MESSE09: Akai's MINIAK Mini Vocoder Synth

First Look      03/04/09

No flash plug


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5:3 mins
Held at customs, the new MINIAK arrived at the MESSE show yesterday, where I got a quick look. You may say it's just like an Alesis Micron - and you'd be right - sorta. The synth engine does borrow heavily from that synth, and that's not a bad thing actually coz from what I heard it sounded pretty sweet. The addition of a 40-band vocoder - will inevitably draw conclusions with the Korg microKORG XL, but it's minus the USB port for MIDI integration with the sequencer (it has In, Out and Through) - so no dedicated software editor actions for the MINIAK. Expected in June, for $499
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26 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
shoontz    Said...

But the Micron HAS a 40 band vocoder. This is the exact same product repackaged!

03-Apr-09 01:02 PM


http://subanalog.com    Said...

The ION did NOT have a vocoder and I don't think the Micron did either. It was a resonant filter. I called up the engineers at Alesis and they admitted that it was NOT a vocoder plus they also confesses that most fo the claims on the product sheet were wrong.

This mini(h)a(c)k is the freakin ION sound library. WTF - that was the worst synth I ever had BAR none.

Ouch, RIP Akai.

03-Apr-09 02:00 PM


http://subanalog.com    Said...

Follow up - for the record - NOT a vocoder. Looked over some specs and photos - that is a "tricked out" filter. There is NO carrier, you can hear the weakness, thus not a vocoder.

Same weak sauce as the ION. If you have never used a vocoder (I suspect Aleseis is in that category) you can be duped.

03-Apr-09 02:11 PM


   Said...

SubAnalog - The Ion/Micron line has a great 40 band vocoder - what on earth are you talking about?

If it was merely some carrier-less tricked out filter effect, then why is the output pitched and playable? Why does it sound and behave exactly like a proper vocoder? Why can you create robot-voiced synth effects and talking pads? No carrier?

Vocoding IS tricked-out filtering of audio, with the filters controlled by analysis signal.

I love my Ion. Sounds great. Has a few bugs. Still the best VA filters in the hardware synth world. And Miniak is likely 1:1 clone.

Nothing wrong with keeping a classic VA alive.

03-Apr-09 04:21 PM


Ted    Said...

Also, SubAna, I didn't know you could just call up a company, ask to speak to "the engineers" and they would tell you that the product was a pack of lies. I will have to try that someday.

The fella who designed the Micron isn't even an in-house guy.

03-Apr-09 04:33 PM


z    Said...

If this is like the Micron, I'm sure it sounds wonderful.

But, no USB? No editor?

That's the ONE thing that kept me from buying the Micron. The idea of sitting, hunched over that little screen, programming modulations and patches gives me flashbacks of the winter of '91 with my SY77.

Unless it's a vintage synth, I can't go back to those days. I'm too old.

@Akai- Please be sure to design a patch editor that a user can download for the synth.

03-Apr-09 07:08 PM


annoyed    Said...

subanalog is misinformed. The Micron does indeed have a vocoder. I know; I've used it. The stereo audio in is great for providing the modulator.

But anyone can be misinformed. What's deeply annoying is sticking one's heels in and refusing to acknowledge that one could possibly wrong when someone who knows better speaks up. It's ignorant, and it makes one look terminally stupid and fundamentally dishonest.

03-Apr-09 09:04 PM


eddie    Said...

For those who are not aware, 'Subanalog' is known for slating Alesis at every available opportunity.

And from his comments on this page of his site... http://subanalog.com/akai-pro-audio-now-shipping-with-crackhead/ He doesn't know how bit depth relates to audio quality, seems to think that Alesis produce Behringer (Xenyx) mixers and doesn't even know what a balanced cable is... 3 cores plus ground?! I've never made or seen a balanced cable like that! And I've made hundreds of them.. All 2 core plus ground!

With such a limited knowledge of music technology, it's no wonder he thinks that The Andromeda "was and still is a piece of shit". He probably couldn't find the power switch!

As an owner of 7 high quality synths including an Andromeda. I'm happy to say that it's the best in my arsenal!

The Micron does have a vocoder AS DOES THE ION! And as long as you are prepared to edit them, most users seem to think that they are perfectly respectable and/or excellent.

04-Apr-09 05:41 AM


S R Dhain    Said...

It certainly sounds and looks like an alesis micron repackaged, but is that a BAD thing? I think not, and remember rinsing one of those on loads of production and scoring jobs for the best part of a year. I dont think at this price point, its fair to expect something with a really detailed programmable user interface AND lots of polyphony, etc. It'll sell, cause the micron wasnt really around long enough to start with.

As for the andromeda AND the ion...both stellar synths. In fact, the adnormeda is now back in the shops at a whopping 2500 UKPOUNDS, which says it all. I regret not buyign one when they were clearing out the first time from dealers at 1300 quid.

The ion..not the best built bit of kit, but AMAZING sound pallette, if youre prepared to get stuck in. Its the micron, sans the phrase sequencer and some of the effcts, but you get such instant programmability, and its got one of the BEST sounding VA engines this side of korg's technology (i always found the nords to weak for my taste..each to their own), with strong top mid AND bottom ends, and some of the smoothest sounding lfo's and filters.

04-Apr-09 08:38 AM


DBM    Said...

I just want to know if it stores user generated sequences and if how on earth would you input them (other than real time )?

Also guys just because it doesn't have usb dose not mean you can't use it with an editor (if someone writes one )

All in all though ...the ion and micron were worth there price for the filter section alone ...I will defiantly be getting one of these .

04-Apr-09 03:11 PM


Bob    Said...

It's just an Alesis Micron with a microphone.Compare the specs and you'll see. But it will probably cost more because it has the Akai logo, sad!

And it's NOT "the very first synth to carry the Akai name" as many sites are saying!!! I can think of at least three other Akai Synths, the AX-60 AX-73 and AX-80.

04-Apr-09 06:45 PM


Drummatik    Said...

He could have gave us more of a better demo of the vocoder, so i am not sold on this.

04-Apr-09 07:07 PM


Nick B    Said...

To be fair, no-one had seen this synth until about an hour before I arrived.

I'm guessing no demo guy is going to want to be first to fail spectacularly on camera.

I reiterate, that it did sound pretty good - plenty of warmth - which I understand was a feature of the Micron too. But it does appear to be just that - but with a gooseneck mic

05-Apr-09 05:51 AM


Failed Muso    Said...

A thorough, measured and ultimately ACCURATE response to SubAnalog's mis-informed and wholly inaccurate “article�.

http://failedmuso.blogspot.com/2009/04/power-of-internet-and-idiots-that.html

05-Apr-09 09:57 AM


CI    Said...

Indeed from the Specs, it is a copy of the Micron. The Micron is a good synth. I had a Micron and then de-graded to an Ion to have more hands-on controls. And honnestly, the Micron was not the most gorgeous synth, so repackaging the synth to 2009 esthetic standards is a must for continued sell. Since they haven`t upgraded the unit specs (a USB port with a programmer software would have been welcomed) Numark had to switch to brand name to Akai. Anyway, only synth freaks will notice that.

As far for subanalog comments, I would say he must have ran out of meds.

05-Apr-09 09:06 PM


MLIP    Said...

Sub - the Micron/ION are great little synths for the price.

And the Vocoders are nice, if not great.

Perhaps you should spend more time making music and not calling up engineers.

I'm sure they just answer the phone and say 'you're right, we lied on the product sheet'

06-Apr-09 06:10 AM


No USB, who cares!    Said...

Why does the exclusion of a USB port take away the possibility of an editor? You CAN use an editor over MIDI. Does anyone remember MIDI?

06-Apr-09 07:12 PM


I Don't Like Music    Said...

Eddie sez:

"And as long as you are prepared to edit them, most users seem to think that [the micro and ion] are perfectly respectable and/or excellent."

Most users would be wrong.

07-Apr-09 08:41 PM


STRomzAeHLEr    Said...

@http://subanalog.com The ION and the MICRON both indeed have a 40 band vocoder. You didn't look into the effects section (or the whole synth), did you?

08-Apr-09 07:07 AM


dv    Said...

I love my Micron, but it does seem cruel to update this synth without adding a software editor, as that is the BIGGEST problem with the Micron, IMO.

08-Apr-09 05:42 PM


Howard S    Said...

BTW: According to subanalog he has a degree: "BA Linguistic Anthropologist". http://subanalog.com/bio/ Whoda thunk? ;-)

09-Apr-09 10:31 AM


oscar16    Said...

Emm. Nice keyboard layout with that goose neck yeeah :-), pity it's a complete copy of the micron Akai, which i'm about to purchase. Would buy one of these if it had usb and maybe SAMPLING (hint hint) as an option. Who is going to do the all in one kybd i wonder?

09-Apr-09 11:55 PM


Velocipede    Said...

The sequenced program that the demonstrator plays at one point sounds like one on the Micron if I remember correctly. Seems pretty clear that this a reskinning of the Micron, but that might not be so bad. The Micron's ability to play up 8 different timbres at once and sequence very long songs made it a kind of mini-workstation. It's kind of fun if you want to compose without a computer and have the patience to deal with the interface.

13-Apr-09 12:08 AM


thc1138    Said...

Sub Analog? More like Shlub Analog. WTF are you raving about, dude? They have vocoders. Whether or not they sound good to you is your cup-o-noodles, but it does what it claims, just like my Alesis Metavox. Did you used to be one of the punters on Gearwire Crosstalk or something?

11-May-09 12:06 AM


ike    Said...

It has 2 mod wheels, vs. 2 mod sliders on the micron. Pitch bend on micron was right-left no up and down. Pitch bend lit up when used on micron. Same 3 x-y-z knobs. Looks the same to me. A used Micron goes for $200-$300. New microns are still in stores. I'm guessing they are trying to get Hip-Hop heads to buy this Micron with an Akai badge on it. Hip-hop producers buy anything that says Akai on it.

13-Jun-09 10:58 AM


selercs    Said...

theres a lot of ppl comparing this to the micron. what about the korg radias/microkorg xl?

alesis copied this concept from the microkorg and now akai is doing it from alesis, lol....what goes around comes around.

18-Oct-09 09:22 AM


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