So I've heard a lot of different views on the Fusion. People seem to generally think that the sounds it comes with aren't as good as others.
I currently have no synth or keyboard. I have played the piano for quite a while and taken lots of lessons, but recently moved out of my parents house and have no access to a piano. While I would like to be able to play nice-sounding piano songs like those by Chopin, I'm not really picky about having a perfect representation of a real piano. I'm more interested in the things that set a workstation apart from a normal piano - sequencing, voices, effects . . .
I have no immediate plans to gig with the keyboard I buy or perform with it, although I don't want to rule out that possibility in the future.
Anyway, the Fusion jumps out at me because of its design, features, and capability for updates and new sounds. But I'm still left wondering some things:
1. I read a review that mentioned transferring songs or sounds onto an inserted flash card and THEN transferring via USB to a computer. Is it not possible to take a flash drive and transfer files that way? If not, what keyboard allows this?
2. From someone with no bias, are the new sounds provided by Sweetwater and other online sources starting to make the attacks against Fusion's sub-par sounds meaningless?
3. How compatible is the Fusion with computer programs like Cubase?
4. Are glitches and crashing a big problem with the Fusion?
All comments and advice are helpful at this point. I'm having a very hard time picking out a keyboard in the $1200 - $1600 range. I'm also considering the Yamaha MO8, but it seems to be lacking quite a few features. I guess it just seems weird to get the MO8 for the sound when the Fusion is cheaper and allows for easy sound updates via the internet.
Sorry about the long post. I'm just trying to get as much information as possible before investing in something I plan to play for a long time.
Transferring songs and sounds and/or use with a computer.
You can transfer songs and sounds via a flash card with "most" workstation class keyboards. That is also true of connecting to a computer. You need both type of USB ports on your keyboard in order to do both. Some USB ports are only meant for backing up, others are to "Host" connections, so you use a computer with it. I believe the Fusion has both, I'm not sure about the MO8. Cubase or any similar software should work fine with the Fusion.
As far as the quality of the on board sounds and loading new ones. What people have been complaining about are the quality of native samples themselves. Sweetwater has great people working for them so I'm sure the patches they created are an improvement over some of the original patches on the Fusion. However, they are still working with the native samples on the Fusion itself. So there are limitations to what they can do. Being that the price on the Fusion is so low and everyone is selling them for the same $$, by all means, if you're going to buy it, get it from Sweetwater. There's a lot more value that Sweetwater gives you than other "Internet" dealers, considering that price is not the issue.
I would suggest you listen to Alesis's home page sounds of the Fusion and decide if you like what you hear. I believe Sweetwater will accept a return with possibly a small restocking fee if you get the Fusion and don't like it.
One thing about Alesis you need to remember, they are the "low price leader". There are a number of companies in the market place that make "better" keyboards, but you won't get a better value for the dollar than what Alesis gives you. I own an Alesis Ion, I have it two years, no problems with it. Sure, there are "better" Virtual Analogs out there, for twice the price or more. It does what I need it to do, it sounds great, and I very satisfied with it.
As far as the bugs in the Fusion OS. They can be "fixed" provided Alesis stays on top of it, and doesn't go out of business.
The Yamaha MO8 has a better quality soundset than the Fusion, but the Fusion is more powerful in terms of capabilities. I think you need to go to both Alesis and Yamaha website and check the spec's out. Then, call your Sweetwater Rep and get his opinion based on what you want to do with the KB.
Greetings! I just received a Fusion 8HD and ran through a lot of the sounds. my particular unit has some Sweetwater sounds and a lot of Hollow Sun (UK) sounds, and much more. I have a great deal to explore with this synth, and I own Yamaha, Access, Roland, and E-mu / Ensoniq synths as well.
How does this one sound? Very good, when tweaked. I noticed that a great many of the pads sound very much alike at the default, but they tweak a little differently, as when you change resonance and envelope.
The Synth is also a little reticent to understand control input at times, though that could be just me.
This seems to be a machine with great unfulfilled promise. Since Alesis discontinued it, the sound development has passed on to other people who are doing very nice things with it. The demo's are very revealing about the potential of this instrument, and I have to say that the Holy Grail Piano is fantastic. I can only barely tell it is a sample playback, it is that good, even in 2009!
I intend to use this as my controller, that's why I was looking for an 88 key station. I did not expect to find something so versatile for so little. It will do well with all my other synths tagging along with it.