Synth Site: Alesis: ION: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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David Waldman a hobbyist user from Silver Spring, MD USA Earth Solar System Milky Way writes:
ION gets the award for the longest gestation period award award...stewed in the womb as it were for oh, about a YEAR. Was it worth the wait?

Listening to the presets in a synth is often yawn-invoking, but not in the ION's case. ION's presets are quite simply unsucky and flaunt its DEEP and SMOOOOTH (like buddah) filter.

Forget about emulative patches here. That's why Tritons, Fantoms and Motifs (o my) are made. ION is the absolute reigning monarch of ALLIGATOR MAYONNAISE; that is, noises which make you either 1) laugh your kidneys off or 2) laugh your spleen out. Either works for me.

Let's get the gripes out of the way: cheap keyboard w/shorter (length) keys. Display is HARD to read if you're not looking directly down upon it. Contrast adjustment doesn't help. Denser font would be welcome. Ya hear? No delay in effects section (argh!). I'm ambivalent about the chocolate bar shape of the synth itself; I really prefer a wedge. There could be more knobs; there's room for them. (Virus C has the same problem).

On the plus side, the synth is solidly built and the knobs (full rotary) are marvelous hard rubber dealios that feel rich. The manual is excellent; especially for the non-wonks. Extremely cool clear mod wheels which light up red when activated. Color scheme is really "different" and looks more German than American. 'Course it's made in Taiwan.

Where the ION really shines is where it ought to, the sound engine, which is VERY deep and well planned. I see that Alesis didn't waste the time. They made sure the cake was fully baked before removing it from the oven (heed that Waldorf!).

On the Alesis website is a ton of sound samples from it, so listen to them, then go and play it in person. Dig in, twist knobs. There's an extensive modulation matrix with 12 virtual patchpoints, matching TONS of sources to TONS of destinations. My Korg MS2000 has a much smaller mod matrix, consisting of 4 virtual patches, connecting exactly 8 sources to exactly 8 destinations. Despite the MS2000's limited matrix, it, and to a greater degree, the ION, are marvellously silly sounding (that's a good thing).

HUGE plus: The envelopes' "RELEASE" settings can be set the "hold," allowing the sound to drone on indefinitely without using a sustain pedal. Aaaaaah!

"Analog drift" setting allows for endless variety of ALLIGATOR MAYONNAISE sounds when combining sync (or not) with FM and ringmod settings. Sick sick sick fun.

I would have paid double what I did ($669) for this synth for the mammoth psonic palette it offers. Conclusion: mad bang for the buck, mad fun to play, think I'll call in slick to work tomorrow...

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Aug-31-2003 at 22:54
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