Alesis has always managed to make good hardware synths at low prices, and the quality of their analog-modeling synths (see our review of the Micron) has been stunning. The Fusion is a particularly impressive deal, with multiple synthesis engines (sampled, physical modeling, virtual analog, and FM) and even a genuine-article Alesis HD 8-track hard disk recorder, all starting at under a grand.

Alesis has just dropped the list price of the Fusion to US$999 for the 30-lb. 6HD model, and people are snapping them up quick. Steve Fortner’s extensive test on Keyboard. Executive summary: it ain’t no cheap OASYS killer, but “the value is downright dramatic” even without considering the hard disk multitrack recorder. Great piano sounds, great analog modeling, and cheap, though the sampled sounds are lackluster (that’s not been an Alesis strong suit), and the “physical modeling” section is just winds and reeds, though interesting ones.

Also worth reading: Keyboard did a deep behind-the-scenes tour of how the Fusion was designed. So for all of you wondering about the unusual, curved design, now you can see the design sketches and hear the original story. (Here’s a tip, though: don’t judge until you’ve seen the Fusion in person. You might still hate it, but the effect of its looks are very different in the flesh than on the Web.)

Personally, I’ll spend my cash on a spectacular controller keyboard and stick to soft synths (I’m already replacing an Alesis QS-8), but this is worth a look.

  • You bet its worth a look, maybe two. 😉

    Thanks for the Synthwire plug but my "Fusion First Impressions" page has moved to my website now:

  • les farrington

    well, I saw that over the 2006 holidays Alesis had reduced thier Fusion prices dramatically. I was hoping that it was an attempt at restarting sales on a potentially great unit.

    I bought one….then told my brother and a good friend about the price/performance ratio. all 3 of us bought one. all 3 went straight to service. my right audio channel died. my brothers LCD died. my friend had problems loading presets. ALL 3 suffered physical damage being shipped which wasnt all the fault of Alesis. BUT…I got mine BEFORE new years day and here it is first of march…not a hint of it in my studio.

    I am very disappointed so far. I feel this unit Should be a valued addition to my studio but so far nothing. and my brothers came back to him 2 weeks ago and 2 days later the LCD died again. he is QUITE fed up and is going to sell his as soon as it gets back to him.

    I would not recommend this unit until Alesis figures out a way to get them returned in due time.

    And furthermore….my unit had to be shipped to Los Angeles to be fixed because Alesis only has 2 authorized service locations…..although there are plenty of reputable repair shops all over the nation. it arrived in Los Angeles with broken keys. so THAT took a further THREE WEEKS to get the parts from Alesis according to the repair shop….what a joke.

    so, out goes my money and in goes….nothing so far.