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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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.

121 Visitor comments
Joshua
September 18, 2008 @ 10:15 am
I recently had a Korg Ms 2000 That fried so i decided to try this synth out and i am very happy. It has far more capabilities and virtually endless possibilties. Although the effects section is weak its an amazing synth.
Divine Chemical
September 14, 2008 @ 11:49 pm
In my experience, VA synths [beep] at bass. The Ion is the exception. It's like a Virus with some serious balls.
Auris
September 9, 2008 @ 12:09 pm
The ion is a fantastic sounding VA. As mentioned it is lacking in the effects department but I am unable to use the on board effects due to a problem with the "Muting Jfets" on the main output wich I have neglected to have repaired. This issue is somewhat common but easily fixed by anyone with some part sourcing and soldering skills. The build quality is durable but its not engineered for longevity from what I see. The encoders are proprietary from what I can tell and I haven't been able to source them from any of Alesis suppliers or dealers or anyone. Not to mention the terrible lack of customer support or service. I personally love the synth but I doubt i would bother repairing or replacing it with another ion when it lets out the magic smoke.
Ambient Universe
September 5, 2008 @ 5:55 pm
I agree with you both. The only thing that I find that the ION lacks, is a proper Reverb and Delay unit.
Otherwise it is one of the most awesome synthesizer out there(in the same pricerange).
The most appealing thing is the controlinterface. You have almost a knob for every "direct" function. I've found that hard to find on other hardware synth(unless you want to purchase a truckload of MIDI-controllers).
Josh
September 4, 2008 @ 10:13 pm
This is an AWESOME board. I actually traded my new Korg R3 for a great condition ION recently due to needing at least 1-more octave and I couldn't be happier with the trade. Easy to learn, controls my Kurzweil K2500R with ease, fat sounds, tap tempo fun for live jams, sweet machine.
 
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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

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