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A friend of mine has decided to go back into performing, but wants to upgrade their setup. They have an Ensoniq esq-1 and an Ensoniq Mirage with a disk drive that only accepts 360K 3.25" disks. With this set up, they have over 120 hours of background music to play to.

Do you guys have an easy solution for getting these sequences to just midi so they can be used and edited with modern hardware?



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I assume the data on the old disks is MIDI? WHen the Ensoniq plays the MIDI file does the data go out the "midi out" port? If so it would be easy to capture using any modern DAW.

Also, you might be able to buy a USB floppy disk drive that would work with a modern computer and then simply copy the files off the disks

Last edited by ChrisA; 04/20/10 09:38 AM.
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Originally Posted by ChrisA
I assume the data on the old disks is MIDI? WHen the Ensoniq plays the MIDI file does the data go out the "midi out" port? If so it would be easy to capture using any modern DAW.
I thought about this, but 120 hours of music is a long, long time. I was hoping for something faster.
Quote
Also, you might be able to buy a USB floppy disk drive that would work with a modern computer and then simply copy the files off the disks
Sadly, it uses single density 3.5" disks, which are incompatible with current drives, since they were obsoleted a log time ago. Windows doesn't see them.


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I thought the last generation of floppy disk drives were "dual density"

You could remove the floppy disk drive from the piano and connect it to the computer, transfer the files then put the drive back in the piano, if you are luck only a few hundred screws would have to be removed and replaced.

But the piano might not use the DOS file system. I think the best plan would be to capture the data from the MIDI Out port.

Worst case it you could capture the audio from line out or even with a microphone and then use "AudioScore" to transcribe the music back to MIDI. I think Audio Score now can handle polyphonic music.
http://www.neuratron.com/audioscore.htm

Last edited by ChrisA; 04/20/10 02:29 PM.
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i remember the alignment problems on those old 3.5 disks. You'll have to use the exact same disk drive that those disks were written on to have any hope of getting the data off of media this old.

Just set the playback at 999 beats per minute and you'll be able to spool off the files as quick as the disk can spin.


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Also, a data recovery specialist might be able to get the files off. (for a hefty fee I imagine)

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Originally Posted by ChrisA
I thought the last generation of floppy disk drives were "dual density"
No, the last generation of floppy disks are dual HIGH density.

SD - > DD -> HD -> DHD were the 4 kinds of 3.5" floppy disks that exist. Most of the ones that are floating around are HD, since DHD came out late.
Originally Posted by edt
Just set the playback at 999 beats per minute and you'll be able to spool off the files as quick as the disk can spin.
That is a fairly good idea. Never thought about doing it that way.


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Originally Posted by edt

Just set the playback at 999 beats per minute and you'll be able to spool off the files as quick as the disk can spin.


If this technique will be used, I think care should be taken not to lose timing resolution. (although even if some resoluton will be lost, I suppose that's a heck of a lot better than no resolution at all! wink

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Probably the disks are not in DOS Format. Double Density disks should be recogniced by any modern drive, but probably windows doesnt know the format.
Maybe you have luck here:
http://www.giebler.com/ They offer commercial tools and services for enqsonic and other brands.
Or here:
http://www.carolrpt.com/musicsoftware.htm Mostly free tools.

Peter


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The Ensoniq esq-1 uses a static BPM. this technique should not lose any fidelity.

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I'm not sure what a "static BPM" means, however I am concerned about a) the resolution of the timing when the BPM is increased substantially, and b) the resoluton of the recording device.

For example, if the esq-q measures time with, say, 1000 ticks per second, and a given note lasts a quarter of a second (250 ticks) - if the tempo is multiplied by a large number (let's say 8 for example), the note will last 250/8 ticks = 31.25 ticks, but that will be rounded down to 31 ticks presumably, so we have a bit of loss of precision already. The same kind of problem may occur on the recording device. However, let's say for example the recording device is perfect, and it correctly records a note duration of exactly 31ms (31 ticks). When the tempo is divided by 8 to restore the original tempo, the new note duration will be 31 x 8 = 248 ticks, which is an error of two ticks (=2ms).

I know very little about MIDI sequencing, though, so perhaps the above is not realistic.

If my concern is valid, though, what would be better, of course, is if the esq-1 had a special function to transmit the MIDI file as is, bit for bit. I gather it doesn't have a SYSEX function for this? (probably not - that's what the floppy is for! ;^)

Greg.

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Originally Posted by sullivang

For example, if the esq-q measures time with, say, 1000 ticks per second, and a given note lasts a quarter of a second (250 ticks) - if the tempo is multiplied by a large number (let's say 8 for example),


Don't worry about it, every MIDI recorder that is worth anything can re-quantize the notes back to the nearest 1/8th. 1/16th or which ever you specify. The better recorders will allow you to enter a time signature and figure out that each measure needs to be filled, apply a bit of logic and the notes will come out good.

Normally this is so that slightly off-time playing will come out looking good in print. The very old, non-smart recorders 20+ year ago used to fill the score up with garbage like 1/64 rests and double dotted 1/16 notes. But all decent MIDI recorders you will find now have the ability to clean up the timing. Some are better then others.

As I wrote above, there is software that can do this even from a microphone. Just point a mic at the old keyboard and you can have clean, well timed MIDI and standard music notation of whatever it plays. Of course an electric or midi connectionis easier but worst case, you cn get what you want even if you have to resort to using a mic.


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Chris,
Thanks, however that's all fine only if the original timing is not critical. If we want to preserve all the information of the original MIDI file, my concerns may still be valid, and this method should be used as a very last resort. If quantisation is acceptable, then yes, go for it. smile

(I accept that the MIDI files are more than likely NOT recordings of virtuoso pianists ;^)

Greg.


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static bpm means that you can't change the bpm in any song. In modern midi keyboards you can change the bpm halfway through the song. But this keyboard is kinda primitive so all the songs are set at a fixed bpm. the midi files will transmit at a resolution of some number x quarter note. If you increase the bpm, all that happens is that you transmit the data faster. no loss in resolution. the number of status bytes per quarter note remains constant at any bpm rate.

btw almost certainly every song is set at 120bpm, the guy just pressed "record" and started playing, slowing up and speeding down as he liked. I dont think you'll be able to quantize these songs because if you dont record to a click it's an almost impossible task to quantize after the fact.

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Ok. I don't even know what a "status byte" is off hand (in MIDI), so I can't continue to discuss this at the moment. Thanks though. (I'll look it up later)

Btw, I had a quick look at the esq-1 manual, and there is a facility to "transfer all sequencer data to a Mirage". This looks promising. (is there a program that can be run on a PC that can emulate the Mirage, and receive the data?) If the data is already on the Mirage(?), can it be transferred back the other way, and could the PC intercept the data?

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I bet when they say "transfer all sequencer data to a mirage" they mean transfer all data on your PC to an ensonic mirage keyboard, in other words, they are in fact talking about transmitting data from a computer to a keyboard and vice versa.

that sure sounds like an easy way to transmit your data.

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No, it means "transfer all sequencer data from the esq-1 to a Mirage". The sequencer is on the esq-1. This is over MIDI, too, so it looks to me like a PC with a MIDI interface could accept this.
And since it would be a transfer of the MIDI file, without ANY "interpretation" of the data whatsoever, there is zero loss of information.

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ESQ-1 Manual

(see page 180)

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oh youre right. here something google showed me:

http://www.pic101.com/ensoniq/faq.htm

How can I interface my ESQ1 to my PC?

This is not an easy question to answer. You must remember that the ESQ1 was designed well before PC's were in existence. There were only a few ways to interface to and from the ESQ1. The primary way is the external cart . . .

The second way is using the tape input and output audio recording technique . . .

The last way is by using the MIDI interface.

I have successfully loaded the Librarian on Windows 98SE with a working ISA slot midi card and have been able to load and dump patches. I have loaded and tested the Librarian and a USB-Midi adapter on a Win98 laptop. I have not tested this procedure on Win2K or XP yet.


So I guess there's a program called "The Librarian" that can read ensonique MIDI dumps

Last edited by edt; 04/21/10 08:59 PM.
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