Alesis Micron

Alesis Micron Image

The Micron is like an Ion packed into a compact 3-octave keyboard for the "on-the-go" musician. The Micron boasts the same analog modeling sound engine as the acclaimed Alesis Ion, offering breakthrough analog realism, high-resolution control, and tremendous value. The Micron is compatible with Ion programs and holds over 1,000 programs and multitimbral setups. It's therefor best used as a preset type synthesizer - either download your own Ion patches or others into the Micron and take them on the go. Sure the Ion is a hands-on synth programmer's feast, but the Micron gives you access to the same power as the Ion in a compact synth ideal for gigging, practicing, composing and just good old fashion playing around with!

Most obviously, the Micron has done away with just about all the real-time controllers found on the Ion, offering just three 360-degree endless parameter knobs, two assignable modulation sliders and one assignable backlit pitch wheel. Slim pickin's but enough for live performances (you only have two hands!) or quick tweaks. Sure you can delve deeper into patch editing and even the extensive twelve-route modulation matrix (with 114 sources and 78 destinations) but that's tedious with so few controls.

Despite its rather simple looking design, the Micron does house a beast inside - full of programmable functions! Just like the Ion, the Micron offers continuously variable wave shapes, plus osc-sync and FM synthesis. The Micron has 8-voice polyphony with three oscillators per voice, and is up to 8-part multitimbral. There are two multimode filters with 20 filter types (upgraded from 16 in the Ion), three envelope generators and two LFOs with multiple wave shapes and sample & hold. In addition to its powerful modulation matrix, the Micron offers a programmable step sequencer, an arpeggiator, a rhythm sequencer for drum kits, and a dynamic realtime phrase sequencer - all of which sync to MIDI clock. Effects include a 40 band vocoder that does not use up any polyphony, 4 insert effects, and stereo master effects. Stereo inputs let you process external audio through its effects, filters and vocoder - just as you can with the Ion.

So, if twiddling knobs all day is not your thing, but the sounds that come from such efforts are what you are looking for then the Micron may be the synth for you! Instant access to thousands of incredibly realistic analog synth sounds with all the power and programmability of the Ion. The Micron offers all that and more but for less money because of its minimalist design/interface.

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114 Visitor comments
July 23, 2011 @ 1:03 pm
The Jeckyll & Hyde of synths. By day, a mild mannered VA synth, but when the sun goes down, with the twist of a knob, it turns into a howling, savage beast full of rage and noise. Phear the philters on this thing...

Editing is a bit daunting due to the sheer number of parameters, but the keyboard shortcuts help tremendously in navigation. But it is a joy to just play with the settings on a voice and see what kind of sonic mayhem you can create.
July 4, 2011 @ 12:30 pm
I have owned the Micron for many years, and it's vastly underrated. While there IS a lot of turning and clicking when programming it directly, there are a LOT of neat shortcuts, plus the X,Y,Z buttons are extremely easy to assign. The modulation possibilities are second to none. The hypersynth Windows-editor is great, and makes programming a lot easier. I have recently bought a Virus B, which has a reputation for being deep in programming, but is really nowhere near as deep as the Micron. Also, while the Virus has a lot of buttons/knobs, there are still a lot of menus with NO shortcuts.
allister nz
June 17, 2011 @ 7:47 am
I recently got the Akai Miniak, which is identical to the Micron in everything but looks. I must say that the presets out the box are amazing quality, and are mostly inspiring and useable to me. Its a joy to play, a great solo synth and excellent jamming tool,instant results!
I used to have a Novation KS Rack, and the sounds on the Micron are far more analog sounding and authentic.
I'm very pleased I made this choice!
Lance Talstra
June 12, 2011 @ 9:23 pm
My Micron is getting to be very good friends with my MPC. I agree with the guy who said READ THE MANUAL. The menu is a little tedious but there are lots of short cuts available via holding the program button and pressing the right white key to jump to where you need to be. The effects are okay. The keys are ok. The filters are really good. Beware the control knob. The plastic one breaks easily in which case replacing the circuit board (55.00 from Instrumental Parts) is the easiest option. It is phat.
June 8, 2011 @ 11:35 pm
Had one for about 4 years, sold it about 6 months ago...

wierdly miss it for some specific reasons - I found a perfect vst editor (osx) which made it almost virus ti-like, and I loved the pattern sequencer when being spontaneous for recording ideas. Also the number of patches/patterns/setups possible was better than many synths & the 20 odd filters was unbeatable.

Things I wasn't so keen on - keyboard felt spongey, only one stereo output, crumbly bass, below average effects, weak vocoder.

Might buy one again someday just for the pattern sequencer and small footprint
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Rated 4.2 (710 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 8 voices (up to 8 multitimbral parts)
  • Oscillators - Alesis proprietary DSP Analog Modeling: Three oscillators per voice, with continuously variable wave shapes (Sine, Square-Pulse, Saw-Triangle), sync and FM
  • Filter - 2 multi-mode filters with 20 classic and unique filter types.
  • Envelopes - 3 EGs: Pitch/Mod, Filter, and the Amp have their own ADSR envelopes.
  • LFO - 2 multi-wave LFOs and 1 S&H. Ring Modulator. FM. hard&soft OSC sync.
  • Effects - One insert drive effect per voice, Two master effects processors, with reverb and delay. Built-in 40-band Vocoder.
  • Keyboard - 37 keys (velocity, release velocity sensitive).
  • Memory - 1,000 Programs (500 preset programs, with space for 400 more) fully compatible with Ion programs.
    Over 200 preset pattern sequences and 250 preset drum rhythms, with space for hundreds more.
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator: MIDI-sync-able multiple-pattern plus *random* feature.
    Sequencers: Programmable step pattern sequencer; Dynamic real-time phrase sequencer; Drum Rhythm Sequencer.
  • Real-Time Controllers - 3 360-degree endless parameter knobs, 2 assignable modulation sliders, assignable backlit pitch wheel.
  • Control - MIDI (4-part multitimbral) IN/OUT/THRU
  • Date Produced - 2004
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Alesis.

    Additional info provided by Adam Lundberg.

    Reviewed December 2007.

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