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Ensoniq Mirage

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Famous Fingers
Who played this instrument?

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Ensoniq Mirage

above photo from a Mirage ad courtesy of Stephen J. Parise

The Mirage is an 8-bit sampling keyboard with 8-voice polyphony and a 61-note, 5 octave, velocity sensitive keyboard, including a pitch bend and a modulation wheel. It also has a polyphonic sequencer, and quite a few (for the time) synthesizer/sampler editing parameters. With features like this, the Mirage was the first practical sampling keyboard for under $2,000 (original list price was $1,695). Sounds were stored using a built-in 3.5 disk drive. Each disk had a capacity of 400k, so, depending on the size of the samples, a disk can hold up to 48 sampled sounds an 24 programs. The Mirage had 144k of internal RAM. The sequencer holds eight 333 event sequences, expandable to 1333 via an optional RAM cartridge. The Sequencer records pitch-bend, key velocity, modulation, and sustain pedal information.

The Mirage samples at a variable sampling rate of 8kHz-33kHz, using eight-bit floating point conversion for a reported 16-bit (96dB) dynamic range. Each sample can be truncated, looped, tuned/detuned, and then layered (up to 16 samples) across the keyboard. It has a variable anti-aliasing filter, selectable input levels, variable sampling threshold, dynamic voice assignment, velocity control of oscillator mix, release velocity control of envelope release rate, keyboard scaling of decay rate, and velocity control of attack time.

On the back panel of the Mirage are MIDI IN, THRU, and OUT ports, a sustain pedal input, which can be switched to sequencer start/stop.

information compiled by Stephen J. Parise

Famous Fingers
Who Played This Instrument?

Burn Cycle Rv. 2, Crystal Method, Gas Chamber Orchestra, Skinny Puppy

[Let us know if you have any further additions to this list.]

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