Synth Site: alesis: Andromeda (A6): User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Wretch a professional user from colorado,usa writes:
Hard to use, not user friendly? it shows you everythign on the screen. it's just that it does so much that there are so many things to edit, and a ton of lights and buttons that at first it makes it confusing, but finding the cut off and resonance was not hard, neither was setting up the osc, neither was the pre mix, or post mix. it took me a day to figure out how to use the filters together and singular.

to use the both tell it mix. and the post mix determins what comes through. notch uses both, andbp uses both too. its so cool once i figured it out, amazing. i get hard extreme sounds, or soft bubbly.. i am in heaven.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-16-2001 at 11:50
Robbie a part-time user writes:
Where's the beef? Right here in my studio where it belongs, baby. I sold all my VAs to get this thing, I can't believe how fat real analog is. I tried every VA out there, and the ones I had to contend with don't hold a candle to REAL ANALOG VCOs. The OBMx, even with its real analog VCOs but wimpy "Moog" and "Oberheim" filter, sound horribly flat compared to the Andromeda. How did Alesis get so much balls out of the on-board Oberheim and Moog filters???

It sounded great in the store, and even better in my arsenal. Are you sure you didn't try it with decent headphones or a good set of speakers? Some stores only plug their keyboards into a small practice amp, that's no way to judge any keyboard bucko. Ask for good headphones (or bring your own) or ask for a decent amp/speaker to play the Andro through. Small combo amps hide so much.

This thing is like a modular with its extensive modulation capabilities... the filters are fat and the VCOs are so beefy, it's obvious that this thing was designed as a labor of love by real synth geeks... and I'm learning so much about patches by studying them with the VIEW buttons... now I know how to get great analog drums and percussion and fat pads and shimmery FM sounds. NO MORE NAVIGATING THROUGH MENUS! I can tweak to delight with knobs and buttons!! YEAH!!!!

THANK YOU ALESIS FOR BRINGING BACK REAL ANALOG WITH KNOBS!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Mar-12-2001 at 23:42
MC a professional user from USA writes:
No my friend, they are not DCOs; the Andromeda has true VCOs. And VCOs are not read by ADCs, and a S&H is not an ADC.

Hybrid synthesizers like the Prophet-5, OBX/Xa/8, Memorymoog, or Andromeda use ADCs to convert analog signals such as knobs, pitch wheels, and foot control pedals into a digital signal that can be read by the CPU. The keyboard is a diode matrix who data is not an analog signal but can be directly read by the CPU to detect a pressed key. All these signals are summed by the CPU and the control data is sent to a DAC which converts digital bits to an analog signal.

Because there are many analog devices to be controlled and DAC chips are expensive, the digital signals coming from the CPU are multiplexed. This allows the system to use only one DAC chip and to save $$. If you look at the output of the DAC, it is a periodic waveform of random voltage levels. All the control voltages for each analog device are "mixed" in this waveform. To separate the analog signal for each separate analog device, a demultiplexer is combined with the CPU address lines to isolate the DAC's analog signal only for that addressed device.

There may be hundreds of analog signals to demultiplex (DEMUX), and while each DEMUX'd output is unselected and turned off from the DAC, we need a way to hold each DEMUX'd output level while the rest are being serviced, otherwise the analog signal would immediately go away. That is the purpose of the S&H. When a DEMUX'd output is selected, the S&H is in "Sample" mode and it "records" the voltage; when the output is not selected, the S&H is in "Hold" mode and it "freezes" the output at its previous "Sample", no matter what the input of the S&H is. It is far cheaper to build a hundred S&H circuits than it is to buy a hundred DAC chips. The DAC->DEMUX->S&H has been standard design convention since the first hybrid synthesizer.

A VCO has a voltage control input that is converted to an exponential current which controls the rate of charge on a capacitor which is discharged near instantaneously when it reaches a preset level, and the cap charges again. This cap charge/discharge cycle repeats over & over, and the voltage across the cap is a ramp waveform from which all the other VCO waveforms are derived from, and faster cap charge time=higher VCO frequency. It doesn't matter the input voltage originates from a keyboard, a pitch wheel, a ribbon, an LFO, or a DAC->DEMUX->S&H as is the Andromeda, Prophet-5, Memorymoog, JP8, and OBX/Xa/8, it is *still* a VCO. This has been established convention in the industry and in the music press for over twenty years.

A DCO replaces the charged cap and the exponential current converter with a waveform generator that is directly generated by the CPU. There is no analog voltage control input at all on a DCO. Any traditional analog controller, whether it is a keyboard, pitch wheel, LFO, or otherwise must have its data in the digital domain to be utilized by the DCO.

In a DCO synth, the CPU generates the waveforms for all the DCOs and thus can directly control the frequency of all DCOs. And if you put them in unison, the waveforms from all the DCOs will be in phase. While DCOs have excellent stability and are perfectly in tune between each other, they tend to sound cold and sterile especially when you put the voices in unison mode. And DCOs are only turned on when a key is pressed, so every time you press a key the waveform starts at the same phase.

In contrast, VCOs in a polyphonic synth are free-running at all times and the phase is never synchronized between VCO waveforms. Unlike DCOs, no two VCOs are ever dead on tune with each other, they can be real close but not perfect. And everytime you play a different voice, the detuning between VCOs is never exactly the same and the phase is always different. VCO synths tend to have more life in their sound for these reasons. The Andromeda lets you disable background tuning and temperature tuning if you want real vintage analog drift like the vintage synths of the 70s, and if the options are enabled the tuning stability is excellent by today's standards. Analog VCO design has progressed a long way since the days of the Minimoog, Prophet-5, et al and the Andromeda has taken advantage of this progress.

When you modulate a VCO with a pitch wheel, LFO, the waveform is always consistent. When you modulate a DCO, the CPU has to interrupt the current waveform and start another one at the new frequency, and the waveform is never consistent. The CPU in a DCO synth isn't fast enough to emulate the VCO behavior, it has too many other things to do. That's why VCOs sound "smoother" when you modulate them.

posted Monday-Mar-12-2001 at 13:44
Mind Warp Studios a professional user from Somewhere in a Galaxy, Far Far Away. writes:
Okay let me give you the andromeda part.

Aside from the fact that it has a moog like osc, sem and moog filters, it has an amazing modulation matrix, almost as versitly if not more than the arp2600. But i think what really gives it its own charachter is the addsrr. You can shape the envelopes like no other synth can, giving it the power to makes sounds that have been made before by moogs, obers, and arps, but also sounds that you can shape like no other because of the addsrr(atack, decay 1, decay 2, sustain, release 1, release 2). And with the display, fine tuning, and editing is so precise, that it goes beyone older analog gear. People who really are into sound creation like i am really love this synth because of these features, THAT NO OTHER SYNTH ON THE MARKET HAS.

And I would like to mention, That alesis hired a lot of very good analog people to make this synth, it is not designed by the same people who made the quadraverb, the qsr6, and things like that. Alesis makes it, but it really sounds nothing like an alesis product except for the fx of course.

I love the ribbon, And i think it makes a great controller, I love the keys as well, no analog has a feel like this. Its pretty, i don't care what people say, the pictures don't do it justice. I love the complex mod routings, and how you can use the filters together (not many synths offer this even in digital form, let alone analog). You can even modulate the FX! I think you can modulate just about everything in this thing. 3 lfos! not as many as the matrix, but who cares. The step sequencer is cool (havent played with it much) as is the arpeggiator. The portomento modes are great, you can set the slopes (no other synth does this). The presets still don't do it justice. I mean, so much can be done, the presets tend to try and sell this to techno kids. I think the people who did the presets could have done more to show off how this synth is very modular in design, The crazy sound fx, and evolving atmospheres that you can create with this thing is amazing, the pads and strings can evolve so amazingly and still be beefy like real analog, the matrix just doesnt have the beef of these oscs.

I like all analog synths for the most part, but this thing is so thought out and powerful. It gives you the power of a nord modular, with the fatness of analog, with a ton of knobs, a screen, and a nice keyboard, ribbon controler, and fx.

Don't argue any more. It sounds like these KIDS that get on here, are not into sound design, have not really looked at all the details this thing has to offer. If they only knew how to make sounds decently, or to use a modular, they would see how wonderful this synth really is.

IT really is not that expensive. I bought mine for $2700 US. I think it is perfectly priced for what it offers. If you buy this, you only need to buy a roland and a korg to complete your vintage sound. This alone paired with a sampler would be enough to make a lot of records! + its new, under warrenty, and will last a long time without probelms i bet. Hassle free analog is here!

I thank alesis for this blessing. The synth gods are now smiling.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-09-2001 at 15:28
Jason d a professional user from Land of the synth Gods writes:
The ANDROMEDA .... its not a Matrix 12 nor could I ever put it in the same class its not a Jupiter 8 , its not gonna hang , it sounds like a 16 s.e.m's in a sence I am not as happy as I thought I would be with the presets , but who is ? but the sounds are real analogue and it has some very cool features , but I am playing and asking my self what makes it worth 3 grand ? nothing in my book I would much rather have A oberheim Matrix 12 than this , but this machine does have a similar sound to the Jp 6 . It blows any of the Va's out ot the water , you should see their prices drop after this one ,Its your call to spend the 3000$+ to get the machine , truthfully I would wait and buy one used from someone who is not happy with theirs . for less than the new price .

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Mar-05-2001 at 10:34
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