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
March 6, 2010 @ 10:11 am
found one used in a little used guitar shop. could not pass it up for $150. i have the Ion as well. this little guy is just as big and fat as the Ion and even has cool drums!
January 9, 2010 @ 5:01 pm
I don't beleive so. They intimated to me that the 8 part multi-timbral was part of a FW upgrade on the Red Micron, and was there before the Blue one came out. THe blue and red microns are identical in function.
C. Todd [phylum sinter]
December 30, 2009 @ 12:47 am
@Paul -

A "Setup" (which is the multitimbral mode on the Micron) consists of i believe 26 parts (they go A...B...C...) - i haven't made one that i found the end of the 'add new part' section yet. That said, each part of a setup can be monophonic or polyphonic, with the maximum number of voices at once being 8 (synthesized and triggered samples).

It is kind of confusing, the manual doesn't state how many total parts a setup can have, but does state 8 maximum voices - each voice being the whole of the architecture - 3 oscs, 2 filters, 3 EGs, 2 LFOs, 2 FX + master FX, and mod matrix.
C. Todd [phylum sinter]
December 30, 2009 @ 12:36 am
I finally decided to pick up a Micron, and have had it for about 3 days now.

The interface will initially provide a gross amount of struggle to get into the meat of the engine, but after memorizing the gestures required to dig in, editing the Micron gets easier.

There are alot of features packed into this synth. You get 8 voices (synths + drum samples) to distribute amongst more parts than the synth can generate, which the Micron calls "Setups". This is where the fun is. Once you get the hang of how to get Setups rolling -- expect about 2 hrs. -- you'll soon notice how this synth becomes a full-on track production machine with nothing else necessary. The built-in sequencer and arp generation is tops for performance, too.

The Final word? The Micron has maasive bang-for-buck factor but a crappy UI - if you love knobs, get this AND a knob box for it. Otherwise this synth is that rare combination of features, depth, sound quality and price that should be more common these days.
December 18, 2009 @ 10:41 pm
Do you need an update for this expansion to 8 parts? Or did they just make a mistake before?
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.21 (717 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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