Alesis PlayMate Guitarist: CD Tempo Changer, FX

No, not that kind of playmate. (Sorry.) The killer feature of Alesis’ new PlayMate Guitarist is (really!) a CD player: pop in a CD of music and you can change the tempo without affecting pitch. Throw in 80 guitar effects and a helping of I/O, and this definitely makes a cool gadget bag addition for practicing guitarists. If you can find an excuse for the US$299 list price by coming up with something to do with the FX, even non-guitarists may want one for transcribing solos. (via Harmony Central) Vocalists, there’s a vocal version, too — because you can never …

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Alesis Micron Reviewed: Analog-Modeling Keyboard

What does a hardware synth have to do to compete with software these days? How about offer the same fantastic virtual analog sound for about the same price, for starters? The Alesis Micron is the kid brother to the Alesis Ion synth, with the exact same 8-voice, 4-part multitimbral VA engine. Each voice has 3 oscillators, 2 multimode filters, 3 envelopes, 3 LFOs, sample and hold, and a tracking generator. There are filters galore on offer here, 20 different types in all, many are nearly exact replicas of filters from Moog, ARP, Oberheim, and Roland. Alesis has even modeled in …

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Alesis Keyboards: Want a joystick, 3D air controller, or synth with that?

Keyboards are getting to be a lot of fun, on the cheap. The latest mini-keyboards from Alesis feature X-Y joysticks, audio I/O, and the psuedo-photo-theremin Axys dome (wave your hands in the air above the dome!). That I knew — but I hadn't checked prices to realize how cheap these things are. Alesis appears to have the best 25-key deals. Alesis Photon 25 is a USB/MIDI controller with joystick and 12 knobs; street $130 Alesis Photon X25 has the theremin-style controller dome, 12 360-degree knobs, 10 buttons, full-size pitch and mod wheels (nice ones like the Ion's!), 24-bit balanced stereo …

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