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Ensoniq MIRAGE


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Ensoniq MIRAGE

Category:  Products / samplers / ensoniq samplers

Added: 05-Jan-99  |  Author: admin

New price:   |   S/H price: 150 -200 (uk)

Ensoniq MIRAGE

[The DSK]

[The DMS-8 Rack]

The first time I ever saw a 'Mirage'... I was doing some studio work in a big-time eastlake place under contract, and went down to the programming suite..... There were two guys in there wacking out that old classic rap horn sample and the red LED was flickering away....... yup... The Mirage .... 8 bits of raw sampling power.... I've got a couple of mates in South London... the 2 Andy's (heh heh... see, they're both called Andy... so I call 'em Andy-1 and Andy-2..)..... and they both have Mirages the original, and the later DSK version, and believe me, the quality of music they make is excellent....

Anyhow... I belled them up just now, to get some spec's... Andy-1 gave me some brief DSK version info... but Andy-2 was out.... shame.... but I can say, the music they make with these machines as the ONLY sample source is brilliant...

There's not alot to say about them spec wise, 8 bit, mono out, a totally arcane operating system, and real analog filters, which sound very nice provided the source material is suitable.....and 61 keys....

The DSK which is the later model, has a small onboard sequencer with 333 events max !!!..... (very Crowlian commented Andy-1...!!!)

The Keyboard is Velocity sensitive....16 samples available at any time, with sample rates from 10k - 33k and a total of 16 samples max, giving a total sample time of 2 Seconds, to 6.5 Seconds..... They got a mono-input but 2 outs.... although it's not stereo...which is weird......

the sampling is pretty arcane too...You have to insert a disk, which specifies how many samples will be made.....The disk must be in to samplethen you choose either...2,4,or 8 samples per half keyboard.... then you sample, after which, you can re-map the sounds.... somehow, the mirage splits the keyboard, and the saves in half... maybe the ram is split as in the Roland S-550 but I'll have to check that out.......

As fr the fabled analog filters, apparently, resonance gets out of hand easily....if you push it too far it squeals up into the inaudible frequency range and then dissappears...... especially with bass notes ....Andy-1 reckons it's useful for acidy stuff, but does have a limited range depending on the source sound sample...so choice of material is important for filter fx.....

That's all I can add right now....... but.... I'm going to go over to visit the 2 Andy's place to get the full mirage low-down....Bloody hell, it's like having a mirage museum down the raod... they even know 2 guys with the rack version !!..... one of whom plays keys with John Martin on tour, (Foster Patterson)....and he's still got his Mirage apparently....midi In and Out/Thru.... supposedly switchable between Out & Tru.... but apparently every time Andy tries it, the thing goes mental....... add some user comments please....

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User Comments

Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: xoxos
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 22-May-99

in my extreme poverty i used a dsk-8 (the 8-bit, not the later 12-bit pictured here :) as my only module for several years.. i'll probably be keeping some mirage tunes on my page for retrospect. i've given it to a friend, and will likely snag another one the next time i've got the $100 lying around.

if you're starting out and looking for a budget sampler to base your sound around, this baby's not for you, what with so many cheap options nowadays.. get an emax or an akai s950 for $300. the reasoning behind this is my unit seemed to have, even after a totally new motherboard.. an oscillation in the filter, so every hit produced a slightly different cutoff frequency.. not ideal for a rock solid 4/4 kick..

beyond that, this thing has a helluva sound.. the filters are warm, smooth and deep.. evidently due to the famous cem chip. i wish my new akai's filters were even slightly comparable.. likewise, something in it's lo-fi circuitry can't be replicated by downsampling on modern kit, no way.

watch the filters tho.. if you set resonance near 40, the oscs will self-osc and get 'stuck,' producing a very low frequency rumble (maybe not audible on your system) until you change the program. like i said, the filters really are de-e-e-e-e-p..

somewhere on the web, there's a guy named slepian who's got a page of mirage mods, like 8 outs.. unbelievable...

as said, i used to use this thing for everything.. despite having no real modulation options.. but i used to frantically tap the =/- buttons to do sweeps and stuff and got some knockout sounds. just by pushing the extremes of pitch transposition, the considerable sample rate freq range and the resultant aliasing, and the filters, you'll hit some far out stuff.

there's supposedly some proggie out there that writes mirage files to .wav and vice-versa.. please let me know if you find it..

and a neat trick.. if you edit the loop points in certain circumstances when the sample is being triggered, it does this unique stuttering effect, where it will continuously play the sample but randomly loop it, from totally random points and lengths, mysteriously switching to different values with a mind of it's own... really cool, and very useful, synthetic, industrial.. probably used a lot on vocals in severed head's 'bigot' and skinny puppy's 'jackhammer.'

plus.. the k-muse drum samples are great.. trashy, noisy, construction yard stuff.. totally unique.

so don't use this as a sampling core if you're looking for indistinguishable repetitions, but otherwise, this thing has a brutal, endearing charm all of it's own. it's like 1984 in a box.. and since it probably will have an assortment of sample disks with it (there's a company called syntaur out of houston (i think) that exclusively sells mirage os and sample disks) useable pianos, strings, choirs, orch hits et c. (just add reverb) plus a gutsy mangler to boot.

this thing was the first sampler that cost less than a car, so i'll give it a '5' for staying power, since its character is more endearing than its technological shortcomings, but the 'hamster wheel' comparison is accurate too (if you're thinking about a nasty ass hamster like the scottish hamster from 'the young ones..')

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Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: Chris
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 31-Oct-99

the original mirage also has a 333event sequencer--no clock, though, and it only functions with the original Mirage OS (as opposed to the later MASOS, which is what you want to use for the advanced sampling)...

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Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: Peter
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 19-Aug-03

Science fiction like operating system using hex code.....but this thing sounds awsome I have written most of an album with this and a hard disk recorder totally underestimated and not just for lo-fi-the acousitic piano is still the best I have heard, not for realisim but the way it sits in a mix.

It is not for those who like to reproduce lame drum loops from sample cds but for people who want to have a sound of their own....Best kept secrect of hip hop....

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Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: Guido
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Hobby-ist
Date: 31-May-10

Anybody uses Ensoniq Mirage DSK sampling keyborad?
I bought one back a few years ago, when I did, the seller showed me how to format disks and how to sample sounds from other instruments... but later I forgot. Now I can't really make it work.

If anyone here has or had this sampler, I would like to have some suggestions of how to use this sampler (I lost the instructions manual).

Thank you very much for your time,

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Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: charly
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 07-Sep-10

hola,he tenido el ensoniq mirage desde hace muchos aņos,y no lo cambio por nada,pero me hace falta sanidos,me pueden mandar algunos,o me digan donde losconsigo gracias

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Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: guitar lessons
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 24-Nov-11

Im just bidding on one now!

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Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: Daniel
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: part-timer
Date: 28-Feb-12

The sample setup is fully configurable, not like it is described above. Though it
done by setting pointers in Hex pointing out start and end points in memory.

The analog filters are nice, combined with the doubling of oscillators (sample
playbacks). Give rough but dynamic sounds.

Modulation (LFO) could be better. LFO to filter CF for example is missing.
If the interface of edit and filtering would have been knobs, this piece would be
sevens heavens.

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Last added comment

Product:  Ensoniq - MIRAGE
Name: Jon
Email: Email supplied but hidden
Activity: Professional
Date: 22-May-13

There were actually TWO Mirage rack models, the DMS-8 and the DMS-1. Except for the paint color, I have not spotted any difference in them. The DSK-8 keyboards included the input sampling filter bay, but the DSK-1 keyboard lost that bay. However, both modules DMS-8 and DMS-1 retain the bay for the input sampling filter. I will have to check the two models of module, but in keyboards, the DSK-8 is mono, whereas the DSK-1 has a set of stereo outs with panning placement in the OS.
The retro 8-bit sound and Curtis analog filters make the Mirages very useable still.

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