Monday, 15 February 2010


Why post a Patch a Day blog for the Alesis Micron?
I make music in a number of different ways - I play the guitar, I play a bit of keyboards and I enjoy programming sequences on the computer. I also enjoy reading about the process of making sound and so in my spare time, at work or at home, I hunt down tutorials for each of the tools that I use to make music. One day I stumbled upon a blog called Reason: Patch a Day and in it I could trace the sound design travels of the blogger Robbneu. As well as being a great read I learned quite a bit from reading this blog and it occurred to me to create my own such blog.
The software instrument rack Propellerhead Reason is ideally suited to such an endeavour - it is a closed system so all users have the same tools to hand, there are a number of different synthesis types (subtractive, graintable, FM to name but three) and the patches can be easily saved and loaded to and from the program. I wanted to do something similar firstly as a creative tool - to improve my sound design skills, but secondly because I thought it would be a fun thing to do.
The principle software instruments I use are Reason and Logic and I was tempted to maybe do a "Channel Strip a Day" type blog for Logic but to be honest I think that I would end up playing with effects and the numerous different synths to such an extent that I would be losing sight of the whole point of this exercise. And then I remembered my much loved Alesis Micron and in a eureka style moment this blog was born.
So, in the 14th February 2010 I erased the patch memory on my favourite silver and red synth and started creating patches from scratch.
How do I get these patches onto my synth?
The patches are in .sysex format and need to be sent to your Micron via MIDI assuming your computer is hooked up to your synth via a MIDI interface. I use SySex Librarian on my mac via my Novation Nio interface to do this but there are many MIDI editors / sequencers / interfaces that are up to the task.
Who are you?
I am an amateur musician living in Scotland. I make no money from the music business and do all this just for fun. Have toyed with the idea of trying to make a living doing a hobby I love but I am not prepared to sell my soul to achieve this. 
I make all sorts of music from whimsical guitar folk to electronica, and a mish mash of everything in between. I will be of course venturing towards the elctronica side of my passion when creating patches, although look out for the odd attempt at more traditional instruments. From time to time I will post examples of each of the patches in a song context.
Can I contribute?
In a word, YES! I would love to hear your comments and welcome any feedback, positive or negative, on my patches and I will happily return to some of my posted sounds and make improvements where I can. I am a relative beginner when it comes to sound design and given this blog was born with improving my knowledge of synthesis in mind I would be surprised if any of you didn't have something valuable to say!


  1. This is a great little project. Could you also post an mp3 snippet so that folks without microns can have a listen? Cheers, Jared

  2. First off well done for creating this Blog when I'm a bit more confident with the Micron I would like to contribute. However I have a cheeky request I’m having no lucky with the timing on a set up for the MGMT song Kids I have nailed the sounds but the 3 phrases (Bass, middle & main riff) go out when I play it with the group. I'm using just the Micron no sequencer involved. I know deep down it's me at fault but if anyone can produce this I would be very grateful. And just for good measure the same goes for the Coldplay song Viva la Vida. Good Luck with the Blog.
    Many Thanks

  3. Thanks for the comments guys!

    @Jared: I hope to do this with each post some time in the near future. I will post up a recap of all the patches before then, probably at the weekend when I have time!

    @Lee: The problem with using sequencers in song such as Kids is that the drummer has to follow the sequencer, not the other way round. And if you do that then the song loses its edge, cause the great thing about rock music such as that is the groove.