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Alesis Micron 37-Key Analog Modeling Synth

8-voice, 4-part multitimbral, holds over 1,000 programs and multi-timbral setups. (104) Read 17 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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Alesis Micron Analog Modeling Synth

The Micron boasts the same sound engine as the acclaimed Alesis Ion in a compact 3-octave keyboard, 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.

The Micron offers continuously variable wave shapes, plus sync and FM synthesis. 16 filter types are included, along with 2 LFOs with multiple wave shapes and sample & hold. The Micron has 8-voice polyphony with 3 oscillators per voice, and is 4-part multitimbral. In addition to a powerful modulation matrix, the Micron offers a programmable step sequencer, arpeggiator, rhythm sequencer for drum kits, and 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 drive effects, and stereo bus effects, including reverb. For assignable realtime control, the Micron offers 3 knobs, 2 modulations sliders, and a pitch wheel.

Applications
Synthesis and sound design
Keyboard performance
High-resolution MIDI control
Tempo-synched audio filtering, vocoder, and effects

Features
Powerful virtual-analog synth engine:
Compatible with Ion programs
Superb analog realism
Inspiring other-worldly sounds
Absolutely no 'zipper' noise or aliasing

Programmable features that sync to MIDI clock:
Step sequencer
Arpeggiator
Rhythm sequencer
Realtime phrase sequencer

Assignable, high-resolution realtime control:
2 modulation sliders
3 360-knobs operate at 32 times the resolution MIDI
Pitch wheel

Powerful DSP effects:
4 simultaneous mono/stereo 'overdrive' effects
Stereo master effects, including reverb
40-band vocoder

24-bit balanced I/O:
2 TRS 1/4 in. outputs
2 TRS 1/4 in. inputs for processing external sounds

Power Supply:Power Cord (Included)

zZounds is an authorized dealer of Alesis products.
Sound Engine
Sound Generation: Alesis proprietary DSP Analog Modeling

Polyphony and Parts: 8-voice, 4-part multitimbral

Oscillators: 3 oscillators per voice, with continuously variable waveshapes, sync, and FM

Filters: 2 multimode resonating filters per voice, with 16 different filter types

Modulation: 2 LFOs with multiple waveshapes, sample and hold, tracking generator, freely-routable modulation matrix per voice

Effects: 4 drive effects (1 per part) plus master effects (shared)

Patterns: Step sequencer, arpeggiator, drum rhythm sequencer, and phrase sequencer

Program Memory: Over 1000 programs and multitimbral setups

Audio Input
Input Connectors: 2 Balanced 1/4 in. TRS jacks

Maximum Input Level: +5.2dBu (1.41VRMS) = -0dBFS

Input Impedance: 10kohms

Audio Output
Output Connectors: 2 Impedance-Balanced 1/4 in. TRS jacks, 1/4 in. TRS Headphone Jack

Maximum Output Level: +18dBu (6.17 VRMS) = -0dBFS

Output Impedance: 1kohms

Physical
Keyboard: 37 keys (velocity, release velocity sensitive)

Real-Time Controllers: 3 360-degree parameter knobs, 2 assignable modulation sliders, assignable pitch wheel

Pedal Jacks: Assignable exp pedal jack, sustain pedal jack

MIDI Connections: MIDI In, MIDI Out, MIDI Thru

Dimensions (WxHxD): 22.2 x 2.75 x 8.0 in. (563.88 x 69.85 x 203.20mm)

Power Supply:Power Cord (Included)
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 401-658-5760
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 (104 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful. "You don't gotta look good to sound good..."
Sound: The sound really is impressive. I put it next to my Evolver keyboard, and it holds up. It's beefy and shows very little aliasing. One could wish for more polyphony, but most of the ample processing power of this board goes to ensuring high quality sound. Feature: For such a small synth, this thing has a huge amount of routing and sound processing capabilities. Its unfortunate that there aren't more independent outputs, and more knobs... but hell, it is under $400. Ease of Use: This thing is a right pain in the ass. Yeah, yeah, yeah... it gets easier as you learn it, and there's a slick method to assigning the 2 sliders/3 knobs available to you, but most of the editing is done through that one little knob on the right side. Ugh. At least there are VST plugins available that give you easy access to all the programming parameters. Quality: I'm split on this. The aluminum case feel solid, and the knobs have nice action, but the keyboard is pretty spongy. Its not the worst I've felt, and it'll do as a master controller for a mobile setup, but it ain't good. The master controller knob is pretty weak sauce too. I'd hate to bust that off. On the other hand, they did pay attention to details, like actually screwing the in/outs to the case, rather than just relying on the mainboard solder to hold it in place, so its much less likely that it'll develop nasty output crackling in the future. The red sides, while being made of a fine polycarbonate plastic, are ugly as hell. I'd like to mod mine with some wood panels. Value: I got mine new for about $320. Probably the best $320 I've spent on my studio. These things are being blown out to make room for the Akai MiniAK, which is the same synth engine in a different (slightly better, IMO) body. Get one. Manufacturer Support: Dunno... Never had to deal with it. Alesis made a good product, so that's worth something, right? The Wow Factor: It's kinda ugly, and the keys are squishy, but the sound is top notch, and it has a bunch of weird programming extras. Tons of modulation, a loop sequencer and drum kits I'll make the comparison to the microkorg here: The microkorg is basically a 10 year-old synth (the MS-2000) in a little body. It sounds like a 10 year-old VA synth. I owned an MS-2000, and it was fun, and had some pretty neat sequencing capabilities (not sure whether this is in the microkorg or not) but it aliased like a mo-fo and was pretty thin sounding. Now, I know that lately the microkorg has been all the rage with the kiddies, but, well, the micron just sounds so much better. Also the keybed is also micro. Annoying. The microkorg is a bit easier to control, owning to its dedicated knobs, and more comprehensive programming matrix on the top panel, but its not half the synth that the micron is at the end of the day. On its own, the micron is a powerful, and impressive sounding synth engine in a small form factor. Yeah, corners were cut keeping it cheap, but not in the sound department. Like I said before, I'll probably swap out the plastic end panels (UGLY, IMO) with some custom wood ones. That'd increase the sex-appeal. Wow, did I really say "sex appeal" regarding a synth? I doubt any keyboard would ever get me laid, but putting wood ends on the sides on the sides of this one? Still probably not. Overall: I'd prolly buy it again if I thrashed it. I do most of my stuff with plugins anymore, but it sounds great and, more importantly, I can get the sounds I want from it. It has about 15 different filter models, and so many routing possibilities that it's nearly a little modular synth. The only synth I've owned (and looking back, I've owned a few) with such comprehensive routing is the Waldorf MicroQ rack. That's a sick little synth, and totally worth the used price these days, but I digress... Lots of routing, lots of filter modules, even decent effects, something that it's big counterpart the Ion lacked (well, at least decent verb and delay... which are key) So yeah. Good work alesis.
Style of Music: Techno
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zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us. This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful. "Micron > Microkorg. Not a competition at all."
Sound: The sounds on the Micron are second to none in its price class. With fat basses, screaming leads, singing sines, really deep pads and old school analog drums, the sounds will definitely impress you. Some of the programs get a tad farty on the low end, but as with most instruments, every sound in this box has its "money" octave(s). Non-musicians will ask me if it's "like... a toy keyboard" before they hear the sounds it produces. The Micron is a little nerd with a huge soulful voice. Feature: The sequencer, drum machine, full sized keys and ample screen put the Alesis Micron head and shoulders above its main competitor, the Microkorg. For a virtual analog keyboard, I couldn't ask for a better feature set. Lots of new instruments try and fail to be the new all-in-one, but for many electronic genres, this synth really can do everything you will need. Ease of Use: Navigating the Micron can be a bit tedious compared to the more button-laden interfaces of larger workstations. There is a lot of turn - click - turn - turn - click involved to use the sequencer and drum machine, especially. However, everything works and is explained in the manual, so it's worth the small amount of extra time it takes to get the hang of the interface. For example, if I was composing similar sequences, I could record a 4-5 track song on the Micron in about the same time it would take me to do it on my Korg Triton. Maybe a minute longer. Quality: This keyboard is solid as a rock. I have a good story illustrating this. I was backstage at a show recently where I encountered a Microkorg perching daintily atop a big keyboard amp. I later saw its owner delicately picking it up and slowly sliding it into a gig bag like it was made of glass. Don't get me wrong - we should all treat our instruments with such care and respect. However, if you've held the Microkorg, you know it's somewhat toy-like in its construction. Granted, this "retro toy box" look is a big part of its aesthetic appeal, but the Micron can really take some bumps and knocks in stride due to its aluminum housing. I have beaten the crap out of mine (tossing it onto the bed, letting it fall to the floor, storing it under other equipment, jammed out on it way too hard) and it still looks new. The main navigation knob or click wheel (a term normally reserved for Ipods, I know, but it works the same way) is the one exception to the instrument's otherwise unmatched durability. The sliders and pitch/effects wheel are rubberized and sturdy. Value: There are drum machines that sell for close to $400. The Micron has dozens of sexy analog drum sounds and an easy to use rhythm sequencer. There are keyboard controllers of a similar size for close to $200. The Micron has full sized keys. There are keyboards that don't sound nearly this good with way fewer instruments and less sound sculpting capability for close to double the price of the Micron. It is the best value in the electronic music world right now. Manufacturer Support: The best kind of technical support is the kind you do not need. Ever. The Wow Factor: I thought the Microkorg was the cooler-LOOKING synth until I saw them next to each other in person at Guitar Center. Now I definitely think the Micron is the sexier of the two. Based on looks/physical alone... Microkorg pro's: Wood side panels just like the big boys. Microkorg con's: Cheap looking wood, flimsy sliders and knobs, mini plastic toy keys, lightweight fragile build, tiny number-only display. Micron pro's: Durable oldschool red side panels, rock-solid knobs and sliders, pulsating LED tap tempo button, ample alphanumeric display, metal casing. Micron cons: Heavier. I need to dedicate an entire new paragraph to the pitch bend/effects wheel. It's a very durable, rubberized spring-loaded wheel (that is, it returns to the center after bending). The coolest feature of the bend wheel - it has an intense red degree-sensitive backlight. That means that the further you bend, the brighter it glows. The pitch bend wheel is definitely the Micron's most aesthetically pleasing physical feature. So sexy, and I didn't even mentioned the backlit navigation buttons. Overall: If you have more money than you know what to do with, it's obvious that there are better synths out there. (Does the name Moog do anything for ya?) For $400-600, however, there is literally nothing better on the market. I will never sell it, even if I upgrade. The sound, the polyphony, the sequencer, the knobs, the two sliders, the pitch bend wheel, the full-sized keys, the alphanumeric display (albeit small), the sturdy build and aluminum housing, the drum machine, the backlit buttons, the ease of use, the portability. It's the best. If you're debating between this and the Microkorg, stop reading and buy the Micron. You won't regret it. Do it today.
Style of Music: Electronica, Hip Hop, Pop
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