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convince me andromeda sux
Old 23rd January 2007
  #1
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soultrane's Avatar
convince me andromeda sux

i've got that itchy feeling i get when ready to whip out my credit card...

should i spend $2300 to pick up this synth?

is it the ultimate analog beast?

i'm thinking of getting rid of my supernova II and picking this up for analog lovliness...

what say you?
Old 23rd January 2007
  #2
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

i dunno man,,....


ill check the virus TI really closley for that $$$
Old 23rd January 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
is it the ultimate analog beast?
In features, yes, in sound and editing, sometimes. It doesn't have that instant 80's bite that real vintage synths offer or an easy way for programming modulation parameters. But it's still a great synth, can't be compared with Virus Ti's or Supernova's. I Use the Andromeda as my main workhorse, but sometimes I think I would have been better of with buying 7 different analogue synths (like MKS70 w programmer-Monopoly-Se1x-jupiter 4-juno60-ms20-Matrix1000). 4 years ago you could buy all this for the price of an Andromeda


It also depends on the music you're going to make!
Old 24th January 2007
  #4
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

Not quite the "ultimate analog beast" but make no mistake it packs a big punch
you get a lot for what you pay for and I respect that.
Its a very musical sounding instrument with deep editing capabilities not for the faint of hart. The interface can be somewhat intimidating
you don't just poke at the presets and your off creating a track.
The sound is quite good really but to my ears its a llittle clean but its all relative to what you compare it to.
The effects are above average and the ribbon controller is awesome the build quality is fair but handle with care because the knobs don't seem that sturdy.
If you don't want to mess with the old school boards (like myself) the Andromeda is definitely an option.
Old 24th January 2007
  #5
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i heard somewhere around here that later built A6's are less reliable/less well-built than the earlier-built ones.

is there any truth to / evidence for this rumor?
Old 24th January 2007
  #6
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

Had one, created some factory patches for it, ultimately sold it.

Issues:

1) reliability with the recent runs - lots of untunable voices
2) Sub oscillator is broken - doesn't work as you'd expect if you've used other analogs with sub
3) the small screen and crappy font make it a pain to use the screen and unfortunately you have to use the screen for a lot of stuff
4) 24 dB LP filter - doesn't sound as big and ballsy as their Moog claim - would have been better with a second multimode filter (which I liked a lot)
5) sound - if I'm charitable it sounds similar to an Oberheim Xpander; when I'm in a bad mood, it sounds like a Matrix 6.
6) the matrix modulation implementation is hard to use given the screen. See the Ion for a much better implementation.


Since I know I'll get at least 1 question on item 2), I'll explain it now. Take an old analog synth with a sub oscillator. SH-101 is a good choice. Bring up the volume on the main oscillator only. Now increase the volume of the sub - what you hear is both oscillators, slightly imperfectly tracking - one on pitch, one about an osctave below.

On the Andromeda turn on a single oscillator. Now turn up the volume of the Sub Osc knob. Note how as you raise the sub volume, the main volume drops out. Looking on an oscilloscope you'll actually the the wave get replaced with one an octave lower. Looks like phase cancellation or some error in the ASIC that causes it.

Tom
Old 24th January 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Tom,

1. You definatley had a bad unit, why didn't you use the guarantee?

2.The Andromeda is pretty picky in Osc and SubOsc levels, a tad to high and you loose your sound completely. You have to use low levels because otherwise you clip the mixer section.

3. Small screen? Pretty big for a analogue synth, but indeed some parameters are a pain in the ass to program.

4. Put the Moog and OB filter in series for serious weight! No it's not a Moog, but it can scream like no other synth.

5. I have a Tom Oberheim designed Prosynth and a cem3396 (à la matrix 1000) synth. I don't find those comparable. The A6 can sound very clean and stable but also the opposite is possible. Those OB's have that 80's "chip" sound, great for lush pad/string sound and electro basses. Not so good in P-funk style basslines/leads or more Moogy stuff, the A6 can do that convincing if you learn to program it well.
Old 24th January 2007
  #8
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony666 View Post
Tom,

1. You definatley had a bad unit, why didn't you use the guarantee?

2.The Andromeda is pretty picky in Osc and SubOsc levels, a tad to high and you loose your sound completely. You have to use low levels because otherwise you clip the mixer section.
It wasn't a bad unit. I was on the beta team and had an earlier run unit that was solid.

It's not about overloading the mixer section, it's about the sub osc and main osc being perfectly in phase and causing cancellation. If you have any doubts, take the output into an oscilloscope. I diagnosed the problem during the beta, reported it back to the designers and was told they couldn't fix it because it would require making a new rev of the custom ASIC, which was apparently a pretty expensive process.


Quote:
4. Put the Moog and OB filter in series for serious weight! No it's not a Moog, but it can scream like no other synth.

5. I have a Tom Oberheim designed Prosynth and a cem3396 (à la matrix 1000) synth. I don't find those comparable. The A6 can sound very clean and stable but also the opposite is possible. Those OB's have that 80's "chip" sound, great for lush pad/string sound and electro basses. Not so good in P-funk style basslines/leads or more Moogy stuff, the A6 can do that convincing if you learn to program it well.
I guess it depends on what you have heard in the past. At the time I had the A6, I also had a CS-80, Jupiter-8, rev 2 Prophet 5, MiniMoog, MemoryMoog, OB-X, OB-Xa, OB-8, Matrix 12, and a host of other machines. I didn't like the sound of the A6 as much as those machines.

The other problem I had with the A6 was more subtle. I like to create new sounds. In fact, my A6 patch 'Blue Glass' was even one of the ones mentioned in the original Keyboard magazine review. However, I tended to spend a lot of time on the A6 working on a patch and then ultimately just throwing it away. The results weren't worth the time invested. You'd spend hours tweaking this, adjusting that, adding another Matrix mod route, and still not be satisfied.


Remember too - this particular topic is 'Convince me not to buy an Andromeda (to paraphrase)', so I did tend to focus on the negative aspects rather than attempt a balanced review. There's enough evangelicism and general praise of the A6 other places on the web, so I took the time to provide some counterpoint based on my real experiences with it.

Tom
Old 24th January 2007
  #9
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rids's Avatar
 

For that price, I'd just go for a new one. I personally won't pay anything over $1700 used for a A6. Other you might want to consider are the SE Omega 8 and Jomox Sunsyn. The A6 is the coolest looking of any synth I've seen, but the Omega and Sunsyn are the coolest sounding I've heard. The Sunsyn makes my dreams so pleasant
Old 24th January 2007
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by rids View Post
For that price, I'd just go for a new one. I personally won't pay anything over $1700 used for a A6. Other you might want to consider are the SE Omega 8 and Jomox Sunsyn. The A6 is the coolest looking of any synth I've seen, but the Omega and Sunsyn are the coolest sounding I've heard. The Sunsyn makes my dreams so pleasant
mmm the sunsyn is also on my list. (as well as the andromeda) I just like the sound of it. goes from grainy to hifi. where did you try one? did you like the interface? (my main gripe with my otherwise excellent xbase09)
thanks thumbsup
Old 24th January 2007
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgearguy View Post
It wasn't a bad unit. I was on the beta team and had an earlier run unit that was solid.

it's about the sub osc and main osc being perfectly in phase and causing cancellation.
How can different frequencies be in phase? They can be triggert at the same time, but phase always differs. I didn't notice any cancellation with the sub osc. With a square waveforms and modulation (pwm) you have cancellation, but that's pretty obvious.



Quote:
If you have any doubts, take the output into an oscilloscope. I diagnosed the problem during the beta, reported it back to the designers and was told they couldn't fix it because it would require making a new rev of the custom ASIC, which was apparently a pretty expensive process.
strange, I don't hear it


Quote:
I guess it depends on what you have heard in the past. At the time I had the A6, I also had a CS-80, Jupiter-8, rev 2 Prophet 5, MiniMoog, MemoryMoog, OB-X, OB-Xa, OB-8, Matrix 12, and a host of other machines. I didn't like the sound of the A6 as much as those machines.
The sound doesn't differ that much from a mini IMO , it lacks a bit of the fatness and a 3rd individual oscillator. The major problem is the programming, like you've said

Quote:
The other problem I had with the A6 was more subtle. I like to create new sounds. In fact, my A6 patch 'Blue Glass' was even one of the ones mentioned in the original Keyboard magazine review. However, I tended to spend a lot of time on the A6 working on a patch and then ultimately just throwing it away. The results weren't worth the time invested. You'd spend hours tweaking this, adjusting that, adding another Matrix mod route, and still not be satisfied.
I agree, it's almost impossible to program modulations intuïtively. You really have to have lot's of experience with other synths to get into it and still have patience.

Quote:
Remember too - this particular topic is 'Convince me not to buy an Andromeda (to paraphrase)', so I did tend to focus on the negative aspects rather than attempt a balanced review. There's enough evangelicism and general praise of the A6 other places on the web, so I took the time to provide some counterpoint based on my real experiences with it.

Tom
Old 24th January 2007
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony666 View Post
I Use the Andromeda as my main workhorse, but sometimes I think I would have been better of with buying 7 different analogue synths (like MKS70 w programmer-Monopoly-Se1x-jupiter 4-juno60-ms20-Matrix1000). 4 years ago you could buy all this for the price of an Andromeda
Old 24th January 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
this is the dumbest question you'll hear all day, but i must ask.

does the alesis have the ability to trigger all the oscillators in a voice at the same time (ie so they are in phase)? i know this is possible with VA synths (duh), but i've not seen it addressed with regard to the A6.

thanks for your responses. i'm also looking hard at this synth for possible pickup this year. it's either that and a crossgrade of my Q to a Q rack, or upgrade the Q to a Q+ (which also has analog filters, but which is somewhat encumbered by the awkward d/a-a/d-d/a scheme to route voices thru the analog filters then back through the output and effects stages of the synth).
Old 24th January 2007
  #14
I believe the Andromeda has hard and soft sync yes, but I'll leave it up to the actual users to report how that actually sounds in this case.
Old 24th January 2007
  #15
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r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar
 

try a PolyEvolver Keyboard out as well..

it's in your price range..

that aside..the sunsyn is a vicious synththumbsup
Old 24th January 2007
  #16
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teknosmoker's Avatar
 

Go to a music store that carries them, turn off the effects and judge the Andromeda for yourself. I was......under-whelmed by it. Both the Omega 8 (thick & creamy) and Dave Smith's Poly-Evolver (though it's a different kind of beast) sounded much more inspiring to me.

Then again, taste in synths is VERY subjective. NEVER buy a synth (or any gear really) based solely off of the recommendations of others (including mine!). Try before you buy.

FWIW - I used to work for a recording/musical instrumet reseller of Alesis gear and the build quality of their stuff was "hit & miss". We received more defective returns on Alesis stuff than any other keyboard manufacturer.

Good luck!

-T
Old 24th January 2007
  #17
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problem is, no one actually stocks these on the floor anymore.
Old 24th January 2007
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vixapphire View Post

does the alesis have the ability to trigger all the oscillators in a voice at the same time (ie so they are in phase)? i know this is possible with VA synths (duh), but i've not seen it addressed with regard to the A6.
Same frequencies can be in phase. But oscillator drift , fine/off-tuning oscillators is what makes an analogue synth fatt. This has to do with a slightly different phase/frequency etc ... . If you want an analogue synth that behaves like a digital one buy a digital one.



Old 24th January 2007
  #19
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doubledecker's Avatar
Look soultrane, Andromeda is too expensive, breaks down as we speak, doesnt sound as good as old analog synths and it's a Alesis for Christ sake.
If that doesnt suck i dont know what does
Old 25th January 2007
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony666 View Post
Same frequencies can be in phase. But oscillator drift , fine/off-tuning oscillators is what makes an analogue synth fatt. This has to do with a slightly different phase/frequency etc ... . If you want an analogue synth that behaves like a digital one buy a digital one.



thanks, I already have several great sounding digital VA's and a Super-Jupiter. I also have two full moons and a trout, in which you may be more interested.fuuck

besides, it's not analog oscillators' inability to track/stay in tune that makes analog synthesizers sound "fatt". gimme a break.

here's my question, then. the andromeda appears to me like a real analog synth with the trappings of a VA, like all the FM and filter FM & distortion, etc. common on those. If i'm correct in the foregoing, given what's to be expected with a certain amount of drift (but how much, really? is it that lousy at staying in tune?), is the andromeda then a failure at achieving much of the fm etc. one finds on VA's? how good is it at that?

Like I said earlier, I'm looking at it as a potential replacement for the Q. while they're both totally different, blah blah blah, it'd be great to know from you all whether the A6 lives up to that portion of its hype, or if it's really just a glorified old-analog-soundmaker with a quadraverb strapped onto the outputs.

anyone know where i can play one of these in-store in the LA area? i've not seen one on the floor anywhere out here for over a year, and that includes analog haven (then again, i haven't been out there for over a year!)
Old 25th January 2007
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by vixapphire View Post
thanks, I already have several great sounding digital VA's and a Super-Jupiter. I also have two full moons and a trout, in which you may be more interested.fuuck

besides, it's not analog oscillators' inability to track/stay in tune that makes analog synthesizers sound "fatt". gimme a break.

here's my question, then. the andromeda appears to me like a real analog synth with the trappings of a VA, like all the FM and filter FM & distortion, etc. common on those. If i'm correct in the foregoing, given what's to be expected with a certain amount of drift (but how much, really? is it that lousy at staying in tune?), is the andromeda then a failure at achieving much of the fm etc. one finds on VA's? how good is it at that?

Like I said earlier, I'm looking at it as a potential replacement for the Q. while they're both totally different, blah blah blah, it'd be great to know from you all whether the A6 lives up to that portion of its hype, or if it's really just a glorified old-analog-soundmaker with a quadraverb strapped onto the outputs.

anyone know where i can play one of these in-store in the LA area? i've not seen one on the floor anywhere out here for over a year, and that includes analog haven (then again, i haven't been out there for over a year!)
I played with one a couple of times, never bothered to go programming, it was not that kind of intimate, but the sound IS very clean. and I liked it very much, a sort of refined clubby champagne kind of sound. slick, never harsh and always clean.
why is that? probably the filters BUT also the oscillators.
they do drift, and in the Andromeda, they are digitally controlled. bit like an SSL, analogue signal path yada yada
so, what happens; the andromeda fires up, and starts tuning the MANY oscillators itself. mega cool if you're used to old drifting ARPs. but, that also means, yes, cleaner...

as for FM, distortion, etc.? the andromeda is semi modular, so you can hook everything up with everything. also mega cool. I think that alesis made a hell of a good synth. But it is not for preset loving minikorg afficionados. nothing wrong with that, longer time programming also means more possible to lose the idea in your head.

the VA is EMULATING all these processes. from electronic circuitry. ok?? heh

and the yummie thing about a slightly drifting modular is that the sound is alive, because of all the small "imperfections". A Voyager sounds way cleaner than a 20 year old minimoog in good condition. why? back then oscillators drifted much more, now analogue is MUCH MUCH more refined. everybody focussing on digital missed that maybe, but analogue evoluted slowly. matured.

Me, myself I prefer an old fashioned modular, with a nice midi-cv box: the andromeda is a sort of hybrid. many many functions in a small box, and a huge amount of oscillators, all possible because of the digital part.

if or rather when that craps out, yer up **** creek
Old 25th January 2007
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vixapphire View Post
thanks, I already have several great sounding digital VA's
Yeah right

Quote:
besides, it's not analog oscillators' inability to track/stay in tune that makes analog synthesizers sound "fatt".
Yup and temperature compensation probably doesn't ring a bell either.

Quote:
or if it's really just a glorified old-analog-soundmaker with a quadraverb strapped onto the outputs.
That's a good one !

Have a nice day ...
Old 25th January 2007
  #23
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kingofswing's Avatar
I just got my Andromeda A6 in december, and it is my first programmable hardware synth (although i own a few romplers and soft synths). But having researched my options, i felt the Andromeda to be the best for the money. 16 voices, and all those buttons and knobs. IMO it sounds amazing, and it has a kind of sound that inspires me to create music.

I was lucky to get a normal working unit, and have not found any tuning defects as yet.

It does boil down to the kind of music you write, and the sound you're going for. The Andromeda is definately fatter sounding than the VA stuff, and it also has a desirable character (atleast to me it does).

The build quality is 50/50, some pots are not as solid as others, and the keybed is second rate. But i bought this thing for it's 'sound', and it definately impresses me.

I say try one out and if you like it, get a new Andromeda A6 from a reputable dealer (not going to be easy though).
Old 25th January 2007
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony666 View Post
Yeah right



Yup and temperature compensation probably doesn't ring a bell either.



That's a good one !

Have a nice day ...
oh, i know "great sounding digital VA's" is something of an oxymoron ; i only meant that I've got some digital synths and don't need another, in response to your comment! i wouldn't be exploring the A6 if i thought the digital VA emulations were the be-all and end all.

funny, though; i can set random, extremely slow LFO's on oscillators to make them "drift" against one another on my digital synths. following your impeccable logic, shouldn't my digital synths thus set up therefore be as "fatt" as a real analog? which is it then?
Old 25th January 2007
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
I played with one a couple of times, never bothered to go programming, it was not that kind of intimate, but the sound IS very clean. and I liked it very much, a sort of refined clubby champagne kind of sound. slick, never harsh and always clean.
why is that? probably the filters BUT also the oscillators.
they do drift, and in the Andromeda, they are digitally controlled. bit like an SSL, analogue signal path yada yada
so, what happens; the andromeda fires up, and starts tuning the MANY oscillators itself. mega cool if you're used to old drifting ARPs. but, that also means, yes, cleaner...

as for FM, distortion, etc.? the andromeda is semi modular, so you can hook everything up with everything. also mega cool. I think that alesis made a hell of a good synth. But it is not for preset loving minikorg afficionados. nothing wrong with that, longer time programming also means more possible to lose the idea in your head.

the VA is EMULATING all these processes. from electronic circuitry. ok?? heh

and the yummie thing about a slightly drifting modular is that the sound is alive, because of all the small "imperfections". A Voyager sounds way cleaner than a 20 year old minimoog in good condition. why? back then oscillators drifted much more, now analogue is MUCH MUCH more refined. everybody focussing on digital missed that maybe, but analogue evoluted slowly. matured.

Me, myself I prefer an old fashioned modular, with a nice midi-cv box: the andromeda is a sort of hybrid. many many functions in a small box, and a huge amount of oscillators, all possible because of the digital part.

if or rather when that craps out, yer up **** creek
you and my brother are of the same mind. he's all about programming on modulars vs. all-in-one synths, which he'd rather just play provided someone else sweated out the great programs.

"the VA is EMULATING all these processes. from electronic circuitry. ok??"

whoa now, is that what "virtual" analog means?
Old 25th January 2007
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vixapphire View Post
funny, though; i can set random, extremely slow LFO's on oscillators to make them "drift" against one another on my digital synths. following your impeccable logic, shouldn't my digital synths thus set up therefore be as "fatt" as a real analog? which is it then?
I never said that trying to emulate something sounds the same a the real deal? Did I?

The same trick can be used on Andromeda oscillators to get a deeper sound but that still doesn't turn the VCO in a 1960's sounding VCO. It's over simplified to put the difference only in stability. But when you look at oscillator design from the 50's to modern days, VCO temperature compensation and stability played a major role! It led to the succes of the minimoog and later on made synth designers develop DCO's.
Old 25th January 2007
  #27
Gear Nut
 

I think the Andromeda sounds pretty good once you turn off those evil Alesis FX that are on every patch. It can be reeeeeeally fiddly to program - the soft-knobs need incredibly tiny movements for certain parameters. Also, it doesn't have a 'vintage vibe' - its oscillators and modulation seem ultra-stable... you won't get that old-skool looseness and drift with this synth.
Old 25th January 2007
  #28
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rids's Avatar
 

Reptil, if you were referring to the Sunsyn, I won one and love it. The A6 I tried briefly at a GC and have listened to a ton of clips from people using it on the net.

Vix, I think either the Q+ or A6 should fit you pretty well. I mean the Q is pretty complex already. The Q+ with the analog filters would be awesome. I wanna play one. The A6 is more complex, but I'm sure after a while you'd get the hang of it, editing gets faster. The mod routings are a plenty on it. I have heard people being a little overwhelmed with the A6 because it has so many knobs (but that's a good thing). So it's a synth you must learn, whereas the Q, you already know.

The Poly Evolver is one you can't buy on recommendations. If you like running crazy patterns and getting all types of weird sounds and sequences, you'd like the Evolver. It has digital and analog Osc. in it (I'm sure that's been said already ).

One thing about Waldorf synths is they have a nice digital 'boinky' quality. Especially to its arps. The Mod Matrix on those Qs are pretty deep too.
Old 25th January 2007
  #29
as an example for VCO crappiness, check out the difference between the Doepfer A-110 and A-111. The A-110 sounds fatter, more "unstable". (and cheap to manufacture of course) But the A-111 (with a CEM3340) is perfect for other things.

I have 2 ARP Axxes. One original, one completely rebuilt, with modern parts. The difference is quite big. I keep the old one as it is, because of the dirt. That one also often fired up, doing some oscillation, by itself. probably because of differences in temperature and moisture. Now I'm in another room, which is an ultra stable environment, it doesn't do weird things that often anymore. pity

different horses.
I'd say the andromeda is soundwise in the "high end" camp.
If you want something really fat and mean, go for something different.
Old 25th January 2007
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rids View Post
Reptil, if you were referring to the Sunsyn, I won one and love it. The A6 I tried briefly at a GC and have listened to a ton of clips from people using it on the net.......
oh you lucky .... heh
how's the interface? makes sense? the matrix?
I bought a sample cd (that's all I could pay for at that moment LOL)
compressors and eqs are an expensive addiction, and my synths are suffering because of it.
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