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Ensoniq ASR-10, ASR-88, EPS, EPS-16 Plus
Tech Info

Booting Up with the Operating System - Memory
SCSI and SCSI Drives - Loading Sounds from Other Samplers - Sequencer
Keyboard Service Center

We cannot provide tech support for the general operation of your keyboard; however, we do carry the complete line of Ensoniq manuals.

Booting Up with the Operating System (O.S.)
The Ensoniq samplers boot up from a floppy disk containing the Operating System (O.S.) which tells the keyboard how to work. You need to put the
O.S. Disk in the drive, and let the keyboard read it every time you turn it on - otherwise it will not operate. Once you have booted up, then you can begin loading sounds or sampling.

It is always best to use the latest O.S. version, as each subsequent release fixes bugs and often adds new features. The latest O.S. versions are:

Model Disk O.S. Firmware (EPROM O.S.)
EPS 2.49 2.40
EPS-M (rack module) 2.49 2.41
EPS-16 Plus (keyboard and rack) 1.30 1.00
ASR-10 3.53 1.50
ASR-88 3.53 3.50

Note that the current O.S. disks may be incompatible with earlier versions of the firmware. In other words, if you purchase an O.S. disk and your sampler has a very early version of the firmware, it may not boot up (you will get an INCOMPATIBLE OS VERSION message). To check your firmware version, press Command then Env 1; the display will read "NO COMMANDS ON PAGE," but that's not really true - it's a "secret" page where the diagnostic software resides. Scroll to the right until you see the SOFTWARE INFORMATION page, and press Enter. The display will show the current RAM VERSION (the disk O.S. version you booted up with). Press Enter again to see the ROM VERSION (the firmware version).

Possible error messages when booting up:
PLEASE INSERT DISK - There is no disk in the drive; if there is indeed a disk in the drive, the floppy drive is not recognizing that a disk is present (i.e. the drive is malfunctioning).
O.S. NOT ON DISK - The disk in the drive does not have the operating system on it.
DISK NOT FORMATTED - The disk in the drive is not formatted for use in the sampler.
FILE OPERATION ERROR - Either the O.S. disk you are using is corrupted, or the floppy drive is malfunctioning.
INCOMPATIBLE O.S. VERSION - The firmware in your sampler is outdated, and you are attempting to boot up with a more recent disk Operating System (O.S.). You will need to upgrade the O.S. EPROMs in your sampler.

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From the factory, the EPS shipped with 512k of sample RAM, and it could be expanded either to 1 Meg or 2 Meg, using either a 2x or 4x
memory expander cartridge. The EPS-M (rack version) was already expanded to the maximum 2 Meg of memory.

The EPS-16 Plus shipped with 1 Meg of sample RAM, and could be expanded to 2 Meg using a 2x memory expander cartridge. The EPS-16 Plus rack module was already expanded to a maximum 2 Meg of memory.

The ASR-10 shipped with 2 Meg of sample RAM, and was the first Ensoniq sampler to use standard computer SIMMs for memory. It could be expanded to a maximum of 16 Meg, using four 4-Meg SIMMs. The ASR-10 Rack and the ASR-88 both shipped with fully expanded 16-Meg memory. The ASR-10, ASR-88, and TS keyboards all use 80 nano-second or faster, 30-pin, 1m x 8 or 4m x 8 non-parity SIMMs (8 chips on each SIMM). Any configuration that does not use two or four SIMMs will not work. Most computer supply houses no longer carry 30-pin SIMMs. Syntaur sells an 8-Meg memory kit, with complete instructions, for $49.95.

Here are the maximum block sizes that these instruments will hold in memory, along with the capacity of their floppy disks:

Model and configuration Sample memory Floppy disk
EPS, unexpanded (512k) 1020 blocks 1585 blocks
EPS, with 2x expander (1 Meg) 2040 blocks 1585 blocks
EPS, with 4x expander (2 Meg) 4085 blocks 1585 blocks
EPS-16 Plus, unexpanded (1 Meg) 2040 blocks 1585 blocks
EPS-16 Plus, with 2x expander (2 Meg) 4085 blocks 1585 blocks
ASR-10, stock (2 Megs) 4085 blocks 3176 blocks
ASR-10 with 4 Megs 7900 blocks 3176 blocks
ASR-10 with 8 Megs 16,000 blocks 3176 blocks
ASR-10 with 10 Megs 20,000 blocks 3176 blocks
ASR-10 or ASR-88 with 16 Megs 31,000 blocks 3176 blocks

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SCSI and SCSI Drives
Instead of loading and saving sounds to floppy disks, you can make a fabulous upgrade by using an external SCSI drive with your sampler. A SCSI drive will not change the way your sampler works - it won't make better or longer samples - but it will provide enormously faster loading time for sounds, and a very convenient way to store and organize your sounds. Additionally, if you add a SCSI CD-ROM drive, you can purchase sounds on CD-ROM for much cheaper than the same sounds would cost on floppy disks (one CD-ROM holds the equivalent of hundreds of floppy disks worth of data).

In order to use a SCSI drive, you must first install a SCSI kit in your sampler. If you are using an EPS or an EPS-16 Plus, you must also have a memory expander cartridge installed, as the SCSI board physically mounts onto the expander.

Not all SCSI drives are compatible with the Ensoniq samplers, and the older samplers work with fewer drives. The EPS, in fact, will not recognize a Zip drive or a CD-ROM drive at all, and even the ASR-10 works with only a few specific CD-ROM drives.

The Iomega Zip 100 drive will work with the ASR-10 and ASR-88 (the drive has to be the SCSI version, of course, and these are unfortunately now out of production), and the Zip Plus drive will work also. But the Zip 250 will not work. The Zip 100 will work on the EPS-16 Plus, but only if you have something else in the SCSI chain to power the SCSI bus - or if you are using a SCSI kit from Syntaur, which provides this power. If you want a removable media drive for the EPS, most of the Syquest drives work fine (though they are out of production).

Like a computer's hard drive, you can organize your SCSI drive into directories and sub-directories. Navigating through these is a bit awkward at first, but you will soon learn the system, and you'll appreciate the ability to have all your sounds organized into groups (all of the bass sounds saved together in a BASSES directory, for instance). To switch to the SCSI drive, press Command then System and scroll to CHANGE STORAGE DEVICE. Press Enter, and then scroll up to select the SCSI ID of your drive (this should be 4 for a CD-ROM drive, and either 5 or 6 for a Zip drive). The sounds on a SCSI drive are organized into directories and subdirectories, so you'll need to navigate through these to get to the sound that you want. Press Load then System to view the directories (you can scroll up or down to view them), and press Enter to go into the selected directory (or to exit the current directory when "EXIT TO..." is selected). We sell an EPS/EPS-16 Plus SCSI Manual and an ASR-10 Musician's Manual Addendum that explains all of this in detail, as well as our Sample Magic book that focuses specifically on the Ensoniq samplers.

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Loading Sounds from Other Samplers
The EPS will load EPS and EPS-16 Plus sounds, and will also import Ensoniq
Mirage sounds (via a Command-System prompt, rather than through the normal disk loading procedure). While ASR-10 sample files are in a compatible format, they are typically stored on high-density (HD) disks, which the EPS will not recognize. If you use a double-density disk to save an ASR-10 sound, you can then read it in the EPS.

The EPS-16 Plus will load both EPS and EPS-16 Plus sounds, and works exactly the same as the EPS regarding Mirage and ASR-10 sounds (see above).

The ASR-10 and ASR-88 will load EPS and EPS-16 Plus sounds with no problem. With O.S. version 3.0 or higher, the ASR will also import Akai S1000 and Roland S700 sounds, but can only do this via SCSI (the ASR will not recognize non-Ensoniq floppy disks). Unlike the EPS and EPS-16 Plus, the ASR-10 and ASR-88 will not import Mirage sounds.

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You can load EPS sequences into an EPS-16 Plus or an ASR-10, and you can load EPS-16 Plus sequences into an ASR-10. You can also convert EPS or ASR sequences to Standard MIDI Files, or to other Ensoniq keyboard formats using special PC software from
Giebler Enterprises. Call them at (610) 933-0332.

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