Saturday, 18 April 2015

Patch 032 - tulip

Normal service is resumed after yesterday's guest contribution. This is a Sample and Hold effect patch with delay with LFO synced filter modulation. Filter 2 is offset to filter 1 by an octave and each filter has slightly different pannings to give a bit of movement, aided by the stereo delay.



m1 - lfo 1 intensity (mapped to filter frequency)
m2 - sample and hold smoothing
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - filter 2 resonance

Friday, 17 April 2015

Patch 031 - MrDetpurroc's fm piano (guest contribution)

I am always on the lookout for fresh inspiration for all my music endeavours, and often end up trawling YouTube for interesting and inspiring synth videos. One day recently I ended up at MrDetpurroc's channel where I was blown away by a number of videos where MrDetpurroc combined the Micron with a Boss RC505 loopstation and a single CD DJ deck to create unique ambient tunes rich in melody and tone. And whatsmore, a man after my own heart, these tracks were created in a live single take.

I got in touch with MrDetpurroc who very kindly agreed to post a patch on my blog, so here you have it folks, my first guest contributor! Take it away MrDetpurroc...

The famous Micron FM piano patch...
It must have been around 2005-2006 that the possibility of a piano sound program for the the Alesis Ion / Micron was discussed on the web, and many users criticized the absence of patches of that kind in the factory presets. Some proposals were made by different users and results were shown frequently on YouTube. Somewhere occurred an ominous FM patch, and the existence of it was doubted - the YouTube video was dismissed as a fake. Hard to imagine nowadays, but back in 2004 when the Alesis virtual synths really hit the market and won some awards, this issue was heavily discussed...

It may have been around that time that I picked a so called FM-Piano patch out of the Ion Yahoo group, I don't remember who uploaded it, but it was suffering from harsh artefacts, and not very useful at all. I developed an own Piano patch without using FM, which is also quite okay but sounds more like an electric piano.

I frequently tried to improve the FM patch and I can say, it is not really in its final state, so I give you two versions, maybe you could try and find an even better way to get rid of the slightly occurring distortions...

Basically it is built around a negative sawtooth of Osc1, set to -1 Octave, a basic pulsewave on Osc2, set to 0/0/0 and a basic triangle on Osc3, set to 0/0/0, too. Strange thing now is, that the FM has to be set to 50% up to 100% with the type 3>2>1 linear. This normally causes tons of overtones, reaching easily wide above the audible range. But in this case it seems more to be just a trick to add a decent deformation to the waveshape of Osc1. The other Oscillators, by the way, have to be set to zero output.

The final character is provided by the lowpass al 8pole filter, no resonance, cutoff at around 200Hz and a sharp envelope 2. The big challenge is to get rid of those artefacts mentioned above, which may occur because of the tempered tuning of the synths (which by factory default cannot be changed, which is a pity...). This means that an octave interval is not a mathematically exact doubling of the frequency, it is reduced according to somewhat like the so called "Pythagorean Comma" - also called "ditonic comma". So we have to simulate a "glockenreine stimmung"* (don't know the English word for it) by using the mod matrix, altering the keytrack for the oscillators, and, maybe plus a little fine tuning. I did not manage to discover the 100% solution for this, maybe someone of you out there will find it... Please let us know.

Here are the patches:

eglof's fm piano 1
eglof's fm piano 2

(*I don't know either! - ghostly606)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Patch 030 - init (e2)

Back in March 2010 I posted an Init patch, in the absence of an initialise all feature on the Micron. This evening I have decided to revisit the concept and programme a new Init patch for using with my sequencer - the new Korg Electribe or Electribe 2 (E2 for short). I did this because the knobs on the E2 are assigned to fixed Change Controls and because the Micron relies on NRPN messages rather than CC data. I therefore had to set up all the CC routing within the Mod Matrix.

I had to make some decisions, for example filter type (ob2), what envelope to assign the attack / decay knobs on the E2 to (Env 2), what to assign the IFX knob to (FX balance) and so on. I decided to make Envelope 2 a one shot (i.e. sustain off). Here is the patch:

init (e2)

Mappings / Mod Matrix Routing

m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - env 1 attack
y - env 1 release
z - delay time

Amp / EG Level (E2, cc7) - program level
Amp / EG Level (E2, cc10) - pan
Filter Resonance (E2, cc71) - filter 1 resonance
Amp / EG Level (E2, cc72) - envelope 2 decay
Amp / EG Level (E2, cc73) - envelope 2 attack
Filter (E2, cc74) - filter 1 frequency
Oscillator Edit (E2, cc82) - oscillator 1 shape
Filter EG Int (E2, cc83) - filter 1 envelope
Insert FX Edit (E2, cc87) - fx mix
I recorded a very basic test sequence whilst knob twiddling (starting with a single saw wave), and the result can be heard here:

(single live take, a little bit of reverb added afterwards)

Very much regard this patch as a work in progress, may post variations at a later date as my workflow evolves. I hope some of you find this useful!

CC80 (Oscillator Pitch on the E2) seems to be routed to Latch on the Micron, good to know!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Patch 029 - crocus

I have watched with envy videos on YouTube of the new Korg "Arp" Odyssey so wanted to hear what the filter sounded like, albeit modelled on the Micron. This patch is very much a SFX patch, play a single note and tweak the x, y and z knobs which affect the filter cut-off, resonance and intensity of the modulation of the filter cut-off by the S&H for the full effect. I love delays.

Happy Easter, folks.



m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - mod 1 level

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Patch 028 - daffodil

Daffodil is an e-piano sound with a fixed decay / release cycle, nice for ringing chords. Slider 1 will add vibrato.



m1 - lfo 1 intensity
m2 - unassigned
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - fx mix

Friday, 3 April 2015

Patch 027 - snowdrop

After an extended break I am back, with a spring in my step, with a rhythmic pad patch, snowdrop.



m1 - lfo 1 intensity
m2 - osc 3 level
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - noise level

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

"51 miles per radio"

Sorry for lack of posts, been really busy with work and life and stuff. Did manage to fit in an albums worth of tunes for RPM15 though. Entitled "51 miles per radio", with the exception of a hastily added vocal loop on one of the tracks ("going home"), all the tracks are instrumental. Gear used:

  • OP-1 (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9)
  • Micron (tracks 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Electribe 2 (tracks 5, 8)
  • Monotron Delay (tracks 1, 6, 7, 9)
  • Microbrute (track 1)
  • Volca Sample (track 1)

With the exception of track 2, recorded directly to album within the OP-1, all tracks were multitracked using a Boss Micro BR.

The album is available for streaming or free download at alonetone.

Will get back to patches this weekend!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Patch 026 - adk v1.0 (adk)

Today I am posting the first iteration of my adk rhythm patch which refers to the kick3, snare1 and hihat1 program patches posted earlier. Note that you will need these patches loaded into your program for this rhythm patch to work.

adk v1.0

I am a bit disappointed that the live controllers m1, m2, x, y and z cannot be assigned for rhythm patches. The only workaround would be to add each drum part as a separate synth program within a set-up, which is less than ideal.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Patch 025 - kick3 (adk)

I started to build my first rhythm set last night based on my earlier kick, snare and hi hat patches but upon trying it out I thought the kick was too overwhelming, in large part due to the lengthy decay. So kick3 is yet another variation on the other kick patches that sounds snappier.

Tomorrow you'll get the "adk v1.0" rhythm patch!



m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - decay time

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Patch 024 - hihat1 (adk)

Next up for the adk series - hi hats.

Kept this fairly straightforward for now, no oscillators, just noise running through a hi pass filter. Slightly different release and decay so u can simulate the open and closed hats based on note length. Made the amp envelope velocity sensitive as well as filter frequency.



m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - env 1 decay
z - env 1 release 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Patch 023 - kick2 (adk)

This is a variation on kick1. The main change is that I added some crunch through the fuzz pedal drive effect to sit better with snare1. I also fixed the category of the patch, to "drum", obviously!



m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - decay time 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Patch 022 - snare1 (adk)

Next up in my analogue drum kit series is a snare. This one comprises a pitch modulated (via an envelope) triangle wave together with some noise. A bit of crunch was was added from a tube amp drive effect. Sounds pretty good to my ears.

The only problem is that it doesn't really go with kick1. So I think you can all guess what is coming tomorrow...



m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 2 cut-off
z - decay time

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Patch 021 - kick1 (adk)

I have decided to draw a line under my "birds of prey" themed (in name only) synth patches for now and move onto something new. Back in 2012 I prepared a drum kit using my microKorg as part of my microKorg Analogue Drum Kit series (adk). I found this a great learning experience and it was also pretty cool loading my samples into my sampler of choice (ReDrum in Reason at the time) knowing that this kit was unique to me (and anyone else who downloaded it from my blog!!). The main problem was that the samples were locked in time, given the monotimbral nature of that synth.

I think you can surely guess where I am going with this... Yep, I am recreating my analogue drum kit series, adk for short, on the Micron! The benefit of course is that once complete I can load my kit into a Rhythm patch and tweak away.

And on to the first patch, a kick drum, based on two oscillators - a sine wave and a triangle pitched an octave below running through the moog low pass filter. There is a subtle percussive beater noise added by some noise run through filter 2 (again, low pass) with a snappy envelope. Check it out and let me know what you think.


I can see each of these patches evolving as I prepare all the parts of the kit, hence why I have numbered this patch. For example, I can imagine reassigning m1 / m2 to pitch and filter combos for example for each of the patches. Or adjusting the pitch so that the kick and snare sit well together in the final adk kit.


m1, m2 - unassigned, for now!
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - pre-mix noise level

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


I am meant to be doing the RPM challenge again this year, my first since 2011, although I am fast running out of time. Last night I quickly pulled together a simple electronica track, based on the kestrel arp and osprey patch, posted recently.

I am pretty satisfied with the result:

Hardware bug?? - Audio thru on the Micron

I use a Belkin Rockstar as a basic passive mixer for all my synth gadgets such as Volcas, Monotron Delay and so on, ideal for mobile music making. And what a clever little device it is with each 3.5m jack acting as an input or output depending on circumstance.

When I used it recently with the line outs on the Micron (via a suitable audio cable) I noticed that the level from the Micron was low. Even more bizarrely I noticed that all the other audio feeding into the Belkin was being passed through the headphone output on the Micron, albeit passively.

What a handy feature! There is nothing about this in the manual but with the right cable you can use your Micron to accompany other audio gear without the need for a mixer.

Or so I thought... Unfortunately when used as a "mixer" like this the Micron's level is reduced to such an extent as to be barely audible. Alternatively, if you unplug one of the line out cables you then hear the audio thru in one ear and the Micron sounds in the other. But to hear them both together you'd need a mixer. Which brings us back to where we began!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Patch 020 - osprey

Osprey is a square wave pad with a long attack and release. Movement is provided by the detuned oscillators and some S&H modulation of the Osc 1 pitch. Adjust the filter to taste.



m1, m2 - unassigned
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - noise level

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Patch 019 - kestrel / kes arp

Something new today - a pattern / program sysex bundle for you to enjoy.

The program itself is fairly straightward, a electronic harp type twang with a bit of decay / release and no sustain. Perfect arp fodder. I am just getting to know the patterns feature, it seemed a bit strange sast first to assign the program to the pattern rather than the other way round but I've gotten used to it. The pattern editor is very powerful beast indeed.

kestrel / kestrel arp


m1, m2 - unassigned
x - filter 1 cut-off
y - filter 1 resonance
z - temp synced delay time

Friday, 13 February 2015

Patch 018 - eagle

Next up is a bass patch. One of my favourite synths is the Volca Bass, the bottom end is just so warm and deep, and the starting point for almost all my jams is a simple sequence from the Bass running through a digital delay. This patch is an attempt to recreate that sound, at least in spirit. It's called "eagle":


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Micron Editor for OSX - micronAU

I occasionally use micronAU as a Micron program editor and must admit, it's a lot easier than the using the hardware interface:

After the misfortune of having a damaged motherboard I recently had to reinstall OSX on my laptop and could I find micronAU again? After a lot of searching, dead links and dead ends I stumbled upon a copy in a dark corner of the world wide web and to save you all the bother of looking yourselves, I thought I would post it here. I can confirm it works on OSX 10.5 in Logic 8 and Renoise (my sequencer of choice these days), not sure about the more recent macs.

The software is donationware, and so if you use it then you should really reward the author although the link in the enclosed Manual is dead. So, if you wrote this great piece of software, drop me a line and I can provide a new link!


Patch 017 - buzzard

So I'm back synthesising on the Micron. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that jazz, and they would be right! I have decided to keep my posts snappier so it doesn't become a chore, if you are after more details you'll get less patches! Feedback on this policy welcome.

So here I started with an Init patch and come up with a nice string patch with detuned saw and square waves feeding into a low pass then phase warp filter in series. The frequency is controlled with x, and the resonance of each filter is mapped to y and z. Get tweaking!

The patch is called "buzzard", check it out:


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I Am the Resurrection


Bought myself an Alesis Micron again! Awaiting delivery but will be posting on here again soon, watch this space!