Any love for Alesis Ion?

So I scored an Ion yesterday after having sold my Blofeld keyboard (getting the module instead - I love module synths) - and although it takes me a while to get a sound I really like, once I get there, it’s pretty damn swell sounding! All those knobs as well, pretty sweet. Menu screen is very easy to navigate as well. And modulation options ad infinitum.

I’ve read a lot of praise for the filters of the Ion, but haven’t been all that impressed so far, I guess I need to explore those some more.

Anyways, it’s a pretty cool synth, it seems, can create some excellent sounds, looks good, all those knobs and at that price! The one I scored was basically mint as well, so pretty happy with that so far. :slight_smile:

Anyone here still using an Ion? What do you use it for, and how do you like it? :slight_smile:

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I had a Micron a few years ago. It was fun to play with but even back then there were much better VST analogue emulations. It was just too plastic sounding for my liking.

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I have an Ion and I love it. I’ve had it for about 6 years and it was my “go to” for leads and pads for quit sometime. I think it sounds great, but “analog sound” is not the primary feature that makes me like a synth or not.

The modulation capabilities and the amount of real time control that it offers sold me on. I really like that you can use CC messages as modulation sources. The key splitting and easy midi routing makes it a great master keyboard.


I picked up an Ion about a month ago super cheap. So far I’ve had a lot of fun with it. The ease modulation and key splitting between 4parts is pretty enjoyable. I just got it though, and haven’t spent a ton of time with it since I just moved as well. Definitely worth the price I paid for I though and more.

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I love our Micron.

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I still have one I pull out of my “creativity closet”; a place for synths not currently in my 9 keys not currently using, but regularly rotate them out to force myself to work differently and change things up.
The filters on the Ion are quite nice, as are the plethora of modulation options. This may seem trite to some but when you learn to route modulation destinations to after touch and come across a great synth with not so great keys, as the Ion has, compared to most of my others, you really miss it.
However, even with that, this is one very versatile synth that you can do ALL the classic filter emulations as well as really out there, crazy sounds. The interface is nice and screen quite nice, easy to program on the surface but what lay beneath is a beast of a synth to where I never felt hampered by 8 note poly because it has such a massive sound.
The external input to be able to run anything through filters, et al, is by far my favorite feature with it. Pretty sure the vocoder formant has 40 bands to it…even if you wanted a very capable vocoder and only utilized it for that–well worth it.

Practically got a Micron for nothing as well, which has much better keys and is exact same synth engine with enhancements…although you sacrifice for a very minimalistic interface, it’s worth what they go for (Miniak same engine as Ion…both companies were owned by Alesis, now Numark, in case people did not know), because the Micron adds a cool real time phrase sequencer which with the Ion’s great sound.

If it were cost effective to have a pro Fatar set of keys placed on Ion, it would at least make me want to use it more. Alesis also placed an enhanced Ion engine within one of their last major synths, a workstation called the Fusion, which has several synth engines as well as sample library loading abilities.

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If you use an identical patch in the Ion and the Micron, can you hear any difference between them?

If you use an identical patch in the Ion and the Micron, can you hear any difference between them?[/quote]
No, as I remember doing that A/B test and only difference is keys on Micron are not as “clacky” as Ion’s. I did forget to mention the micron has a few extra filter algorithms. I only really used the Micron as a small form factor controller until I got the KMI QuNexus for Classic Waldorf Pulse+.

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owned one for a while, its a fun synth

btw the FM stuff on it sounds nice and freaky - check it out, especially using the mod matrix

audio rate lfo modulations are awesome on anything tho

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I agree, I don’t think it sounds analog at all, to be honest. Don’t know why so many reviewers saying it sounds analog. Not that it matters to me, that’s not why I got it. Keyboard splitting and all the modulation sources are definitely some of the cooler features on it! :slight_smile:

Yeah, I can’t believe how cheap they are! Mine was basically nothing as well. The keybed isn’t all that great, obviously, but all those knobs and a lot of power for very little money!

I haven’t tried the vocoder yet, need to put that on the to-do list. :slight_smile:

Cool, good to hear. Haven’t tried to apply to much FM to anything so far. I’ve read elsewhere that it’s supposed to be good, but didn’t get any good results with it last night. Need to dig deeper, I guess! :slight_smile:

Had one for a little while but didnt like it. I was a bit spoilt with all the encoders on my Prophet 08.
I think the vocoder was quite crap.
Did like the third mod wheel though.
Could be worth it for the price but.

I have the Micron in my live rig for the band and it’s sound quality is good and useful! I create the patches at home using a software editor and finetune them during rehearsals and gigs.

I would love to use the Ion, I like how it looks and it’s a very inviting layout. You can really tweak and edit on the synth and not rely on an editor.

The micron for me fits my flightcase and has enough keys :slight_smile:

Best features for me are the amount of filter emulations and the modulation matrix!
Less straightforward, but very powerful is the tracking generator (also found on the matrix1000), but that should have it’s own topic.

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my review:


Excellent video as always, want one now. :smiley:

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One of biggest regrets gearwise if that I sold my ion, not that I have room for it now but I sold it for about 150 quid about 10 years ago… always thought it was well underrated, built like a tank too…

Fun fact - Alesis Ion / Micron and the original iPad (the pre-iPhone concept, if I’m not mistaken) share an interaction designer in common - the inimitable Bret Victor.!/Alesis

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I had a Micron years ago. I think it had a similar engine to the Ion. I remember it being a fun synth with some good sounds.

The Micron and Ion have the same engine I believe, other than the Micron lacking the fx, sequencer and miltitimbrality.

What I would always read is that the Ion/Micron and Akai Miniak had the same engine. Remember that one? I believe the Miniak also could do eight part multitimbral!

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Oh yeah, the Miniak, that’s right!

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