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E.P.S.S. Nostalgia
Posted by: evil May,16.2012-09:38 

Some nostalgia hit me and I decided to see if I could get Cubase and E.P.S.S. going.

For most people, E.P.S.S. (Enhanced Polyphonic Sample Synthesizer) is sadly unknown.
At the time it was made, it was a true pioneer application. It took the commercial music business years and much, much more processing power to manage.

So what is it? Well, it's a plugin-in sound module for Cubase (and other sequencers too). Eg, you compose in Cubase like you would with MIDI synths, but the very Atari you work with is handling the synth task as well. Yep, VST in 1990 on 8 MHz Atari STe! Well, not quite, but far ahead of times.

It works like this:

1. You have E.P.S.S. loaded as an ACC, this part of everything handles the sound patch (instruments) as well as the sound driver (mixing etc).

2. In Cubase you have an MROS driver that speaks to the E.P.S.S. ACC.

3. You tell Cubase to use E.P.S.S. as output rather than the Atari MIDI.

4. Rock'n Roll!

You save the Cubase project as a normal MIDI file, and it's then repayable from within the E.P.S.S. interface or from source code. Yep - it's possible to use this music in demos, just like playing a MOD-file. There are drivers from four to 16 channels, 25 kHz mixing. On standard STe up to eight channels works fine (approx 50-60% CPU with eight channels). The mixing itself uses MultiPlex technique, which is the same type as Protracker STe uses.
One fun thing with all this is that the sound channel distribution is polyphonic, so you can try your song with 4, 8 or 16 channels and hear the difference it makes. For example the songs from Unit Seventeens "Dynamite" demo are made for 8 channels, but it's fun to hear the 4-channel driver try to do as good as it can to play it.

Some screenshots:

E.P.S.S. Patch editor

E.P.S.S. sound driver infos

Cubase 3 playing a song thru E.P.S.S.

In 1990 Unit Seventeen released their first demo with the E.P.S.S. system. I don't know when VST and similar plugin-synths arrived, but I'm pretty sure U17 were half a decade or more before it's time.

So, why didn't more demos use music made with E.P.S.S.? Not sure, but I have a feeling the whole concept of working with Cubase and a plug-in synth system was simply unknown territory for almost everyone. Unit Seventeen were too early for success. The replay of E.P.S.S. is VBL driven, so it's not hard to use, and it's as fast, if not faster, than all MOD players back then. And it did eight channels 25 kHz mixing long before other Atari software could do it.

Ok, babble babble. Now you know the background, here's a demo video I just did. Yep it wasn't that hard to get running in Hatari.

The video is recorded in Hatari 1.6.1 Atari STe-mode with a 16 MHz CPU to get the UI to run a bit smoother - but the sound is exactly the same on an 8 MHz machine. The mouse movements goes quick because the recording wasn't fast enough for going realtime, making me look extremely quick to navigate.

Ok, that was that, hopefully it was news for some of you :)

Anders Eriksson

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Topic Posted by  Date 
E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:38
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia CiH May,16.2012-09:39
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ May,16.2012-09:39
    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:40
      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ May,16.2012-09:41
        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:42
          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia Damog May,16.2012-09:43
            Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia mog May,16.2012-09:44
              Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:45
                Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,16.2012-09:49
                  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:55
                    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,16.2012-09:56
                      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-10:00
                        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,17.2012-07:30
                          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,17.2012-20:50
                            Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,17.2012-22:51
            Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:46
              Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia damo May,16.2012-09:47
                Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:54
                  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia PeP May,17.2012-11:41
                    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia gwEm May,17.2012-16:35
                    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia gwEm May,17.2012-17:14
                      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia damog May,17.2012-17:49
                        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,17.2012-19:38
                      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia PeP May,18.2012-09:26
                        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,19.2012-15:38
                          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ May,19.2012-18:37
                          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia damog May,20.2012-10:51
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia saulot May,16.2012-09:48
    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-09:50
      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ May,16.2012-09:51
        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia saulot May,16.2012-09:52
          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ May,16.2012-09:52
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia gwEm May,16.2012-09:53
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia sqward May,17.2012-00:22
    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn May,17.2012-07:32
      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia mog May,17.2012-10:29
    MROS SDK Was: E.P.S.S. Nostalg Cyprian Aug,08.2015-10:56
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil Jun,02.2012-10:56
    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ Jun,02.2012-20:41
      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia krupkaj Jun,05.2012-09:18
Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia krupkaj May,16.2012-09:43
  Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia evil May,16.2012-10:03
    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ Jun,02.2012-21:13
    Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ Jun,02.2012-21:14
      Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn Jun,03.2012-10:26
        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ Jun,03.2012-13:21
        Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia krupkaj Jun,06.2012-21:03
          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia nativ Jun,06.2012-22:21
          Re: E.P.S.S. Nostalgia ggn Jun,06.2012-23:46

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