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NanoSynth At a Glance
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|Dan Halbert writes:|
The NanoSynth is approximately a QS6 in a module, with some differences and limitations. The functionality available from the front-panel knobs is limited, and you really need to use a computer and editor/librarian program to make full use of this module.
The basic sound samples are the same as the QS6. Some of the programs are different. The effects architecture is the same as the other QS synths.
The program banks are numbered and arranged differently from the QS6: bank 0 is General MIDI, the User bank is bank 1, and the Preset banks are banks 2, 3, and 4. The preset and initial user programs are arranged in groups of 8, following the GM pattern, instead of the groups of 10 used in the other QS synthesizers. So a QS6 sequence that uses only Program and Bank changes is not going to sound right.
There are NO preset mixes (program combinations) in each bank, unlike the other QS's. I believe you can store 100 User Bank mixes (there are none initially), but you can only store and retrieve them via MIDI SysEx, and not via the front panel.
The front panel has 5 knobs: Volume (audio out volume), Effect (varies one (the "most useful"?) of the effects used in the currently selected program), Channel (MIDI channel 1-16), Category (Piano, Chromatic, Synth Lead, etc. (16 altogether)), and Program (1-16).
To set a channel to a particular program, you select the channel, then turn Category and/or Program knobs. Programs 1-8 are from the GM bank; Programs 9-16 are from the User Bank. If you don't touch the Category or Program knobs when you're set to a particular channel, they won't change.
So you can only select 256 Programs from the front panel, and none from the Preset banks. If your controller keyboard has Bank select, you can select from the Presets that way, or you could use a computer to copy programs from the Preset banks to the User bank so you could use the knobs (if you're not using a computer anyway). But I wish there was a Bank Select on the front panel.
There is a memory battery (unlike the NanoPiano and NanoBass), so edits and settings are remembered between sessions.
There is no PC Card slot, unlike the other QS's, so you can't use your own samples or add banks of programs.
The NanoSynth comes with the usual Alesis CD of useful software, including Unisyn and Cubasis. Unisyn is absolutely necessary, since you can't do any editing without it.
There is a set of audio ins which just mix with the audio outs. This is useful to mix your soundcard output with the NanoSynth.
The audio connections are RCA phono jacks, not 1/4" jacks (not enough room on the back for the latter).
Enough technical explication! It's tiny, it's cheap, and it sounds really great. If you're going to use it primarily for composing with a computer, it's a really good deal. For performance, it's not as convenient as a QS6 (or QSR), so think about what you need.
Comments About the Sounds:
Sounds are basically the same as a QS6. Some differences in User & Preset Programs.
Links for the Alesis NanoSynth
Try the Alesis links page for more..