Thursday, March 13, 2008

A New Toy!

Since I got back into the music stuff my synth arsenal has consisted solely of virtual synths. They're neat, powerful, sound pretty good, and the price is right. But they lack something that "real" hardware have, mostly in on-the-fly flexibility. So, after some advice/prodding from my dealer . . . er, "engineer" at Sweetwater, I've jumped in the hardware synth world.

This is an Alesis Micron, an analog modeling synth. That means it is a digital synth designed to sound like and be handled like classic analog synths like the Minimoog, Prophet-5, etc. It uses the same sound engine as the larger (and now discontinued) Ion, but packs the editing features away behind a solitary knob.

The main knob is used to tweak the oscillators, filters, etc., while the other knobs and sliders are used to tweaks the sounds live. While the Micron gets the Ion's engine, it adds some sequencing features that give it even more flexibility. I've only been able to play with it for about half an hour, but it's seriously fun. I'm a born knob twiddler! I also procured a Firewire based audio interface to allow the Micron to interface with ACID, so look for some Micron-fueled tunes sometime soon.

And, apropos of nothing aside from the fact that it's my blog, here's a cute pic (it was on the camera when I transferred the Micron pics) of the one-eyed wonder pup getting some much needed attention.


Elvis Drinkmo said...

That's a beautiful dog, JDB.

RedZeppelin said...

Cool toy! I don't even play keyboard and that looks like it'd be fun to tinker with.

As soon as I learn how to play guitar we can get together and crank out some Genesis tunes. I'm thinking sometime mid-2015. Does that work for you?

JDB said...

Thanks, Elvis!

8 years, Red - you got it. ;)

crystal dawn said...

Sweet puppy :).

What do you think of analog v. digital in terms of sound quality? Even though you really didn't go into depths of comparing the two, I'm guessing that you opted for the digital user friendly aspect of the keyboard while wanting to keep that analog sound. I'm certainly no expert but my ears tell me that my old records and even cassettes produce a much more life-like and organic feel to what I'm hearing than CD's and especially mp3's. Even .flac files can't compare - well, cause they are digital too.

Recently, I have even been ebaying and record shopping for some of my old favorite albums.

JDB said...

Honestly, CD, I don't know enough about it to make an informed decision. It seems to me that purely digital synths deal more with accurately recreating existing sounds (synthetic or otherwise), while analog is all about shading things and reveling in the artificiality of things.

Besides, the Mircon is about the cheapest thing going when buying new, so that weighed heavily in my decision. :-p