New Toys

Alesis Andromeda Synthesizer

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The new A6 Andromeda synth has 16-voices and 16-channel multitimbrality. Alesis has developed a custom chip that replaces a large circuit board that use to hold an entire analog synth voice. Each voice has two oscillators with five different waveforms and two different LFO's. There are two resonant filters available: a two-pole multipurpose filter and a four-pole lowpass.

Of most interest to me is that the Andromeda is a tweaker's synth with 72 knobs and 144 buttons for real-time, old-school sound design. This design concept is augmented by modern features such as MIDI synched LFO's, an arpeggiator as well as a analog step sequencer. The 640 by 240 pixel backlit display shows parameters in real-world values...time in seconds, frequencies in Hz, BPM numbers and also offers control over built-in digital effects that include reverb, chorus, echo and distortion.

The 61-key keyboard has velocity, aftertouch and multiple modes in addition to the standard pitch and mod wheels. If the nine portamento slopes aren't enough, there is a ribbon controller that can be assigned to parameters. Finally, the Andromeda has 256 preset sounds and 128 user memory program locations.

There is also a PC-card slot that saves all programs to a PCMCIA-format memory card. The MSRP for Andromeda is $3,499. Alesis is at 800-5-ALESIS (that's 800-525-3747) or Web to:

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