ALESIS. MidiVerb 3. Reference Manual SECTION 1. MIDIVERB III QUICK START. The Alesis MIDIVERB III is a high quality multi-effects unit which. Find great deals for Alesis Midiverb III 16 Bit Simultaneous Multi Effects Processor. Shop with confidence on eBay!. REVERBS. Chorus-Reverb-Delay-EQ. Small Bright Room 1. Small Bright Room 2. Small Warm Room. Small Warm Chamber.
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Nigel Lord checks the latest incarnation of Alesis’ standard-setting reverb. Having already enjoyed its second coming, the Midiverb is now on its third – so what have Alesis added to their already successful formula for ?
IN OUR RUSH to condemn the system by which we are constantly entreated to upgrade in favour of “this year’s model”, few of us, I suspect, ever spare a thought for the hapless designer whose job it is to see that we surrender to our acquisitiveness and reach for the cheque book or credit card. But consider the lot of the designers at a company like Alesis: Following the emergence of Yamaha’s hugely popular SPX90, a few years ago, it alwsis became clear that the way forward was the area of multi-effects, where a single unit was capable of providing reverb, chorus, ADT, flanging and delay in various combinations – and, of midivebr, under the control of MIDI.
The iiii would, I’m sure, argue that this simply represented the next logical step in reverb unit design, but I have a suspicion it had something to do with musicians and studio engineers soon realising that having 30 or 40 different reverb patches to play with sounded great, but trying to discern more than about a dozen of them within the context of the average mix was damn near impossible.
Whatever the reason, the user as is so often the case with mass-market equipmenthas come out on top, and with the current crop of machines offering three or four simultaneous bit stereo effects at about the same price you’d have paid for a unit with three or four different 8-bit reverb patches a few years ago, there seems little for us to complain about.
Certainly, this new level of sophistication has made them a viable and cost-effective alternative for guitarists and other instrumentalists – the days of dead 9V batteries and flangers taking the short way off the front of the stage may soon be over. There’s no doubt that the specifications of the Midiverb III – the latest in Alesis’ range of budget reverbs – would put your average double bucking, tube screaming, electric cry-baby effects pedal to miidverb Of course, it is finished in a rather conservative shade of black as opposed to the electric puce more familiar to our guitarist friends, but I’m sure even they could learn to live with it.
Alessi achieves this status by virtue of being programmable – which the Midiverb II is not – but having fewer effects and a slightly less impressive spec than the Quadraverb. Actually, given the multiple effects of which each of these units is capable, it is perhaps a little odd that Alesis should have stuck with the verb suffix in the naming of their products.
I’d have thought they might be tempted to move away from the kind of name which suggests these are simply reverb units. But then, I don’t suppose Alesis need any marketing lessons from me. All the same, people with no prior knowledge of this kind of unit our guitarist friends, for example might well undervalue the Midiverb III and that would be a shame.
The last of these, EQ, though not, perhaps, an effect per se, is nevertheless highly useful on a unit such as this, as it can be applied individually to the input signal and to any of the other three effects, making it possible to determine the ‘colour’ of the reverb, for example.
More on this later. Being designed primarily for use in studio racks, the Midiverb III is a 1U-high, 19″ rack unit with all controls situated on the front panel.
All audio inputs are high impedance for optimum signal matching to external gear, and this may include a directly connected microphone if you’re prepared to put up with a little extra noise.
Finally, there are Signal present and Clip LEDs to provide visual indication of input levels and the onset of distortion.
I won’t insult you with a description of the Value, Edit, Bypass, Store or Program number buttons, but Configure and Modulation require a few words of explanation.
For example, in some configurations the chorus effect is connected directly to the output whilst in others it is applied to the input of the reverb or delay alesiz. There are 15 configurations in all, consisting of various effects combinations – though in all cases, the input filter of the EQ section comes first in the chain. In a number of configurations, the Delay section is used to provide a pre-delay for the reverb midierb simulate the effect of very large rooms, whilst in others it is used as a conventional digital delay.
Rather disappointingly, delay time is limited to ms in all but two configurations, and even here a figure of ms represents the upper limit. So if, like me, you enjoy writing percussion tracks which use delay as an implicit part of the rhythm, you’re likely to find the Midiverb somewhat restricted, particularly on slower tracks. On a more positive note, the manual contains individual block diagrams for each of the 15 configurations, and lists the various effects possibilities available from each.
The six parameters available for control are reverb decay time, reverb level, delay time, delay level, delay regeneration feedback and chorus speed – giving a total of 48 routing options together with control of modulation amplitude by either a positive or negative amount.
Alesis Midiverb III (MT Mar 90)
This kind of facility, as you might imagine, makes the Midiverb highly useful alezis live situations, where a player may find it difficult to move away from his or her instrument – another indication, perhaps, that Alesis were looking to extend the appeal of this unit beyond that of the home and semi-professional studio user. MIDI mapping is less complicated than it sounds and is simply alesix means of setting up the unit so that program change numbers sent via MIDI may midivegb directed to any of the Midiverb’s programs.
Setting up a MIDI map is quite straightforward: Incidentally, all mapping functions are global and cannot be stored with individual programs. These are accessed by first selecting iiii relevant effects button and then pressing the Edit button once for the first parameter, and again for the second. The first of the two reverb parameters, Reverb Algorithm, offers you a choice of 20 different reverb types from a list which includes halls, chambers, rooms, plates, reverse and gated effects.
The overall decay of each of these effects can be adjusted using the second of the two available parameters, Decay Time.
This is quite straightforward in operation apart from its use with gated reverb effects where it is used to determine the length of the gated sound, and on reverse reverb where, for obvious reasons, it has no effect at all. Combined, these two parameters provide a surprisingly wide range of reverb effects, and unlike some units I’ve used, the range is fairly consistent, so there is less chance of defaulting to one or two tried and trusted settings each time you switch on.
And don’t forget, the judicious application of a little high frequency roll-off courtesy of the EQ section can provide extra interest in terms of sound colouration should it be required.
When describing the Midiverb III as being stereo as I did earlierI may have given the impression that this applied to the delay section too, which it doesn’t. Of course, in practice, being restricted to mono delays means little more than not being able to set up those intensely irritating ping-pong’ effects which seem to crop up on most units these days if you think you’ve just unearthed an underlying prejudice of mine, you’d be right.
Control over delay consists of two straightforward parameters for adjusting Delay Time and Regeneration feedback – which, when you think about it, is really all you need. As explained earlier, the maximum ms delay is available only in the last two configurations 14 and 15which do not include any reverb effect.
In all other configurations a delay time of ms ,idiverb the most you have to work with. To be fair, I really think you need to look at the delay section as being included primarily to provide pre-delay for the reverb programs rather than as a fully-fledged effects section in its own right. And this being the case, actually having a half-second delay at your disposal in midoverb form can only be regarded as a bonus.
As with reverb, the first edit parameter in the chorus section allows you to choose the algorithm which forms the basis of each program.
A total of 24 algorithms are available, divided equally between chorus and flanging effects. These two groups are then sub-divided to each provide six mono and six stereo effects, varying in intensity – from small to big depth, as the manual so quaintly puts midlverb. The second parameter, Chorus Speed, gives you control over the modulation rate of the effects – pitch in the case of chorus and time in the case of flanging. As explained earlier, the high-cut filters which form the basis of the Midiverb’s EQ section may be applied individually to either.
Once again, we’re looking at a facility which has been included primarily as a means of producing more convincing reverb effects, but it does have its place in tailoring the overall sound of the unit, which for those without individual EQ controls on the effects loops on their mixing desks and so on, should prove quite useful.
This is achieved simply by pressing Program and inputting a value directly midierb the ten buttons sub-labelled Whether you decide to do it this way depends very much on what it is you need to input, but I found myself using the keypad more and more after getting impatient waiting for the increment button to step from program 6 to program On the rear panel of the Midiverb, there are no real surprises: Finally, there’s the simple but all-important 9V socket through which the Midiverb draws its power.
As with all Alesis units, the Midiverb III uses an external adaptor, which, it should be noted, provides an AC output as opposed to the DC supplied by almost every other make of equipment – so you can’t interchange adaptors. Actually, this is tied in with the fact that Alesis used to fit miniature 3. Though they prevented you from using any other make of adaptor, they had a tendency to short and produce a nasty spark if the plug was withdrawn with the supply still connected to the mains.
All things considered, I think using the new sockets and sticking to the right power adaptor is the best approach. The ROM programs included on the Midiverb III, despite not being described in the accompanying manual are in all ways representative of the sort of results it is capable of producing.
Without ever getting too bizarre, the programs are imaginative and cleverly conceived. In fact I’d go so far as to say I don’t think it would be possible to achieve much more with what’s available. Obviously each program is likely to be tailored to suit individual applications, and parameters will be tweaked and adjusted, but it really isn’t possible to stray too far from what’s already provided.
I think it’s fair to say that on most multi-effects units, reverb quality provides the best yardstick by which it may be judged.
All user reviews for the Alesis MidiVerb III
Smooth, with none of the tendency toward “ringiness” which mars a lot of reverb programs, it moves from small, live rooms to huge empty halls with consummate ease. And despite its inherent limitations the delay section acquits itself too – even below modiverb ms mark, you can coax enough slapback echo and ADT effects out of it to make midivetb earn its keep.
The chorus and flanging effects, though not the most convincing I’ve ever heard, are certainly very usable, especially at the more subtle end of the range.
But you do need to optimise your signal levels if noise isn’t to become a problem, particularly with flanging. Even with its restricted programming options, the Midiverb soon exhausts the range of conventional characters and starts to rely on cryptic combinations of upper and lower case letters which often defy recognition without the instruction manual in your hand. I realise that cost slesis a consideration here, but this kind of display should have died out years ago.
Beyond that, however, I can think of little to criticise. I’ve no doubt that competitors will soon appear, but right now there’s nothing to compare it with at alesid price. To my mind it offers just the right amount of programmability for an effects midiverbb – and if mixiverb seems to imply I think some units offer too much, I won’t attempt to deny it. Reverb programming is a law of diminishing returns, and beyond a certain point you can do little to a program which will ultimately benefit the music.
The Midiverb III keeps you on the right side of that line and for that reason alone I’d recommend it wholeheartedly.
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