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
George
July 28, 2010 @ 3:54 pm
I agree with Tener Kay. I've used this little monster on many songs and recordings and it fits so well in the mix. The pads aren't as lush as what you'd find in a classic Roland or KORG synth from the 90's but I have a wavestation ex that can do all that. It can be really beefy but at the same time soft and calm. Editing is abit time consuming without any official computer editor available however once you get used to it you can create the most unique sounds possible. Highly recommended, works great on stage and even better in the studio!
Jacqueline
July 10, 2010 @ 6:44 am
this synth is incredibley versatile. A great arpeggiator, sequencer, vocoder and drum machine mean it can do pretty much anything to quite a high standard. It's compact and solid (with the exception of the control knobs which if you're thinking about getting one you might have to expect having to replace) so great for gigging. The presets are wide ranging and the synth engine itself is very powerful but one downfall is that it's dull to programme due to it's minimal control surface and I am thinking about getting software to do this. The Micron is invaluable for live work it's flexibility is its strong point and not the sound quality. as such I'm not sure I would use it for recording very often as most of it's patches pale in comparison with some of my analogue synths. But as an instrument to play live or for someone who has never owned an analogue synth I would say go for it!
Tener Kay
July 7, 2010 @ 4:41 pm
The Alesis Micron may just be the best budget synth ever designed, it's sounds are as good as it $1500 parent the Ion and it's got even more tricks up its sleve, including a step seqeuncer invaluable when playing live.

The sounds are just blowin'! Anything sound the universe makes that humans are capable of hearing is inside this machine, just waiting for you to give it a voice.

Whole albums have been written on this synth, the best product Alesis has EVER released (even more useful than the legendary Quadraverb)

The Microkorg is often compared to this; the Microkorg is useless without an outlet to record your ideas, lest you're just desiring to play for yourself, the Micron is professional tool and armed with a Multitrack Recorder it's a studio in your bedroom.

Do you want have fun? Get a Microkorg. Do you want to the world to hear your feelings and memories sonically translitered through a machine? Get the Micron.
Benny
June 14, 2010 @ 9:04 am
And what does delay have to do with a synthesizer in the first place, its not part of the synthesis chain? Furthermore, the engine in the Micron is a lot deeper and more versatile sonically than the MicroKorg, I have an Alesis Ion (full-sized Micron) and an MS2000 (same thing as MK), and the Alesis is compared to the MS/MK very advanced, 12 modulation routings per timbre, this synth has the power to go most anywhere you can imagine, and more to it. What you need is to dig it out, which can understandably be painful on the Microns minimal UI, for the serious programmers I would recommend an Ion because when you have sooo many editable parameters in its engine you're much happier with a knob/button for (almost) every function. You loose the long delay, reverb, step sequencer from the Micron, but I've never once missed it in the Ion, if you just use its modulation matrix and patch options in a clever way you'll have potential for years to come.
Alex
June 11, 2010 @ 5:12 pm
Weird interface and very limited delay make this synth much worse than wonderful MicroKorg.
 
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  • 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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