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alesis ION vs. novation ultranova


allthekeys59

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I have been looking at these 2 synths ,listened to demos and read any info I could find . Both sound good to me and are around the same price used . Would like to hear some opinions of people who have experience with both .Also have read about problems with ultranova ,something about down loading latest software, buying used this concerns me . Thanks for youre input
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I bought my Ultranova used, and Ive had no issues. Patches are plenty tweakable and customizable there are far more sound design possibilities than I ever take advantage of but there is a little bit of menu diving involved. The assignable Big Filter Knob and the touch modulation knobs are pretty handy, though.

Samuel B. Lupowitz

Musician. Songwriter. Food Enthusiast. Bad Pun Aficionado.

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I know the Ion very well, and I am somewhat familiar with the Ultranova. In my opinion...

 

Ion pros: Excellent ergonomy, *great* synthesis possibilities with very complete voice channel.

Ion cons: Some physical fragility, basic sound quality not the best, no aftertouch.

 

Ultranova pros: Good ergonomy with some menu diving, excellent synthesis possibilities, easy to carry around.

Ultranova cons: Seems to have a constant high-frequency sheen, preventing you to make warm, analog-style sounds easily.

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Having experience with both, I would second what Marino said and go for the Ion. If you get one and need the user manual, let me know, because I think I still have mine. As old-timers on this forum know, mine was stolen along with everything else I had, when I lived in Oakland. I loved that synth but don't believe in re-buying stuff so tried the stripped-down micro keyboard version and couldn't get on with it. But the Ion itself, and of course the Andromeda, are classic synths with great workflows that inspire.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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I'd consider the smaller Akai Miniak, which has the "guts" of the Ion in a smaller package, similar (really identical) to the Micron, but with better left hand controls.
Moog The One, VV 64 EP, Wurlies 200A 140 7300, Forte 7, Mojo 61, OB-6, Prophet 6, Polaris, Hammond A100, Farfisa VIP, ,Young Chang 6', Voyager, E7 Clav, Midiboard, Linnstrument, Seaboard
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Almost forgot - and important: The Ion doesn't have usable ambient effects. Coupled with the fact that the output circuit tends to fail sometimes, this makes it a rather poor choice for live use. The Ultranova has built-in reverb and delay.

 

About the Micron and Akai Miniak - they are both Ion-compatible and *have* reverb, but forget about any serious programming without a computer editor. The Ion, on the other hand, is a joy to program from the panel.

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I own an Ion and have been very pleased with this keyboard. its 4 part multi timbrel and each part can be turned on/off with one independent button for each part while playing live. Great feature. I believe it sounds great, considering its a VA. It's an excellent synth for duplicating famous RA sounds of the seventies and the eighties.

 

Weaknesses. There's no substitute for real analog filters. I cannot create realistic filter sweeps with the ION similar to my old OBX or Prophet 5, but I use the ION to reproduce musical sounds, which it does admirable.

 

The ION has a 500MIPS engine. The synth power was used for sound, not FX. That is not a problem for me because I run my keyboards through a nice PA sound system and use the FX in my rack case for the ION. No problem.

 

As Marino has stated, the outputs on the ION can be a problem in some of the early units. The ION had been through the first 2 iterations when I bought mine and came with the latest OS. I never cranked the Outputs up to wide open on the ION, I don't have too and my PA handles the volume without breaking a sweat. Its nice little KB and you should be able to get one at far less than I paid for mine.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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I can't edit my previous reply anymore, to better format the content, so I'll repeat in a more eye-catching way:

 

If anyone needs the user manual for the Alesis Ion, let me know, as I still have mine since it wasn't in the bag when the keyboard was stolen.

 

I had kept it mostly because it had the serial number on it.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Almost forgot - and important: The Ion doesn't have usable ambient effects.

 

About the Micron and Akai Miniak - they are both Ion-compatible and *have* reverb

 

Yeah, the Ion's effects are pitiful.

 

And the fact it doesn't have reverb at all... totally inexcusable. :facepalm:

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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That's interesting Franz. Did you move it around alot? I moved my Ion in an Alesis soft case and transported it on the back seat of my SUV. Other equipment that had hard flight cases were transported in a UHaul trailer with the rest of my equipment. I handled it with extreme care, as I did with any other synthesizers I moved around. I was careful.

 

I never had any problems with mine and it still works fine after all these years. I have not moved it or any of my equipment because I don't gig anymore.

 

My question is, do you have the final OS update that Alesis issued before they finally discontinued the ION?

 

A note of lack of FX on the ION. None of my classic analog synths had any FX on them either. How many players here don't have an FX unit in their rack case? I preferred using my central FX unit with the Ion as I did with other instruments I ran through my PA. In this day and age, no on board FX should not be an issue.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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A note of lack of FX on the ION. None of my classic analog synths had any FX on them either. How many players here don't have an FX unit in their rack case?

 

That's true for gigging musicians, but there are some people posting here that might be buying their first synth... for home use only. After paying for the keyboard and some sort of amplification, they probably won't have any extra cash for effects units.

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Did you move it around alot?

 

My question is, do you have the final OS update that Alesis issued before they finally discontinued the ION?

 

I wouldn't say I moved it around a lot. I kept it in a hardshell case, and would take it out of that case twice a week for band practice, and to bring home. I don't think that I jostled it unreasonably. I take pretty good care of my gear.

 

I no long have the Ion, I replaced it many years ago. But that's a good possibility that it was an older buggier OS.

 

 

 

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A note of lack of FX on the ION. None of my classic analog synths had any FX on them either. How many players here don't have an FX unit in their rack case?

 

That's true for gigging musicians, but there are some people posting here that might be buying their first synth... for home use only. After paying for the keyboard and some sort of amplification, they probably won't have any extra cash for effects units.

 

 

I gig a lot and I've never used any rack gear. Same with many musicians I know. :idk

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Hammond: SK Pro 73 | Korg: Triton LE 76, N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3 | Technics: WSA1R

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Yamaha MX61, Behringer CAT

Assorted electric & acoustic guitars and electric basses | Roland TD-17 KVX | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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As far as FX for synths that don't have any like vintage analog, including the Prophet 5, Mini Moog. None of those synths in the old days had FX.

 

Modern KB amps usually have some kind of FX built it standard. I would rather a VA synth like the ION use its processing power for other things.

 

Being that I did a one-man band classic rock show back when I was gigging, I had a PA, rack case with amp, FX, EQ, power protection in a rack case and a separate mixer. I also used a Digitech Vocalist Pro for harmonies and that unit has a great sounding FX unit built in. My Yamaha Motif ES8 has extensive FX built in too. So, the equipment I use is a lot different than a home bedroom musician.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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