Synth Site: Ensoniq: Mirage: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
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Lisko a professional user from Bulgaria writes:
The more technological progress they make speaking of sample rate, storage and DSP power, the more surprising and unbelievable it is how a machine so simple and tight of memory could be so musical, natural sounding and useful. Would you believe nowadays possible for a sample to sound good with a 8-bit resolution and stretching at 64k max? Sounds like a joke. Yet they made a professional instrument out of this. It would be wrong to say that the Mirage was just the predecessor of more capable samplers; it's just different, and has a verystrong individuality that has nothing to do with sample resolution etc. Filters are my favorite. I think they play the most important part. For instance, the Juno filters which are not bad at all, they generally just 'take' from the sound. But the Mirage filter sounds like it makes the sound denser, especially with resonance. Hard to explain; like it 'blurs' some frequencies in a way that makes it all sound 'thicker' or 'richer'. I'm talking pads and sustained sounds mostly, that's what I use it for. Push 3 notes and you have the whole texture. Anyway, you have to have a way with experimenting in sound to really enjoy the Mirage. If we're talking the originl Ensoniq disks with usual sounds like keys, guitars etc, I suppose they wouldn't make a lot of impression nowadays except maybe the vocal banks, very nice. Sample something yourself then you'll see. Surreal murmurs, a spooky orchestra, weirldly looped textures. Pass it through some stereo chorus and you'll have an outstanding presence in any mix. Yeah programming is a bit tough but after all you'd usually have to deal with a few most common parameters, not that much - 36/37/38 for filter, 40-44 for filter ADSR, 50-54 for osc ADSR,next 4 for velocity sensitivity, 72 for top key, 60-65 for loop parameters. Yeah velocity makes a great sense as it controls all you might need in terms of expression, for both oscillator and filter. Also, you can have two osc per voice as any decent substractive synth should. MASOS adds some nice features but I can live without it.Especially when there are some simple programs for sample dumps and remote proramming. Greatest pity is that there is no CC live filter control. Yeah you could control it with increments of 1 at a time via midi but changes affect the next note played. Finally, note that Ensoniq's next generation of samplers - EPS and ASR, have almost nothing in common with this one. They pursued realism and studio quality and they've lost the 'surreal' coloration of the Mirage.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-27-2008 at 18:55
curtis electric a part-time user from uk writes:
The most interesting sampler ever created,sound slike nothing else. I love this sampler much more interesting than all the new stuff. Sounds amazing for all the wrong reasons but is superb.5 out of 5 These are going to become a future classic mark my words.I buy them up as soon as I see them.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Dec-14-2007 at 03:24
Martin King a part-time user from England writes:
I bought one of these for £40 with a whole load of sample disks and a dying floppy drive. One Atari ST floppy transplant and a good old dust inside, and you get a charming, if basic, sampling keyboard! The size alone gives it presence in the studio, anyone who comes in says "That's a nice keyboard!". The sounds are gritty, I would recommend getting hold of mellotron string samples, they are gorgeous! The filter and lfo will not make it sound like a Moog, but they do make the samples sound more organic. Well worth it if you can get it cheap! Love it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Nov-22-2007 at 07:44
Buddha Haze a part-time user from K-Town, Ontario, Canada writes:
I've got so much love for this thing it's a damn shame. Been using it to make hip-hop since 1991(ish?). I had to cop another one last year('06), this time a rackmount. I have to say the net has saved this thing from extinction especially with the yahoo support group and other forums.

I will talk about the sound quality later but first I will talk about the GLORIOUS SEQUENCER. Yes this sequencer has randomness, glitchyness, and all around funkiness! And what has to be the end all and be all of sequencer features(somebody please tell me if there are any other machines that do what I am about to describe dutchbeats@care2.com). Here we go:

1)Get your drums and samples sounding right and on proper keys so you can play them comfortably 2)Arm the sequencer to start recording when you start to play 3)Play that funky ish (white)boyeeee! 4)Press the sequence start button to complete the loop you just played right on beat. 5)ENJOY!

This is maybe too simple to comprehend but it is so brilliant. This basically lets you PLAY your beats in real time and set your own loop point at the end of the loop. It may take many tries to get it right(reaching for the seq start button and hitting it on time is tricky-I can't believe I only now found out you can use a footswitch to do this!! D'oh!). This to me is THE MOST NATURAL WAY to sequence a beat because YOU start the sequence when you hit that first note, YOU keep your own human tempo throughout, and YOU hit the loop button at the end with perfect timing! There is no way more natural than this! Plus when you play it back like I said it has it's own glitchy random playback which makes it even more free flowing. Freak freak the funk the funk funk....!

Now the sound. Everyone else here has described this in detail so I won't have to (although I just copped an ISF-1 input sampling filter and am anxious to get into that as well as performing a mod to the Mirage itself to bypass the original stereo outs and get a cleaner signal). I just hope somebody actually gets what I described above about the sequencer and hits me back with any info on any other samplers(hopefully E-mu/Ensoniq) that do that also.

Famous tracks that use the Mirage:

Rebel Without a Pause - Public Enemy (check the high pitch horn loop)

Labels - GZA (RZA was always a Ensoniq user)

Long live the Mirage!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-23-2007 at 10:19
Gear Hustler a hobbyist user from UsA writes:
Digital artifacts in the background of a sample. Alittle sandpaper sound and noises makes this a true keeper.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-08-2007 at 11:17
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