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    Ensoniq EPS and EPSM Samplers

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    Though Ensoniq, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has often been blamed for an inconsistent assembly line [a problem which, apparently, has been solved in recent years], they have always been at the forefront of synthesizer technology, taking the music world by storm with the Mirage: the planet's first accessible, affordable sampler. By the late 80's they had perfected their design in the release of the EPS, and taken electronic music to a level of stage performance that was only dreamed of just a few years earlier.

    The EPS Sampler Keyboard was released in 1988. "EPS" stood for "Ensoniq Performance Sampler". It was intended to be adept on stage as well as in the studio, a tradition that Ensoniq carries on today with some of it's units. It runs on a Motorola 68000 chip, the same chip that piloted the Macintosh and Macintosh Plus Personal Computers to popularity. It can load and save discs while playing sounds, can access up to eight separate instruments simultaneously [each on it's own MIDI channel], can fire up to 20 individual voices, and has a rather complete built-in sequencer. It has 16 bit mono record input and 16 bit sterio output. The three major upgrades were: 1)more memory, 2)SCSI output for accessing a hard drive and 3)Eight individual outputs[along with the two standard "mix"outputs].

    There are two manuals that accompanied the EPS, a sort of beginner's manual, which you can still order for about $18.00, and a "deeper" manual, which is now out of print. For anyone lucky enough to get an EPS, and unlucky enough not to get the manual with it, [a category I fall into!] here are some tips, based on my mokeying around with the thing.

    to format a disk - command - system - scroll enter/yes

    to load operating system to disk (erases all internal memory) - command - system - scroll "copy os . . ." yes

    free memory - edit - system

    to save all global settings to a start-up disk - command - system - scroll "save global parameters" enter/yes

    if you turn the sampler on and insert the system disc and you get a prompt that says, "keyboard tuning failed", strike the" yes" button. even if the keyboard needs tweaking the eps's sound recording and playback facilities are fully functional thru MIDI. to record - press "sample" button to right of display, hit cursor right to choose sampling rate, etc. (make sure you have "mic" or "line" chosen,

    hit "enter/yes" to start record, "cancel/no" to end record. EPS will ask you to assign a "home" pitch, press the appropriate key on the keyboard. you can do several samples in a row [pretty easy] but it's best to name them and save them to disk as soon as possible.

    to edit multiple layers and wavesamples - whenever you strike "edit", you return to the main edit menu. cursor under "WS" and hit a keyboard key, or cursor down. display should change from "all" to a number. whatever sample is connected to that particular key grouping should come up. anything you edit, strike "edit" button and hit key within keygrouping for that sample. then return to whatever edit function you're on. you will now be editing parameters for the new sample.

    to create a new layer{!} strike cmd - layer scroll to "create new layer". strike yes and it should say "layer 2 created" . if you have not created any instruments, you can't add a layer.

    to delete a layer: cmd - layer - scroll - enter. EPS will ask you 1? meaning layer one. if you want another layer, strike "no", hit edit and in the "lyr+" box, scroll to the appropriate layer. then strike cmd again and redo it. it will delete whichever layer you have gone to in "edit - EPSEPSlayer" [it will ask you first "are you sure?"].

    cmd - wave - scroll, gets you to "wavesample information" which tells you , among other things, the name of the sample. best to keep names short.

    to change velocity sens, edit - layer - scroll to volume mod= [seems best to change to "vel"]to right of asterisk is the amount of sensitivity. 0 means all one volume, 99 is highest sensitivity.

    to change the keyrange, cmd - keyboard range - scroll.

    to edit a patch - first strike edit - instrument scroll to "00 patch" add numbers to patch (scroll and hit "up" button) these numbers (123---) are the numbers of the layers . this will allow you to get past the "not in patch" box, as it comes up when you are trying to change volume on a patch, for instance.

    to assign a sample across the pan - edit - amp - scroll "pan" (use up/down buttons to scroll the pan from left to right)

    to use the eight individual outputs on the EPS [if you have that feature], you have to go into edit - amp - then pan all the way to the right and it will start showing "solo out 1 . . . 2" etc. [!!!]

    to change pitch transposition - edit - pitch (button #4) scroll to "root key - fine - "

    to change velocity sensitivity - edit - amp - scroll to "volume mod [type] - * [00] - it's best if the first variable is set to vel 1 or vel 2, second controls the degree of sensitivity (100 being greatest).

    to assign the velocity range: edit - layer - scroll.

    to change overall volume -

    to save, create new, or delete an instrument - command - instrument - scroll - yes

    to delete an instrument from the disk - load - instrument - find the file you want to delete - hold down "load" button while pressing "cancel/no" button

    to save a bank - (make sure all instruments are saved on same disk) - same as above, window is next to "save instrument", then name.

    to name an instrument or change the name (make sure you have correct inst selected) - edit - instrument - scroll to "name = "

    to change number of voices - command - system - scroll "set no of voc " [minimum no. is 12 max is 20]

    to truncate - command - wave - scroll to "truncate. . " EPS will automatically find the most "logical" truncate point. if you don't like, tough.

    same for editing loop, scroll to loop - cursor to percentage to change more than a tiny amount. if no loop is set, you cannot change sample start and end prompts to set truncate points. even i f loop is set you must go into "edit instrument", layer" and change from "all" to something specific.

    for a "sustainy" loop strike "edit" - "env 3" and go to "second release". the first number determines the length of the decay, the second number "lev" determines the volume. if you move the first number up above 50 and the second up above 0 (starts at minus), you'll start to get a typical envelope. take it from there. keep scrolling to the right and you'll get to two wierd things: "envelope mode=normal" and "envelope =" mess with them. remember - you have to have loop first (!!)

    to turn "key up" layers, "key down" layers and to turn patches 1 thru 8 on or off, strike "edit" - "instrument layer" - to get into the layer hit "edit" then the instrument button , then the layer button. you may have to hold down the inst button while pressing the layer button. name of inst should come up, and lyr=1 ws=all. scroll to the layer you want. hit edit - layer. scroll to window you want. (also see alchemy section below)

    to create new layer - cmd - layer - scroll. but if a layer is not in the patch, you can't edit it on the EPS. you can't edit a new sample's layer until you create a layer.

    if you run into problems because the EPS fires a sample quieter the harder you press on the key (?) try going into edit - amp - scroll to ws volume = and turn it up to 99. might help. it also might help to go to the page in the same menu that says " a - b fade" and make sure "in=0" and "to 127".

    if you're in the main edit menu and you're staring at: "[name of inst] lyr + 1 ws + 1 [or whatever number you've chosen], if you strike "cmd" then scroll to "wavesample information" and hit "yes", you'll get the name of the sample assigned to that number wavesample. this can avoid a lot of confusion if you get into several wavesamples for one instrument, and some are on different layers than others. [of course, there'll be plenty of other confusion, so don't worry]

    "command" - "amp" allows you to perform edit functions on wavesamples inside the EPS

    "command" LFO" gives you things you can do with the data

    "edit" "pitch" lets you control LFO amount, env 1 amount, pitch modulation and root key

    strike cmd - pitch to edit pitch table (edit, copy, delete, extrapolate)

    strike cmd - amp for: normalize gain, volume smoothing, mix wavesamples, merge wavesamples, splice wavesamples, fade in, fade out. EPScmd - track gives you quantize track, copy track, erase, etc.

    edit - inst lets you create patches.

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    the EPS and alchemy (!)

    When sending files between the sampler and the computer, it's important that you do not have any other control input to the computer merging into the midi flow. This might include a SMPTE reader, or a digital workstation that might be emitting Midi Time Code or Midi Machine Control, etc.

    keep watching alchemy's "send sample" dialogue box, and whenever you're not sure if the computer has the latest update on the sampler, click the "look" button. layers must be named in the EPS [i think], wavesample names will transmit to the EPS, and if they're short enough, they can help you figure out what's going on. in the EPS, wavesamples have "ultimate" numbers. in other words, don't expect "layer 1, ws 1, 2, 3, layer 2, ws 1. 2. 3," etc. ws in the edit layer window doesn't mean which wavesample assigned to that layer, it means the number of the wavesample for the whole EPS.

    at this point it seems it's best to name the sample short in the computer, and create a new layer in the EPS, then name the layer the same as the sample. if you're already in "edit - layer" and you want to name a layer, hit "edit - layer" or just "layer" again. [?]

    check pull down menu called "Network" go down to "Instrument", then choose "Edit". Make sure you have correct port, "Midi" (instead of SCSI, etc. )

    EPS must have "sys ex on", seems to work in multi mode, "transmit on instru chanl" seems to work, create new instrument so you have some place to send the new sample.

    Again, under "network" on the right side is the "look" button. helps you see current status of samples inside the EPS. virtual keyboard in Alchem will only play sample on midi channel that's assigned in the "network - instrument - edit ' window in alchem

    when you've sent to the EPS, label the thing and save it as soon as possible.

    so the main thing is, once you're ready to put the sample into the EPS, go th the sampler strike command - scroll to create new instrument and select "enter" then in alchem, pull down "network", select "send sound" click "look" and then pull down "instr" menu so you can select the new "unamed inst" you've just created, then click "send".

    to pull the sample into alchem, "network" "get sound", "look" then pull down " instru" and select sample, then click "ok".

    if you have problems, trying clicking on the little "assign new sample" box in the lower left corner. the "midi" sign near the upper left corner of the EPS should flash off and on while the EPS sample is transferring. if it's not flashing, the sample isn't moving.

    best bet seems to be to resample in alchemy to an EPS sampling rate:

    6.25, 6.51 6.79 7.10 7.4 7.8 8.2 8.7 9.2 9.8 10.4 11.2 12 12.5 13 13.6 14.2

    14.9 15.6 16.4 17.4 18.4 19.5 20.8 22.3 24 25 26 27.2 28.4 29.8 31.3

    32.9 34.7 36.8 39.1 41.7 44.6 48.1 52.1

    Loops do transmit.

    when you transmit a sample to a open space in the EPS (command - instrument - scroll to "create new instrument")

    When sending a sample from the EPS to the mac, bring up an empty window first to send the sample to [seems to help].

    Don't forget to click "look" when you need it.

    layer - pull down network menu, click "get sound" . "wavesample" gives yu the samples connected to that layer. if you've hit look, each time you move to a new layer, you get the wave samples connected with that layer. the keyboard will show you the range and unity pitch of each sample. you can change the range but not the pitch. make sure that your midi channel for both patch and midi is the root channel for the EPS in the alchemy window "network - instrument" edit".

    if using through the midi patch bay, it seems better not to have any other control device merged with it.

    If you click on Alchem to play a sample on the Mac and you hear nothing, go into the {"network" menu and make sure "mac" is selected instead of "EPS". other than that, try repositioning the cursor in the sample file window.

    for Softsyn, when you pull down the File menu, there's a prompt called "Synthesize" wich will convert the file to something alchem and snd designer can boot up. softsyn can create partials in any overtone series if you change the number in the upper right corner in the individual partial window.

    save all sound files on the mac as sound designer files, so they can be booted into sound designer for editing and then back into alchem and the EPS for performance.

    alchemy has quite a few synthesizer drivers (emax, s-550, etc) if you pull down "network," click instrument and new, and click on the window that says, sampler ID.

    alchemy does pitch shift! pull down "process" go to the bottom. sample window must be highlighted first.

    for amplitude scaling, click the icon with the up and down arrows, thne apply by dragging on the top dotted line in the wavefomrm window, then you must pull down "process and click on "scale" EPSEPS(waveform window must be highlighted) .

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    multi seems to be best to run with the mac, but you still have to press the correct inst button to hear the right sample while you're playing, regardless how you have the mac set. also, press "edit - midi" select transmit on= inst channel"

    if you're gonna use the EPS as a control keybd, you must always press the correct inst number for the track you're recording on in performer. If you want to operate another synth, you have to make a dummy track, so you won't sound any internal voices. command - instrument -scroll to "create new instrument" press enter/yes. display says "select unused instr" unfortunately you cannot change the number - you're stuck with whichever instrument is next.

    for running a "local off" mode, same as above, select "empty" instrument, and you'll just hear the auto-channelized mac channel.

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