The Alesis Micron is an analog modeling synthesizer,with 8 voices and 3 octaves. Provided with a built-in sequencer and a rhythm programmer, the Micron is the perfect tool for both production and live performance. This synth proves that great things can also be small-scale.
Alesis Micron Review – Introduction
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. The three-octave keyboard feels light and springy, offering velocity and release velocity action. Performance controls are limited to three assignable 360-degree knobs (labelled x, y, and z), a horizontal pitch-bender (complete with glowing backlighting) and two horizontal assignable sliders, labelled m1 and m2. The sideways action of the wheel and sliders takes a little getting used to, but they feel durable enough to withstand plenty of wiggling. The opaque plastic Control knob is the Micron’s focal point. Around it is a ring of tiny buttons that represent the five available modes. These are Programs, Setups, Config, Rhythms and Patterns. When selected, the buttons light up green, the colour changes to red when you enter Edit mode. Since the Config button is only used to edit various global settings, it is always red when selected.
If you are thinking about getting a Microkorg, you might as well consider this. It comes with more patches, better quality sounds, easy editing and the ability to create full songs. Plus it has lots of room to save your own presets, in addition to hundreds of presets that will please a lot of very different musicians. There are sounds that will work well with funk, psych rock, certainly techno, hip-hop, and the more ambient music. Since it is so versatile, you will probably be scrolling through dozens of sounds that you will not like. This is a small and understandable inconvenience, but you are bound to find several precious sounds.
Alesis Micron Review – The Micro Groover
Even with the subtle clues on the panel, you’d hardly expect to find a groovebox without a plethora of dedicated knobs, buttons and flashing lights, would you? Nevertheless, a scroll through some of the factory Setups (the Alesis term for multitimbral arrangements) suggests this is exactly the territory that the Micron occupies. You see, as well as an arpeggiator, the Micron features a built-in sequencer and rhythm programmer. As an introduction to pattern creation, the aforementioned Phrase button offers a fast and intuitive means to record musical phrases on the keyboard. Simply hold it down and as soon as you start playing, your notes — including chords — are captured (up to a limit of four bars). If you use the m1 and m2 sliders or the pitch wheel, these movements too are recorded (although curiously, not those of the x, y or z knobs). To finish recording, you simply hit the button again. Now whenever you hit the button, your phrase loops can be transposed via the keyboard.
Alesis Micron Review – Features
- 8-voice polyphony.
- 3 oscillators.
- 2 multi-mode filters per voice.
- 20 filter types and extensive filter routing.
- 3 envelopes.
- 2 LFOs.
- Keyboard with 37 real size keys (with velocity and release velocity).
- Sample & Hold.
- Tracking Generator.
- Programmable step sequencer and arpeggiator.
- Programmable rhythm sequencer for drum kits.
- Real time dynamic phrase sequencer.
- Stereo effects, reverb and vocoder.
- Programmable effects and modulation matrix.
- A really small size, approximately 58 x 20 x 7cm.
- On the back, two inputs, the full set of three MIDI connectors, and provision for connecting expression and sustain pedals.
Alesis Micron Review – Final Verdict
The compact design of the Micron makes it extremely portable, without making it lose power. This synth can be easily used both in your studio or while performing live.