Archives for : alesis

Demos of a few dozen hardware Reverbs

Far from any scientific or “professional” test, this is just a quick bunch of demos when a reverb is pushed a bit harder, say into the 10 second decay time and only around* -6dB below main track. Don’t use it as a reference because results will vary depending on the recording levels at – take it with a grain of salt. All tracks encoded to FLAC (lossless format). Feel free to share if you find it useful.

Regarding the Akais, both of my units are expanded with their respective FX boards (it is not the same FX board as they are many years apart) and they can be used as a regular effects processors, while Kurzweil has a sampling board which again turns it into an external effects processor (it can do way way more than just a reverb, think of it as Eventide’s little brother). I no longer remember why I recorded two reverbs from PCM-70. I guess I wanted to display it’s less chorusy side of things and more closer to the rest of the bunch.

*yeah, some reverb tails might be a bit off. I actually mixed everything on an analogue mixer during the period of a few days, so probably some are louder than others. Sorry about that!


Andromeda A6 sound improvement


Disable Background Tuning (i mean, do it now!)
This will provide your Andromeda with more fat sound, due to routine in Background tuning (which is enabled by default) and which is too perfect. Putting all oscillators on exactly the same frequency makes the unit a little bit sterile in sound. All the vintage analogs had imperfectly designed VCOs that would float slowly in pitch up and down on a miniature scale. With Background tuning enabled this free VCO float is killed and the Andromeda becomes more cold and DCO sounding. If you’re analog purist, you should disable the Background tuning. Also, according to some sources, Background tuning eats some CPU power reducing the overall performance. This is the procedure on how to disable and perform the necessary auto-tune after that:

Turn on Andromeda. Leave it on for about 30min so that the board reaches the “average” temperature. Disable Background tuning in the Auto Tune section. Now engage the auto tune (press Auto Tune button twice).

From now on, your Andromeda should be stable in pitch after the board reaches the “average” temperature to which you calibrated voltages of each voice and filter. Once about a month you can do the Auto Tune routine.

Set proper levels (the most crucial part of Andromeda!)
While checking my Andromeda i found one interesting feature that was maybe intentionally implemented but which at the same time might confuse new owners. It has to do with pre filter signal levels. For some reason, if the combined level of two oscillators exceeds 30 or if one of them is set above 30, waveshape takes place, waveform becomes clipped (peaks are cut off) resulting in somehow poor sound. A simple oscilloscope reveals this as well. Therefore, you should never set high VCO levels i.e. 100 unless you intentionally want this clipping (which is interesting at first, but somehow becomes annoying “plastic” sounding after a while). Some users found other stages of Andromeda to have similar behavior with excessive levels as well. We will summarize them all here:

  • The pre filter mixer will overdrive with combined values exceeding total of 30 (i.e VCO1=15 VCO2=15; or VCO1=30 VCO2=0; should work good).
  • The VCA might sometimes overdrive with default level of 100. You should therefore set levels of volume envelope at 80-90 instead. This will also improve the envelope response (see below).

Temperature tuning
If precise pitch is not critical in your track, for even more “analog” sound, you can disable Temperature tuning as well. However, disabling Temp tuning is not recommended if you do live gigs, as there’s a big chance your Andy will be way off the rest of your setup or band, to the point you won’t be able to compensate it with the Tune knob. So please keep in mind that playing this synth with disabled temperature tuning is risky (though it can be amusing if you’re hard core 1970′s analog fanatic).

Recommended download: Andromeda Tips and Tricks


The following info was found of one of the Andromeda bulletin boards.

—– Original Message —–

From: “CCJ” <coolcolj at *****>
To: “Protokol13″ <protokol13 at ****.com>; <A6 at ****.com>
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2002 4:06 AM
Subject: Re: [A6] Andromeda tips[/I]

>/ The pre filter mixer will overdrive with values about 30,
/>/ the post filter mixer will do as as well with values above 50
/>/ the VCAs are also overdriven a the default level of 100 in ENV1.
/>/ Setting ENV1′s level to 80 or below will give a clearer and brighter sound

Yes, this seems to be the case with what I found out on my side. I usually bring the sustain level on the VCA below 90, but ~80 seems to be where I get cleaner sounds. As I said in my previous message, I like staying away from what sounds like slurred attack rates by also dropping the attack level. It seems like the VCA with a setting of 100.5 in the attack stage, coupled with 100 in the sustain stage has no real ‘punch’. I get good results with a 80-something sustain, and an attack level in the 90′s… I think this might be the source of some of the confusion that people have had with sounds that aren’t snappy on the A6. It sure was something that bothered me when I first started programming on this synth, but I have no problem with percussive/bass sounds now. I think it’s more important to shape the envelopes carefully, then to default to using engine optimization automatically.