How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by blavatsky » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:10 pm

be sure to check out the hollow sun and back in time records patches; they really do bring the fusion to a new level.
Also this forum has tons of info, besides of course being a little biased:
http://promusicproducts.com/forum/phpBB2/index.php

For an 88 key workstation with sampling/FM/VA/PM 80gb harddrive, 8 audio ins, etc etc i can put up with the quirks. I admittedly have not dug enough in mix mode/arps, h**l I doubt i've heard 1/2 the patches on it. Right now mine functions as a big sound module / master keyboard , mostly use the piano and rhodes sounds on it (I know, it's a sin to treat it like a big rompler).

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by Diametro » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:29 pm

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by psionic11 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:04 pm

Diametro wrote:
psionic11 wrote:Wow, Diametro, that's a pretty harsh assessment. I thought things were going well with you and your Fusion. Guess not.
I had a very up-and-down relationship with my Fusion before I cut it loose ... As a seemingly well-made but homely-in-a-rig unknobby digital synth with a good keybed, it has its moments as a budget synth option ... but as a WORKSTATION, I found tons more satisfaction in my fully expanded Fantom X7, which I still use every day ...

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I spent a few years without any keyboard, and in 2005 finally got a Roland Xa (for $1300! ouch). It was a fun machine, esp the electric guitar patches, and its workstation capabilities weren't too bad. But I was letdown by the synth engines (glorified rompler), quickly grew tired of it and resold it. I'd been out of the synth loop for near a decade, relying on a used Korg DW8000 for my rock band needs.

Needing to feed the synth/keyboard itch, I did quite a bit of research, and settled on the Fusion as a bang-for-the-buck budget option with great flexibility or future expandability. If you check out the gear I have, you see that's what guided my purchase decisions. I've time to grow with my gear while minimizing out of pocket expense. I'm still growing into the Fusion, and see it happening for quite few years yet. By then, hopefully I'll have added an Andy to my arsenal, and the Fusion will still be my sampler/rompler/workstation/FM/88 keybed foundation.

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by Diametro » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:53 pm

I've never had a chance to play the 88-key version (had the 61) ... If I dug the action, I could actually see myself getting one in the future possibly as I see it as the smarter choice than the 61 (esp. considering the price) ... The only prob is that I never really bonded with the Holy Grail piano ... but it's still pretty good ... And then there was that problem with the differing velocities between white and black keys ... (though mine never seemed to have that problem; though sometimes it was hard to tell ... )

I liked my Fusion ... but it just seemed that everything else I had -- other than FM, which doesn't really captivate me -- did it better ... Even if it wasn't in one case ...

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by psionic11 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:01 am

The 88 keys is the bomb... no problems here.

Don't think there are any other contenders within a couple grand$$ where you can get professional piano style feel, an extensive VA and rompler with extensive mod routing, and a sequencing 8 track audio workstation with FM tacked on to boot. It's my main, and will be for years to come. I'm strong, and can even see gigging with this as my own roadie if it came to that, since I can tuck it under one arm if need be. Hard to do with any other glorified 88-key rompler costing 3 times as much, from what I see...

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by Hugo76 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:35 am

@ psionic11:

It definately is extreme value for the money.
Regarding the ROMpler section: are the patches made up of 2 or 4 elements?
Also: how does the VA compare to other VA's on the market?

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by elmosexwhistle » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:44 pm

patches are 4 elements, of course you can stack a load on top of one another if you need more...

VA section sounds nice, lots of modulation options and filter stuff

this is why i won't hear a word against the fusion: (lol)

by downloading lots of soundfonts (and converting them with the free software) and multisampling VST's (using a free program called chainer) i now have a soundset that totally wipes the floor with anything the big 3 can offer, because you can sample up to 64meg patches, store them on the hard drive and then load them up as and when (loading times of a few seconds on large samples), you get a TOTALLY OPEN SYSTEM and don't have to rely on whatever 128meg of rehashed samples the company chooses to put in the board, i mean, the higher end things like the fantoms, motifs etc offer sampling but theyre about 5 times the price of the fusion. Chip tunes anyone? i sampled a load of cool SID and nintendo stuff in. I have the most amazing string patch ever that i got off a soundfont site for free, multisampled some great brass off sampletank, you get the idea!

Live, this is a great alternative to a laptop, i make the loops and one shots and samples i need in Cubase, then make some soundfonts of them, mapping them all out, then i convert, make lots of MIX banks next to one another, maybe adding an internal sound on top (as these are "free" from loading times so might aswell make use of them), and step through the patches one by one...job done!

you also get 8 multitrack inputs (!) which is great if the bassist wants to lay something down at a rehearsal. and ALL THIS FOR ABOUT £400? granted, i've never really used the sequencer, and it does look a little weak, but i sequence either with CV analog stuff or all inside cubase anyway.

for this price range you're either gonna get one of these, a massive audio workstation with 4 different synthesis types, great effects, unlimited patch storage and all the sampling you'll ever want (you can expand memory to about 192meg if you want!) or you can grab a juno-D, limited sampling feature (JUST ADDED IN NEW OS: no velocity or anything, just basic multi-sample) basically a rompler with an already out-dated soundset, crappy keybed. i know what i'd go for!

WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FOR £400?

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by ElGorilla » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:57 pm

I really like my Fusion 88 but when I'm using the midi out it starts to send out random midi data after few minutes so I don't use it as a master keyboard. Is this problem common?

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by felis » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:59 pm

I've still got my 6HD. It's an excellent synth with tons of features. Can't really comment on the workstation functions because I don't use them. I think if I ever run across an 8HD for a good price I'll pick it up.

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by Diametro » Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:49 pm

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by psionic11 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:22 pm

elmosexwhistle wrote:patches are 4 elements, of course you can stack a load on top of one another if you need more...

VA section sounds nice, lots of modulation options and filter stuff

this is why i won't hear a word against the fusion: (lol)

by downloading lots of soundfonts (and converting them with the free software) and multisampling VST's (using a free program called chainer) i now have a soundset that totally wipes the floor with anything the big 3 can offer, because you can sample up to 64meg patches, store them on the hard drive and then load them up as and when (loading times of a few seconds on large samples), you get a TOTALLY OPEN SYSTEM and don't have to rely on whatever 128meg of rehashed samples the company chooses to put in the board, i mean, the higher end things like the fantoms, motifs etc offer sampling but theyre about 5 times the price of the fusion. Chip tunes anyone? i sampled a load of cool SID and nintendo stuff in. I have the most amazing string patch ever that i got off a soundfont site for free, multisampled some great brass off sampletank, you get the idea!

Live, this is a great alternative to a laptop, i make the loops and one shots and samples i need in Cubase, then make some soundfonts of them, mapping them all out, then i convert, make lots of MIX banks next to one another, maybe adding an internal sound on top (as these are "free" from loading times so might aswell make use of them), and step through the patches one by one...job done!

you also get 8 multitrack inputs (!) which is great if the bassist wants to lay something down at a rehearsal. and ALL THIS FOR ABOUT £400? granted, i've never really used the sequencer, and it does look a little weak, but i sequence either with CV analog stuff or all inside cubase anyway.

for this price range you're either gonna get one of these, a massive audio workstation with 4 different synthesis types, great effects, unlimited patch storage and all the sampling you'll ever want (you can expand memory to about 192meg if you want!) or you can grab a juno-D, limited sampling feature (JUST ADDED IN NEW OS: no velocity or anything, just basic multi-sample) basically a rompler with an already out-dated soundset, crappy keybed. i know what i'd go for!

WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FOR £400?
Now THAT's what I'm talking about! Glad to hear someone really exploiting the possibilities of the Fusion -- custom soundsets from soundfonts, one-host samples loaded into MIXes, intelligent use of the MIX capabilities, a nod to the 8track audio capabilities.

Regarding to quality of the VA engines to others, I only have an EX5r for comparison. I did dial up the Earth Lead on the EX5r, and proceeded to make a version on the Fusion. I got it very close, close I think as is possible. Then I tweaked that version by adding more expressive capablilities by using the mod matrix with lots of velocity and aftertouch routings. Still, the Ex5r Earth Lead is a bit smoother or 'colorful', compared to the Fusion's version which was smooth but a bit more 'gray'. The filters on the EX are better than the Fusion's, I think. The EX also has better sounding FX, to my ear. But it's more limited polyphony relegate the EX5r as a sound playback engine atm, at least until I delve deeper into its architecture.

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by psionic11 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:30 pm

ElGorilla wrote:I really like my Fusion 88 but when I'm using the midi out it starts to send out random midi data after few minutes so I don't use it as a master keyboard. Is this problem common?
For awhile I had this issue as well. I had just MIDI'ed all my gear together successfully, and one day, while I was noodling around, the MIDI rig started ad-libbing back at me!!! I was a bit freaked out for awhile, because the 'ghost's musical style was similar to my own... I had thoughts of some sort of adaptive AI learning from me and improvising back. I also thought somehow my VFX-SD's seqencer was on, and I was merely triggering phrases.

Turns out, it was a 30 second MIDI delay generated by my 8HD spewing back phrases I had played half a minute ago. I eventually concluded there was some kind of loop somewhere (I also had 2 MIDI mergers in the chain). I re-wired everything, and from then on only power up each device in the chain in order, starting with the first device (FCB 1010 pedalboard.merger), and ending with the last link (the Ex5r).

No more random MIDI data anymore. So, try powering up your devices in order, double-checking for MIDI loops, go to GLOBAL and make sure you have de-selected MIDI options there, and consider who's MIDI master and who's slave (sequencers are masters and slaves).

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by Diametro » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:53 pm

Too many contradictions regarding Fusion ...

Sure ... VA section is OK ... but why would you bother when there's no interface ... other than a couple of buttons and a screen ... I'd rather have a dedicated VA with a comprehensive control surface ...

ROMpler section is OK ... but good luck finding the types of sounds that really set workstations apart from everything else (acoustic pianos and guitars, orchestral sounds, etc ... ) Nothing special in terms of sample mangling ... I'd rather have a V-Synth and a Fantom ...

FM ... No static at all ... but then again, how many bell sounds and DX-stlye basses do I need ... ??? In some ways, my favorite section ... But again, limited controls dampen the fun considerably ...

PM ... Does anybody actually use this ... ??? Based on the limited models, probably not ...

It's nice it's all under one hood ... but when you try to use the WORKSTATION features, it all starts to fall flat ...

I think it's great people are using the Fusion ... but my time is way too valuable to be messing around with workarounds, amassing a collection of samples that load slowly when auditioning, and worrying about Alesis reliability rendering all that work moot (In the end, I feel a workstation, when used accordingly, is more an investment in time than money ... ) ...

My Fusion also kept exhibiting small yet persistent errors ... In the end, I'd rather pay more -- even WAY more -- and get something that delivers what it promises ...

Another thing that always bothered me about Fusion was it's lack of performance controllers ... Other than the wheels and obligatory knobs, the only real-time controls are these silly trigger buttons that ONLY WORK WHEN DEPRESSED AND KEPT THAT WAY (with some amount of effort, I may add) ... no other way around it ... Dumbest thing I've ever seen ... Other than its soapdish design ...

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Last edited by Diametro on Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:04 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by psionic11 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:59 pm

Hugo76 wrote:@ psionic11:

It definately is extreme value for the money.
Regarding the ROMpler section: are the patches made up of 2 or 4 elements?
Also: how does the VA compare to other VA's on the market?
As elmo noted, the ROMpler's patches have 4 elements, each with its own 1-pole non-resonant lowpass filter, in addition to the overall patch's one filter. Of course, there are also lowpass and highpass envelope/LFO/sample-n'hold filters in the FX section, which have a different flavor than the voice filters.

I forgot to mention that I also have a Micron, and compared its naked OSCs to the Fusion's VA osc waveforms. The Micron's are slightly richer, and of course the Micron's various filter types are excellent. An OS upgrade for the Fusion included porting over 4 filters from the Micron/Ion family -- the 4-pole ARP filter and 3 formant filters.

Since the Micron has a dedictated ENV for pitch, which is great for emulating analog brass, and has a more intuitive keytracking system, not too mention its superior filters (including 3 self-oscillating ones), the Micron VA sounds better to me, although most presets leave much to be desired. Other than that, they share a lot of functionality -- tracking generator/table, flexible mod routes, env shapes, etc.

Overall, I'd say the Fusion's VA is very decent. The rompler section basically has identical parameters as the VA engine, minus sync and ring mod, so you can opt for multisampled saws or virtual saws, for example. Its biggest drawback imo is the lack of self-oscillating filters. You can get some squelch, but forget about trying to make that Tom Sawyer chirp dive intro sound.

That's what my Micron is for =) Great budget combo ($160 micron + $400 Fusion6 + $800 Fusion8.), covering most synth needs.

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Re: How did the Alesis Fusion end up?

Post by Diametro » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:06 am

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MY NEW ALBUM ... 70s Electronica / Synth Songwriting
http://electrocabaret.bandcamp.com/

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