Burning Ensoniq-Formatted CD-ROM's

You want to make your own Ensoniq-formatted CD-ROM drive of your own sounds - or sounds you've collected? It's not that hard. Once again, let's understand the background of what an Ensoniq-formatted CD-ROM's are.

Any media needs a format. Books have a format - the table of contents, page numbers, chapters, and (in English) letters and characters to be read from left to right, and from top to bottom. Same with any storage media in the computer world.

Just as all printing presses have a way of recording a book's format, CD-burners have their standard way of "printing" to CD-ROM's. They are usually adapted to ISO-9660. ISO stands for International Standards Organization. This is usually called High Sierra (named after a Lake Tahoe, USA, hotel where this was decided). It is the disk format for CD-ROM's.

In another far off world, Ensoniq was dreaming and making the EPS sampler. Since none of the engineers ever heard of Lake Tahoe (just kidding, guys) - THEY MADE UP THEIR OWN FORMAT! At the time, there probably were good reasons for this. And actually, it is very close to the MS-DOS file format and disk geography (where all the information is set to the disk - just like our printing press analogy). But it is different.

So, let's talk about making a Ensoniq-formatted CD-ROM using a CD-burner. If you know how to burn a ISO-9660 CD-ROM, you know the same principles don't work for Ensoniq drives. Let's consider them:

But all is not lost! First, you start with a Ensoniq-formatted hard drive that you have worked with with your EPS/ASR. You hook it up to your computer that has a SCSI interface. Most, if not all, computers see SCSI devices through a driver layer. That driver looks at the what SCSI drives are hooked up, compiles a list, and then checks for boot sectors of the drive to see if they are in MS-DOS format. If they are, the driver assigns it a drive letter. If not, it doesn't, but the driver still knows it's there and keeps it in it's own list.

Some Adaptec SCSI Basics

Adaptec is the SCSI leader in the PC world. They sponsored the WINASPI spec (Windows Adaptec SCSI Programming Interface), and wrote the SCSI device driver that is used in most Windows systems. Good SCSI cards adhere to the WINASPI spec; meaning that they use it's calls and stay compatible with them. All the PC programs that have been written to communicate with Ensoniq devices ( Ensoniq Tools, and the Ensoniq Disk Manager) rely on the WINASPI spec - they will not work on other proprietary systems. The driver you have on your PC is probably an Adaptec driver.

To check within Windows if your Ensoniq SCSI Drive is hooked up, and good program to use is EZ-SCSI by Adaptec. Actually, EZ-SCSI is a set of drivers for Adaptec's own SCSI interfaces and a set of utility programs to administer the SCSI options. SCSI Interrogator is one of those programs, and it simply scans your SCSI bus and sees what SCSI ID's are hooked up. It also has a partitioner that can low-level format your SCSI drives (though this usually isn't necessary) and DOS partition your SCSI drives.

On to the Copying Process

Making Ensoniq CD-ROM's can be done two ways:

Which method you use will depend somewhat on what your CD-burning software will support.

Direct Copying from Physical SCSI Drive
As you peruse your CD-ROM mastering software (which should accompany the purchase of a CD-ROM burner, or can be purchased separately), you'll see that you can select a SCSI Device as a source of data in which to write to a CD-R. And most of the time, it doesn't go by logical drive letters, it goes by SCSI Device numbers, in which the SCSI driver saw at boot-up and knows. Great - now you can use the Ensoniq SCSI device as a source.

As far as assigning the SCSI Device as a source, it depends on your mastering software. I have seen most major mastering softwares include this option; however, some major ones do not. Contact your mastering software manufacturer for details. The option might be called SCSI Device (EZ-CD Pro for Windows 3.x, which we use), or sector-to-sector or byte-to-byte transfer. If you have a problem finding a proper program, try the freeware DISK2CD program by Goldenhawk - we have also found this works well.

Whatever the case, it is an option which reverts the reading from the source and the writing to the CD-burner to a real dumb mechanism: read the first byte and write that to the first byte of the CD-R, second to second, third to third, etc. And thus, eventually you have an exact replica of the Ensoniq-formatted hard drive written to the CD-R.

What if your SCSI Drive is 2gig's? Don't CD-ROM's only hold 650mb maximum? Yes, that's right. BUt that's OK. You need to make sure that when you write files onto the SCSI Drive, you DO NOT delete or rewrite any files, and do not go over 650mb's of storage. Any sounds that exist beyond the physical 650mb limit will not be accessible, even if they show up in a directory. Using standard formatting of the SCSI Drive, the FAT on the CD-ROM will be larger than it needs to be, but the wasted space is negligible.

(Note:The RCS Tools programs (PC) and EPSm (Mac) support custom format sizes, so you can prevent writing over 650mb and not waste FAT space.)

Virtual Image from Physical SCSI Drive
Using some special software, you can create a virtual image of an Ensoniq drive. This means you can have what is usually a .IMG file on your computer's hard drive, and write that DIRECTLY to the CD-R.

Advantages of this method are 1) You don't have to have a SCSI Hard Drive hanging around, 2) the chance for errors are less, and 3) you have better control of the outlay of the structure.

Both RCS Tools and EPSm support creating a custom .IMG file for you to place sounds into. Giebler's EDM program supports creation of .IMG files, but only upon receiving them from a external SCSI Drive.

Please note that you DO NOT write the .IMG file as a "regular" file on a DOS/ISO9660 CD-R. Instead, you are doing essentially the same as writing from a physical SCSI Drive - doing a byte-by-byte copy onto the CD-R.

Contributed by Garth Hjelte

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