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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121 Visitor comments
November 11, 2008 @ 11:53 pm
I had one of these and was able to stack some pretty fat bass sounds on top of one another via the parts buttons (great feature). My Ion continued to drop my user programs in bank 4 (yellow), so i sold it and grabbed the moog voyager. Tech support mentioned a battery replacement but i think it was more and too soon, I have an OB 8 thats older and still has still has battery life. I recommend this synth if you want to learn basic programming.
November 8, 2008 @ 10:17 pm
Very good VA. The various filters allow you to model various legendary synths like the MiniMoog, ARP 2600, Oberheim OB-X, and the Roland Jupiter-8. But for whatever reason I could never escape the VA sound, it's just too clean shaven. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice sounding synth. But once I got my JX-8P the Ion went out the door. It just doesn't compare to the real thing, even against the "thinner" DCO's. I'd hate to see what an actual VCO mega synth does to this thing. But if you're looking for the VA sound then this thing is for you. With the modulation matrix and 2 parallel filters it's capable of sounds not possible on most vintage analogues. And IMHO it has much better build and sound quality than similarly priced Roland SH-201 and KORG MicroKorg. So as far as VA goes this synth is #1, except for maybe a Virus TI.
tony H
November 7, 2008 @ 2:41 pm
like alot of Alesis synths, tends to get overlooked in favour of the Rolands Korgs and Yamahas, but believe you me this is one of the finest analogue modelling synths on the market. The modulation and pitchbend wheels are a revellation for real time affects. In my opinion is up there with the very best.
September 28, 2008 @ 11:30 pm
I love the Ion. I bought some delay and reverb pedals for it and it sounds better than a Virus or a Q in most respects and it's much easier to program. I've made many interesting patches with it's FM capabilities. It's terrible that Alesis discontinued it, and it would be nice to see a re-release with the Micron's features and a better keybed. But that will probably never happen.
September 26, 2008 @ 6:57 pm
Great synth! im having lots of fun the the modulation matrix! Sounds digital i think, but can produce some very fat analog-like sounds. Beautiful layout/construction
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Rated 3.84 (767 Votes)

  • 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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