Alesis Intros “The World’s Most Epic MIDI Controller”, The Vortex Wireless 2

2018 NAMM Show: Alesis has introduced the Vortex Wireless 2 keytar controller, described as “The World’s Most Epic MIDI Controller”.

It offers improved ergonomics for better playability, a more durable housing, and an updated control layout.

The MIDI keytar controller connects wirelessly to your computer and integrates with popular virtual instruments, plugins, and DAWs.

Features:

  • 37 velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch for compact size with complete melodic range
  • Eight RGB back-lit velocity-sensitive trigger pads enable you to create beats or trigger clips
  • Eight back-lit faders for controlling volumes or other instrument parameters
  • Embedded MIDI-assignable tilt sensor performance control with on/off button
  • Thumb-controlled volume slider and reversible pitch-bend wheel on neck
  • MIDI-assignable touchstrip, zone, sustain, and octave-control buttons on neck
  • Included USB dongle creates a wireless connection to any Mac or PC
  • USB and MIDI jacks for use with any synth, sound module, or other MIDI hardware or software
  • Battery-powered for use with MIDI modules and hardware synths (4 AA batteries included)
  • Standard guitar strap pegs on neck and body
  • Edit MIDI-assigned controls with included Vortex Wireless 2 Editor application
  • Production software package included: Hybrid 3, Loom 2, Vacuum Pro, and Xpand!2 by AIR Music Tech, TimewARP 2600 by Way Out Ware, and Ableton Live Lite

Pricing and Availability

The Vortex Wireless 2 is expected to be available in Q1, 2018, priced at US $299. See the Alesis site for more info.

28 thoughts on “Alesis Intros “The World’s Most Epic MIDI Controller”, The Vortex Wireless 2

  1. I hope they’ve improved the response of those trigger pads. Those things were completely useless. Everything else was not bad for the price. But man… those trigger pads

  2. This is an incremental upgrade to the Vortex Wireless 1, which was long in the tooth.

    It’s a decent upgrade for those that use a Keytar and the price is quite reasonable.

    1. …except for Noise Engineering, Pittsburgh Modular, Qu-Bit Electronix, Verbos, Elektron, and Industrial Music Electronics (who didn’t even go to NAMM but still announced a fantastic new module).

      I probably missed some…

  3. As someone who regular uses this type of keyboard (my favorite is the AZ-1) there are things to like about the Vortex. I have the 1st gen. I love that it has aftertouch, that is important in a controller. I have never liked the pitch wheel being where it is. The keybed is absolute crap and the shape of the thing is all wrong if you want to set it down, which you can’t do anyway because the ports are there. All that being said, I think it is the best of the recent generation of these keyboards. These things don’t need and shouldn’t have sound engines, they are controllers. Sound engines mean cables and if you are using it as a wired controller even more cables. 41 notes is a better size for the keyboard as it lets you get to E, but at least the keys are full sized. I may end up getting one as I want a black unit and this is more portable than the AZ-1, and not 30 years old.
    It sure would be nice if the companies who make these would actually talk to the people who use them, we could help avoid some of the dumb design elements.

    1. > 41 notes is a better size for the keyboard as it lets you get to E

      Very good point. The 40 key E-G span is also quite useful. C-C isn’t really so wonderful for most things despite its commonness, some might say its banality.

      Still the feature set is good, 3 octaves is useful, wireless is great, price good, if the responsiveness of the keyboard is good I’ll probably pick up one of these as well.

      1. @Ad Van: Letting that happen would force them to change their official name: ‘Alesis not Behringer’ (say it out loud)

  4. After touch, wireless with midi out 299 not bad, I’ve been looking for something like this To sparkle up my live sets, this and my analogue 4 mmmm I’m interested

    1. What’s wrong with the “Hey how do make our aging product line look more like whatever Akai is currently doing but don’t be too disruptive about it” strategy?

  5. “Bought myself one of them keyboard axes
    Wanted to get out and dance away from the piano
    That could have been the beginning of the end
    If I wasn’t already in the middle…”

  6. Quite surprised that it uses a dongle and AA batteries. Or that it’s hyped as being so expressive, at a time of MPE and mobile controllers.
    Not surprised that the main softsynths would be from another inMusic brand. (Got a Vmini, which came with Xpand!2. Then got the instrument expansion pack.) Been warming up to some of these AIR Music Tech plugins but they feel to me like they come from a previous era.
    Honestly wonder if inMusic Brands are about “capturing value” from a certain form of nostalgia.

  7. It’s a nice controller at a great price. Plus, there aren’t really any alternatives, given that Korg totally failed with the RK100-S, despite the idea being good (but mini-keys, no after-touch and that price… meh).

    1. I have to give Korg credit, I thought I could not dislike any of these keyboards more than the AX-Synth and Korg said ‘hold my beer’. That Korg was the most useless keyboard ever. One mod source that was actually usable, and the ribbon controller below the keyboard, which I guess one would use…when? Then add a 1/8 mini jack for the audio out, because that would NEVER get easily pulled out moving around and let’s make it expensive to boot. Well done!

  8. They said it right: it is a MIDI controller, NOT a keyboard. I have the first version since its debut and, to me, it fills its purpose wonderfully. The keybed dynamics are nothing to write home about, 3 octaves are maybe limiting, but the pitch wheel/ribbon placement is great, really expressive.
    10 sliders, wireless and tilt on/off seem a reasonable upgrade to me.
    I see that they have redesigned the entire case to a more streamlined line. They removed the extra buttons, the whole play/stop and banks management was a bit useless nonetheless. I wonder how the bottom side fits in a guitar stand. I see the pads only for decorative purposes, never used them, but RGB gives them a really nice touch. Hope they got rid of the three tacky leds at the top of the neck: almost wanted to cut them off!

  9. if it had wireless actual midi (instead of USB) I’d consider it. Or if they had a separate receiver dongle with a 5 pin din out. I have a gen 1 (wired) and the only thing I use it to control is a stack of 5 pin DIN gear so this one wouldn’t be any more wireless than my gen 1 for my purposes.

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