Sunday, May 16, 2010

Alesis Nanoverb

Papa's got a brand new verb!

Well, allright, this isn't exactly new : I've just found it at a garage sale for virtually nothing, and it seems in perfect working order.

The Nanoverb is Alesis's 1996 mini digital reverb unit, on the trail of the Microverb I and II. It's small, and I mean, really small, roughly the size of a guitar pedal. The built is sturdy and trustworthy and the layout couldn't be simpler : 1 Input Gain knob, 1 Output Gain, 1 Mix balance, 1 Preset selector and 1 Parameter adjustment knob.

Yeah, you've heard me : only one Parameter knob, which is pretty drastic, but keep in mind it's a very simple, budget unit.

The Nanoverb features 16 ROM presets.

First, of course, the reverbs.

3 Concert Hall, 3 Room, 3 Plate reverbs : they're all very good, with special mention to the Room algorithm. Not that you will get the natural, lush sound of a pricey Lexicon, but the Nanoverb still produces a nice, moody atmosphere to any track, without getting too metallic or brilliant.

1 Nonlinear reverb (to quote the manual : In the mid '80s, a certain British producer/engineer (who shall remain anonymous) discovered a clever way of creating a huge drum sound. He would place the drum set in a large, reverberant room, mic the room and chop off the end of the reverb tail with a noise gate. When this sound caught on, digital reverbs began to be released with a "Nonlinear" program, which simulated this effect. In the end their simulation became more widely used than the effect it was trying to emulate, and the non linear reverb earned it's place in effects history).

When a reverb is selected, the Parameter knob adjusts the decay.

Then, the "pitch based effects".

1 rather uninspiring Chorus, 1 semi-decent Flanger, 1 usable Rotary, and a couple of more interesting Chorus/Room algorithms.

I've recorded these three demos with the unit.

1. A very digital sequence (a most famous D50 factory patch), first dry, then passing through the various pitch-based presets and tweaking them.

2. A very analog pad from the Prophet 08, with various heavy reverbs.

3. The same D50 sequence, this time using the other effects..

Finally, the specs:

Electrical Frequency Response: ±1dB from 20Hz to 20 kHz
Dynamic Range: >90dB "A" wtg., 20 Hz-22kHz
Distortion: <0.009%><0.005%>
Crosstalk: <90db>

Number of Channels: 2
Format: 1/4" unbalanced
Nominal Level: -10 dBV, adjustable to +4 dBu
Maximum Level: +10 dBV
Impedance: 1MW/channel stereo, 500kW/channel mono
A/D - D/A Conversions
A/D converter: 18 bit Sigma-Delta, 128 times oversampling
D/A converter: 18 bit Sigma-Delta, 8 times oversampling

Number of Channels: 2
Format: 1/4" unbalanced
Maximum Level: +17.5 dBu
Nominal Level -20 dBV or +4dBu, front- panel adjustable
Output Impedance: 500 ohms

Power 9 Volt Power Transformer (Alesis P3)
Processor Speed: 3 MIPs (million instructions per second)
Internal processing resolution: 24 bit accumulator
Factory Preset Programs (ROM): 16

Delay memory: 1270 milliseconds

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