Alesis

Last updated

Alesis
Private company
Industry Electronics
Founded1984
Headquarters,
United States
Key people
Jack O'Donnell president and CEO
ProductsMusical instruments, audio/video, electronics, computer-related products, pro audio, music recording equipment
Website Alesis.com Alesis China

Alesis designs and markets electronic musical instruments, digital audio processors, audio mixers, digital audio interfaces, recording equipment, drum machines, professional audio and electronic percussion products. Based in Cumberland, Rhode Island, Alesis is an inMusic Brands company. Alesis products are designed in the United States and manufactured in China.

Drum machine electronic musical instrument designed to imitate the sound of drums or other percussion instruments

A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion. Drum machines may imitate drum kits or other percussion instruments, or produce unique sounds. Most modern drum machines allow users to program their own rhythms. Drum machines may create sounds using analog synthesis or play prerecorded samples.

Professional audio

Professional audio, abbreviated as pro audio, refers to both an activity and a category of high quality, studio-grade audio equipment. Typically it encompasses sound recording, sound reinforcement system setup and audio mixing, and studio music production by trained sound engineers, audio engineers, record producers, and audio technicians who work in live event support and recording using audio mixers, recording equipment and sound reinforcement systems. In contrast, consumer audio equipment is a lower grade of gear which is used by regular people for the reproduction of sound in a private home on a home stereo or home cinema system.

Cumberland, Rhode Island Town in Rhode Island, United States

Cumberland is the northeasternmost town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States, first settled in 1635 and incorporated in 1746. The population was 33,506 at the 2010 census.

Contents

Early years

Keith Barr, founder of Alesis Keith Barr 03 (Founder of Alesis).jpg
Keith Barr, founder of Alesis

Alesis Studio Electronics was founded in Hollywood in 1984 by MXR co-founder Keith Barr. [1] Leveraging his ability to design custom integrated circuits, Barr's company was able to introduce technologically advanced products at prices within the realm of most project studios. Alesis' first product was the XT Reverb. Introduced in 1985, the XT Reverb was an all-digital reverb that carried an unprecedented low price of $799. Barr recruited Russell Palmer as Operations Manager and Robert Wilson (Vice Chairman) to handle international sales so that Barr could continue to focus on engineering.

Hollywood Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

MXR company

MXR was a Rochester, New York-based manufacturer of effects pedals, co-founded in 1972 by Keith Barr and Terry Sherwood and incorporated as MXR Innovations, Inc. in 1974. The MXR trademark is now owned by Jim Dunlop, which continues to produce the original effects units along with new additions to the line.

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

In 1986 Alesis produced the first under-$1000 16-bit professional effects processor, the MIDIverb. Next, after enlisting the expertise of Fast Forward Designs, co-founded by veteran Oberheim Electronics designers Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic (who went on to found Line 6), Alesis introduced the MMT8 hardware sequencer and the very successful HR-16 drum machine in 1987. [2] The HR-16 was employed on the English industrial metal band Godflesh's first few releases, [3] and in that context Loudwire called it "the most devastating drum machine ever employed". [4]

Oberheim Electronics American company

Oberheim Electronics, is a manufacturer of audio synthesizers and a variety of other electronic musical instruments. Founded in 1969 by Tom Oberheim.

Line 6 is a manufacturer of digital modeling guitars, amplifiers and related electronic equipment. Their product lines include electric and acoustic guitars, basses, guitar and bass amplifiers, effects processors, USB audio interfaces and guitar/bass wireless systems. The company was founded in 1996. Headquartered in Calabasas, California, the company imports its products primarily from China. Since December 2013, it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation.

Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.

The Alesis ADAT

At the 1991 Winter NAMM Show, Alesis introduced the ADAT digital tape recorder. Each ADAT could record 8 tracks of 16-bit audio on an S-VHS videocassette tape, and up to 16 ADATs could be connected together to record 128 tracks of audio simultaneously. With the same digital resolution as an Audio CD and a price that was a fraction of the other digital recording solutions for home recording at the time, the ADAT was a tremendous success, [5] and its impact on the recording industry has been recognized by induction to the Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC)nology Hall of Fame. [6]

The NAMM Show is an annual event in the US that its organizers describe as "the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products, pro audio and event tech industry".

Alesis Digital Audio Tape (ADAT) is a magnetic tape format used for the recording of eight digital audio tracks onto a Super VHS tape that is used by consumer VCRs.

S-VHS VHS improvement

S-VHS (スーパー・ヴィエイチエス), the common initialism for Super VHS, is an improved version of the VHS standard for consumer-level video recording. Victor Company of Japan introduced S-VHS in Japan in April 1987 with their JVC-branded HR-S7000 VCR, and in certain overseas markets soon afterward.

Boom and bankruptcy

For the next ten years, Alesis created a wide variety of innovative and affordable products such as the QuadraSynth synthesizer, DM5 drum module [7] and Monitor One studio monitors. In 1997, Alesis Semiconductor was formed, again taking advantage of Barr's custom integrated circuits to produce and market chips for the audio industry. A series of chips were introduced that ranged from digital signal processors for audio effects to low cost analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters. By 2001, however, the company's business suffered as market trends changed, and on April 27 of that year, Alesis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the subsequent restructuring, Jack O'Donnell acquired the company.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of Title 11, the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to every business, whether organized as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship, and to individuals, although it is most prominently used by corporate entities. In contrast, Chapter 7 governs the process of a liquidation bankruptcy, though liquidation can be done under Chapter 11 also; while Chapter 13 provides a reorganization process for the majority of private individuals.

After 2001

Under O'Donnell's direction, Alesis expanded into new product categories such as electronic drums, mixers, portable PA speakers, and other recording equipment. At the same time, legacy Alesis products like the SR-16 drum machine, continue to be produced and sold more than 20 years after their introduction. Today, Alesis is the fastest-growing brand in drums, and it continues expansion into new product categories in mobile music-making, recording, video, and live sound.

Alesis founder Keith Barr died of an apparent heart attack on August 24, 2010, at age 60. [2] In 2012 Alesis became part of the newly-created inMusic Brands group of companies.

Target market

Alesis products are intended primarily for studio and live performance (rather than practice use) and are now targeted at professional and semi-professional musicians. Alesis is known for budget equipment but has produced high-end and innovative gear such as the Alesis Fusion, Andromeda A6 analog synthesizer, Ion virtual analog modeling synthesizer, as well as the Ion-based Micron. Alesis developed equipment for recording studios during the 1990s.

Alesis models

See also

Related Research Articles

Digital synthesizer

A digital synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses digital signal processing (DSP) techniques to make musical sounds. This in contrast to older analog synthesizers, which produce music using analog electronics, and samplers, which play back digital recordings of acoustic, electric, or electronic instruments. Some digital synthesizers emulate analog synthesizers; others include sampling capability in addition to digital synthesis.

Music technology (electronic and digital) Music technology

Electronic and digital music technology is the use of electronic or digital instruments, computers, electronic effects units, software or digital audio equipment by a musician, composer, sound engineer, DJ or record producer to make, perform or record music. The term usually refers to the use of electronic devices, electronic and digital instruments, computer hardware and computer software that is used in the performance, playback, recording, composition, sound recording and reproduction, mixing, analysis and editing of music.

Analog synthesizer synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sound electronically

An analogsynthesizer is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog signals to generate sound electronically.

Mixing console electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals

In sound recording and reproduction, and sound reinforcement systems, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals. Inputs to the console include microphones being used by singers and for picking up acoustic instruments, signals from electric or electronic instruments, or recorded music. Depending on the type, a mixer is able to control analog or digital signals. The modified signals are summed to produce the combined output signals, which can then be broadcast, amplified through a sound reinforcement system or recorded.

Recording studio facility for sound recording

A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.

Reason (software) software for creating and editing music

Reason is a digital audio workstation for creating and editing music and audio developed by Swedish software developers Propellerhead Software. It emulates a rack of hardware synthesizers, samplers, signal processors, sequencers, and mixers, all of which can be freely interconnected in an arbitrary manner. Reason can be used either as a complete virtual music studio or as a set of virtual instruments to be used with other sequencing software in a fashion that mimics live performance.

Digital audio workstation electronic system designed primarily for editing digital audio

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files. DAWs come in a wide variety of configurations from a single software program on a laptop, to an integrated stand-alone unit, all the way to a highly complex configuration of numerous components controlled by a central computer. Regardless of configuration, modern DAWs have a central interface that allows the user to alter and mix multiple recordings and tracks into a final produced piece.

Boss is a manufacturer of effects pedals for electric guitar and bass guitar. It is a division of the Roland Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer that specializes in musical equipment and accessories. For many years Boss has manufactured a wide range of products related to effects processing for guitars, including "compact" and "twin" effects pedals, multi-effect pedals, electronic tuners and pedal boards. In more recent times, Boss expanded their product line by including Digital Studios, rhythm machines, samplers and other electronic music equipment.

Dave Smith (engineer) American audio engineer and inventor

Dave Smith is an American engineer and musician and founder of the synthesizer company Sequential. Smith was responsible for the first commercial polyphonic and microprocessor-controlled synthesizer, the Prophet-5, and later the multitimbral synthesizer. He is also referred to as the "Father of MIDI" for his role in the development of MIDI, now a standard interface protocol for electronic instruments and recording/pro audio equipment.

An analog modeling synthesizer is a synthesizer that generates the sounds of traditional analog synthesizers using DSP components and software algorithms. Analog modeling synthesizers simulate the behavior of the original electric and electronic circuitry in order to digitally replicate their tone.

TASCAM is the professional audio division of TEAC Corporation, headquartered in Montebello, California. Tascam is credited as the inventor of the Portastudio, the first cassette-based multi-track home studio recorders. Tascam also introduced the first low-cost mass-produced multitrack recorders with Simul-Sync designed for recording musicians. Tascam also manufactured reel-to-reel tape machines and audio mixers for home recordists from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s.

Alesis Andromeda A6

The Alesis Andromeda A6 is a 16-voice, 16-channel multitimbral analog synthesizer by Alesis which was released in 2000 and discontinued in 2010. The Andromeda has analog oscillators and filters combined with modern digital control. It can be considered a hybrid of older and newer technologies, but its entire signal path is purely analogue. The VCOs have a very practical pitch correction function, a feature missing on other old polysynths. The VCOs have FM and ring modulation and sub-oscillators. These features makes it possible to create a much wider sonic palette than usual on analog polysynths.

Delay (audio effect) audio effect reminiscent of an echo

Delay is an audio effect and an effects unit which records an input signal to an audio storage medium, and then plays it back after a period of time. The delayed signal may either be played back multiple times, or played back into the recording again, to create the sound of a repeating, decaying echo.

Alesis Ion

The Alesis Ion is an analog modeling synthesizer. It was presented to the public on the Summer NAMM of 2002. Unlike the Alesis Andromeda, Alesis's analog synthesizer, its sounds are synthesized using DSP chips to mimic the sound of analog audio circuitry and components. Along with its successor, the Alesis Micron, it was developed by Bret Victor.

Electronic drum module

An electronic drum module is an electronic or digital music device in an electronic drum kit that serves as the central processing unit and sound module. The drum module creates or produces the drum kit sounds or other sounds selected by the drummer. By itself, a drum module cannot play or sound drum beats. It only produces drum sounds when a performer strikes electronic drum pads or acoustic drum kit instruments that have electronic "triggers" attached to them. When the electronic drum pads or trigger-equipped instruments are struck, this sends a signal to the drum module, which produces the corresponding electronic drum sound. Even when drum pads and/or triggers are connected to a drum module, the drum module by itself does not make any audible sound. Like other electronic instruments such as the synthesizer, the drum module only outputs an electronic signal. The performer can hear this signal by connecting headphones to the drum module or by plugging the drum module into a amplifier and loudspeaker or PA system for audible practice or live performances. The drum module's output signal can also be patched into an audio console for concerts or sound recording. The nomenclature varies. For example, electronic drum modules are called "percussion sound modules" in the case of Roland Corporation, or sometimes simply modules. A common colloquial term for this device is drum brain..

Musical "outboard equipment" or "gear" is used to alter how a musical instrument sounds. Outboard, (external effects units) can be used either during a live performance or in the recording studio. These are separate from the effects that may be applied by using a mixing console or a digital audio workstation. Some outboard effects units and digital signal processing (DSP) boxes commonly found in a studio are:

ION Audio is a privately held consumer electronics manufacturer based in Cumberland, Rhode Island, United States and is part of inMusic Brands.The company was founded in 2003 to provide easy-to-use audio products at an affordable price, making them accessible to more consumers than ever before.

inMusic is the parent company for a family of brands of varying audio products used in the DJ, music production, live sound, musical instrument, pro audio, software, stage lighting, and consumer electronics industries. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Cumberland, Rhode Island, with additional offices in Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Japan.

References

  1. Home & Studio Recording (UK) September 1986 issue p11 – interview with Keith Barr
  2. 1 2 Petersen, George (August 2010). "In Memoriam: Keith Barr 1949-2010". Mix Magazine Online. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  3. Cimarusti, Luca. "Artist on Artist: Justin Broadrick of Godflesh Talks to Producer Sanford Parker". Chicago Reader . Archived from the original on December 14, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  4. DiVita, Joe. "Top 25 Industrial Rock + Metal Bands of All Time". Loudwire . Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  5. Yelton, Geary. "Gear Geek: Alesis ADAT". Electronic Musician. Future plc. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  6. 1991 Alesis ADAT, TECnology Hall of Fame, Mix Magazine Online| http://mixonline.com/TECnology-Hall-of-Fame/alesis-dat-multitrack-090106 Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Alesis DM5". Sound On Sound. February 1996. Archived from the original on June 6, 2015.

Further reading