Synth Site: alesis: Andromeda (A6): User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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raVen lynch a professional user from san francisco, ca USA writes:
this beast is amazing...it's all about the sound. very playable keyboard, every feature that i want or need in a machine...compliments VA synths and is a great modern version of a prophet-5--seriously, i've owned one. VCOs, VCFs, VCAs are a dream! this machine can generate anything you can throw at it (or knob-tweak :) beautiful, big display, etc, etc, but it is ALL ABOUT THE SOUND!

the only problems that i have with it are fairly annoying, but still don't detract from its SOUND...the A6 does not Beat Synch to incoming MIDI clock, and currently does not send MIDI clock...big bummer, as i can only use it playing live for strings, pads, manual bass lines and special fx that don't need clocked LFO's or sequencers/arpegiattors...but they all clock perfectly internally (16 seq and/ or 16 arps), so if you have a drummer that can play along with a click track, then it works.

oh well, maybe Alesis will add these features to the OS some day... ~r~

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-25-2001 at 15:30
Kevin Mason a part-time user from USA writes:
I bought this at a GC in my town a few days ago. They didn't have a unit on display, but I have heard so many things about (and from) this synth that I had to try and get one. When I got home, I played the synth, and went through the presets. They are not great, but you can hear the analog difference from my Nord Lead 2 immediately.

Then I turned one of the knobs, and I couldn't believe my fingers. Most of the pots feel as if they are held to the circuit board by a single piece of thread. I mean cloth thread. They wiggle, they jiggle, they suck!!!! I can't believe the knobs are this flimsy on a 2850.00 board.

When I came online and looked at this site and a few others most reviews didn't say much about the knob flimsiness, but considering all of the hoo-ha going on at alesis, I took the board back the next day and got my money back. I realize that this piece of gear is a great value, but I didn't think it was well built at all, and that explains the low price. I have played a Matrix 12 before at a friends house and even though it has one tenth of the knobs, the board is built like a tank... I am trying to pry it from his fingers, but 2850.00 wont be enough. If you travel or gig a lot and look at the A6 be weary...

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Thursday-May-24-2001 at 19:15
Steve a professional user from U.S.A. writes:
Ain't nothin like the real thing. Cuts through mixes like a hot knife through butter. Matrix Mod is deep enough to keep power programmers happy for years. Wish those knobs weren't so sensitive. That's about the only thing I can find wrong with the darn thing. I purchased it for one reason.. it's sound, and it scores a perfect 10 in that category :)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-23-2001 at 01:38
Analog Kid a hobbyist user writes:
Ease of Use: 7 The ease of use of this synth is variable. It can be very easy to use because the most common parameters have their own dedicated knobs right there in your face (over 70! And I'm not counting the push buttons yet!) I've never seen an analog synth with this many knobs and buttons! On the other hand, a patch can have about 700 parameters(I think...) to tweak and you might have to go to a menu if you want to get complex with the sounds. Still, the submenus are not that hard to use though... I'm only giving it a 7 because the OS is a work in progress.

Features: 10 It's 16 voice polyphonic beating anything analogue out there. Put it this way, this synth has more features than any analog synth ever made, even the Oberheim Expander! The keyboard action is so good to me that now it's my main controller. Just go to Alesis website and check out all the features. Too many to list them all.

Expressiveness/Sounds: 10 OK, this was my main consideration before buying this synth. I had many classics analog synths in my arsenal and I was very skeptical about it until I played it first hand in a store. Let me tell you, this is where this synth SHINES!!! I drove all the way from AZ to CA just to pick one up! Great filters! Not exactly an OBXa and Minimoog but close enough to sell all my other analog synths (well, perhaps not a couple of Rolands...). The FXs are more than adequate. The pallete of sounds for this synth seems endless. Who said subtractive synthesis was boring? Anyway, I would buy this synth just for its sound quality. If someone says the contrary, they must be deaf (or they're one of those Alesis haters...)

Reliability: N/A I only had it for two weeks...

Customer Support: N/A Haven't had to call them...

Overall Rating: 10 This was my wish come true synth. I had many analogue classics that are all gone now. My live setup is a very stable old Mac Classic running Cubase Lite and the Andromeda. Nothing else! At home, even though I have a few other synths, the Andromeda is the backbone of my studio. The other synths are there just to complement it (mostly on the digital side of the spectrum). Just to let you know, the store I bought it from had my two other candidates for purchase side by side along with the Andromeda, the Waldorf Q and the Nord Lead 3. When I walked out of the store, I was very assured of my purchase.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-May-21-2001 at 16:24
YaDaddy a professional user from United States writes:
Having read all the comments previous I think everyone should keep in mind the fact that sound is just as relative as light to any group of human eyes or ears trying to interpret them. We all see and hear things differently. There is no good, bad, right or wrong. It is all relative. What fun to have something to stir up some good debate though.

My own relative opinion on the Andromeda comes from my experience with personal ownership of a rotating list of 20 plus synths over the past 20 years including cutting my teeth on my brother's Prophet 5 and Arp Omni when I was but a wee lad. Also for the past 4 years I have spent 40 hours a week advising customers at a major music store on what is the best synth for their needs. I have the luxury of a roomful of all the current instruments on the market at my disposal to A & B for hours on end everyday at work. We have all our instruments hooked up to the same amps with the same speakers attached. What a great test bed!

...but enough about me.

I'll keep this simple and I will direct it toward the buying public that may be reading this review list to make a decision about an Andromeda purchase.

If you need the "analog sound" and you have the money or can get together the money for an Andromeda without causing great harm to your life then by all means buy it. It is nothing short of inspirational. I have been playing it five days a week for at least an hour a day for 2 months now and I have to tell you the more I play it the more I dream of the day that I can start saving my own creations to it's user banks.

I'll break it down for you.

Sound: Absolutely amazing! Not an issue in the least. I have been working with the digital synths for so long that I forgot how a real synth feels when you are playing it. It vibrates in your chest. You can feel it coming up through the floor into your feet. The A6 does this just like all the genuine analogs that I have worked with in the past. It makes everything else in the Keyboard room at the store sound like A.M. Radios. I have done the A/B test with the A6 against Waldorfs, Nords, Korgs, Rolands, Emu's and a myriad of software synths. While all of these have qualities that I like (I even own a few of them) and some hold up better than others against the A6 (Waldorf & Nord)they all sound like they are whining in my ears. The louder I turn them up to try to match the A6 the more it hurts. I can crank the A6 up and push the amps nearly to the max and it's loud, but it feels good. My whole body is taking the pressure instead of just my eardrums.

Cost: If you have to ask then maybe you shouldn't be looking. This is a board for Pro's or anyone who cares more about great sound than their ever dwindling bank account. The music technology game is not one for the timid. The truth is that quite frankly we are all spoiled! Anyone that complains about the cost of this instrument relative to what it does doesn't know enough about genuine analog synthesis or it's history. Try dropping 5G's of 70's dollars on a 5 voice synth that wouldn't stay in tune and broke down every month. That is expensive! (My poor brother.) In all fairness we need to point out that I work in music store and I will get mine for substantially less than the average buyer. It's a good thing too, because we don't make that much money in retail and I would have to sell a whole bunch of my current gear to get this bad boy....and I definetly would.

Dependability: This is a concern. However a little perspective is called for. If you want an instrument that will never give you a single hiccup Casio has some wonderful instruments in the 400 dollar price range. If you want to play with the big boys then you have to put up with some goofiness. I see hundreds of synths go out the door and a sizeable percentage come back with problems every year at the store. They all have problems in varying degrees and could have used a few more months of tweaking. This is normal. Due to it's relative complexity an analog synth by nature is going to be a little more quirky. They all have been. That's the great thing about digital synths. They are more dependable, but at the price of rich tonal quality. The reality is that companies have to get these things out as soon as they can. You can fix it until you go broke. Yamaha is probably the only company that can afford to sit on something until it is perfect and they don't even do it. As an example: Every year the defense industry uses billions of our tax dollars to develop weapons systems that aren't truly finished until they have been in service for a few years. It's the best and most cost effective way to sort out the bugs. The big difference here of course is that if your A6 screen crashes - Marines don't die! User updateable OS. That's all that I needed to know to rest my fears in this matter. Personally I haven't come across anything with our floor model in the past two months that couldn't be corrected with a Global reset or simple tuning. Keep in mind these things are very complex and they are going to have "personality." As far as the A6 as a "road board" goes. I wouldn't take my first one out, but I will take my second one out. Only one would be too precious to risk.

The Health of Alesis: Another one to consider, but I will tell you that I have every inside indication that Alesis will come out of their current difficulties a stronger and more vital company. If anything this is the best reason to go out and buy one of these now! In a worst case scenario an A6 would only be more valuable. As an example: You can get a Prophet 5 fixed or upgraded if you want to. Has anyone tried to call or write a letter to Sequential Circuits lately? I'll say it again. Not a game for the timid.

Missing Features: Give 'em time. They will get it worked out. Though even at it's current state it can't be beat by any currently produced synth for tonal quality. Until then Marines...keep your Kevlar helmet pulled down tight.

I am giving the A6 a 5 because it excites me like no synth has in years and the sound inspires me like no other instument that I own or could purchase at this time.

I hope this inspires you to go out and listen to the A6 with fresh ears or for the first time and form your own opinion.

If you like it get it! You will not be sorry.

Thanks Alesis for giving this sound back to me. I had no idea how much I had missed it.

What a great time to be making music!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-May-20-2001 at 20:50
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