Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

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Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Dubersive » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:27 pm

I know there are a few threads already asking about good Polyphonic synths around right now, but I've narrowed down my choices quite a bit, I think.

I do not want a vintage synth at this point. I have more than I can handle right now. I also want something that has a unique sound, is easily editable, and easy to get great and crazy sounds out of. Emphasis on crazy. Something that's capable of being a lead but also just as capable at adding nice atmospheres in the background. It doesn't have to be analog - it just needs to sound good (as in, not cheesy).

In short, I'm looking for a versatile Poly which can sound mind-meltingly crazy or smooth as butter. Flexible, unique, and durable. Price doesn't need to be cheap, but I would really prefer it to stay below $2k. $1k if possible.

So far, I've been looking most at:

Novation Supernova 2: Lots of Polyphony, great range of sounds, and has a great UI to boot.
Novation K-Station: Similar to above, but I'm not sure if it is as capable.
Alesis Ion: Only 8 notes of polyphony, but is cheaper than the SN2. Also, I love this demo: Jexus' Demo That's the kind of stuff I'm referring to when I say "crazy." Pretty amazing. But how is the usability? How does it compare to the above and below in terms of scope of sound?
Korg Radias: I've heard good and bad things about it, but it seems very versatile. Price is a bit steep.

I'm open to all suggestions, but I'm hesitant to look into the Virus' just because they are so widely used. I'd like to get something unique.

I hope I'm not being too demanding with my specifications. Just having trouble deciding :oops:
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby krzeppa » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:31 pm

I would suggest going with the Supernova II. I absolutely love mine. It is very capable of producing all kinds of sounds. It can easily do spacey and pretty pads as well as some crazy sounds. I like that fact that everything is easily on display with tons of knobs, buttons, sliders. It makes it really easy to tweak on the fly. Also, I know you are looking for "unique" sounds. I think Novation in general has a unique sound that is different from many of the other synth manufacturers. It is a sound that I am in love with.
I also have the Micron (not the Ion but pretty close). I really like the sound it produces too. I would assume the Ion would be easier to work with because it has more knobs to work in real time. I listened to Jexus demos, and that is what made me really want to get an Ion too. The man is the king of demos. The only reason I didn't get an Ion was because I was running out of space so I settled for the smaller Micron. If you decide not to go with a Supernova II the Ion probably would be my second choice. It seems to be cheaper and easier to find than a Supernova, which may be something to consider. However, I just think that Supernova II is the better overall choice. I will never part with mine...I'm taking to my grave!!! Hahaha.
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Dubersive » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:33 pm

krzeppa wrote:I would suggest going with the Supernova II. I absolutely love mine. It is very capable of producing all kinds of sounds. It can easily do spacey and pretty pads as well as some crazy sounds. I like that fact that everything is easily on display with tons of knobs, buttons, sliders. It makes it really easy to tweak on the fly. Also, I know you are looking for "unique" sounds. I think Novation in general has a unique sound that is different from many of the other synth manufacturers. It is a sound that I am in love with.
I also have the Micron (not the Ion but pretty close). I really like the sound it produces too. I would assume the Ion would be easier to work with because it has more knobs to work in real time. I listened to Jexus demos, and that is what made me really want to get an Ion too. The man is the king of demos. The only reason I didn't get an Ion was because I was running out of space so I settled for the smaller Micron. If you decide not to go with a Supernova II the Ion probably would be my second choice. It seems to be cheaper and easier to find than a Supernova, which may be something to consider. However, I just think that Supernova II is the better overall choice. I will never part with mine...I'm taking to my grave!!! Hahaha.


I had a feeling you would reply, Noetic. Your positive posts about the Supernova II are one of the main reasons why I started looking into it :D

I've loved the demos I've heard so far of the Supernova as well. Jexus has an excellent demo of the Nova II on youtube. I'm not sure how that compares to the sound of Supernova. But I liked what I heard!

I have a feeling the Supernova might be the better choice as well, since it seems to be more of a "go-to" synth, in the sense that it is capable of many, many different things. Strings, pads, leads both abrasive and smooth, and interesting sound effects.

Maybe it would be best for me to get the Supernova II now, and add the Ion to my repertoire at a later date. It's hard to decide.

If I were to get more specific about the sound I'm going after: think of the sound of a lot of the polyphonic leads on Ceephax Acid Crew's albums. I'm not sure what he uses (Casio? Roland?), but I just love that sound. It's gritty yet mesmerizing at the same time, somehow :music:
Last edited by Dubersive on Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby krzeppa » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:18 pm

Dubersive wrote:If I were to get more specific about the sound I'm going after: think of the leads of a lot of the polyphonic leads on Ceephax Acid Crew's albums. I'm not sure what he uses (Casio? Roland?), but I just love that sound. It's gritty yet mesmerizing at the same time, somehow :music:


I think the Supernova II would be great for this kind of sound. You could totally make stuff like Ceephax Acid Crew with it. I would definitely go for it. :dancer:
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Dubersive » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:15 am

krzeppa wrote:
Dubersive wrote:If I were to get more specific about the sound I'm going after: think of the leads of a lot of the polyphonic leads on Ceephax Acid Crew's albums. I'm not sure what he uses (Casio? Roland?), but I just love that sound. It's gritty yet mesmerizing at the same time, somehow :music:


I think the Supernova II would be great for this kind of sound. You could totally make stuff like Ceephax Acid Crew with it. I would definitely go for it. :dancer:


I guess I will then! Now, for the difficult part: finding a Supernova II Pro X.

There's only one auction right now for the SN II (which I cannot bid on at the moment - need to save up more), but none at all for the Pro X. Is it worth pursuing the latter? What am I missing out on if I go with the regular SN II?
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Ashe37 » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:23 am

Polyphony- standard supernova has less.
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Dubersive » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:01 am

Ashe37 wrote:Polyphony- standard supernova has less.


Ah ok. I was aware of the polyphony, but wasn't sure if there were other features added as well. Thanks :)
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby krzeppa » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:49 pm

The Pro X is 48 voice, and I think that is about the only difference. I was not actively go after a Pro X. It was just so hard to find any SN2 at the time. I could find Supernova Racks all of the time, but I wanted the keyboard. I actually had 2 different people say that they would sell me theirs, but they changed their mind. They said they couldn't bring themselves to part with them. I finally found one, and it just happened to be a Pro X.
Unless you absolutely need the 48 voices, you can get just get a regular SN2. Or if you are like me, you can just hop on the first one that is available. Good luck with the search :)
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby stephen » Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:03 pm

SN2 is a lot of synth :)

I've recently been checking out the K-station. Nice sounds. And I think it looks cool too, really like the small form factor. Not quite sure if I'd replace my an1x with one though...
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby krzeppa » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:10 pm

stephen wrote:SN2 is a lot of synth :)

I've recently been checking out the K-station. Nice sounds. And I think it looks cool too, really like the small form factor. Not quite sure if I'd replace my an1x with one though...


K-Station/KS...they are pretty cool synths. I almost bought a k-station but it didn't work right. Then I almost bought a KS, but decided to go with SN2 instead. They are all very good synths.
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Sir Nose » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:36 pm

What are some of the big differences between the SN and the KS? Architecture, sound quality, reliability, user interface, keybed
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby krzeppa » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:32 pm

Sir Nose wrote:What are some of the big differences between the SN and the KS? Architecture, sound quality, reliability, user interface, keybed


Here's an old thread from another message that may (or may not help):

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=1399173
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby paugui » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:41 pm

I have a Novation Supernova II and I think it is an amazing synth.

I also have an Alesis Fusion which has a similar VA engine to the Ion.
I can say it sounds pretty good together with the Novation Supernova II in a mix.
My only grip with it is the lack of controls, which is also making me wanting an Ion.
The extra filters and having two of them per patch, also contributes for me wanting one, but the problem is I am quite lacking space...

The Korg Radias seem pretty good too.
If you enjoy step sequencers, it would be a really nice solution.
I wouldn't mind getting one, especially since it goes way beyond a VA with VPM and other synthesis methods.


All of them seem quite a nice choice, but I am not sure which one I would pick from the bunch.
Can only tell you, I am totally satisfied with the Novation Supernova II.
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby Dubersive » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:38 pm

krzeppa wrote:The Pro X is 48 voice, and I think that is about the only difference. I was not actively go after a Pro X. It was just so hard to find any SN2 at the time. I could find Supernova Racks all of the time, but I wanted the keyboard. I actually had 2 different people say that they would sell me theirs, but they changed their mind. They said they couldn't bring themselves to part with them. I finally found one, and it just happened to be a Pro X.
Unless you absolutely need the 48 voices, you can get just get a regular SN2. Or if you are like me, you can just hop on the first one that is available. Good luck with the search :)


Yeah, I'm thinking I'm going to have to just jump on the next offer for a SN II. There no listings at all for the PRO X; I imagine it was a very limited production run for that version. You are lucky!

The 48 voices aren't necessary though. Anything in the realm of 32 should be fine.

paugui wrote:I have a Novation Supernova II and I think it is an amazing synth.

I also have an Alesis Fusion which has a similar VA engine to the Ion.
I can say it sounds pretty good together with the Novation Supernova II in a mix.
My only grip with it is the lack of controls, which is also making me wanting an Ion.
The extra filters and having two of them per patch, also contributes for me wanting one, but the problem is I am quite lacking space...

The Korg Radias seem pretty good too.
If you enjoy step sequencers, it would be a really nice solution.
I wouldn't mind getting one, especially since it goes way beyond a VA with VPM and other synthesis methods.


All of them seem quite a nice choice, but I am not sure which one I would pick from the bunch.
Can only tell you, I am totally satisfied with the Novation Supernova II.


Thanks for the input. I haven't looked at the Fusion yet, but if what you say is true (about the lack of controls) then it might already be ruled out. I need the hands-on control. For me, it's necessary because nothing drives me crazier than endless menu-diving.

The Korg Radias' step-sequencer is a big draw for me as well. Not to mention all the knobby goodness. I've seen some pretty awesome demos for it as well. It's hard to decide, but price might end up being the deciding factor here...like I said, it's rather expensive compared to the SN II. But then, maybe it's worth saving for. Need to find a side-by-side comparison of some sort between the two :geek:
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Re: Novation Supernova 2 or Alesis Ion or...?

Postby paugui » Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:30 pm

Dubersive wrote:Thanks for the input. I haven't looked at the Fusion yet, but if what you say is true (about the lack of controls) then it might already be ruled out. I need the hands-on control. For me, it's necessary because nothing drives me crazier than endless menu-diving.


I just mentioned that so that you know the Ion will likely sound good together with a Supernova II.
The Fusion is a much more complex machine and a totally underrated gem, but if you only want a VA and from your post I understood you wanted controls too, then the Ion is likely a good bet, as I expect the VA to sound at least as good as the one on the Fusion (likely less modulation options due to less envelopes and LFOs, but extra filter types and 2 filters instead of one).
As I said to you, if I had lots of space, I'd likely try to get an Ion too, as the sound is good.

But I can say the same about my Supernova, and the interface is pretty good (I cannot comment the one on the Ion as I haven't tested one yet)...
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