but sometimes I think it is too powerful for its own good and makes the simplest of task seem an unnecessary, drawn out process. There seems to be little, if not any, support on the Net from other Ensign users. Anything I have found is way out of date and is more geared towards Ensign 10 and not Ensign Windows, which this review is about.
Ok, this is where Ensign does shine. The indicators you can place on your charts are far superior to anything else I have tried. Alerts are very easy to set up and have a very high level of filtering. I really am impressed with the indicators. EAs forget it. They dont exist from what I have found.
Forget it. Im used to hitting one key to go back years on a chart with Ensign it is different. Depending upon the timeframe depends how far back you can go. On the 15 minute TF, for example, you can only go back about 5 weeks and on the 240mins, 4 months. There is a procedure for going back further but it is complicated and you can only do it in 4 month blocks and for each individual market and they have to be downloaded. There is also no 'go to date' option. You can not even scroll a wheel on your mouse or hit a key to go back in time. Your only option is to 'drag' a chat from left, to right.... pathetic!. Oh, and this is the most annoying thing. THERE IS NO RULER ON ENSIGN . If you are used to pressing your left mouse key and dragging the cursor to the top of a candle to see exactly how many pips the distance is then forget on Ensign. You have to get the calculator out.
Well I wouldnt have paid for single months subscription for Ensign past my weeks trail had it not been for the fact that Ensign is the life support for Trendsignal. Based upon the points I have made above regarding Tick Rate, Chart Display and Backtesting. I would not recommend Ensign Windows. Alerts on Indicators yes. But charting... NO
Ensign is powerful, if you take advantage of its many features
Yes, with a lot of powerful features, you have to face a learning curve. But I have found the time to be well spent.
I have used ENSIGN since the late 1990's.
As pointed out previously by other users, there are unique Ensign tools. Such as the Paesevento patterns.
Yes i once paid a programmer to clean up and improve on one of my crudely programmed modules. That money was well spent.
Years afterward, Howard helped me add some new steps and twists at no cost to me.
In time, own skills to use the DYO modules improved. Sometimes I had to ask for an example of what I needed to get started. Howard always obliged within days and never charged.
My experience is not unusual, as there is an enormous library [ several hundred modules] of already working modules that Ensign has programmed for many other individuals who requested the modules. All users can employ these complete modules right out of the box.
Users can also see the simple coding along with Howard's explanation of the code, and adapt these modules readily.
I know of no other platform where the owner makes himself personally available in the chat room and by direct email for assistance.
There is a difference between asking for help when struggling with a specific step of the program, and just asking for a total system freebie. But Howard has always helped me at any step, so long as I am also trying to learn to do it myself.
Happily, over the long run, I gradually learned to create all of my own tools.
If you have truly unique concepts that are not found in any of the "off the shelf" indicators, Ensign is a valuable platform for implementing them. Thats why serious folks, such as Paesavento, still use the Ensign software.
If you are less adventurous, then Ensign has built in choices for quickly optimizing the zillions of "off the shelf" indicators and tools.
I use Ensign with DTN IQ eed.
for 5 years I have been a ensign user. I loved the ability to create indicators, but I am not a programmer. I have sent numerous emails to the DYO department, always the same response, you need to be a programmer or pay one, no help, not even once! only condescending comments.
my goal was to build a system to give me trade alerts based on an indicator I developed, actually my goal was to autotrade, but after several attempts to build a chart trading system, Ensign software officially gave up! they will never be a trading platform! I was willing to just get the alerts through the software and enter them myself, but no more.
To Ensign (HOWARD) I am a trader, not a professional programmer. The DYO dept. sucks, truly! I realize I must learn basic programming now to take my trading to the next level, so, help me decide...
1. learn to program ensign software after my past experiences, knowing that I will never be able to use it as an auto trade......
2. learn easy language, which works on several charting and trading systems, tradestation, multicharts etc....
I was willing to stay with you guys, BUT YOU HAVE NO SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN. GET A CLUE!!!!!!!!!
Ensign is good value for money. I just use the fxcm feed that comes with it. You can customise any drawing object or study or indicator and switch between customisations v quickly with the scroll wheel. If you're into it you can probably produce a study to wash the dishes!
It lets itself down a bit on being flakey in some areasl like sometimes 'losing' fibs from charts, not always auto refreshing itraday data, not deselectting drawing objects. Also a min of 2 mouse clicks are required to do things like change t/frames, open a linked chart from the quote board - there are no dedicated buttons to common drawing objects like horizontal lines. Doesn't sound a big problem, but every extra mouse click is less brain power spent on trading and I'm up and down t/frames a lot.
Must say that support is second to none - chat, phone or email. you'll alwys get a response swiftly from people who know the program and they can remote your machine v easily if necessary. (The disappearing fibs are being looked at as i type).
Despite the flakiness and lack of direct buttons, it still gets a good 7 out of 10 here.
Simple, effective, highly customizable, robust and handles data better than just about everything else I have used especially tick, volume and range charts. Several prop features that make it a class of it's own (Demo, Playback, SimBroker, Pesavento patterns and the ability to make significant customization to everyday indicators). Arrington (developer) might be a bit of an eccentric but he's got a winner. Even makes the garbage feeds seems true. Not for everybody.