12 thoughts on “Alesis Andromeda A6 16-Voice Analog Synth

  1. I was going to watch this but then saw that it was a gearwire production. Once the guy talking mispronounced alesis twice in the first sentence, I knew not to bother with any more. These guys are idiots. Someone take their toys away before they break them.

  2. Alright, maybe I’m just thick… how is he supposed to be pronouncing “Alesis”? Because that’s how I always thought it was supposed to be said.

    On the other hand… I can’t really fault the evaluation that GearWire are sometimes light on actual ability to demonstrate their fine toys. Even the scripted ones seem poorly planned out. And the unscripted, “we just cropped it from some artist interview” ones are often completely useless… rather than see some who-ever wax nostalgic about his one brush in the third person with an Ibanez Tube-Screamer pedal, how about actually showing us why its so damn great.

  3. I don’t know. The reps from alesis pronouce it “a-lee-sis” so that’s how I pronounce it. I also can point out a few mistakes realized in hindsight with this video that I addressed on our youtube account. Due to the time constraints of getting the video shot in time, I neglected to mention that the 1st filter is based off of the oberheim SEM, not the oberheim xpander (which came way, way later). A slip of the tongue (or brain, as it were).

    Oh, and Steve, we would love to get feedback from you, since you seem to know a lot about synthesis. We’re all musicians and producers here, and our knowledge is based on the research we’ve done, actual experience, and what little time we get with a product before shooting a video on it. Unfortunately, mistakes occasionally do happen, but I would like to think we catch most of them before we even turn on a camera.

  4. I love what Kalus Schulze did with this on his … Andromeda album. Bill can you send me one? God I want this thing. I have an electrocomp I’ll trade for it!

  5. Alright Bill… points taken.

    Which brings me to a production type question: What is the turn-around time on your video productions? I mean, from the time the gear arrives to the time the rep comes to take it back, is there any sort of standard or does it vary by company? Is there a posting deadline for your videos as well, such that there are only x-days to shoot and edit based on how much other stuff you’ve got scheduled? Do you get enough lead time to do research on the units, or is it just left to whatever you can manage to squeeze out of the thing while its in the house?

  6. Al,

    Although I’m not really able to reveal any of that information, I will say that the pieces that are often my best are ones where I have a few days to play with the synth at home. Sorry I can’t be more frank.

  7. Actually, that does answer my question, in a way (or rather, allows me to extrapolate a number of answers… hey, it ain’t easy being a genius, but it does occasionally have its benefits). I guess the only other thing I would ask (and I’m not asking it, so you don’t have to answer) is whether you GearWire guys work through a central organization or are just freelancing your time because you have the industry connections to snag the keen gear.

    Thanks, Bill.

    Sigh… now if only companies would ask me to say nice things online about their shiny new products (or, as I understand the situation with the A6, they’re recently back in production after getting bought up by another company shiny products)

    None of which changes the fact that I’m going to be lusting after an A6 for the next couple of years. Genuinely analogue, knobby goodness, looks awesome (can’t say the same for the new Korg microKorg XL)… and they’ve really put a lot of control in the player’s hands…

  8. I agree. the A6 is a monolithic piece of gear, to be sure. Like having an amazing modular synth without all of the patching and crazy technical errors that happen. Of course, that’s part of the fun in modular synthesis, I suppose.

    I was hired on at Gearwire a while back as one of the videographer/editors and ended up being on crosstalk and “starring” in demo videos. I’ve been working with MIDI since I was in 4th grade, but that still doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about synthesis. Not even close. With the way technology is changing right now, its enough to keep up with the advances in HD let alone audio and synthesis. We do our best, though.

    Again, I love constructive criticism, as it makes me better at what I do. If anything, your feedback and other similar feedback helps me improve my videos and increase the quality on our site. It is frustrating when someone gets on the net and starts talking negatively about my videos (like the first commenter), without offering some sort of commentary that will help make them better and more informative.

    While we are on that note…any thing I could be doing differently in these?

    Also…bluebrat…I know the album you are talking about. Klaus Schulze is amazing.

  9. OK, I’ve figured out what it was that bugged me about this video.

    By now (Dec 19), Bill’s look at the A6 is up to five parts, and still going. But there’s really no indication in the first video that there’s so much more still to come. As a result, the amount of time spent on the minutia of the left hand column of the front panel was… aggravating, especially when what we really want to know up front is: “does the damn thing get the job done, how much can we really expect in analog from a company with such a very digital pedigree?”

    If it had been possible, a brief intro of “these are the parts coming up, and what each one is about” would have been good. But it seems like the episodes are edited as they’re posted, such that you might not know in advance how many parts you are going to end up with.

    Or, you could have mentioned something in the brief intro (before the over-panel shots) that each element of the synth would be explored in depth in its own episode, and then launched into a very brief overview of the panel as a brief walk-through of the elements without getting bogged down in the detail just yet. Once people know the short version, and that all the little fiddly bits will get covered completely in episodes to come, then you can start on the left end and get as detailed as you want… without viewers getting frustrated that the video is running out of time and you haven’t even got to the filters yet.

    I realize that you DO mention it’s a multi-part series, and that you will get to the detailed bits… but the edit puts it at the very end of the entire video, rather than up at the start where I think it should be (and where it originally was, based on the way the footage seems to have been shot). And, again, that would be a good place to say that certain features (like the VCOs, and the filters) will get their very own episode.

    Yeah, I guess that’s the feedback I wanted to get across.. for a first episode, without knowing there’s more to come, it gets frustrating to watch when it doesn’t seem to even touch on the synth’s whole reason for being: modern analog poly-synth with maximum digital control and programming, where digital isn’t a dirty word anymore.

    But on the plus side… I liked that you hi-lighted the interesting transpose function. I can’t think of any other manufacturer implementing it an as powerful and intuitive a fashion. It’s the sort of detail that impresses gear sluts like myself and puts little ticks in the “pro” column when we consider buying a new synth.

  10. excellent. Those are the kind of things I like to hear. I think, like you say, that I would edit them in that fashion if they did not have to go up as I edited. Perhaps, because of how my deadlines are structured, I could list what is being covered in the series without given an absolute number of videos. The ideal situation, of course, would be a 20 minute comprehensive video on our site. Since I never know how many there will be, it makes sense to put it up front so viewers do not get frustrated. I hit up vintagesynth as well, and everyone over there was more than eager to give me advice as well. Thank you, again!

  11. Doing these things in the post-literate age is a tough sled. Since the Alesis manual itself opts for “the complete listing of possibilities” rather than focusing more on how things interconnect in some cases, I think your choice to focus – at least initially – on the physical layout of the controls and how the functional units interact was a good one. One recommendation I might make would have been to start with some kind of patch that allowed you to “add” things rather than stripping the mod routings/filter settings from one the annoying built-in presets. That would have been a *Lot* harder, but might have made some things clearer. Of course, perhaps this is something I notice by virtue of having one of the machines now.

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