Just got a Micron

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jtuttle
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Just got a Micron

Post by jtuttle » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:46 pm

This is my first post here; I just got a Micron last Friday (20% off everything at Guitar Center from 8-10am -- only $336!), and I figured I'd say hi. So far, I'm absolutely loving the Micron. It was actually kind of annoying for the first three days -- I was on Thanksgiving break from college, it didn't have the latest OS (with the updated knob acceleration, among other things), and I didn't have a USB -> MIDI interface with me (I'm using my E-mu Xboard49 right now). Other than that, it's quite awesome.

I'm not sure if this counts, as it's a soft-synth, but I would probably say my first synth was Automat on OS X; it's what really got me into playing with analog modelling synths. The first *hardware* synth I got was a Roland D-110; my high school jazz band teacher gave it to me -- it was lying around in the jazz band room, and no one had ever used it. It's nice and all, but the lack of real-time control of parameters made it pretty much useless for creating sounds. Despite this major limitation, there was still something immensely cool about making music with nothing but a MIDI (well, USB and MIDI) keyboard and a synth -- with no computer. Admittedly, this wasn't true for most of the time, as I had to power the Xboard off a computer.

Anyway, as I said, I absolutely love the Micron; it's exactly what I was looking for in a synth, not to mention the fact that it's extremely cute. And it's actually made of metal! (Quite surprising these days, though I would imagine most pro audio equipment is probably made of metal.) I do have a few questions about it:

1. Is there any way to play audio from the inputs through the outputs (mixed with the output of the synth engine, of course) without have to hit a key first and/or use up a voice?
2. Is there any way to disable the blinking tempo light? The drum machine and sequencer are quite awesome, but the light is sometimes distracting when I'm not using them.
3. Is there any way to run it off batteries? Yes, I know, the MicroKorg can do this; I liked the Micron's interface better. I imagine that it would be a pretty simple setup, if it weren't for the fact that the Micron actually runs off 9 volts *AC* power. I have actually run it off a battery before -- specifically, while my dad was driving home from Guitar Center, I was running it off the car battery using an inverter. This isn't a major issue; it's just that with such a tiny synth, it would be awesome to be able to use it without having to find an outlet.
4. Are there any relatively cheap MIDI controllers with 8 or so knobs? I've found some with 16, but this is overkill for the Micron, as it only has a maximum of 12 mod matrix entries, meaning I would be able to use the extra knobs.
5. Has anyone had problems with the main (data entry) knob? The OS update made me feel a bit better about this, as I wouldn't have to turn the knob nearly as much, but it is a mechanical part, and I'm wondering if I should be worrying about it.

Thanks.

-- J.P.

E-Mu Xboard49, Roland D-110, Alesis Micron

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Post by th0mas » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:59 pm

hey jtuttle, welcome to the forum :)

I also own a micron and love it.

As for the tempo light, I don't think you can turn it off since you can always enter 'pattern record' mode within I think 2 button presses? So it's always notifying you of the current tempo for those patterns you might be about to record. Pretty annoying, I agree. My girlfriend usually hits that button trying to turn it off when she's playing it.. which usually starts it to blink quicker and piss her off more :).

As for batteries.. I think you could wire a number of 9volts in parallel? You'd have to figure out the amperage the micron requires (first guess would be the wallwart rating). Might be better of an idea to use some other sort of battery, maybe remote control car. I'm not a power expert, but whatever you try.. watch out for it getting really hot, that'll be an indication that the micron is pulling too high amperage from the power source.

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Post by Mpresev » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:49 pm

make sure you download the editor.. I believe there are two editors these days for the MICRON. 1 is free and the other is 30 bucks I believe :wink: You know what I like about the Micron? the programmable sequencer/arp. It rox doesn't it?

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Post by Blue Monster 65 » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:57 pm

Welcome to VSE and congrats on your purchase, Mr. Tuttle!

Everytime I think I should buy a Micron, I end up passing on it. I think if it had knobs I'd like it more. I guess I should just get over it and go, but the one thing I really liked about the Ion was the layout and controls.

That said, the Micron is a helluva lot of power in a little package. You'll have a blast, I'm sure. And at that price, how could you not?

Woof! - Scott
Muhahahahahahahahaha!

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Post by jtuttle » Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:06 pm

Mpresev wrote:make sure you download the editor.. I believe there are two editors these days for the MICRON. 1 is free and the other is 30 bucks I believe :wink: You know what I like about the Micron? the programmable sequencer/arp. It rox doesn't it?
Yup. It's amazing.

I already have Micronizer installed on my ThinkPad and my iBook. I need to go buy a USB MIDI interface (probably one of the $30 ones that are built into a cable). I haven't tried running it using just the MIDI out using my Xboard; I'm assuming that they need to read the current data from the synth first (and I don't want it wiping anything out).

Are the editors up to date with the latest features (from the latest firmware)?

-- J.P.

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Post by jtuttle » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:41 pm

th0mas wrote:hey jtuttle, welcome to the forum :)

I also own a micron and love it.

As for the tempo light, I don't think you can turn it off since you can always enter 'pattern record' mode within I think 2 button presses? So it's always notifying you of the current tempo for those patterns you might be about to record. Pretty annoying, I agree. My girlfriend usually hits that button trying to turn it off when she's playing it.. which usually starts it to blink quicker and piss her off more :).
Yeah. That might be a nice thing for Alesis to add in a firmware update. (From what I've heard, they don't update firmware that often.)
th0mas wrote:As for batteries.. I think you could wire a number of 9volts in parallel? You'd have to figure out the amperage the micron requires (first guess would be the wallwart rating). Might be better of an idea to use some other sort of battery, maybe remote control car. I'm not a power expert, but whatever you try.. watch out for it getting really hot, that'll be an indication that the micron is pulling too high amperage from the power source.
I'm not sure if that would work, since the Micron uses AC. Also, I don't know that much about electronics, so I'm not going to try wiring up random stuff to my Micron (even if I think it would work).

-- J.P.

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Post by th0mas » Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:58 pm

jtuttle wrote:
th0mas wrote:hey jtuttle, welcome to the forum :)

I also own a micron and love it.

As for the tempo light, I don't think you can turn it off since you can always enter 'pattern record' mode within I think 2 button presses? So it's always notifying you of the current tempo for those patterns you might be about to record. Pretty annoying, I agree. My girlfriend usually hits that button trying to turn it off when she's playing it.. which usually starts it to blink quicker and piss her off more :).
Yeah. That might be a nice thing for Alesis to add in a firmware update. (From what I've heard, they don't update firmware that often.)
th0mas wrote:As for batteries.. I think you could wire a number of 9volts in parallel? You'd have to figure out the amperage the micron requires (first guess would be the wallwart rating). Might be better of an idea to use some other sort of battery, maybe remote control car. I'm not a power expert, but whatever you try.. watch out for it getting really hot, that'll be an indication that the micron is pulling too high amperage from the power source.
I'm not sure if that would work, since the Micron uses AC. Also, I don't know that much about electronics, so I'm not going to try wiring up random stuff to my Micron (even if I think it would work).

-- J.P.
It's AC out of the wall wart? oops ;) - thats what I get for posting from work without glancing first.

Also if it's anything like their other gear I've tried it probably uses a really high mA that would make it hard to put to batteries.

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Post by WDW » Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:57 pm

Hi, JP. Welcome to VSE, and congrats on the Micron acquisition.

As an FYI, your post really contains two parts: a request for help in using your Micron; and an inquiry about the purchase of a MIDI controller. Both of these subjects belong in other sections: HELP and BUYER's GUIDE, respectively. I'm moving your entire post to the HELP section, because that is the overwhelming majority of the subject matter. Please feel free to post a new inquiry with regards to the MIDI controller in the BUYER'S GUIDE.

WD

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Re: Just got a Micron

Post by logicalhippo » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:17 am

jtuttle wrote: 1. Is there any way to play audio from the inputs through the outputs (mixed with the output of the synth engine, of course) without have to hit a key first and/or use up a voice?
2. Is there any way to disable the blinking tempo light? The drum machine and sequencer are quite awesome, but the light is sometimes distracting when I'm not using them.
3. Is there any way to run it off batteries? Yes, I know, the MicroKorg can do this; I liked the Micron's interface better. I imagine that it would be a pretty simple setup, if it weren't for the fact that the Micron actually runs off 9 volts *AC* power. I have actually run it off a battery before -- specifically, while my dad was driving home from Guitar Center, I was running it off the car battery using an inverter. This isn't a major issue; it's just that with such a tiny synth, it would be awesome to be able to use it without having to find an outlet.
4. Are there any relatively cheap MIDI controllers with 8 or so knobs? I've found some with 16, but this is overkill for the Micron, as it only has a maximum of 12 mod matrix entries, meaning I would be able to use the extra knobs.
5. Has anyone had problems with the main (data entry) knob? The OS update made me feel a bit better about this, as I wouldn't have to turn the knob nearly as much, but it is a mechanical part, and I'm wondering if I should be worrying about it.
Congrats on your micron!
1) I'm not sure there's an easy way to do this, actually! As far as I know, the external input is mixed in PRE-Filter, so unless you turned the filter off (Crippling the sound), you're going to have to run your external input through the filter. I guess it could work for a retro pwm-lead though :-\. Even then, you'd have to disable env 1 by setting it to loop freerun.

2) No.

3) No. As you said, batteries are DC, it expects AC.

4) Check out the behringer BCR2000 - it's $130, for 24 knobs. This isn't overkill, as there are NRPNs for individual parameters. However, BCR2000 can't do negative numbers, so you're somewhat limited.

5) I personally haven't, but yes, it breaks a lot - luckily it's easy to replace... http://www.ecstaticlyrics.com/electroni ... placement/

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Re: Just got a Micron

Post by Huppo » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:18 am

jtuttle wrote: 2. Is there any way to disable the blinking tempo light?
Yes. Put a small piece of opaque tape over it (like electrical tape or a band-aid or something). Use red tape and it won't even look out of place. If you really never want to see it, paint over the button with nail polish.

I had a Micron and really enjoyed it, but recently traded it away in a combo deal for something else. I may get another since I seem to have inadvertently gotten rid of all my small synths. :?

By the way, if you really dislike flashing lights on synths, don't ever get a Poly Evolver keyboard or a Virus TI. When I have both those things cranked up it looks like a police car crashed into a Xmas tree in my studio.
~huppo

Please feel free to add me to your Foes list.

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Re: Just got a Micron

Post by WDW » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:26 am

Huppo wrote:By the way, if you really dislike flashing lights on synths, don't ever get a Poly Evolver keyboard or a Virus TI. When I have both those things cranked up it looks like a police car crashed into a Xmas tree in my studio.
LOL I am in my studio right now, and I have my PEK, TI (rack), NL3 (rack) and MS2000BR, and it is like a Christmas tree! Especially the NL3, which boasts the red-green theme.

Despite having read the TI's manual years ago, when I first got it, I only recently discovered that LED brightness could be adjusted. I wish that all manufacturers had implemented that. The PEK is f---ing bright, and the LFO LEDs on the back panel don't help.

Anyway, I have gone off topic here. Back to the Micron...

WD

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Re: Just got a Micron

Post by Huppo » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:41 am

WDW wrote:LOL I am in my studio right now, and I have my PEK, TI (rack), NL3 (rack) and MS2000BR, and it is like a Christmas tree! Especially the NL3, which boasts the red-green theme.
If I go into my studio with the lights off I feel like in the space shuttle or something with all the LEDs everywhere.
WDW wrote:Despite having read the TI's manual years ago, when I first got it, I only recently discovered that LED brightness could be adjusted. I wish that all manufacturers had implemented that.
There's also a very silly adjustment for the intensity of the pulsating Access logo on the back of the keyboard.
WDW wrote:The PEK is f---ing bright, and the LFO LEDs on the back panel don't help.
But it's so pretty when you turn it on. Whee!!! :shock: yeah..the LEDs on the back are downright blinding. The back of the PEK faces the door to my studio, too. When I walk down the darkened hallway toward the studio the blue light pulses out the door like a nuclear reactor core getting ready to melt down.

My son used to have sneakers that flashed lights when he walked or bumped his feet on things. Unfortunately the lights that flashed were red and blue, so when he was riding in the back seat of the car at night and jiggled his foot I'd see red and blue flashes behind me. That got old pretty fast. :confused2:
~huppo

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Post by WDW » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:56 am

Ah, I had forgotten about the logo light on the back of the keyed TIs. That reminded me about the blue LED on the back of the A6. It's facing the opposite direction of where I was sitting, but, now, moving to another part of the room, I can see its glow.

My daughter used to have light-up shoes too. There were a couple of oh-c**p-a-cop moments while driving her at night for me also. Damn heart attack-inducing shoes!

WD

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Post by jtuttle » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:29 am

Yeah... I think I had light-up shoes when I was a kid...

Anyway, I'm a bit confused about the whole negative NRPN thing. On the alesis-ion Yahoo! Group, there's a list of Micron NRPNs; I've pasted in a few lines here:

Code: Select all

OSC1	 Waveform:	11	0	2
	 Waveshapre:	12	16284	100  	* Only positive values work
	 Octave:	13	16381	3	* Only positive values work
	 Transpose:	14	16377	7	* Only positive values work
As far as I know, none of these are negative (correct me if I'm wrong; they might wrap around or something). Is there any more official list of Micron NRPNs? And how much of the Micron is controlled using negative ones?

EDIT: In fact, I'm using MidiOX to map CCs on my Xboard to NRPNs on the Micron -- nothing is negative, and everything is working fine (aside from the horrible 0-255 resolution of the Midi CCs, but there isn't much I can do about that, AFAIK).

EDIT: Just found this:
http://acapella.harmony-central.com/for ... p=24607845
Silly me... it isn't the NRPN MSBs/LSBs that are negative, it's the values.

Anyway, has anyone tried the BCR2000 with the Micron? The lack of negative values does seem rather annoying, but it does have 24 knobs :-)

Thanks.

-- J.P.

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Post by logicalhippo » Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:16 am

My BCR2000 is in the post, should be arriving next week :-D I'll certainly try it on all my synths, but I'm looking forward to using it with the micron. If the negative number thing annoys me I'll write a quick software translator for it and run it through my computer.

As far as an official NRPN list, I'm not sure - there's prolly one on the yahoo group. I was planning just to record the output from my micron. and figure it out myself.

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