Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:56 pm

They're all now safely rescued from from floppy h**l (or SCSI, for that matter). Are there any other quality Mirage banks/patches/libraries that anyone can (or wants to) suggest? I'm willing to do a "best of" compilation if anyone has any choice picks.

The MetaSounds library I am going to convert, but as far as other third party or user disks go... I don't have any in mind.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby madtheory » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:58 am

Are you manually extracting the samples and remapping them into Kontakt, or do you have some kind of Translator? The only automatic way I can think of is to convert to EPS16 and then get those onto an ASR10 SCSI thing, make a disk image and import that into Kontakt. However last time I tried disk image import with the new version of Kontakt, I couldn't get it to work. Even though I've successfully loaded ASR10 and Kurzweil images before.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:57 am

madtheory wrote:Are you manually extracting the samples and remapping them into Kontakt, or do you have some kind of Translator?


Here are some reasons why Mirage to Kontakt is so tedious (which probably answers my previous question of "why hasn't anyone done this yet" -- people hate work and tedium):

Getting the actual sample data off the disks requires an old PC and/or other Ensoniq gear. The most convenient way (in my opinion) is the way that's already been mentioned of importing the Mirage disks into an EPS16. After that you can save the EPS16 files to a SCSI device and then copy off the SCSI device into a SCSI capable computer.

Well, there are three different banks per Mirage disk, so the factory library is essentially 90 separate programs to manage. Lots of saving, loading, naming, etc. But great, after multiple hours of disk flipping you've got everything off the crusty old Mirage floppies. All the Mirage stuff converted as such will play generally correctly on an EPS, although with the occasional bad loop point clicks/pops and what not.

In theory, it should be easy to load into Kontakt from there, as you could either use AWave / Chickensys Translator to convert to something a bit more universal, or just Kontakt as you can directly import Ensoniq files into it. But, no no no, not so fast.

That generally works okay for Ensoniq instruments because each wavesample is typically only one sound. Even when creating wavesamples that are just virtual wavesamples, the original wavesamples still remain which are generally split into their own specific sound -- one wavesample for snare, one for kick, one for hi-hat, etc. So when you auto-translate them, just take the non-virtual wavesamples and map them to the proper key ranges and you'll have a pretty good approximation of the original instrument.

But when you import Mirage stuff, each layer is mapped into one monolithic real wavesample and then any sounds within that layer are made into virtual wavesamples that sub-divide that into each component part. Those virtual wavesamples don't translate as they contain no sample data -- they're just pointers. The only thing that translates is one sample for upper and one sample for lower. The way to fix that is to recopy each virtual wavesample to a real wavesample, erase the virtual wavesamples, and then truncate all the remaining wavesamples. If you've got something like a drum kit over the span of a layer then that makes for real nasty editing.

Plus, add in any loop points or fade-out corrections, and renaming stuff to keep your sanity, and you've got quite a project on your hands. A lot of dumb work for primarily uninspired sounds and no reward.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby madtheory » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:36 am

Eugh. So the EPS16 puts the Mirage 8 bit waves into one big 16 bit wave?

It's kind of similar doing the EII library with EMXP and SoundFont- loop points and filter settings get messed up, and you often get duplicate waves. The big difference though is that Emu distributed user sounds as part of the factory library, so a lot of talented people contributed some real gems, so it's worth doing. IMO in the Mirage library the piano, distorted guitar and maybe that voice sound Kevin Saunderson used in Big Life are the only good sounds.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:41 pm

madtheory wrote:Eugh. So the EPS16 puts the Mirage 8 bit waves into one big 16 bit wave?

IMO in the Mirage library the piano, distorted guitar and maybe that voice sound Kevin Saunderson used in Big Life are the only good sounds.


Pretty much. It's generally six waves per disk. Same concept as the actual Mirage -- Upper and Lower per bank * three banks.

Agreed. IMHO, there are select few factory sounds that stand out. The majority are just bread-and-butter "look, you've got an oboe" type things which are totally disposable.

I'm not familiar with the specific voice/vocal sound you refer to, but I've already converted the disk that is all vocals and it's rather close sounding to how it plays back on the EPS16+. It may very well be the same, as it is about the only disk that jumps out to me.

Honestly, I'm having a tough time finding the motivation to do the whole collection because it's so uninspired. I'm tempted to forget about Kontakt and just dump what I have here and let anyone with an EPS enjoy it all.

OTOH, it only needs to be done once and then there will be nearly perfect patches on the EPS/ASR and fair-to-good patches in Kontakt. Choices.

Rest assured, though, it can be done for Kontakt in a way that gets about 85-95% of the original bank behavior and sound, depending on the material. Unless someone is intimately familiar with the patches then they wouldn't notice the difference. Anything without loop points is especially true to the source. Plus, since there is no direct sampling of the Mirage, all the original waves can be tweaked to taste, so it's non-fixed and non-destructive. Bit crush it, adjust the loop points and low-pass, etc. and everyone can wind up with the version they are happiest with.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby madtheory » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:46 pm

Ya I skipped oboes and harpsichords in the EII library, the world does not need more of those on vintage samplers :) But the bassoon with the built in vibrato in the Fairlight 3 library is really nice. Goes well with the natural vibrato English horn in the EIII library. Those little gems are cool to use with a modern library.

Hey, a "best of Mirage" would be super cool. Some basses, and some drums too just to get an idea. Maybe strings? Although I think they just copied the EII string ensemble? So did Casio for the FZ1. Reminds me of another gem- Yamaha UK cello trio, and also viola quintet and violin quintet. Those three layered in Kontakt are gorgeous, way better than on the original TX16W. Similar character to the old Sound Genesis strings.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby elsongs » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:33 am

Rasputin wrote:Honestly, I'm having a tough time finding the motivation to do the whole collection because it's so uninspired. I'm tempted to forget about Kontakt and just dump what I have here and let anyone with an EPS enjoy it all.


If you make them available in .EFE or .EFA format, I'm super cool with that. I have Chicken Systems Translator and I've been able to port a lot of my old EPS sounds into Kontakt format.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:35 pm

elsongs wrote:If you make them available in .EFE or .EFA format, I'm super cool with that. I have Chicken Systems Translator and I've been able to port a lot of my old EPS sounds into Kontakt format.


Okay.

Just know that Translator won't really work on this material without a lot of prep-work on an Ensoniq machine first. And even with all the prepping, Kontakt still needs a fair amount of tweaking.

I would actually skip Translator entirely for this, actually. It's a waste of time in this case.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby john909kid » Sat May 13, 2017 1:35 pm

I have some Mirage sounds in both img and edm format, and i'd like to write these to actual floppy disks for use with an EPS16+ (using the load Mirage sound command)

I see that Omniflop and Windows XP can write the img files to floppy, and they will then work in the EPS16+. But it seems that edm files are not compatible with Omniflop.

How can the edm files be converted to img files for use with Omniflop?
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Sat May 13, 2017 2:19 pm

john909kid wrote:How can the edm files be converted to img files for use with Omniflop?


You don't. EDM sucks.

The real answer is to use DOS to write the EDM to a floppy and then re-image it. It's not that it's impossible to convert EDM to IMG as the format is documented, but you'd have to write a utility.

Having said that, I probably already have whatever you're looking for in IMG format.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby john909kid » Sun May 14, 2017 2:02 am

Rasputin wrote:The real answer is to use DOS to write the EDM to a floppy and then re-image it. It's not that it's impossible to convert EDM to IMG as the format is documented, but you'd have to write a utility.



I've read that to go from img to edm (for use with the HXC application) it's a simple matter of renaming the file type from img to edm.

" 1. Dump a Mirage disk using OmniFlop
2. Rename image from .img to .edm
3. Convert .edm to .hfe using the HxC app
4. Copy the .hfe image to SD
5. Insert SD to HxC adapter and select the disk image
6. Power up Mirage and use it like you would with regular floppies.
"

So the reverse won't work? I can't simply rename edm to img?
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Sun May 14, 2017 3:18 am

john909kid wrote:I've read that to go from img to edm (for use with the HXC application) it's a simple matter of renaming the file type from img to edm.

So the reverse won't work? I can't simply rename edm to img?


No.

EDM isn't a raw image format. It has a header and rudimentary compression. For what it's worth, I'm of the opinion that EDM support is not correctly implemented in the HxC software.

You have to use a Giebler utility to unpack the EDM to a floppy and then from there you can do anything you want whether that's image it with Omniflop, etc.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but true EDM files (not an IMG renamed to EDM) have no convenient and reliable way of being dealt with other than writing to floppy using a Giebler utility in DOS.

Like I said, it's not as if it's a sophisticated format or anything, just no one seems to have developed anything proper, convenient, and modern to cope with it for whatever reasons.

Just send me the files and I'll convert them, if necessary; it's doubtful that you have any true EDMs that I don't already have in a more universal format, although certainly not impossible.
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby john909kid » Tue May 16, 2017 2:48 pm

Does the EPS16+ "Mirage import" function load in every sample and patch settings exactly as the sounds are on the Mirage?

I have some original Mirage floppies that i'm using with my EPS16+, but i've been told that some Mirage sounds have the option to load in four variations of the same patch....? I don't seem to have that option on the EPS...

EDIT:
Ok found the answer in the manual:

"The EPS-16 PLUS defaults to converting Mirage program #1. Other programs
may be converted by scrolling right to the parameter PROGRAM= in the
command before pressing Enter•Yes."
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby Rasputin » Fri May 19, 2017 6:25 pm

I thought I would make a little list here about what third-party Ensoniq Mirage libraries are known to have existed (maybe some of them have literally disappeared from the planet at this point!). There are a LOT of these I don't have, and info is scarce, so anyone with any additional information, disks for sale, disks for rent, leads on where to purchase them, trades, so-on-and-so-forth are all welcome.

K-Muse's (aka Kevin Kent) Sound Composer Series is the most well-known of the commercial Mirage disks, probably. I can confirm that there were at least five 10-disks sets released -- London, New York, L.A., Techno Pop, and Classical. Supposedly R&B, Rock & Roll, Spiritual, and Comedy also exist, but I'm unsure and cannot find anything to verify this.

London
Disk 1: Drum Sets
Disk 2: Percussion
Disk 3: Bass with Accompaniment
Disk 4: Accompaniment 1
Disk 5: Accompaniment 2
Disk 6: Sustained sounds
Disk 7: Orchestral Brass
Disk 8: Orchestral Strings
Disk 9: Orchestral Hits
Disk 10: Blends/Demos

New York
Full contents are unknown.

L.A.
Full contents are unknown.

Techno Pop
Disc 1: Techno Pop Drums
Disc 2: Industrial Noise, Metallic Gongs, Space Chimes
Disc 3: Oh Bass, PPG Bass, Roman Bells
Disc 4: Metallic Mallets, Magnetic Bells, Machine Shop
Disc 5: Stacked FM, Droid Breath, Hi-Tack Piano
Disc 6: 2001 Voices, 2002 Voices, Tarkus
Disc 7: Droid Brass, Lazer Brass, FM Multi-Brass
Disc 8: Nippon Strings, Anna Strings, Digi Strings
Disc 9: Synclavier Hits, Jet Dive, Fat Tech
Disc 10: Metropolis Demo, Star Tech Demo, Hyper Demo

Classical
unknown

There was also a giant library from SoftWorx. I think this was available for E-mu Emax as well, and I would be VERY VERY interested in this in any format.

Northstar Productions had a large (100+) Mirage library, the exact contents of which are unknown to me.

Cybersoniq had a line called Synthbank which was at least 2 volumes. It's notable as they were "stacked" waveforms which you could select to alter the sounds.

Note: It didn't require a custom OS, so it's not the same principle as SoundProcess.

Sound Cells had at least a 12 disk Mirage library:

1) Vocals and Strings
2) Strings & Things
3) Drum City
4) Orchestra Hits
5) Sound Tracks
6) The Synth Disk
7) Guitars
8) Interesting & Unusual
9) Sound FX & Percussion
10) Keyboards
11) Reeds
12) Misc. Samples

Data 1 had a 7 disk set (maybe more):
1) Drums and Percussion
2) Strings and Voice
3) Funk and Electronic
4) Piano and Organ
5) Digital Synth
6) Horn Sounds
7) DX Sounds

Minotaur Studios had a 7 disk set.

Sampleware had a 7 disk set (or maybe more):
1) Band
2) Percussion
3) Strings
4) Voices
5) Brass
6) Guitars
7) Sound EFX

Synthware had at least an 11 disk set.

I think the following were very, very tiny "companies" which had a disk or two:
Noria Productions
Orbital Action Music
Livewire Audio

I'll revamp and add to this when I have time (if I have time).
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Re: Ensoniq Mirage sample library?

Postby crystalmsc » Sat May 20, 2017 3:09 am

There's a new sample pack based on the original Ensoniq Mirage floppy disks https://puremagnetik.com/products/refraktor
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