Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

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Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby hemmick reef » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:12 pm

I am think about getting a VA synth and wonder if anybody has had experience with these two.
I know that the Nord has a better a control surface, but the Micron is much cheaper and if the sound is similar (which I here is good) I would go for the Micron.
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby Sir Ruff » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:15 pm

If you can settle for the nord lead 2 rack, you really won't be paying too much more than the micron... that and a little cheap controller and you're set. I only played the micron briefly, so I can't totally comment on its sound, but in terms of interface, the NL is much more accessible (and fun).
Do you even post on vse bro?
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby Big Gnome » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:39 pm

I think an Ion would be a better comparison to a Nord Lead than the Micron on account of its control surface and larger keyboard.

It depends what you're looking for.
No one can reasonably state the Ion/Micron doesn't put the Nords to shame in terms of architecture with more oscillators per voice, two multimode filters, a huge modulation matrix, and so on. So it comes down to each machine's character. Opinion seems to be sharply divided on the Ion's sound; I like it myself, you may not. Likewise, loads of people swear by the "Nord sound," and more power to them, but it doesn't do a thing for me. If that sound is what you're after, you will never be happy with an Ion or Micron; if you're more interested in sound design, you'll probably find the Nord limited.
The best thing you can do is try both at a Guitar Center or something and decide for yourself which speaks to you.
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby hemmick reef » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:52 pm

Big Gnome wrote:I think an Ion would be a better comparison to a Nord Lead than the Micron on account of its control surface and larger keyboard.

It depends what you're looking for.
No one can reasonably state the Ion/Micron doesn't put the Nords to shame in terms of architecture with more oscillators per voice, two multimode filters, a huge modulation matrix, and so on. So it comes down to each machine's character. Opinion seems to be sharply divided on the Ion's sound; I like it myself, you may not. Likewise, loads of people swear by the "Nord sound," and more power to them, but it doesn't do a thing for me. If that sound is what you're after, you will never be happy with an Ion or Micron; if you're more interested in sound design, you'll probably find the Nord limited.
The best thing you can do is try both at a Guitar Center or something and decide for yourself which speaks to you.


I am not able to test these two synths locally so I am tending to read reviews and watch youtube videos.

How would you describe the different charaters - it would help to know what others think.
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby carbon111 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:38 pm

I had an Ion for a while but ended up returning it for a Nord Lead 2X.

The Nord was more immediate for me, programming more straightforward, nicer build quality...I liked its overall sound much better as well.

The only drawbacks were no aftertouch and no patch naming (only numbers).
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby Joey » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:41 pm

I used to own a lead 2x, and have played many ions and microns

the nord has much more of a biting high end, hence its name, the thing can cut through any mix period

the ion is the most 'analog sounding' va available, it can easily get very warm and is much much deeper than the nord editing wise, it has many more filter types, an effects section, etc...

it depends on what kind of experience you want, the ion is much more of the programmers synth, while the nord 2x is about immediacy and performance

the ion can be quick too, but the nords offer the best interface for quick editing, it even has a convenient 'manual' button, so that when you press it the patch changes to exactyl where all the knobs are at

don't bother with the micron though, the interface sucks and the synth is too deep to be edited like that
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby hemmick reef » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:24 pm

I think the Micron has a short-cuts function, where you hold a button down and press one of the upper keys (they have the catogory printed above the key) which takes you directly to the Filter, LFO etc.

I'm not so concerned about the fiddly editing, just what can be eventually created.
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby Joey » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:46 pm

hemmick reef wrote:I think the Micron has a short-cuts function, where you hold a button down and press one of the upper keys (they have the catogory printed above the key) which takes you directly to the Filter, LFO etc.

I'm not so concerned about the fiddly editing, just what can be eventually created.


yeah it has that, but how long do you want your eventually to be?

the same patch taht would take you 10 minutes on your micron would probably take you two on the ion...

plus its easier to set things when you can just say OH WAIT DECAY and instantly grab that knob, versus having to switch to the next menu by holding a button combination

but you seem pretty dead set on the micron
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby Huppo » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:59 am

I can't add much to what's already been said but I sure wish Alesis would break down and put that Micron/Ion engine in a knobby rack mount unit.
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby OriginalJambo » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:10 am

Huppo wrote:I sure wish Alesis would break down and put that Micron/Ion engine in a knobby rack mount unit.


Unfortunately since Numark now own Alesis there's not much chance of getting your studio monitors repaired properly, never mind them cooking up a new, tasty rack mount synth. :evil:
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby Big Gnome » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:11 am

hemmick reef wrote:How would you describe the different charaters - it would help to know what others think.

Like Joey said, Nords are characterized by a very bright, edgy sound (which I would describe as "buzzy" or "brittle", but that's just my own prejudice showing itself)--great for cutting through a mix, but subtlety isn't a particularly strong point of theirs. Ions tend to sound very smooth and midrangey (a little too much so, frankly--EQ is your friend concerning the Ion); they're very detailed, but they don't have nearly as much bite.
Joey wrote:it depends on what kind of experience you want, the ion is much more of the programmers synth, while the nord 2x is about immediacy and performance

Joey nailed it--definitely take this into consideration.

For your listening pleasure :roll: here are a few Ion demos I recorded some time ago, all without effects (except the last one, with some added reverb)--
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/1.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/5.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/6.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/7.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/12.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/13.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/14.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssm ... onbass.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssm ... lation.mp3
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby hemmick reef » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:27 am

Thanks for the advice -

I'm not completely sold on the Micron yet. I actually have a Yamaha SY85 that I bought a year ago on ebay, and whilst recently thinking about getting a VA synth I have been spending more time with it, creating new sounds and......well I'm thinking that I ought to just spend more time with this one first as I'm finding that it can produce some fantastic sounds.

Love the Geddy Lee quote!
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby hemmick reef » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:42 am

Big Gnome wrote:
hemmick reef wrote:How would you describe the different charaters - it would help to know what others think.

Like Joey said, Nords are characterized by a very bright, edgy sound (which I would describe as "buzzy" or "brittle", but that's just my own prejudice showing itself)--great for cutting through a mix, but subtlety isn't a particularly strong point of theirs. Ions tend to sound very smooth and midrangey (a little too much so, frankly--EQ is your friend concerning the Ion); they're very detailed, but they don't have nearly as much bite.
Joey wrote:it depends on what kind of experience you want, the ion is much more of the programmers synth, while the nord 2x is about immediacy and performance

Joey nailed it--definitely take this into consideration.

For your listening pleasure :roll: here are a few Ion demos I recorded some time ago, all without effects (except the last one, with some added reverb)--
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/1.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/5.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/6.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/7.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/12.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/13.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssmall/ion/14.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssm ... onbass.mp3
http://studentsites.expression.edu/~ssm ... lation.mp3


I said above that 'I'm not completely sold on the Micron yet' :| but ...........I'll eat my words now........... :lol:

these demos sound fantastic :D - if a Micron can do the same for £250 I think I'll get one. I imagine it could get pretty close to Moog's, Juno's and some of the other classic analogue's ?

Wow!
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Postby crystalmsc » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:06 am

hemmick reef wrote:if a Micron can do the same for £250 I think I'll get one. I imagine it could get pretty close to Moog's, Juno's and some of the other classic analogue's ?

I own the Ion and NL2x and like the ION more for those emulation. I think you'd be happy with the Micron voice. But some of the great sound that came out of the ION is from the instant tweaking of the better user interface that you might want to consider.
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Re: Nord Lead versus Alesis Micron?

Postby kraku » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:44 pm

carbon111 wrote:I had an Ion for a while but ended up returning it for a Nord Lead 2X.

The Nord was more immediate for me, programming more straightforward, nicer build quality...I liked its overall sound much better as well.

The only drawbacks were no aftertouch and no patch naming (only numbers).


I did the exact opposite.

NL2 does have much quicker and intuitive UI, but to me the sound isn't on the same levels with Ion. Ion's oscillators sound so powerful and defined and they don't seem to have any aliasing to them which is pretty incredible.
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