Greetings, programs

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Greetings, programs

Post by Repomancer »

Hello all! I've been lurking about off and on for quite a while, but haven't really got into the Fusion until recently. (The reasons why are explained in nauseating detail below, but it's best to just take my word for it and stop reading now. It gets kind of weird.)

Thank you for not reading the rest of this: I (used to) double on piano and sax/flute, and was sort of reasonably competent, sort of. I lived in Los Angeles through the 80's and 90's and made walkin' around money as a session player. (Pro Tip: bands working on their demo tape rent the cheapest studio time they can get, so you always leave Hollywood at 2 AM and always get pulled over. Just being on the road in that part of town at that hour is Probable Cause as far as the boys in blue are concerned, so avoid the trunk and put as much of your gear as will fit on the seats. They shine the flashlight, lose interest, and you get to go home without leaning on the car.) One time (I think it was in '85) the LA Weekly misguidedly sent someone to review a band I was in, and described me as "the most dangerous doubler in L.A." (Sadly, I don't have my printed copy anymore, and their digital archives don't go back that far.) My first acquaintance with synthesizers was in the modular analog days, where you could never have enough patchcords nor holes to put them in.

I bought an 8HD a few years ago, but before I could really start digging into the thing, I was flummoxed by a neurological malady that paralyzed my left hand. (I'm left-handed, too, so that made it even more fun.) Surgeons fiddled with my nerves in early 2010 which helped, but the muscles had atrophied and some fingers stayed numb. I'd studied piano for about 40 years, so it Compromised my Fun. After watching the Fusion and a Rachmaninoff concerto on the music stand next to it gather dust for a year, I gave up, admitted defeat, and banished it to the closet so it'd stop looking at me. It shared the space with some other interesting stuff, like my Sequential T-8, Arp 2600, (original) Steiner EVI, Korg T3, my flute, and my saxophones (one of which I bought new for $500 and could trade for a new car today, but the requisite seppuku would limit any driving pleasure) so I hope it wasn't too bored.

Not being able to play anything was driving me xxxxxxxxxx nuts by the time this year rolled around, so in desperation I pulled out my Yamaha wind controller, 'cause unlike everything else it doesn't require finger muscles. Since it doesn't make sound, I also liberated the Fusion plus sufficient mixers, amps, speakers, outboard gear, etc., to make it theoretically audible. A couple of weeks later, I realized I'd been having so much fun just playing the Fusion, I'd been ignoring the WX-5, had regained a lot of strength in the gimp-hand and was actually, like, playing stuff for the first time in years. That drove me back to this forum (still had the bookmark from a million years ago) and ho-lee crap, I would have given up ever trying to make sense of yon Fusion without the sage advice of Jesse, psionic, and the other savants that infest the place. Even though I feel like I'm just barely scratching the surface, the Fun vastly outweighs the Frustration, but it sure wouldn't be that way if you lot weren't around. So thank God for all of you, and thank all of you very much. Sincerely.

The Fusion's documentation is iffy at best, and (IMO) the user interface isn't exactly, um, intuitive. (I wouldn't call it "user-hostile", but I wouldn't call it "user-friendly", either.) But oh, my, the machine is powerful beyond belief. I had no idea what I'd bought, nor what had been sitting in the closet the last few years. You can pay several thousand bucks for something less potent even today. (The "something" has a nice, easy-to-use sequencer, patch editor, a color screen built in, etc., etc., but is all that worth five or six times the Fusion's price? Not to me. We are Warriors, and I think we understand each other.)

I have a computer-geekery kind of Day Job (I wrote a computer game in the '90s that sold 7.2 million copies and some of you may have actually heard of). It's a good thing to have because that way you can play music without dying of exposure / starvation / people snickering at your 1968-vintage car. Paychecks exist to let you play music.

My "thing" is live performance, rather than sequencing / production or what have you, so the Fusion is admittedly an awkward choice because it weighs a ton. Goal #1 is "get someone else to haul it around," something I've tried in the past and heartily recommend. (See above re: the Prophet T-8, that weighs more than many minor planets.) I've got it responding nicely to the WX-5 and have almost concocted a setup where I can subtract the computer, fancy MIDI routing, and all other non-portable gear without it being too far removed from what I'm used to here at headquarters. I didn't even know about the physical simulation synth bit when I bought the keyboard -- talk about nice surprises!

Before I go on way to long (oops, too late): (this is all true) I've played on a Bob Hope special, mixed Stanley Jordan at the Hollywood House of Blues, jammed with Jimmy Page (w/the Black Crowes playing backup), had an audition lined up with Frank Zappa (who selfishly died and put the fork to my dreams), and onceuponatime was the most senior programmer at a tiny company called Activision, when it was about 15 people and was fun. (Re all the crap in this paragraph: I sincerely kid you not. Really. Of course, none of it is actually as impressive as it sounds, it's just stuff that happened, but hey. 'Tis true.)

I've got a zillion questions that I'll annoy people with Real Soon Now -- there's a lot to learn and quite a bit of it isn't in "Fusion for Dummies," but I've gone on way too long and it'll keep. For the nonce, thank you all for not reading this like I told you not to. Also (and I mean this sincerely) thank you for helping this keyboard make sense. it's been a lot of fun and there's much more to be had.

Fusion 8HD, Prophet T8, Korg T3, WX-5 + VL70m, Steiner EVI, ARP 2600, Roland & Kurzweil rack thingys, misc. weird analog stuff, Steinway baby, horns.

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Re: Greetings, programs

Post by Jesse »

Be sure to check out psionic's Fusion tips ... =34&t=4970
Tempus & Ludwig drums, Roto Toms-Djembe, Bongo's, Ibanez Bass, Fusion8HD, SUMO300 Amps, Alesis16 Firewire mixer, AKG D112-Behringer, B2-Shure, Beta 58a mics, Win10, Audigy soundcard, Audition3 & East West Goliath sound bank

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Re: Greetings, programs

Post by parametric »


I think "welcome back" is in order . . . . I am glad to hear that your hands are improving . . . even nicer to hear that the Fusion Helped :)

A very interesting account too. You have done/achieved much and its nice to know that you are easing back into playing again.

We have the 8HD in common - and I agree with all you have said. Being a piano player - I have been very impressed with the 8HD's keybed. I can get bucketloads of expression from it - very comparable to my Baby Grand - and indeed many other Full sized Grands I have played.

The Fusion is indeed immensely capable - and has already repaid time I have spent learning how it likes to do things . . . I doubt I'll live long enough to know it all, but I find it condusive to the way I create music.

New sounds are readily inserted - if the already enormous selection doesn't quite do it, and you can sample straight to the Fusion too.

I haven't even explored the analog and fm synthesis aspects yet :oops:

All in all, an incredible machine for so little money - Its a great pity that Alesis turned their back on it . . . The OS is really unfinished leaving promises unfulfilled and the FAT Manual, little more than a list of menu entries . . . .

So we are agreed on much.

I'd certainly be interested to hear how you find the Physical Modelling Programs work with your WX?

I don't think any of us have a "handle" on how these are, when triggered by a proper wind controller.

Just how good a job did the Sound Designers/Alesis do on this?

Its amazing that you were to tryout with Frank. . . :shock: I do miss him. SO far ahead of his time in so many ways, sadly I never saw him live.

My proudest possession possibly is a small enamel Badge from the European Tour of 1980, that simply says "Zappa" on it. Closest I got.

Outside of my own stuff - I was a singer with the English Chamber Choir for many years and have sung on some notable albums - Three for Rick Wakeman, Three for Vangelis - and even a track for Black Sabbath - and a number of others . . .

I DID actually learn the Flute, back in school, though I've not touched one since, and my guitar playing took a hit when I smashed a knuckle in my left hand in a motorcycle accident - still, I was never THAT good anyway . . . .

I mostly originate stuff on the Fusion and record it ALL to audio, track by track (to preserve the sound of the Fusion's PROGRAMS) rather than using MIDI . . . and finish it off in "Reaper".

So still loads of learning to do :lol:

I think being able to get stuff IN and OUT of the Fusion easily is important. I hate proprietary formats that prevent you using YOUR stuff the way you want.

Point taken about giging the 8HD though - You need to be two separate Gorillas to move it easily - especially when you add a hard case . . . .

Ever considered a 6HD? I haven't given up the idea of having both! The architecture is IDENTICAL which is extremely cool . . .

Anyhow - Welcome "Home"

Best Regards

Alesis Fusions 8SSD + 6SSD/384Mb/120Gb SSD/Yamaha SY85/8.5Mb/1024kb/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash/Akai ADVANCE61/NI Komplete11 Ultimate/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu Mate 15.04/M-Audio MicroTrack

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Re: Greetings, programs

Post by cb »

I almost crashed the screen trying to smash your bug :)

Your story is really inspiring.

Welcome back!

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