Alesis Ion

Alesis Ion Image

The Ion Analog Modeling Synthesizer is one fat-sounding digital synth! Using Alesis' proprietary DSP Analog Modeling technology with a 500 MIPS processor (500 million instructions per second), every knob and button is tweakable in real-time giving you the feel and sound of a true analog oldie.

The Ion has 8-voice polyphony with 3 oscillators per voice, and is 4-part multi-timbral. It offers continuously variable wave shapes (sine waves can morph into square waves), plus osc-sync and FM synthesis. 16 filter types are included, along with two LFOs, Sample & Hold, and an Arpeggiator-all of which sync to MIDI clock. A powerful and intuitive modulation matrix is built in, as well as a 40-band vocoder that does not use up any polyphony. External stereo audio can be processed through the filters, effects, or the vocoder.

Though not a true analog like the Andromeda A6, the Ion is capable of creating a wide variety of sounds from warm thick analog pads all the way to gritty monophonic leads and basses, as well as some funky and realistic sound effects. The Ion also simulates the best of the classic analogs such as Oberheims, Roland Jupiters, Arps, Moogs, etc, largely due to its great filters - there is hardly any aliasing even on the highest tones. The Ion also comes equipped with not one but two modulation wheels, both assignable to mods in the mod matrix (LFOs only assignable to mod wheel 1). The Ion has an amazing range of tonal possibilities.

Alesis Ion Image

The chic design, layout, and large backlit screen make editing on the Ion a dream! The Modulation Matrix is easy to understand and can route any modulation parameter to almost every component of the Ion!! All parameter knobs (excluding master volume & menu knob) are 360 degree pots allowing you to twist all the day long! A 160x160 graphic display provides instant visual feedback as a parameter is edited. Along with having 512 patch settings (all user-rewritable), the Ion has 64 multi-timbral setups. All parameters including arpeggiator settings are stored with each preset.

The ION keyboard contains 49 velocity-sensitive keys, 4 analog outputs and 2 stereo analog inputs (all balanced and using 24-bit conversion), 4 individual insert effects, a stereo master multi-FX processor, and an internal universal power supply. Expression and sustain pedal ports as well as headphone jacks are also there. For those who want a versatile synth and can't afford the A6, this is the synth for you - arguably one of the best 'virtual-analog' synths for awesome, analogue-like sounds.

The Ion inspired a "Mini-Me" version of itself in the Micron. It's the exact same synth as the Ion, except housed in a small 3-octave keyboard with only a few real-time controls. It has a few new features such as pattern and phrase sequencers and more filter types & effects - designed for the "on the go" musician in an overall more affordable package.

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The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

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Are you looking to buy or sell a Alesis Ion? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

123 Visitor comments
July 5, 2014 @ 1:11 pm
Just retrieved my Ion from the loft after putting it in for early retirement following the purchase of a Voyager EB, mini-microbrute combo, Waldorf XTK etc. Looking for some sub 20kg polyphonic action in Reaper.
Voyager better (obviously) but [beep] - just listen to the Super Mini preset (green 000 bank).
It's the nearest thing I can get to the Voyager sound. the various filter models are also pretty awesome for a VA synth. Superb sound, functionality and mod matrix and deservingly expensive on eBay etc. Just wish it had aftertouch like my MEK.
June 19, 2014 @ 10:03 am
Just bought an Ion in great condition. All works perfectly now that i've updated the OS. Much of the critique no longer applies when you do this! Another point that has been mentioned on many occasions is the 'flat' LCD screen.. well.. just tilt it up at the rear.. perfect!

The VA sound is very convincing so far! External FX are essential though. Thumping bass and gorgeous sweeps WOW. Layer up some strings and it really comes alive.

Of course, looks and ease of editing go a long way too. Afterall, a musical instrument has to be inspirational.

A future classic.
March 26, 2014 @ 5:34 am
Got one of these for sale, internal memory battery needs replaced. £400
please contact. for more info
February 14, 2014 @ 9:06 am
Beautiful, solid, love the knobs and the screen, the sonic possibilities are immense and features that other synths do not have, like the ability to choose the curves in the envelopes, and the large number variety of filters each of them excellent, incredible Matrix Modulation, oscillators sound powerful and not weak like virus for example, there is almost no aliassing, the effects and especially the distortions are very good, ok ; no has reverb and delay is not very suitable but nobody complains Nord Lead 1, 2 and 3 when they criticize your dry sound.
November 12, 2013 @ 4:40 am
to all the ion hatters out there, update your os and quit [beep] ing about how it's not as good as the micron. I own both, and I agree, the micron and ion seemed to have been switched, but even though they are related they will sex it up together nicely, lets face it, the ion(without ghost edits) has a kick [beep] layout, it's all there, no need for a computer program to make editing easier, and the micron has a bit more under the hood but only 3 nobs to access that v8 so hook em up together, and viola! alesis sexy time! btw the ion is an incredible board that can be bought for dirt cheap! get one.
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User Rating

Rated 3.87 (813 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices (4-part multitimbral)
  • Oscillators - Alesis proprietary DSP Analog Modeling: 3 oscillators per voice (Sine, Square-Pulse, Saw-Triangle).
  • Filter - 2 multi-mode filters with 16 filter types.
  • Envelopes - 3 EGs: Pitch/Mod, Filter, and the Amp have their own ADSR envelopes.
  • LFO - 2 multi-wave LFOs and 1 S&H. Ring Modulator. FM. hard&soft OSC sync.
  • Effects - 4 Individual Mono/Stereo Insert Effects and Stereo Master Multi-FX Processor (80ms slapback delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, distortion, fuzz, compression, limiter) and built-in 40-band Vocoder.
  • Keyboard - 49 keys (velocity, release velocity sensitive).
  • Memory - 512 Patches, 64 Multi-timbral Setups.
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator: MIDI-sync-able multiple-pattern plus *random* feature.
  • Real-Time Controllers - 30 360-degree Parameter Knobs, 2 Assignable Modulation Wheels, Assignable Pitch Wheel.
  • Control - MIDI (4-part multitimbral) IN/OUT/THRU
  • Date Produced - 2003
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Alesis and

    Info provided by Christian and Lars Lien.

    Reviewed December 2007.

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