Tech Preview: Alesis Vortex (updated)

Update 16/1/31: The Alesis Vortex has been replaced by the Alesis Vortex Wireless . But the links below about in-depth reviews and complete user manual are still applicable and current.

Update: 2012/12/21 – I am reviewing the Vortex in new posts. The first part is at:

Update: 2012/12/29 – Second part of the Vortex Review/Guide. Programming and midi messages at:

This is the Vortex.

Alesis VortexAlesis Vortex

It’s a Keyboard/Midi controller: a keytar. You might read all sorts of reviews already. You might, or might not, like the idea. For me, two things are important: first, it’s not available yet(!)(not before May 2012) so, as far as I’m concerned, cannot be reviewed. Second, I’m looking at the controller possibilities. So this post is about the Vortex’s technical specs (or what I get/imagine from the Alesis site. I will probably get a unit when it’s available. So you will have to come back for more!

The main features are:

  • The first USB keytar controller—works with all of your software instruments & synths on Mac, PC, & iOS* devices
  • USB and traditional MIDI jacks for use with virtually any synth, sound module, or other MIDI hardware or software
  • Embedded, MIDI-assignable accelerometer for performance parameter control by tilting the neck
  • Thumb-controlled volume slider, sustain button and pitch-bend wheel on neck
  • Finger-controlled MIDI-assignable touchstrip, sustain, and octave-control buttons on neck
  • 37 velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch for compact, yet complete melodic range
  • Eight velocity-sensitive drum pads/sample triggers enable you to create beats or trigger clips
  • Large transport & patch-select controls for instant access
  • Includes strap; standard guitar strap pegs are compatible with virtually any strap
  • Bus powered when USB-connected to Mac or PC; battery compartment for use with MIDI modules and iOS devices



4 responses to “Tech Preview: Alesis Vortex (updated)”

  1. Peter Sharp Avatar
    Peter Sharp

    Sounds like fun 🙂 Unfortunately, on the link provided, the “Find a dealer” option only lists USA & UK – no Australia 🙁 Not saying I’ll get one, but would be fun to test one!

    1. Ya, I know, not even Canada! But since it’s not for sale yet…

  2. Peter Avatar

    On a recent “drive-by” visit to a music store, I spied something that looked very similar – a Roland AX-09 Lucina ( No accelerometer, but it has a modulator bar that offers similar functionality. I’m wondering if you’ve seen this or thought of comparing …

    1. I looked at the Roland AX-09. Similar controls as the Alesis Vortex but includes it’s own synthesizer. That’s the main difference. The Roland is meant to be a “do-it-all” instrument that can be plugged in as your only instrument on stage. It even has sound input (like MP3) so you can merge pre-recorded sounds to your output stream. The Alesis is a Midi controller only. By itself, it doesn’t make a “peep”. It is much more assignable than the Roland, though. Every key and knob can be programmed.

      For me, the Vortex is more appealing. I never play without a synthesizer/computer/iPad anyway. So my needs are for a programmable controller. I currently use an M-Audio Oxygen 25 ( that I even thought of modifying to make it portable (à la keytar!). It does what these two keytars do, and more. It’s even roughly the same size and weight!

      I will get the Vortex for it’s easier use of the pitch wheel and that “touch bar”. Also, the little touch pads are great for rhythm and sample triggering.

      Finally, the price: the Roland AX-09 is 600$. The Alesis Vortex is 300$. Ouch!

      P.S. My little M-Audio keyboard is only 140$. Maybe I should modify it a bit to make it do what the Vortex is doing…

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