1984 came the MIRAGE DSK-8, an affordable keyboard sampler for the masses ! The Dms-8 is the relative rackmount version
is still this rack sampler worth a buy??? let's find it out...
RACK the rack version is a big grey (ugly) expander format, quite deep and heavy!
The main panel features simple alphanumeric 2 digit LCD display and 15 push buttons to edit more than 77 parameters + 10 others for numeric pad.
On the rightmost part a 3.5'' Floppy drive.
Back panel (pic) has these connections: Midi I/O, Audio jack out , an audio IN for sampling (I wished it was frontal) and a slot expansion for sequencer memory cartridge.
Power supply is internal with VDE connector type. Exists in both 110V and 220V.
The Mirage generates eight digital voices at eight bits resolution that gives a unique LO-FI crunchy feel , including the typical hissy background distortion.
The RAM memory is split in two banks called "Lower" and "Upper" both with 64 KB onboard for a (huge!) total amount of 128 KB, so time recording is limited to 2.0 seconds at 33 kHz rate or 6.5 seconds at 8 kHz. Best approach for sound creation are very small loops with cyclic waves for some kind of analog synthesizer emulation .
--> Note that sample RAM cannot be expanded.
A simple patch is a layer of two samples each has various edit parameteres such as Wave Start - End offset / Volume balancing / Detune ratio / loops point .
ENVELOPE two EGs Filter and Amplitude both featuring five stages called A/ P / D / S /R ("P" stands for "PEAK").
LFO one triangular Low Frequency Oscillator with 5 Hz-> 40 Hz frequency range.
The Low frequency modulates only Pitch oscillator (and filter??? how sad!) triggered by Modulation Wheel/ Breath Control / Foot volume Pedal / Aftertouch.
FILTER based on eight analog CURTIS type CEM 3328 with a four poles resonant filter - quite a dynamic punchy sound.
The VCF also features a KEYTRACK function that compensates the filter Cutoff toward higher or lower octaves with positive or negative values.
STORAGE floppy disk DD 3.5" 400 KB formatted with custom Ensoniq file system format, not DOS compatible, however there are some third company softwares that read and writes MIRAGE floppy disks.
The Mirage has no ROM for Operating System or copy disk function, so you have to deal each time with floppy disk BOOT system - be sure to get a Mirage with working drive or you won't be able to do anything with this machine.
SEQUENCER Step sequencer with Overdub function records a maximum of 333 events (a event is a notes, bender or modulation) or 1024 events if expanded with "SXQ-1" cartridge.
Really simple and useful for some on-the-fly ideas, but that's it.
The Mirages transmits Midi Clock and be be slaved to other units such as drum machines.
EDIT everything is programmed on a two digit display with a complicated Hexadecimal system, so a printed parameters list is essential (HERE)-> Mirage is far from "knobs & real time" philosophy!
Luckily the sampler responds to Midi exclusive systems so it is editable with computer softwares, now quite obsolete and no more available.
Two software have been made also for the glorious Commodore 64 and one for Apple IIe:
M - Mirage Data Displayer: displays the sample parameters (with graphic) MirageFREQ: an utility to match in tune samples using the internal Sid chip. VES : another waveform displayer for "perfect loop" and tuning.
Mirage DSk-1 / Dsk-8 same specs with 61 velocity keys (INFO HERE)
MIRAGE various sound part1
MIRAGE various sound part2
SPECIAL MOD "Mirage Octaphonic" (thanks to Serge Beauchemin) with 8 outs -some mp3 demo
it starts mono and after first run,became octaphonic,loop 2 x,straight (no effects)
Tines Rhodes demo
MIRAGE Parameters List
- analog filter
- saturation, no distortion
- editing - hiss sound
it takes time to understand this little sampler.
For today's standard, it is really good to use for some analog synth emulation for its analog filters.
Edit could refrain people after 2 minutes.
Second hand price 100/150 euro
"A keyboard that can deliver virtually limitless digital sampling performance for under $1700? it must be a mirage" - Ensoniq advertising
all snapshots, sounds, texts copyright Polynominal.com / Eric Pochesci - thanks to Michael Lyon for MANUAL
manuals (free of charge), trademarks are just for info purpose.Nothing should
be considered as advertising, and I stricly express my point of view on review.Names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark
holders.Ask to have material: don't rip.All sounds and snapshots by Eric
Pochesci- except marked * Snapshot watermarked to avoid Ebay scamms and fraud.WARNING Some mp3 contains
very high frequencies and COULD damage your speakers, pay attention to volume!