AN1X vs Alesis Ion: Advice needed

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Zamise
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Re: AN1X vs Alesis Ion: Advice needed

Post by Zamise » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:43 pm

I think the Novation X-Stations have one of the best VA interfaces, and they always get overlooked, and sound pretty decent too, build quality might be another story.

Pro5 - You make some good arguments and then some more arguments and some more, almost makes me want to get an Ion actually, however if it came down to it I know I would never trade my AN1X to get one., NEVER! It'll have to find a way in to my collection of synths some other way.
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Re: AN1X vs Alesis Ion: Advice needed

Post by knolan » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:19 am

Don't know the Ion, but own the AN1x since it was released. It is an amazing synthesizer: low aliasing oscillators, incredibly strong sound - effects have nothing to do with it - it's synth engine is one of the best, and most respected VA's there is. It is used widely by serious tribute bands because it can emulate the likes of the Minimoog so well.

For basses, leads, pads, ... it is just jaw-dropping. I cannot overemphasise how solid and strong the sound is. Some posts here have suggested weakness in the sound, but it's just not the case - and indeed across forums over the years, the consensus is, genuinely, how strong, and clean its sound is.

Its step sequencer features are fantastic (and the reason I bought it): You can associate a separate step sequence to each of the 128 programs, and there is a separate memory bank for another 128 sequences. The number of playing modes is impressive, including for example splitting the keyboard (2 octaves lower, 3 octaves higher) and assigning a separate step sequence to each of the 24 keys in the lower two octaves - that is - 24 different sequences available for performance depending on which key you press - and then perform that sequence on the upper three octaves, including transposing, playing the sequence as chords, and so on.

And there there is the Free-GE - the ability to record your realtime controller movements and then retrigger those movements on every new note - essentially defining your own modulation - on a per program basis. What's really impressive about the AN1x is the amount of sequencer and Free EG memory on board - it's huge.

But it doesn't stop there. Another amazing feature of the AN1x is scene morphing. Each program is made of two sounds (scenes) and by moving the modulation wheel from bottom to top, you can morph from one scene to the other, where every step along the wheel 'path' changes every parameter in the synth as it moves from one scene to the other. It's amazing - and dangerous - you can generate massively intense sounds on route (once I had to pull my headphones from my ears because of the deafening screech I generated at one point - and Yamaha warn you about this - that you could potentially damage speakers if the AN1x is at full volume when scene morphing).

Finally - it's engine architecture is incredible flexible - incorporating features such as Hard Sync, Ring Modulation, FM, variable oscillator shapes, smoothing of the Sawtoooth, oscillator feedback and many other features.

Over the past year or so I've been auditioning the three or four thousand programs freely available for the AN1x online - and am close to building an optimised set of about 500 - 600 programs for it - and I can tell you, the process has been a revelation. There are so many extraordinarily strong programs across every sound type, that the AN1x is going to feature very strongly in my setup for the foreseeable future. Its Moog like leads are truly note worthy.

The AN1x is an amazing synth. It has a significant and loyal following. Those who own them wax-lyrical about them and do not sell them - and its siblings - such as the AN engine in the EX5 and EX5R are equally lauded and respected.

It you are looking for a rock solid, cast-iron strength, no nonsense synth with impressive depth and breath, the AN1x is the synth for you. Get one and you will not regret it. I'm not saying any of this for the sake of it or in any way likely - when I say it's 'strong' - I really mean it - it's leads and basses in particular are incredibly strong and 'present'.

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Re: AN1X vs Alesis Ion: Advice needed

Post by gs » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:54 pm

I'm sure AN1x and Ion are both excellent synths... Which one you end up liking more is probably just a matter of preference, or non-experience with the other synth, etc.

I am an Ion owner, and I do have to say, I love it to death. One of the prized possessions in my keyboard rig.

Whichever SOUND you prefer more, it has to be said that the Ion with its mod-matrix and multiple filters is just flexible beyond belief. It's pretty much a digital Modular in a box. I actually love the form factor... metal body, beautiful big rubbery knobs (and lots of them!), a second mod wheel... what's not to like? Yeah, keybed kinda sucks but it's no different from the type of keybed found on vintage analogs... not quality "DX7" action, but usable.
Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Korg Z1, Alesis Ion, Alesis QS8.2, Kawai K3M

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Re: AN1X vs Alesis Ion: Advice needed

Post by Geob » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:01 am

I have the Micron and EX5, and explored deeply the AN1x. I love pushing synths to their limits and creating aliasing (artifacts). I kind of grew up on industrial music and the AN1x was powerful sounding but too orderly. Not chaotic (enough). The Micron offered much more flexibility maybe not as huge or full but more fascinating rich sound. The EX5 I'm exploring has me hooked, the amount of richness in pure distortion warmth is really the holy grail. Or sonething like that. The EX5 is a perfect complement to my K4, VFX, and CS1x synths. The AN1x was more than good enough to keep (no doubt) but for me, my style of music it wasn't quite enough disorderly. Sounds too good. Loose fuzzy lost hazy (K4), huge dark pads or leads (VFX), mesmerizing lofi background pads (CS1x), acid TBish sounds and complex bass distort y leads (Miniak), or huge warm distortion leads (EX5). This is what I figured out.

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