Synth Site: Alesis: ION: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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steve a professional user from Portugal writes:
Bought a Ion two weeks ago and have spent some time with it and know it well enought to make a valued comment on it.When you first hear this synth and trwal through its presets you may be forgiven for thinking this is a bit jp8000 ish at times and although it has more grit in its sound there are times you do here the plastic artificial sounding analog simulation,but,once you start tweaking these presets and listen to the sound you will be blown me.I am one of these analog purist's I have a vast collection of analogs ranging from ARP Quadra's to Memorymoogs,matrix 12's and I have to say the Ion is a fantastic sounding synth,yes there are times that you may hear in the sound it generates that is is not pure analog but then you hear what it is doing and think 'I don't care'.In short this is the best VA out there,can sound really analog and can sound utterly fantastic.You owe it to yourself to get one of these an anlog purist I wanted to hate this machine but after playing with it I new I had to have one it is a beautiful machine and one which is blurring the lines between analog and VA and at the end of it all, all that matters is what music you make with all the machines you have regardless of analog or VA.I am no longer an analog purist....enough said.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Aug-31-2004 at 05:01
Shawil a part-time user from USA writes:
I bought my ION about a month and a half ago. I plugged it in, threw down the manual on top of my dusty Roland MC 303 Groove Box, and i couldn't stop playing and tweaking until the next day!! I gotta say this, it sounds like nothing i have ever heard! I had The KORG MS2000B for a weekend and took it back cause i couldn't stop thinking about this ION. Truthfilly at first, i thought the ION was some gimmicky-ass Andromeda wanna be...boy was i wrong. I'm gonna say this and you analog purists can huff and puff if you want, the Andromeda is "aiight" to me but the Virus C can go a few rounds with it...not bitch slap it...but go a few rounds. I spent time with both and the sounds on the Virus just sound fatter to me. The A6 is like a old angry man who had an abusive Moog uncle. Now i ain't playing both sides here, but the A6 is total analog fury with titanium testicles, a real killer-diller, but the Access Virus KC made me just plain smile. Oh yeah, the KORG, I have nothing against the MS2000B, i love all of KORG's synths, but for this ION price range i was blown away. I walked away with mine for a scrawny $500 + a free gig bag (don't hate >:)

The sonic pallette on the ION was unbelieveably contrasty. I mean this thing could take you to the core of the molten iron earth or to the next universal membrane. I love the interface, programming is a sinch with it's shallow menu, and WTF who cares if the LCD is flat? I am a graphic artist anyway so i appreciate the layout of this hot slab of red and silver metal synth. I used to compare it heavily with the MS2KB but it's really a preference thing. You like Anna? go with her, Digi-Anna aint bad either. The ION has these well-developed and warm sounding tones, while the KORG went for my jugular and clawed me up. The presets are similar in nature, but can be David Bannered with a few twists, turns and creative choices. I actually like to sketch a roadmap for an intended sound...all sines for silk, all squares for Brillo, and i celebrate when i achieve it. For example, i was trying to get a fat organ sound - it took me about 20 minutes to get something truly, truly authentic and out of this world (2 parts). FM it up and you got a "CHARLIE MOD" sound-alike. Not much after touch though. Probably MIA altogether. The Mod Matrix is a powerful tool as well though i am a newbie to it's properties. I am actually considering going back and adopting that KORG along side my ION...that is after i get my Access Virus KC!!! The Virus is a like a beautiful woman from every nationality add a few alien chics, all rolled into one...whew what a machine!!!!BUT...that's another review section.

Overall, I have been using synths for about 18 years now. I will say this, to all who are reading bad reviews on the ION...don't sleep, it has it's pros and con's, but hey, so does a Hartmann Neuron for 5K. Snatch one up today. The price has dropped significantly. Only 8 Polys, light effects - but it's built like a tank and will keep you hypnotized for days on end. This is one synth that you will definately expect to lose some sleep over if you have one in your studio...if you don't have one yet, you will lose sleep having wet analog dreams about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Jun-18-2004 at 22:25
Johanes Emmanuelli a hobbyist user from Jacksonville FL,USA writes:
My ION had the version 1.0 OS when I bought it 3 months ago!WOW what a pain!After upgrading the OS to the latest 1.05,it works flawless.This unit is great sounding and has the best vocoder around in hardware!!40 bands of vocoding power to be exact.The polyphony is limited to 8 but it is better then the 4 of the MS2000 and microKorg!The unit has 3 oscillators instead of the 2 in the korgs and the vocoder is 40bands instead of 8 in microkorg/16 in ms2000/b.The unit is made of STEEL and the plastic ends are thick CIRCUIT BREAKER quality phenolic plastic(heat resistant).The keys suck though.They are FATAR cheap action all plastic medium sized keys.I tried to replace the action with a weighted action from FATAR SL161,but you have to drill additional holes in the unit's underside in order to line up the keyboard action's standoffs to the ION body.The front of the keys will protrude out as it is longer than the keys origenally installed,and the back end of the keys(pivot point)will be away from the case top too much since again the action is too wide for the ion.You will need to contact me for more details on moding you ION with aftertouch and the like ok?The unit has 6 part multi timbral operation unlike the MS2000's 2 parts or the microKorg's one part mono timbral.It has a graphic LCD too unlike ANY other virtual analog synth made!!No the andromada does not count,it is a REAL analog synth with digital parts in it like the Moog voyager!That is why they are so damned expensive!!The ION is the best virtual analog synth for the money,but get one used or at discount,because I paid the full retail price of $799 and it had the fualty version 1.0 OS that was riddled with bugs!!they didnt even have the good sense to upgrade it before selling it to me.The secret key combination to get the ion to upgrade is:hold the panel active buttons A and D down while you turn on the unit.It will take you to a screen that shows you the boot code version and OS version,and will ask you at the bottom,if you want to upgrade OS via midi? a program called FREELOADER and load up the ion_105.syx file,then send it.Read the help on freeloader if you get stuck.MidiOX will timeout in one second so dont use it!!It didnt work for me even after lowering the midiout buffer!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Friday-Apr-23-2004 at 08:42
Well, got my first one and it was defective with ghost editing and 2 faulty knobs. Brought it back to Sam Ash and they ordered me a brand new one direct from Alesis. Flawless.... One of the most versatile VAs around. Oh, and how can you touch this price? 4.5 out 5 here.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Apr-01-2004 at 21:51
miau a hobbyist user from Spain writes:
HUh... I can't stand seeing how, the most faithfully analog va of the maket is being SO underrated!!! I read the words "not good enough in effects"... wtf! It sounds more analog that any other synth, and it stands itself in another cathegory. If you want/need effects, buy a quality effect box and see your super-cool friends say scared... "urgg... but it's not a virus"

Ion is not intended to be a super-cool groovebox or a mega fashionable synthesizer. It is a sonic effectless delight priced right. (well, though drive is fantastic on this synth).

It also looks like people forget about ion's knobs!!! BRING THOSE DETAILED KNOBS EVERYWHERE! In fact, they are so sensitive that you will be amazed you can really pass and feel thru the harmonics when zapping, fm'ing, am'ing...

NO more 2k synths that only 'scroll' between huge sonic gaps.

For sure ION's keys are not the best(though the same as ms2000,nl1,nl2,nl2x), initial batches also had faulty knobs, and you can't also count with the 'onboard effects'; BUT HEY... IT IS THE MOST SENSITIVE SOUNDING, MOST DETAILED, MOST REALISTIC AND IN FACT...'ALIVE' SOUNDING ANALOG (TO MY EARS) SYNTH YOU CAN BUY.

And... for the money nobody can beat it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Apr-01-2004 at 18:39
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