Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

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Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Old_Synth_Fan » Sun May 03, 2015 7:05 pm

Good day all! Just discovered this incredible forum and I'm literally flabbergasted to find such a sophisticated community of experts on these topics! Here's my situation: I'm retired and finally have time to pursue fun stuff. I've got a decent home studio that has sat dormant for far too long. Amongst my gear, I have a Roland S-330, a Roland D-110 module and a lot of "traditional" instrument samples that are very useful.

My Mirage was my first synth/sampler purchase (used) back in the early 90's and I did a few rudimentary samples on it, but primarily used it for grand piano and some horns and strings that were included on the disks. It has the Sound Processor O/S and that's all I've ever used on it, although I've also got the Mirage O/S. I fired it up yesterday for the first time in nearly 10 years and it works perfectly, although the floppy drive has to be persistently persuaded into loading the O/S!

Now, go easy on my folks, cause I'm an old fogey! So yesterday I heard "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band for the first time in many years and I was totally knocked out by the synth bass sound and the synth sound used for some of the rhythm stuff! To me these are monster "staple" type synth sounds and I would give anything if I could coax these sounds out of the Mirage and I'm sure it's possible. However, I am so far behind the curve that I wouldn't know where to begin. So I'm hoping you folks might point me in the right direction.

I am wondering if I should purchase some pre programmed sounds for the Mirage that would cover it, or try to somehow build it from scratch? I'm not expecting anyone to just hand something over to me and I'm not afraid to do some work to make this happen. It's just that I am literally ignorant about synthesis/sampling at this level and am hoping someone might be able to provide a roadmap that would help me get started. Believe me, I will joyfully take any and all suggestions under serious consideration!

So, thanks in advance and any assistance provided will be hugely appreciated!

Best Regards to everyone!!!

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by madtheory » Mon May 04, 2015 6:39 am

Nope, the Mirage doesn't have the bandwidth for that. Sounds like a Minimoog on bass, swept chords and stuff sound like a Prophet 5 to me.

Go check out the Mopho X4, or any of the more expensive DSI polysynths. A Novation UltraNova could do it too. Any number of synths can do those sounds, I just picked those because I've used them and they're likely currently at your local music store.

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by mpa1104 » Mon May 04, 2015 7:22 am

Old_Synth_Fan wrote: I'm literally flabbergasted to find such a sophisticated community of experts on these topics!
Experts there may be here, but you'll soon find that "sophisticated" is stretching it a little :D :D :D

If you're attempting to have a go at reproducing the sounds in "Let It Whip" with your existing gear, FWIW I'd venture to suggest that you could stand a better chance with your Roland D-110. Yes, it's a bit of a pig to program, but the old D-10/20/110 architecture is capable of surprising you if you're willing to put in a bit of work. Check out some of the YouTube demos of those old Roland D's.
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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by madtheory » Mon May 04, 2015 8:50 am

The Mirage is a budget sampler, but it has enough cool things about it that it's worth using for what it is- grungy and strange sounding.

The D-50 is an awesomely odd synth, with its tiny PCM samples and fledgling VA synth tacked together with chorus and reverb. There's nothing else like it, it's a wonderful instrument. It's not an analogue poly, why would you even bother trying to make it one when it's going to be a PITA to try, and it's not very good at it anyway?

The D-110 is a budget D-50. Forget about it. Not only is it c**p at doing analogue poly sounds, it's c**p at being a D-50.

Now get ready for people to post examples of the two Moog basses they made after years of trying, that are not even quite close to what you could do with an actual analogue poly in 30 seconds.

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Sir Ruff » Tue May 05, 2015 12:40 am

madtheory wrote:Nope, the Mirage doesn't have the bandwidth for that. Sounds like a Minimoog on bass, swept chords and stuff sound like a Prophet 5 to me.
why does "bandwidth" matter? I'm not sure that the OP is asking for pristine minimoog sounds, just something that emulates that. And Mirage doesn't automatically sound "strange" unless you sample at very low rates.

To the OP: The Mirage can do all of this if you spend some time reading manual. Find a decent minimoog sample online with no resonance, sample it, and adjust filter/cutoff resonance to taste. Ditto for Prophet-5 pads sounds--throw them in the upper slot, split the keyboard somewhere, and you're ready to roll. If the sample rate is kept high and samples are kept short, they will sound totally fine and authentic. Or keep the Mirage to bass and use the D110 for pads. No reason to buy any more gear.
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by synthroom » Tue May 05, 2015 2:38 am

Don't forget the S-330. There's the entire Roland sample library for the S-50 and S-550 out there at places like the Roland S-Group that probably has a sample you'd find suitable.
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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by madtheory » Tue May 05, 2015 7:16 am

Sir Ruff wrote:why does "bandwidth" matter? I'm not sure that the OP is asking for pristine minimoog sounds
Go listen to the actual example the OP mentioned, "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band. Then you'll be sure of what he's asking. Bandwidth matters for the filter sweeps in that example. The bit depth will be a problem too. The Mirage has a very obvious lo fidelity sound. That's its strength, it's futile to try to ignore that.

If you actually read the OP, he says that he "wouldn't know where to begin" to coax these sounds out of a Mirage. He suggests buying discs. Syntaur charge a lot of money for Mirage disks. IMO that money is better spent on a VA, even a MicroKorg would be a better investment I think.
Sir Ruff wrote:If the sample rate is kept high and samples are kept short, they will sound totally fine and authentic. Or keep the Mirage to bass and use the D110 for pads. No reason to buy any more gear.
Trying to get a sampler to do a minimoog is an academic exercise. You obviously have never used a Mirage. You only get two samples on the keyboard so the transposing will be obvious. The filter is cool an'all but it's an absolute pig to tweak envelopes, and you can't layer samples/ oscillators. Not a machine for a guy who thinks we're all experts here! :lol:

Ya the D110 can do pads, but only those glassy digital ones, and even at that it's not a good sound because it's a cheap version of the D-50. Have you ever compared the two? Night and day. Anyway, there aren't any glassy digital pads in "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band. It would help to actually read the guy's post...

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Sir Ruff » Tue May 05, 2015 5:57 pm

madtheory wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:why does "bandwidth" matter? I'm not sure that the OP is asking for pristine minimoog sounds
Go listen to the actual example the OP mentioned, "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band. Then you'll be sure of what he's asking. Bandwidth matters for the filter sweeps in that example. The bit depth will be a problem too. The Mirage has a very obvious lo fidelity sound. That's its strength, it's futile to try to ignore that.

If you actually read the OP, he says that he "wouldn't know where to begin" to coax these sounds out of a Mirage. He suggests buying discs. Syntaur charge a lot of money for Mirage disks. IMO that money is better spent on a VA, even a MicroKorg would be a better investment I think.
Sir Ruff wrote:If the sample rate is kept high and samples are kept short, they will sound totally fine and authentic. Or keep the Mirage to bass and use the D110 for pads. No reason to buy any more gear.
Trying to get a sampler to do a minimoog is an academic exercise. You obviously have never used a Mirage. You only get two samples on the keyboard so the transposing will be obvious. The filter is cool an'all but it's an absolute pig to tweak envelopes, and you can't layer samples/ oscillators. Not a machine for a guy who thinks we're all experts here! :lol:

Ya the D110 can do pads, but only those glassy digital ones, and even at that it's not a good sound because it's a cheap version of the D-50. Have you ever compared the two? Night and day. Anyway, there aren't any glassy digital pads in "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band. It would help to actually read the guy's post...
I did read his post, but it wasn't clear if he was asking for new gear advice or just how to use what he's got. I'm a big Mirage fan/user, and I know it's not user friendly. But I also don't believe it's beyond the grasp of anyone who bothers reading the manual; hence, my suggestion to just use that. I also wouldn't leap to conclusions as far as what this guy will accept as a "convincing" minimoog sound, or believe the concept that it's "academic" to try and do this on the Mirage. There's absolutely no reason that a sample of a mini into the Mirage, played in the bass range is not going to sound totally fine for layperson use. Now if he can't be bothered reading the manual, just wants a straight forward synth to make those sounds, then yeah, maybe not ideal.
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by madtheory » Wed May 06, 2015 9:13 am

OK then, here's a challenge- show us the bass and the almost HPF sounding chord sound from the Dazz Band track, recreated on the Mirage, and tell us how you did it. It'll prove your point, and help the OP.

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Old_Synth_Fan » Thu May 07, 2015 6:53 pm

madtheory wrote:Nope, the Mirage doesn't have the bandwidth for that. Sounds like a Minimoog on bass, swept chords and stuff sound like a Prophet 5 to me.

Go check out the Mopho X4, or any of the more expensive DSI polysynths. A Novation UltraNova could do it too. Any number of synths can do those sounds, I just picked those because I've used them and they're likely currently at your local music store.
* Thanks for taking time to reply. I really appreciate it! I have entertained the idea of investing in something more capable, but it's hard to justify it financially it's only for fun now. I think it would be entertaining to see how far the Mirage can be pushed and I've got time, so perhaps I'll dig into it.

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Old_Synth_Fan » Thu May 07, 2015 6:58 pm

mpa1104 wrote:
Old_Synth_Fan wrote: I'm literally flabbergasted to find such a sophisticated community of experts on these topics!
Experts there may be here, but you'll soon find that "sophisticated" is stretching it a little :D :D :D

If you're attempting to have a go at reproducing the sounds in "Let It Whip" with your existing gear, FWIW I'd venture to suggest that you could stand a better chance with your Roland D-110. Yes, it's a bit of a pig to program, but the old D-10/20/110 architecture is capable of surprising you if you're willing to put in a bit of work. Check out some of the YouTube demos of those old Roland D's.
* * Thanks for taking time to reply. I really appreciate it! Your words are encouraging and I think it would be entertaining to see how far the Mirage can be pushed and I've got time and it would do me good, so perhaps I'll dig into it. And maybe I'll drop into a local store and try out some new toys. Thanks again!

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Old_Synth_Fan » Thu May 07, 2015 7:06 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:
madtheory wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:why does "bandwidth" matter? I'm not sure that the OP is asking for pristine minimoog sounds
Go listen to the actual example the OP mentioned, "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band. Then you'll be sure of what he's asking. Bandwidth matters for the filter sweeps in that example. The bit depth will be a problem too. The Mirage has a very obvious lo fidelity sound. That's its strength, it's futile to try to ignore that.

If you actually read the OP, he says that he "wouldn't know where to begin" to coax these sounds out of a Mirage. He suggests buying discs. Syntaur charge a lot of money for Mirage disks. IMO that money is better spent on a VA, even a MicroKorg would be a better investment I think.
Sir Ruff wrote:If the sample rate is kept high and samples are kept short, they will sound totally fine and authentic. Or keep the Mirage to bass and use the D110 for pads. No reason to buy any more gear.
Trying to get a sampler to do a minimoog is an academic exercise. You obviously have never used a Mirage. You only get two samples on the keyboard so the transposing will be obvious. The filter is cool an'all but it's an absolute pig to tweak envelopes, and you can't layer samples/ oscillators. Not a machine for a guy who thinks we're all experts here! :lol:

Ya the D110 can do pads, but only those glassy digital ones, and even at that it's not a good sound because it's a cheap version of the D-50. Have you ever compared the two? Night and day. Anyway, there aren't any glassy digital pads in "Let it Whip" by the Dazz Band. It would help to actually read the guy's post...
I did read his post, but it wasn't clear if he was asking for new gear advice or just how to use what he's got. I'm a big Mirage fan/user, and I know it's not user friendly. But I also don't believe it's beyond the grasp of anyone who bothers reading the manual; hence, my suggestion to just use that. I also wouldn't leap to conclusions as far as what this guy will accept as a "convincing" minimoog sound, or believe the concept that it's "academic" to try and do this on the Mirage. There's absolutely no reason that a sample of a mini into the Mirage, played in the bass range is not going to sound totally fine for layperson use. Now if he can't be bothered reading the manual, just wants a straight forward synth to make those sounds, then yeah, maybe not ideal.
* * Thanks for taking time to reply. I really appreciate it! be entertaining to see how far the Mirage can be pushed and I've got time, so perhaps I'll dig into it. And the more I read these replies the more I'm thinking a trip to the local music haberdashery will prove both, inspiring and depressing. Thanks again!

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Old_Synth_Fan » Thu May 07, 2015 7:10 pm

synthroom wrote:Don't forget the S-330. There's the entire Roland sample library for the S-50 and S-550 out there at places like the Roland S-Group that probably has a sample you'd find suitable.
* Thanks for taking time to reply. I really appreciate it! I have done some pretty serious projects (some over 30 tracks) using the 330 for strings and horns that turned out quite convincing after mastering and I have 60 discs of samples that I purchased with the box. I have never even checked them all out, so perhaps I will. Thanks again!

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by Old_Synth_Fan » Thu May 07, 2015 7:15 pm

madtheory wrote:OK then, here's a challenge- show us the bass and the almost HPF sounding chord sound from the Dazz Band track, recreated on the Mirage, and tell us how you did it. It'll prove your point, and help the OP.
* Thanks for taking time to reply. I really appreciate it! I have to say that is quite an attractive challenge from my perspective! :D But, I can't imagine anyone willing to invest the effort for something as irrelevant as an old dude who thinks Let it Whip is still cool! :oops: But I am happy that anyone took time to reply and all of this gives me a lot of encouragement to dig in! Thanks again!

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Re: Can the MIRAGE - Advice on how to proceed...

Post by seamonkey » Thu May 07, 2015 7:54 pm

I am an old fogey too, so don't feel bad. ;)
Great to hear you fired the old gal up and it's still working great.
I had a Mirage briefly, and I know from that little bit of time I had, that for a novice, sampling would be extremely frustrating due to it's design and very short sampling time.
I also had a Ensoniq EPS which also had short sampling time due to it's memory limitations, but the design was very intuitive to get short samples.

I would suggest shelling out a few bucks and pick up some sample disks and just enjoy playing your Mirage for awhile and get reacquainted with it and then see if you have the sample chops to roll your own.
I checked ebay for some sample disks for sale, but none are up for auction at this time.

One great resource is this link. I remember buying EPS and Mirage samples from Sam, and they've very good.
Sam definitely knew his way around the Ensoniq gear, in fact I have some of his synthesizer disks for my Ensoniq VFX-SD.
He also was a frequent contributor to the Transoniq Hacker magazine for Ensoniq users when Ensoniq was still a company.

Here's a link for some of his sample disks as well as his homepage.
http://syntaur.com/mirage_sounds.html

Have fun. :)
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