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
REENO
August 18, 2009 @ 9:14 pm
Anyone even remotely disparaging this wonderful VA synth, surely knows nothing about real analog synths nor VA's...
The ION, quite frankly--is the most convincing analog emulating synth ever made!
Yes...it's more convincing than the Nords, Viruses, and Waldorfs.
It's price point makes it even more unbeatable..it should cost 2 1/2 times what it does..easily.
I cannot believe some of the negative reviews i've read regarding this synth, saying it sounds "lifeless", "digital", or "dull"--NONE of these assessments are true, and just lets me know how unknowledgable some people are regarding analog/VA synths.
I own a prophet-5, and I can tell you that the ION sounds nearly as analog..on any given day.
Factor in all those filter models, dual mod wheels, and 3 oscillators, and you have got a sure-fire winner of a synth.
Benny
August 15, 2009 @ 9:53 pm
I want to like this synth, I really do. It has a very sleek futuristic look and a nice editing interface, but it just doesn't sound good to me, everytime I stumble upon one in a music store I always give it another go, hoping I will find something likeable in its sound, but I just can't, I may not be the best of synthesists but on any other synth I've played, I've always managed to find something to enjoy in the sound, I hate to say it, but this is probably the dullest sounding synth I've ever come across, lightyears away from Alesis incredible Andromeda.
A. Hubert
July 26, 2009 @ 12:39 am
Frankencont doesn't know what he's talking about. This synth is the CLOSEST you'll ever get to real analog sound, period! I should know, I've owned a Prophet 5, a Korg Mono/Poly, a Moog Voyager Old School, and have compared it side-by-side with those. It is a superb analog emulating synthesizer. Lots of different filter types, lots of modulation possibilities, graphical display, smooth knobs with lots of resolution. It packs a lot of punch for not a lot of money. Nord Lead and Virus are overpriced, cold, lifeless digital machines. The Korg MS2000 is not bad (I've owned one at one point), but suffered from aliasing artifact.
Frankencont
July 8, 2009 @ 3:27 pm
This was my first, and worst synth. The build quality is ok, though the keys are very light and have sharp edges. The sound is a bit harsh, like an old, unrefined VST, and tweaking the synth is way less fun than you might expect.

I would prefer an MS2000B to this any way. As for comparing it to a Nord Lead or Virus for "analogue style" sounds, don't make me laugh.

At the price these things go for, I think one would do well to look out for a Korg R3 instead.
Frankencont
July 8, 2009 @ 3:24 pm
This was my first, and worst synth. The build quality is ok, though the keys are very light and have sharp edges. The sound is a bit harsh, like an old, unrefined VST, and tweaking the synth is way less fun than you might expect.

I would prefer an MS2000B to this any way. As for comparing it to a Nord Lead or Virus for "analogue style" sounds, don't make me laugh.

At the price these things go for, I think one would do well to look out for a Korg R3 instead.
 
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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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