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Alesis Micron or ?


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  • Alesis Micron or ?


    Scramiflu (formerly Fido on the old open jam forums) here.
    I'm tired of playing with midis with crummy sounding software instruments and I'm looking for a mini synth with no more than 37 keys that can produce the same quality of thick, crisp sound as the Alesis Micron does in this video:
    Since the Micron has been out a while, I don't know if there have been any new alternatives since its release that can compete with is size and sound production.

    The only drawback I see of the Micron is that it needs to be plugged into an AC socket which reduces somewhat its portability. I wondering if I should just get the Micron.
    Does anyone now of a mini synth that fits these parameters?:
    1. Can produce sound like the Micron in the video.
    2. Is no more than 37 keys (i.e. portable, can fit in backpack)
    3. Can be powered by USB or batteries
    If there is nothing like that, I will just go ahead and get the Micron.
    Thanks guys.
    P.S. Hey, what happened to Open Jam?

  • #2

    There's a lot of good sounds coming from the Micron in that video.  A  lot of people don't like it because it's pretty fiddly to edit and use.

    It's got a lot of features, and a lot of them were used in that song.  But it makes you work for it.

    If you've just gotta' have those sounds and timbres and flexibility, the micron is probably your best bet.

    I think the Akai MiniAK is the same synth engine in a different box, and it came out a bit later.


    • #3
      Hi Bill,

      I like Akai however I've owned two of the 25 key iPod compatible midis and the same key failed after about 4 months on each. Also I haven't been able to ascertain if the Miniak can be powered by USB or batteries, though that's not a deal breaker. It doesn't look like it. I know there is a Novation mini synth that can be powered by AA's but most of the reviews I've read say it doesn't hold a candle to the Micron.


      • #4

        Every synth is different, and can get sounds other synths can't, so the only synth that will exactly get all the Micron sounds and Micron character are the Micron, its Akai twin, and its Ion big brother. Anything from someone else will have some difference in architecture and/or sound. 

        That said, I owned a Micron and a MicroKorg (original), liked the sound of both, but preferred the Korg because I found the Micron annoying to navigate. 

        Whatever you get, you can also use to trigger synth apps on an iPad (or even iPhone/iPod Touch), which can expand your pallette while maintining high portability. Some of those apps sound very good, and are also fun to play with.


        • #5

          This has been helpful. Thank you.

          I also learned a little more about fat synth sounds since I posted and apparently they typically require a wall outlet (more power) to get that fat sound. So I imagine its going to be very difficult to find something that can reproduce sounds similar to the micron without being plugged into an AC outlet. That explains why there seems to be so very few options in the portable mini synth market, I guess.

          That said, if I could find on youtube an example of a microkorg producing similar fat sounds as the micron ala rush the weapon, I would get the battery powered microkorg.

          Still looking.


          • AnotherScott
            AnotherScott commented
            Editing a comment
            I've never heard that you need AC power for a fat sound. It's not like a power amp, the power demands of these things are generally pretty minimal.

            If you search youtube, I'n sure you can find plenty of MicroKorg examples. Just be aware that the original MicroKorg (which is still in production) sounds different from the XL versions. I prefer the sound of the original. That used the same engine as the MS-2000 so youtube demos of that model will also give you and idea of the MK's sonic capabilities and character.

        • #6
          I will be going through microkorg videos today. Even if I can find a good example of sounds from the microkorg, I still have reservations on its size. It looks too big for the way I like to travel.

          One mini synth I ruled out early but am reexamining is the OP-1 from Teenage Engineering. It's the smallest synth I've seen but I didn't think it could produce those thick sounds. However, I checked again and it actually does. And it is compact and powered by USB. Everything I'm looking for but...

          it's over $800!!! I could find a cheaper used one on eBay but even the used ones are still pricey.

          I can't win.

          I'm thinking of waiting until the technology for compact synths becomes more commonplace and the price lowers.


          • #7

            +1 for the Micron. I use mine at every gig.

            If I listed all of my gear here my wife may see it and start asking questions.