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Some thoughts on the Alesis Vortex Keytar.
Old 18th February 2013
  #31
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Oh, and i forgot to mention, they're releasing a bag for it, looks sharp:

Vortex Gig Bag Padded Gig Bag for the Alesis Vortex
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #32
Gear Head
 
comradec's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rids ➑️
So you can't control volume of external modules? I thought you could with the Rolands since they have the volume knob. That is very lame that Roland didn't include aftertouch on their keytars and Alesis not only included it, but did it at a lower price point even.

The volume knobs on the AX-Synth and the Lucina AX-09 cannot control via MIDI the volume of an external synth module. They will only control the volume of their built-in synths.

There is an option with the bizarrely misnamed aftertouch dial on the AX-Synth (bizarre because the AX-Synth's keyboard does not actually have aftertouch) to use it to control MIDI volume by connecting a MIDI event processor, such as the one manufactured by MIDI Solutions, but that involves buying another product and connecting yet more gear to your set-up.
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #33
Gear Maniac
 
DJKeys's Avatar
AX-Synth

I bought one of these and when I got it home I could not believe it!

Not being able to transmit CC 007 with the volume control seemed an unbelievable omission. I contacted Roland support and they assured me that it would be fixed in a SW update in the future. That was two years ago.

-dj
Old 22nd February 2013
  #34
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was silents's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I have an AX-1 and an AX-7. Both have volume knobs.
Old 22nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #35
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DJKeys's Avatar
Yep, I had an AX-7 for a while and the volume knob on that transmitted midi volume.

That is why I was so surprised that the AX-Synth was lacking this simple basic feature-

-dj
Old 22nd February 2013
  #36
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comradec's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Never believe Roland about updates.

Sent from my GT-S7500
Old 3rd April 2013 | Show parent
  #37
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DJKeys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz ➑️
Oh, and i forgot to mention, they're releasing a bag for it, looks sharp:

[url=http://www.alesis.com/vortex*****Vortex Gig Bag Padded Gig Bag for the Alesis Vortex[/url]
Gig bag is now available directly from Alesis at link above. I ordered one on Monday, got it on Tuesday-

-dj
Old 18th August 2013
  #38
Gear Head
 
MocciJ's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I have just ordered my Vortex today, after all that reading and the specs, I am really intrigued. Seems like it can double up as a normal master. I have plans for it.
Old 18th August 2013 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I am torn between this and a Korg 707 (I had one before) Mainly for the purpose of performing, controlling Ableton and softsynths.

The 707 doesn't look like a keytar which is OK but I found it quite heavy. (I think it takes C cells.) But its got a great keyboard, sends aftertouch and I love the 4op FM synth inside it.
Old 24th August 2013
  #40
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MocciJ's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Received the Vortex yesterday, gigged with it the same day (after a week of practice with an ax7).

The bad
It has the ribbon's little dead spot that someone else mentioned (it's in the left area of it), and the ribbon itself hasn't got something to tell you that you reached the middle (for more precise pitchbending). Edit: actually, one won't really mind the dead spot, especially when using modulations that starts at zero, which I now do a lot (no ribbonbending anymore).
When I sat the Vortex on a guitar stand on stage, the vibrations made the pads react! I was scared (I haven't disabled the drum mappings on it, it sent out a bunch of out of time kicks!!!) so I wore it for the rest of the gig. It takes a while to get used of them for changing patch or sending cc because they need a moderate pressure to be activated.
All the controllers, except pitchbend, send on a single MIDI channel. You then figure that when it comes down to control 2 synths on 2 midi channels, specifically their respective volume, you have to use 2 different controllers on the Vortex, instead of using the volume slider only! Why not make the controls dependant on the keyboard zone? Edit: this is probably implemented that way because of the risk of manipulating both the upper and lower sections. Still, I wish for that feature.
The accelerometer is as wonky as one can imagine. Since it sends signals when its state is changed, tilting the Vortex too fast won't send anything, resulting in a stuck controller - and a consequent retilting. Logically, this problem arise more when the calibration angles are near eachother, unfortunately a common scenario for useability. It's noisy as well. But I'm happy that's there, and I think that it would send on-off messages pretty well!

The good
This is a vast improvement over the AX7.
First thing, I like the pitchbend wheel a lot. It has got a very nice feeling, robust.
Apart the ribbon problems, it's nice as well, and the fact that you have 3 ribbon buttons makes multiple controllers manageable.
I can't understand why the AX7 didn't have the octave buttons on the handle, these will be a must if I'll be loooking for other keytars. Overall, all of the handle buttons react well.
The aftertouch kicks in with a small delay - presumably to avoid unintentional note-on triggering - but it's controllable. Not the perfection, but very good musically. Keybed is good enough. Neat collection of velocity curves, those are effective!
Programming it is EASY, it's just not that simple to people who like to have visual feedbacks. I was a little confused by the way the Vortex stores its patches, but then turns out they are automatically saved, so ok.
Talking about of visual feedback, there's PLENTY going on. Every controllers, apart note events, have its value on the screen. Every handle button has its light, so do the pads. Nobody explained the 3 leds on the handle: the upper one flashes accordingly to note on and off, the other two cycle followin a 4-step pattern triggered by note on. Neat!
Edit: the knobs feel good, they occasionally glitch between 2 consecutive values (irrelevant functionally), and are positioned in a way that can be accessed from BEHIND the Vortex! Thus, you can twist them while avoiding hovering the left hand above the keyboard, which is great.
The pads are excellent to trigger program changes on the fly, seems there mainly for that.


Appearance
All that is encased in white plastic that feel solid. I really dig the form factor, it's not shouting "I'm a tilted keyboard" like the AX tend to do. Some squeak is inevitable if you think that this thing weighs only about 3kg. Knobs feel good and can be reached from behind, that's awesome. I like having the cables coming out from the right side, it's the way guitars behave, the reason for it is practicity and outlook. I also approve of the nice power switch that's not a cheap square.

Final score
I wonder why I waited so long before having one. The cons are obfuscated by the pros, and apart from the accelerometer, it's only about getting used to them. It has the hottest form factor of all the keytars I saw, and definately the most feature packed one.
Edit: I'm getting a rainbow strap for that baby.

8.5/10

Last edited by MocciJ; 27th August 2013 at 10:21 PM.. Reason: Updating review
Old 26th November 2013
  #41
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I know it's an old thread, but I just have to say I love my Alesis Vortex, in despite of it's programming shortcomings. At the time, I had the money to buy whatever keytar I wanted...I picked up a Roland AX-Synth and my immediate thoughts were: this thing is 1. Way too heavy. 2. The sounds are way too cheesy. 3. It's creaking and cracking as I play it, which confirms my thoughts that it is cheaply constructed......and 4. It's waaaaay the hell overpriced for what it is. Seriously. I was using Rockband controllers I'd painted over (black white keys and red black keys) before I bought my Vortex... and they seriously felt better than the Roland options. I use my Vortex in conjunction with an M-Audio Venom and, believe it or not, I get badass results. I took the Vortex apart and spray painted part of it red, in the form of blood spatter
Old 26th November 2013
  #42
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If anyone wants one of these, I got an ad from JRRShop today with it on sale this week for $99. Completely insane.
Old 27th November 2013 | Show parent
  #43
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
THIS is a deal!

Quote:
Originally Posted by plikestechno ➑️
If anyone wants one of these, I got an ad from JRRShop today with it on sale this week for $99. Completely insane.
If you live in the USA, just buy two!! What a deal!
Old 27th November 2013 | Show parent
  #44
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
They deliver worldwide as well. I bought a Microbrute from them a few weeks ago and it was delivered promptly and quickly. USPS, no hassle.
Old 27th November 2013
  #45
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wwjd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
awesome. Amazon has it for that price also. Bought!
Old 27th November 2013
  #46
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Hokut's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I better check shipping and import costs..
What upsets me though is that this is the second time Alesis offers a special low price on the Vortex and the offer is not available outside USA/CANADA...
Old 24th May 2014 | Show parent
  #47
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by comradec ➑️
No, you don't look ridiculous in the photo. The keytar looks a little too high for comfortable playing, especially for your left hand, but there's only a small number of keytarists around who would be likely to realise that. Most regular keyboardists wouldn't know any different either.

I bought a Jim Dunlop DD extra long guitar strap from Amazon UK for my Vortex and it's much better, with plenty of scope for adjustment. Fitting strap locks is definitely a good idea too. The plastic disk ones made by Jim Dunlop will do the job and only cost a few quid for two.

Sent from my GT-S7500
Good idea about the strap. I just got my black Wireless Vortex and it's way too high compared to Lucina black sparkle. I got it for wireless. The action seems terrible, as medium touch sending full velocity signal. I think its because the velocity isn't adjusted correctly , any idea how to adjust it? I can play fluently with oxygen49 as well as my Lucina (and I have 12 other keyboards I can play fluid on), this one will not respond to soft touch, and medium touch is sending high velocity signal it seems.

Any idea What's wrong?

I'm using Macbook and LogicPro9. out of the box Lucina was great, although vortex problem.

Thanks, Doug
Old 25th May 2014 | Show parent
  #48
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rids ➑️
Just to answer my own question, I see in the quick start guide that the Vortex can assign the pitch to the ribbon. Nice!

I think the Alesis Vortex beats the Roland Lucina for controllability. It's just more thought out whereas the Lucina has the D-Beam and that's it pretty much. Not sure how easy it is to switch through ribbon and mod bar assignments on the Lucina, but I don't see any dedicated buttons like the Vortex has. The Vortex allows you to switch between any 3 parameters (which are of course assignable easily). Not only that, it has a sustain button and the octave buttons right next to your (left) hand/ribbon. It also has the keyboard zone buttons right there so you can set different patch assignments for the keys like split keyboard. The volume (but still assignable) slider on the neck is nice too. Through in aftertouch and I can see it's the best keytar option available. I like the look of the Lucina, but it just doesn't have as many options at the Vortex. If Roland makes another keytar (and i hope they do, because they always make aesthetically pleasing keyboards) I hope they add more controls (like knobs and easy switchable ribbon button assignments) and convenient controls at that. I use to think the D-Beam was cool and still do, but I like the Accelerator better. Looks more fun to play. I think I will buying the Vortex soon.
Hi Rids - So are you still playing your Vortex after a year? I have Both Lucina and Vortex Wireless like you. I also would like to put pitch on the ribbon, and will do that as it's a better alternative similar to a guitar, maybe I can do it at pitch ribbon option #2 since that seems not to be controlling anything on my MacBook with LogicPro9. What about the action? and Velocity settings? It seems SO STIFF and with Lack of Control , like Lucina or Oxygen boards.
Did you find a setting to adjust. after reading the manual for hours, i cant find any action or velocity setting? Has anyone been able to adjust this?

All the best
Doug
Old 25th May 2014 | Show parent
  #49
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Vortex Wireless Keyboard Action Velocity sensitivity prob

Hi Keytarists - So are you still playing your Vortex after a year? I have Both Lucina AX-7 and now Vortex (Black Wireless) like many of you. I also would like to put pitch on the ribbon, and will do that as it's a better alternative similar to a guitar, maybe I can do it at pitch ribbon option #2 since that seems not to be controlling anything on my MacBook with LogicPro9.

PROBLEM:
What about the action? and Velocity settings? Keyboard seems SO STIFF and with Lack of Control , like Lucina or Oxygen boards. If i press keys soft I get no sound, medium seems like high velocity, how do you set this?

Did you find a setting to adjust? after reading the manual for hours, i cant find any action or velocity setting? Has anyone been able to adjust this?
So far I'm not convinced I like the Vortex wireless after a week, as it's not receptive to my playing (I actually have or played about 12 keyboards) i will see this weekend at a gig. I wonder what Jordan Rudess would think?

All the best, Rock On
Doug
Old 26th January 2018
  #50
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The Vortex 2 was just announced: Alesis Vortex Wireless 2

These look like they'd be fun to goof around with (at home only though).
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