Top 5 Greatest Samplers - Episode 2

Just An Illusion? It's The Mirage At Number 4      15/10/07

No flash plug

   QuickTime (MP4)  | iOS MP4    Windows Media 
11:11 mins
It's no illusion, it's the real deal as we crack on with episode two of our five part series about the world of sampling.This one features more exclusive interviews and gear footage as we turn our attention on yet another chunk of hardware from the early years of digital dabbling.

We also feature part two in the series The Art Of Sampling, this time examining the effects of ‘found sound’ and analogue looping in the music of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

And we look into the mind of the Professor to find out that he’s obsessed with thoughts of appearing on an electronic music version of Celebrity Big Brother with Georgio Moroder, Rick Wakeman, Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and ‘that girl from the Human League’!

Yep, it’s a packed show, so let’s move on and reveal the fourth greatest sampler of all time…The Ensoniq Mirage!

4. The Mirage
Ensoniq was founded in the early 80’s by former Commodore engineers who went about producing drum machines, synths and samplers using technology they had developed for the Commodore chips.
One of these, The Mirage went into production in 1984 and was designed to target the mass market as opposed to the high end samplers that were only affordable to the elite few.
The essence behind the Mirage was undoubtable the ‘Q chip’ developed by Ensoniq’s co-founder Bob Yannes, who earlier that decade had developed the 3-voice synth chip in the Commodore 64.
The Mirage's 8 bit sampling and 8-voice polyphony were complimented by a 61 note 5 octave velocity sensitive keyboard. A rack version was also available, which offered an even cheaper alternative for working musicians.
As for funtionality, samples could be truncated, looped, tuned, layered and then stored on 3.5 floppys. The 2 digit hexidecimal display made sampling a chore, but the extensive library became the Mirage’s biggest asset with many lush and useable sounds.
Their sleek design and affordability made them an instant hit and despite obvious drawbacks, The Mirage stood alongside the Emulator range as the new affordable samplers of the mid 80’s.

The Mirage was superseded by the EPS (Ensoniq Performance Sampler) and the EPS16+, the high spec must-have samplers of the late 80’s/early 90’s.

They continued to produce further synth and sampler ranges throughout the 90’s until 1998, when Ensoniq was acquired by Creative Technology Ltd for an estimated $77 million.

Enjoy the show and don't forget, there’ll be another romantic dewy eyed look at the world of hardware sampling in a fortnight’s time with episode three of The Top 5 Greatest Samplers of all Time…Ever!

So, see you then!

The series is made up of a combination of editorial suggestions and the choices of the people we interview. The 'chart' format is used for entertainment value and is not backed up by scientific evidence.

  • Watch Episode one: Top 5 Greatest Samplers
  • The Mirage on Sonic State
  • EPS16+ on Sonic State
  • Extracts from My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts
  • EMIS music store in Bristol
  • Marc Doty’s Automatic Gainsay on MySpace
  • Marc Norris’s YouTube site
  • Telly Tubby Land…sorry, Real World Studios
  • Portishead
  • Goldfrapp
  • Richard Termini on YouTube
  • the legendary Warp Records
  • voice over artist Kate Parker
  • Vote for the Top 20 Weirdest Instruments
  • Watch the Top 20 Greatest Synths
  • Simon Power’s Meon site
  • Elliot Simons royalty free music
  • Jay Wasco’s Museum of Weird instruments


    More From: TOP 5 SAMPLERS
    Even more news...

    11 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
    Marc JX8P    Said...

    A particular good one, the Mirage stuff is very informative and the professor is hilarious!

    15-Oct-07 10:33 AM

    Noyb    Said...

    i love the top videos but please, more facts, less "funny" bits please.

    it's painful to watch.

    please Google the "amen break" video for an idea on how to do this.

    15-Oct-07 03:44 PM

    Andreas van Engelen    Said...

    What a nonsensical topic and what a waste of online video production. What's important? Memory lane or new facts?

    16-Oct-07 02:02 AM

    Randell    Said...

    'Amen break' is one of the most boring videos I've ever seen. This is FAR superior. Get a sense of humor, guys.

    16-Oct-07 04:31 AM

    digit62    Said...

    Was it a dream or just a Mirage?I remember interviewing one of our local artists who had one stuffed to the brim with sitar sounds and voices of Japanese theater. Weird sh$t !!! And yes, that girl from Human League... Don't you want me baby, indeed :)

    16-Oct-07 08:53 AM

    dv    Said...

    I agree, cut out the "funny bits." They drag it out too long.

    16-Oct-07 05:08 PM

    Smisstles pistols    Said...

    I hope the asr-10 is in the next epsiode cos if it it's not!?!?!??! why I orta!!!! Definately think it deserves to be in there considering it's lifespan and it's still very much in use today!!!!

    16-Oct-07 07:59 PM

    Marc JX8P    Said...

    Funny how opinions can differ. Still, considering how much dry info is available on the net it's very important to do a thing like this with some character and I think the circus-like approach here does give it a unique flavour. Of cause not everyone laughs at the same stuff, but unfortunately that can't be helped. In any case, this is highlty entertaining stuff and I think it's very well produced.

    18-Oct-07 06:43 AM

    Liberty One    Said...

    i'm sure the majority of viewers agree with you marc...these 2 saddos here who bothered to comment are probably Rick Wakeman fans!;)(see Big Brother bit)

    18-Oct-07 11:32 AM

    oscar    Said...

    the show's great, now can we get back to talking about samplers? I predict S950 for top.

    18-Oct-07 11:58 AM

    d3mzee    Said...

    I HOPE Kurzweil wins!

    23-Oct-07 05:24 PM

    Post a comment 

More Videos

Superbooth 2016: U-he RePro 1 Pro 1 Emulation Public Alpha 

Help define the filter module

MESSE 2016: Decksaver - Saves Your Gear 

The range just keeps on expanding

MESSE 2016: Antelope Audio LiveClock 

A portable BNC word clock for all your live clocking needs!

Superbooth 2016: New NI Reaktor Blocks For External Gear 

MIDI and DC coupled interfaces supported