Aiming to liberate keyboard players from the shackles of their normally immobile instruments, Alesis have introduced a new keytar-style wireless USB/MIDI controller. The Vortex Wireless 2 uses a USB dongle to connect to Macs, PCs and keyboards with a compatible USB host port, giving keyboardists license to roam the stage.
In addition to a three-octave keyboard with aftertouch, the Vortex Wireless 2 features eight pads and eight sliders, all backlit, plus a pitch-bend wheel, touchstrip and an internal, MIDI-assignable tilt sensor. The ‘neck’ portion of the controller places a number of useful buttons conveniently within reach, including sustain, octave up/down, tilt sensor on/off and various key split and touch strip control presets. The Vortex Wireless 2 is powered by four AA batteries and features wired USB and MIDI connectors alongside its wireless capabilities. In addition to its wireless USB dongle, the Vortex includes a strap and cable harness — though you can also attach any standard guitar strap — and a comprehensive software bundle that includes a MIDI editor, Ableton Live Lite and a range of virtual instruments from AIR Music Tech and Way Out Ware. Available very soon, the Vortex Wireless 2 is priced at $299£229.99.
Alesis have also added two new eight-piece electronic drum kits to their range. The Surge Mesh Kit ($499£529.99) includes a 10-inch dual-zone mesh-head snare, three 8-inch dual-zone mesh tom pads, an 8-inch mesh kick and three 10-inch cymbals — a hi-hat, ride and choke-able crash. The Surge Drum module, featuring 40 kits and 60 play-along tracks, is also included along with kick and hi-hat pedals, a four-post chrome mounting rack, cables and sticks, forming a complete kit for debutant drummers. The Command Mesh Kit (£699.99$699) ups the ante with premium mounting hardware and the Professional Command Drum Module, which provides 70 kits and the ability to load your own samples and backing tracks from a USB stick. Both kits will be available in the first quarter of 2018.