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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113 Visitor comments
johnny
February 6, 2013 @ 2:54 pm
Hey VSE, I just got one of these bad boys and it's awesome. Problem is the previous owner totally took up all the free space with their own custom rhythms and patterns and such, and I want to restore the synth to factory defaults so I can start making my own setups. I see that there is a way to do this in the manual, but before I do so, I was wondering if restoring the synth will wipe out the software update (it currently has 1.10, which from my reserach tells me is the latest version). I want to keep the update, but I don't want it to regress to 1.0. Am I okay to reset it?

Thanks!
Eltalstro
January 24, 2013 @ 3:49 pm
It looks like alexx can't work his Micron or hasn't actually ever owned one. It has more trance and techno patches than anything else and is well known for doing decent TB303 emulations. The rotary encoder knob broke on mine. I tried to get the knob and solder it but made a terrible job of it so I bought the whole encoder board. This was more expensive but a MUCH easier option for someone with no soldering skills.
Audity
January 21, 2013 @ 2:37 pm
Warm, cutting leads and THUNDEROUS bass. I actually prefer the sound of the Micron to virtually any other VA synth I've owned, including my MS2000! Most impressive is the response from the sliders/encoders. I tried very hard to recreate the "stepping" effect a lot of VAs will do during filter sweeps at high Q (due to poor control data resolution). NOTHING. Filter sweeps are smooth as can be!
The programming is actually quite intuitive, and not difficult at all once you get the hang of the quick keys and assigning encoders. For an affordable and compact VA, the Micron delivers!
gridsleep
January 21, 2013 @ 12:23 am
Crackly dials and pots are best treated with Radio Shack TV Tuner Cleaner. (There may be other brands of tuner cleaner. This is just the brand that's easiest to get and it does the job.)
matt lumpkin
January 5, 2013 @ 11:54 pm
As much as I love my micron, I'm very frustrated by repeated issues with the outputs and a static crackly volume pot. The comments here are a real love fest and it's a great value but there are a significant number of users who encounter repeated issues with the outputs gettingi quieter, more crackly and then dying altogether. Mine did this year. I did the repair listed here:

http://ion-micron-miniak.wikia.com/wiki/Micron_FAQ

But the problem has returned. What's worse it appears the Akai miniak which is the same synth engine uses the same board so it has the same issue. Frustrating.
 
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Rated 4.2 (699 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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