NAMM: Alesis Micron - It's a Small ION

All the DSP power of the ION in a small package      16/01/04
NAMM: Alesis Micron - It's a Small ION
Micron - it's like a mini ION

The ION brought us a high-powered analog modeling synth with 500mips of processing power and plenty of knobbage for tweaking in real-time. Now Alesis have squeezed all that power into a compact package (must have been a lot of air in the ION!). The Micron boasts the same sound engine as the Ion in a compact 3-octave keyboard offering breakthrough analog realism, high-resolution control, and tremendous value. The Micron is compatible with Ion programs, holding 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. 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. A powerful and intuitive modulation matrix is built in. Effects include a 40 band vocoder that does not use up any polyphony, 4 drive effects, and stereo bus effects, including reverb powered from an additional dedicate reverb DSP chip. For assignable realtime control, the Micron offers 3 knobs, 2 modulation sliders, and a pitch wheel. The knobs are 360 degree potentiometers with 12-bit resolution, yielding 32 times the resolution of a typical MIDI controller, yet still compatible with the latest sequencers via NRPMS (Non-Registered Parameter Numbers). The result is extraordinary precision—void of any undesirable digital artifacts—and a very “analog” sound throughout the entire frequency range. The Micron keyboard has 37 keys with velocity and release velocity sensitivity. There are 2 analog outputs and 2 stereo analog inputs—all ¼” balanced and using 24-bit conversion. Also included are connections for expression pedal, sustain pedal, and MIDI In, Out, and Thru. Developed by the same sound design team that programmed the flagship Andromeda synthesizer, the Micron’s presets cover a variety of genres, including many exciting new tonalities, as well as classic synth emulations. Ion programs can be transferred to and from the Micron via MIDI, and more new sounds will also be available from the Alesis website. Sadly, as the model we saw was not a final production model, we have no sounds to offer but it is due to ship in May 2004 – so keep an eye out for our 2004 MESSE coverage. The Micron will retail for around $699
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