Alesis Studio Electronics was founded in Hollywood in 1984 by MXR co-founder Keith Barr. Leveraging his ability to design custom integrated circuits, Barr’s company was able to introduce technologically advanced products at prices within the realm of most project studios. Alesis’ first product was the Alesis XT Reverb. Introduced in 1985, the XT Reverb was an all-digital reverb that carried an unprecedented low price of US$799. In 1986 Alesis produced the first under-$1000 16-bit professional effects processor, the Alesis MIDIverb, which had a 12-bit A/D converter and MIDI control. It was joined later in the year by the Microverb, which lacked MIDI but had a 16-bit A/D converter.
What followed from here was a string of affordable digital effects processors and digital reverbs. When Alesis had exhausted every opportunity with digital effects processing, they delivered their most historically significant product in the early 1990s, the Alesis ADAT 8 track digital recorder. The Alesis ADAT used S-VHS tape in a compact rack mount recorder that brought the cost of digital recording to the masses at a relatively affordable price of US$4,000. At this point, Alesis had the world at their feet and they went on to produce a range of studio electronics making them one of the most successful brands of the 1980s and 1990s. Like all good things however it all came to and end, and Alesis came crashing down around the early 2000s, when the company filed for bankruptcy. The company was restructured and continues to this day making a full range of musical products, but their prime period of innovation is certainly long gone.