Synth Site: alesis: Andromeda (A6): User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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CThorns from Orlando, FL writes:
Lets just say this. I owned a Nord Lead III that I was happy with....had it for less than 1 month. The same day I brought the Andromeda home and played it...I returned the Nord III ....that's how much of a diff there was. Like another reviewer said "the Nord III is like a pink plastic toy beside the A6"....very true indeed. The synth just flat out hits very hard. I have owned the Waldorf Q, MS2000, Supernova II, and the Nord III and none of them come close to the sound of the A6 as far as how hard it hits and depth of sound. Extremely happy and I have just scratched the surface. Sell all of your digital crap for this unit if you have to. You will not be dissapointed!

posted Wednesday-Dec-12-2001 at 13:53
MORPH! a professional user from USA writes:
I have to be incredibly critical about the sounds I produce. Underscores for movies are the more typical of job orders I work, with the exception of custom CD burns for DJ's. Stuff that they can't pull off on the floor, no way (I make sure of that!) Ready? I score Andy a 5 all the way as far as the sound itself. The engineered layout of the board is very very good, but not as perfect as it's sound. There is nothing out there that will touch the Andromeda in light of what it is used for, namely, comtemporary sound. No earlier moogs, or SH series Rolands, or the Kurz's put out now.period. If you have an opportunity to buy one of these and you don't, it would be a lifetime error on your part. MORPH!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Nov-13-2001 at 10:07
Johnn a professional user from U.S.A. writes:
There's no way in hell I could be more happy with this synth than I am. For a fairly "green" analog synthesist, however, my interaction with it runs contrary to the more instantly-gratifying experiences I've had using Micromoogs, Rogues, ARP Odysseys, Juno's, Nords, an MS-10, etc. But hell, this should come as no surprise when one considers the sheer scope and depth of this beautiful machine, and as I recognize my own lack of experience. I've had it since March, but my Andromeda learning curve has been stunted by the massive assemblage of other keyboards and effects (Hammond, rhodes, Wurlitzer, Oddy, clavinet, moogerfooger, etc.) I somewhat impulsively purchased before the A6. I'm also studying jazz and having to learn the ropes of electronics in general,and perhaps I did the Andy an injustice by purchasing when I did. Oh well, you live and you learn, and hopefully my vintage keyboard hard-on has been satisfied for now.I regard the Andromeda as a more of a remarkably rewarding, long-term investment, and its presets (for now) ease the "pain" of my lacking programming skills. Now to the synth itself.

First off, I can fucking levitate my rackmount H&K bass amp from my bass cabinet, which it sits on top of, using "Wolf Bass" playing the quintessentially80's "I Can't Wait." As rad as this is, I about fucking died one night doing this when it almost landed on me. Thus, the questions I had about it's "low end" capabilities before I bought were answered a long time ago. I'm not sweating the purchase of a Minimoog anymore.The pads and strings are magnificent, though I've never played a Prophet, Jupiter, Oberheim, or Memormoog and can't make a comparison. I'm not a huge brass kind of guy, but that shit is definitely covered. Really and truly, the Andy does everything, with more power, possibilities, and pure aestheticism than anything I've ever heard or used. Pound for pound, probably only a modular, which the Andy essentially is with all of its modulation capabilities, could overtake this thing. The effects are fine, the TI-82 graphing calculator like display and layout in general are fucking beautiful, and the ribbon controller rocks ass. I'm not Johnny Sequencer-Arpeggiator, but hey, when I need that shit it's there. I don't really know what else to say. I play this thing alongside a Nord II and Triton almost daily, which are owned by the other keyboard player in my band, and that shit just can't hang in my book. It's hard to compare the Andy to the Triton, as they're way-different beasts, but the Nord, as cool, proven, and practical as it, just feels like a pink plastic toy to me. I'm not trying to disrespect it, because I dig it in a big way as well, but the Andy just kind of seems on a different level. As subtle as the differences are, I can personally and pretty easily tell a difference between VA and analog because of our set-up. Really, the only downside, which is also it's greatest attribute, is its complexity. That's obviously more of a problem with the user than with the board, and hey, I look forward to growing old and crusty with this bi-itch!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Nov-08-2001 at 15:40
Draconis a professional user from USA writes:
I recently got my own Andromeda. I LOVE it!!! I scrapped both new E-MU Command Stations to have this machine. It was a calculated risk and absolutely worth it. It will blow holes in concrete. It stings like a Multi-timbral Pro-One. It is more brutal and aggressive than any synths on the market with the exception of Jomox's SunSyn and their XBase09. And the Futrue-Retro 777. I own these, also. I don't trust or like at all the digital emualtions all over the market.

It's like comparing apples and oranges. But dig this, man... You can take any digital shit on the market as I did and do a blow-by-blow sound test side-by-side with these machines and hear and feel what happens; You can make a beat on a digital unit like an E-MU Command Station or Roland MC505 or Yamaha RM1X. Or a Bassline. Then plug in the Alesis Andromeda, the 777, and the Jomox stuff and duplicate the pattern to the BPM and dig this. The Analogue stuff will send a vibration that goes through Your body at low volumes.It will be physical and You will feel it. Then the digtal stuff even with Subs will have to be at higher volume and it will NOT vibrate through Your body... As a Dance music guy, I want stuff that does this to the dancers who groove to my stuff. Dig. Analogue is NOT an emulation but a generated sound.

Personally, every excursion I have made into digital synths has met with bad fortune. I think many sound cool. But for me, I stay now to Analogue. I love the organic warmth and unpredictability of Analogue. No digital glitches, either. Smooothness with Analogue.

The Andromeda was a personal revelation to me. I only want another one. Like I want another 777 or any Jomox stuff, too. I can't say enough good about these machines or the makers of them.

Draconis

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Oct-31-2001 at 12:07
CoolColJ a part-time user from Australia writes:
Well I've had the Andromeda for about 2 months now. So I think I have a pretty good handle on what the Andromeda offers. Firsly a little background.

Before I took delivery of the Andromeda, I only had a brief play with on at a seminar. I remeber the synth sounding rather harsh, but the single sound I programmed on it was promising. I liked the specs and what was offer and in blind leap of faith, I sold my Minimoog, Juno106, mks80 and Ax-73 analogs to fund my purchase of the unit.

After bringing it home and playing it - I wasn't quite sure what to make of the sound. I guess I was slighlty disappointed, it just sounded so clean and hardly vintage like. The next day I started programming some sounds, turning off the backgroundtuning to let the sound drift like the good old boys. Then I started to like and began to see the depths of the synth. So began the "honeymoon" period :)

After a few weeks I began to hate it, I guess the Honeymoon was over. At this point most people would sell it. I stuck with it, and now I love it! I think the attitude and the purpose of what you think the Andromeda is all about will greatly effect your judgement of the synth. I guess I intitally expected the Andromeda to be all and end of analogs. It can't, but it comes darn close!

The basic architecture - is a 2VCO+2sub-oscillator and 2 filters per voice. Add 3 LFOs, 3 envelopes, a Sample and hold, portamento (which can act as a 4th simple envelope for the VCO and/or Filters) and a modulation structure.

The VCOs are nicely featured and can be independantly modulated! A big plus for me. They feature Saw (positive or negative) Square (with pulsewidth control and modulation), Triangle and SIne. All waveforms can be selected, and the Square waveform has variable volume. Each VCO also has a sub-oscillator, which can be used to add that octave below or to create new waveforms. The Andromeda's oscillator mixer (pre-filter mixer) uses a ratio system for the sub-oscllilator, so it can be set to create a waveform, which will not be disturbed by the actually VCO level. Mixing the sub-oscillator at level 34.7 with a Sawtooth creates a nicely rounded sawtooth type waveform, great for thick sounds. You also have the usual, linear and expononetial FM, hard and soft-sync, 3 shapes of noise, VCO to filter FM, noise to VCO fm etc.

The 2 filters also have different character - the multimode 12db filter based on the Oberheim SEM filter, is a bit more aggressive, and will overdrive at high resonance settings, but will not self-oscillate. You can always back down the oscillator volumes to reduce the saturation. This filter offers Low pass, High pass, Band pass and Band reject. The 24db filter is based on the Moog Modular low pass filter, and subjectively is the weaker of the 2 filters on hand. The volume drops as resonance increase , as does the bass, just like the Moog Modular's. But it does sound much warmer and the resonance is very soft and organic, unlike the strong resonance in the Roland analog synths. This filter will self-oscillate.

Both filters can be used at the same time, with outputs from all filters up at the mixer - 12db LPF, BPF, HPF and the 24db LPF. Or they can be run in several serial configuarions. This allows for some nice vocal and formant type sounds. there is also a filter feedback button which re-routs the audio back into the Pre-filter mixer. This changes the sound depending on the filter configurations. Sometimes you get a thicker sound, sometimes overdrive. Other times it will spike the resonance of the filters . This is actually how one can emulate the sound of Roland filters, and it will also send the 12db Multimode filter into self-oscillation.

The envelopes and LFOs are very flexible! The envelopes have 2 decays and 2 releases, plus each stage can have a different slope. You can emulate a lot of the character from various vintage analog synths by fiddling around here. They can also be looped, and bounty of triggering options, such as triggering by LFOs. LFOs are nicely slow - 0.07 hertz or so, but not too fast on the fast end 25hertz. You can substitue a looping enevlope for faster modulation :) Unlike LFOs in other synths, you have 10 times the flexibility on offer here! LFOs can be, be delayed, offset, uni-polar or bi-polar, their levels determined, their phase changed, modulated plus a slew of triggering and syncing options

Tonally - the A6 has a smooth, chorusy sound, soft and watery like. It can also get mighty harsh if you so wish. The 2 mixers on the A6 , the Pre-filter mixer and the Post-filter mixer greatly effect the sound and tone of the Andromeda. 90% of the presets overload these 2 mixers for that gritty sound many have commented on. These mixers are analog and will clip. The levels of these mixers will also determine how hard you drive the filters.

Soundwise it can definitely get those Moog sounds down. Moog modular and especially the Mini. A few others say it can do MemoryMoog nicely, I have never heard one so I can't vouch for that. It can also do some Oberheim and some other American synths if you are familiar with those synths in question and know the A6 inside out. It can do some Japanese synth sounds, but the responce of the filters are nothing like the 24db Roland filters which have a more agressive sounding resonance.

Personally I find the sounds the Andromeda can make to be quite powerful. OK discrete analogs will sound better, but given the tools and sound capabilities on offer that is acceptable trade off. I've also found a tonal difference betwen the main outs and the Aux/voice outs. The main outs sound muddy and a bit soft vs the Aux and voice outs - I would use the Aux and voice outs for bass and drums, because of the better high frequency and attack characteristics

The Andromeda features a lot for the money. With the help of the extensive but somehwat fiddly modulation capabilities, the A6 can enter the world of modular analogs as far as the types of sounds one would normally hear from them, but in the Andromeda's case you can play them polyphonicly. Unlike the modulars however the modulation speed is a tad slower. That is the drawbacks of software generation, but the hardwired modulations such as the filter envelopes are nice and responsive.

Because of the flexible architecture, the Andromeda can certainly do sounds that many analog synths would be hard pressed to do likewise, such as complex analog drums, Wavestation style pads and vocal/formant/choir sounds. And even analog pianos! Add modern midi specs where every knobs will send and receive controller data (in the latest OS). Add a fully assignable ribbon controller, nice keyboard, 3 filter inputs (which also function as audio triggers that can be routed as a modulation source), CV inputs, 16 16x3 step sequencers and arpeggiator, and you have one of the deepest and most complete analog polyphonics that can give many an analog mono-synth a big fright!

I have plenty of new mp3s here with many more new ones coming every so often

http://members.optushome.com.au/coolcolj/SoundBites/

On a final note I have discovered many cool things about the A6's architecture, please check the A6 mailing list archives if you wish to learn more. http://www.code404.com/a6/

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-28-2001 at 17:30
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