Recently I have been getting the distinct impression that the 80s are back? Day-Glo, skinny jeans, high top trainers, mullets... and now... keytars! Have Alesis brought the Keytar right up to date here or just added a few extra buttons to an extinct classic? Let's take a closer look at the Alesis Vortex Keytar...
When the 'Vortex' turned up in my studio my initial reaction was... Why is there a keytar in my house? But of course I'm open minded so got on with my thorough evaluation of the instrument. Before I did, I donned a shell suit, a headband and some high top trainers.
In all seriousness, apart from the slightly suspect name, I was pretty impressed by the Vortex. It was very well packaged, came with an impressive array of accessories, including a super long USB cable, a strap and various CDs and manuals.
It's a keytar! And it's white!
For a minute, ignore the fact that the Vortex looks like it should be in the back of Michael J. Fox's Delorean and let's have a look at the overall build quality of this instrument.
Build Quality And Features
The Vortex is 99% plastic, but it is well put together. Alesis have made a fair few keyboards in their time and that expertise is put to use here. It feels solid and the keyboard has a pretty convincing action (synth-weighted obviously) and all the knobs, pads and buttons feel pretty sturdy.
Although it may not be to everyones taste the Vortex is pretty sturdy.
When it comes to the knobs and buttons, there really are plenty of them. Along the 'neck' you have sliders, a mod wheel, several buttons and even a ribbon controller. The main body sports drum pads, full size knobs, more buttons and an LCD display. One thing's for sure, you won't be wanting for anymore hands-on control here.
The controls on the 'neck'.
All this needs power though which can come from three different sources: batteries, USB or the included PSU. This gives you a fair amount of options and means you can use it with a wireless MIDI system, a standard MIDI cable or even just a USB cable. The PSU is ideal if you plan to use this in the studio.
The Vortex has a good selection of power options.
It's obvious that the Vortex isn't going to appeal to everyone, it's a pretty niche product and more or less the only new Keytar release I've seen in recent years. All this said, if you are in the market for a new performance instrument and fancy something a little different, this could be right up your street.
Some drum pads are also thrown in for good measure.
With plenty of control capabilities, decent build quality and striking retro looks, this is sure to appeal to some of the more adventurous keyboard players out there. The only real drawback here is that as soon as you strap it on you have to start playing Axel F.
Discover more: http://alesis.com/vortex