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)


  1. Hey, this YouTube vid is in Japanese, but has enough visuals to step you through setting up a piano patch using the EP? OK! program as a starting point. By the time I got to the end, I had messed up something, but I managed to retrace my steps and it really does sound good. One hitch (and this is something I'm often frustrated with using the Micron) is the overall output level - it's very quiet compared to other programs and I don't know how to increase the volume from within the program (rather than having to use the knob...)

  2. Sorry... the link: