Alesis A6 Andromeda, Now where did that come from?

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mr_m0nks
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Alesis A6 Andromeda, Now where did that come from?

Post by mr_m0nks » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:05 pm

While in an idle moment i was thinking about the history of synth manufacture and the gradual disappearance of many of the big names in synth manufacture (ARP, Moog, Seq Circuits etc) and the move away from analog to digital seen in almost all the other big names in synth manufacture (Yamaha, Roland, Korg)



It was then i realized what an anomaly the A6 actually is. In Alesis we have a relatively new manufacturer that made its name in the digital field with cut price effects units and then the ADAT recording system.

So why in the late 1990's did they decide to make an Analog Polyphonic synth?


Who was in charge of the development? was it the brainchild of someone with previous experience with the analog synth industry?


Or was it just Alesis spotting a gap in the market and giving their R&D department a load of cash and hoping the end result would work?

the more think about it, the less it makes sense.


does anybody know the answers??


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Post by Andy_X69 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:18 pm

They probably thought that since everyone lusted after analog, they should make some.

They did. I love, love, love my A6!
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Post by prophei » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:31 pm

i know and have known some people who were closely involved in the creation of that great synth. i can tell you that there was a lot of analog love in the people who made it, so it sounds like some serious passion played a good role in it.
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Post by Bitexion » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:12 pm

I think alesis had some serious analog buffs in their departments, and they looked at the current market in 2001 and saw that there were not a single pure analog polysynth out there that wasn't made 25 years ago. So they decided to make a brand new one. It was pretty much the only new analog polysynth back then, and they knew there was a resurgence in people wanting analog sounds because there were lots of VA synths that sold very well (the nordleads for instance). So why not make an actual analog synth instead of just emulating analog?

They were inspired by more or less every analog giant ever known. So you get features from every major analog from the 70 and 80's on there.
It's a bloody wonderful synth I can tell you (had mine for 2 years now). Like being able to bring in a unmodified sine wave after the filter (CS-80), the keyboard-length pitch ribbon (CS-80), oscillators (moog modular), 24dB filter (moog modular), 12dB multimode filter (oberheim), ability to use all waveforms at once on each VCO (modular synths), 16 voices (CS-80), step sequencer (modular synths), 2 analog mixer sections (before and after filter), suboscillator on each VCO. A massive mod matrix where you can interconnect pretty much any module on the synth.
It's a treasure chest of good features that just gel together into a supersynth.

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Post by sam » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:41 pm

I have a lot of classic synths in my studio but the A6 gets the most use.

Nuff said.. :D
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Post by Bitexion » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:52 pm

Read the FAQs on

http://www.wohmart.com/a6/

You'll find lots of info about the creators and inspirations there.
Check the massive MP3 section too, btw.

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Post by synthetic88 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 6:18 pm

There were a bunch of synth heads there at the time. Before the A6 came out, Alesis was selling more synthesizers than they were ADATs or reverbs. The QS-8 was one of the best-selling synths at the time. Mike Peake was there, and Erik Norlander was the head of the engineering department and Dave Bryce was the marketing manager.
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Post by synthetic88 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 6:20 pm

sam wrote:I have a lot of classic synths in my studio but the A6 gets the most use.

Nuff said.. :D
Me too. I'm not sure if it's just the one I know the best, but whenever I'm recording actual music, and not just fiddling about, it's more tracks of A6 than anything else.
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Post by CTB » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:00 pm

Our very own Dave Bryce, who sometimes posts here and works for DSI, was involved in the A6 project. Perhaps he would be the one to ask. :)
CTB

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Post by StepLogik » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:08 pm

I've rambled about this before, but i think they saw a wise marketing decision in building a product that was immune to competition from the Big 3. That product would be an analog synth. I've hypothesized before that Roland couldn't make a Jupiter-8 or an SH-101 if they wanted to, because their staff is all DSP engineers, not analog guys. For Alesis to build an analog synth was a great coup because they knew the Big 3 couldn't bring a competing product to market in time to interfere with their sales.

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Post by Dave Bryce » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:30 pm

CTB wrote:Our very own Dave Bryce, who sometimes posts here and works for DSI, was involved in the A6 project. Perhaps he would be the one to ask. :)
Actually, we just got tired of people complaining that the QS synths had no resonant filters, so we decided to make something that did. :D 8)

Making Andromeda was really the culmination of a dream for a bunch of us who had grown up with the older analog synths. We had spent years working on sample based stuff, and Erik and Rob Rampley got Alesis founder (and major engineer geek) Keith Barr drunk one night and talked him into letting us make an old school American power synth. Keith actually designed Andromeda's ASICs himself, if memory serves.

One of the back stories was that we were fought tooth and nail by Alesis' sales and marketing VP at the time, who thought we were out of our minds. He once told me we'd be lucky to sell 50 total units. Guess he may have been wrong. :shock: :idea:

If anyone has any specific questions, I'll do my best to answer if I can remember. That was a while ago...

dB
Last edited by Dave Bryce on Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Bitexion » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:30 pm

Erik Norlander is one of the greatest modern prog rockers now, I have several of his albums.
Everyone knows prog rock and analog synths go hand in hand.
I've seen him on stage with 2 andromedas and 2 Ions next to eachother. He plays the h**l out of his synths. He also demoed the Fusion on NAMM and made lots of mp3 demos for the Ion.

I know that Nick Rhodes (duran duran) replaced his broken Jupiter-8 with an A6 on a recent tour, and it performed all the wellknown jupiter sounds without a hitch. I saw them on the tour here in Norway a couple years ago with his A6 in the baggage.

I am very grateful that you did make the A6 come true Dave, as it fulfilled my analog powersynth dreams aswell. I could never afford those used jupiters, moogs or oberheims, and the A6 has features from all of them, making it a perfect compromise for all those vintage monsters. I was also very reluctant because of possible repair costs and instability caused by 25-30 years of life.

*hugs dB* 8)

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Post by StepLogik » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:17 pm

Dave Bryce wrote:
CTB wrote:Our very own Dave Bryce, who sometimes posts here and works for DSI, was involved in the A6 project. Perhaps he would be the one to ask. :)
Actually, we just got tired of people complaining that the QS synths had no resonant filters, so we decided to make something that did. :D 8)

Making Andromeda was really the culmination of a dream for a bunch of us who had grown up with the older analog synths. We had spent years working on sample based stuff, and Erik and Rob Rampley got Alesis founder (and major engineer geek) Keith Barr drunk one night and talked him into letting us make an old school American power synth. Keith actually designed Andromeda's ASICs himself, if memory serves.

One of the back stories was that we were fought tooth and nail by Alesis' sales and marketing VP at the time, who thought we were out of our minds. He once told me we'd be lucky to sell 50 total units. Guess he may have been wrong. :shock: :idea:

If anyone has any specific questions, I'll do my best to answer if I can remember. That was a while ago...

dB
Awesome story! I'm shocked that the marketing group fought you, seems like they would want to distinguish Alesis from the "workstation h**l" of that era.

kudos to you guys for doing something different.

gonna build another analog anytime soon? :D

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Post by cbjlietuva » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:00 pm

so maybe i can get my question amswered here:

does the Andromeda have Polyphonic Aftertouch?
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Post by Dave Bryce » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:23 pm

StepLogik wrote: I'm shocked that the marketing group fought you
It wasn't the marketing group. I was the marketing manager of the synth division, and I was certainly behind it. It was the VP.

,
seems like they would want to distinguish Alesis from the "workstation h**l" of that era.
Not just workstations - it was VA synths, too. We figured making a Real Actual Analog synth would catch some people's attention (as Bitexion correctly surmised).

Plus, we were tired of hearing that we weren't a real synth company despite the fact that our ROMplers (especially the QS8) were outselling just about everything else at the time...but there were folks who kept telling us that ROMplers aren't real synths...so we made a real synth. :idea:

That seemed to do the trick... :lol:
cbjlietuva wrote:so maybe i can get my question amswered here:

does the Andromeda have Polyphonic Aftertouch?
The short answer would be no.

dB

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