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Does the Elektron Analog four have competition? Desktop Synthesizers
Old 13th January 2018
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Does the Elektron Analog four have competition?

I'm currently looking for a hardware synth to add to my Digitakt and Akai s950 setup. The analog four looks like an absolute masterpiece despite its relatively high price vs the number of voices it has. I love the Elektron workflow, but I do already have the digitakt for p-locks and fun sequencing.

Just wanted to know what else people would put in the same sphere as the A4. Really looking for a sonic centerpiece for my setup
Old 13th January 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
Don't know if this helps, but listening to this

and having played a bid with the a4mk2 at a shop,
i think for BerlinSchool, Kraftwerk Style etc, there is nothing
at the moment that could beat the a4mk2's combination
of sound,fx, analog drums, UI (if you like it), portability.

I think it sounds really very good for certain types of music.

(For other styles i would check other synths though, but that's me...)
Old 13th January 2018
  #3
Gear Nut
 

DSI tempest and jd-xa spring to mind - both multitimbral and with different emphasis. Not direct competition though.
Old 13th January 2018
  #4
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Literally anything else. I dunno, I’m an Elektron fan overall and had an AK for a while, but ultimately parted with it because I felt like I’d get more out of having four different analog monosynths and a high end sequencer (I flipped the AK to buy a Squarp Pyramid and haven’t looked back in a looooong time). Don’t get me wrong, the synth engine is solid, but I never really used it in poly and overall find the Elektron sequencer best suited to percussion programming instead of melodic work. I really liked the probability options in the sequencer and the flexible CV, but never really found it having a place for me other than as a drum synth and CV sequencer, and felt that I’d rather have different monosynths with character and a sequencer without compromise. I can’t say it’s bad kit, only that there’s better options if your budget allows for it.
Old 13th January 2018
  #5
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Meriphew's Avatar
 

If I was looking at getting an A4 now, I’d def get the mkII version. Just keep in mind that the A4/A4mkII can’t midi sequence external gear. I really think Elektron messed up leaving that out.
Old 13th January 2018
  #6
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A4s mk I models cost peanuts now. If you’re on the fence, I’d certainly test the waters with a mk I before splurging on a mk II. Perhpas the mk II sounds ”better”, dunno, never tried one, but the mk I is no slouch either, and roughly half the price.

It’s a desert island box for sure, you can make make a vast pallette of sounds with it. If you love elektron seqs, you know nothing else will give you the same UX.
Old 13th January 2018
  #7
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starmanwarz's Avatar
 

I'm in a similar situation. Also have a DT and MPC and I'm looking for a main synth. I was between the A4 MK2 and Peak and decided to go with the A4 MK2 because it is really flexible and unique. Its feature set can't be found in any other gear. Even if its sound lacks compared to other synths, there's so much more to it that it kinda makes it essential to any setup, imo. I l also have a 0-Coast so I'll be making good use of the CV track too.
Old 13th January 2018
  #8
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
I really like the A4, but it occupies an odd space. 4 voices isn’t quite enough for chordal tasks and 4 individual instances of that synth is a bit too much. Anyway, I sold mine and got two Tetras instead. That said, I do miss the A4’s sound. It is a really interesting sounding synth, IMO.
Old 13th January 2018
  #9
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shreddoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I really like the A4, but it occupies an odd space. 4 voices isn’t quite enough for chordal tasks and 4 individual instances of that synth is a bit too much. Anyway, I sold mine and got two Tetras instead. That said, I do miss the A4’s sound. It is a really interesting sounding synth, IMO.
I am not sure I agree about the 4 instances bit - I have an Xpander with 6 voices to use as monos or as a poly and I love it. Depends on what you wanna do musically. I dig counterpoint so composing stuff that is like a woodwind sextet is sexy (for me)... If one is doing uplifting EDM-step anthems maybe less so but in this case why hardware at all? Point being that its all about style - works for some music and not for others.

Speaking of style and getting back to the OP's original query: I am not much of a fan of the Elektron analog voices. If I was in a quest for a multi-voiced thingie like an A4 I'd get a rack of M32's instead. Yeah - compromise on all sorts of cool stuff the Elektron way gives you, but also gets rid of all that 'cool stuff' Elektron gives you (benefit) - again a matter of preference. I think the Moog voice sounds so much nicer and would forego all the Elektron stuff in this case.
Old 13th January 2018
  #10
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shreddoggie View Post
I am not sure I agree about the 4 instances bit - I have an Xpander with 6 voices to use as monos or as a poly and I love it. Depends on what you wanna do musically. I dig counterpoint so composing stuff that is like a woodwind sextet is sexy (for me)... If one is doing uplifting EDM-step anthems maybe less so but in this case why hardware at all? Point being that its all about style - works for some music and not for others.

Speaking of style and getting back to the OP's original query: I am not much of a fan of the Elektron analog voices. If I was in a quest for a multi-voiced thingie like an A4 I'd get a rack of M32's instead. Yeah - compromise on all sorts of cool stuff the Elektron way gives you, but also gets rid of all that 'cool stuff' Elektron gives you (benefit) - again a matter of preference. I think the Moog voice sounds so much nicer and would forego all the Elektron stuff in this case.
Well, I think what youre saying is that you do agree with me, but maybe I wasn’t clear. Having four voices of the same synth isn’t an issue for me, it’s having four instances of that voice is where I’m out... kind of. I think if I could get a really great deal on the A4, I might get one again... but I’m pretty full up on synths at the moment. “Can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” (Stephen Wright) So, I’m content with using software for the types of sounds I was using the Analog Four for. Reaktor, Oxium, Obscurium and Apirillo are all great sounding synths (though not really like the Analog Four at all) with really fun sequencing options. I also now have a Pro 2, which to me sounds as interesting as the Analog Four for analog type sounds, but is also capable of way more. I got it used for $50 less than a new Analog Four Mk2 and while it’s not polyphonic, it’s paraphonic mode is very good The superwave variants are as good as detuned oscillators and it uses a software trick to copy the EG on each oscillator so while you only have one filter EG, it sounds like each paraphonic note gets it’s own amp EG. Cool trick. So... maybe not direct competition, but the Pro 2 would be a good alternative to an Analog Four, especially if you’re thinking of the keyboard version.
Old 13th January 2018
  #11
Gear Addict
 
sovietpop's Avatar
I have 2 analog 4 right now . The Mk1 and the Mk2.
I was thinking about selling the MK1 but its an incredible analog drum machine ! I even like it better than my Elektron Rytm for electronic percussions.
In fact , i think its probably the best analog drum machine you can get for the money (unless you want an 808-909 replica)
Imo it sounds quite good but its not an instant gratification synth. I like it better than the DSI Tetra i had in the past but my OB6 sounds more alive an organic.
Its really a great value imo if you go for an mk1 model (kinda cheap right now).

So i use the Mk2 as a poly synth and the mk1 as a drum machine.
Old 13th January 2018
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sovietpop View Post
I have 2 analog 4 right now . The Mk1 and the Mk2.
I was thinking about selling the MK1 but its an incredible analog drum machine ! I even like it better than my Elektron Rytm for electronic percussions.
In fact , i think its probably the best analog drum machine you can get for the money (unless you want an 808-909 replica)
Imo it sounds quite good but its not an instant gratification synth. I like it better than the DSI Tetra i had in the past but my OB6 sounds more alive an organic.
Its really a great value imo if you go for an mk1 model (kinda cheap right now).

So i use the Mk2 as a poly synth and the mk1 as a drum machine.
This is a straight up luxury my friend! How would you compare the mki vs the mkii. I'm kinda sold on the additional page buttons on the front of the mkii.



So what I'm overall trying to decide is that, is four voices enough? I have my s950 to make large multisampled, lofi, 8 voice polysynth style stuff. I have my digitakt to sample any drum sounds I create and then the analog four to run 4 instances of analog synthyness.

You guys have dug into some loose debate on the character and sound of the A4. Is it particularly remarkable? Is it identifiable as an elektron?
Old 13th January 2018
  #13
Gear Addict
 
sovietpop's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zowno View Post
This is a straight up luxury my friend! How would you compare the mki vs the mkii. I'm kinda sold on the additional page buttons on the front of the mkii.



So what I'm overall trying to decide is that, is four voices enough? I have my s950 to make large multisampled, lofi, 8 voice polysynth style stuff. I have my digitakt to sample any drum sounds I create and then the analog four to run 4 instances of analog synthyness.

You guys have dug into some loose debate on the character and sound of the A4. Is it particularly remarkable? Is it identifiable as an elektron?
IMO The sound of the Mk2 and MK1 are about the same but there is some differences. The overdrive is definitely better on the MK2 and there is a little more bass on the MK2 but thats about it. Quite a subtile difference if you dont use the overdrive. I have been compared both and most of the patch sounds identical (presets and custom patch).

The workflow is better on the MK2 , way better. More buttons and the screen is very nice. There are very good deal on the MK1 right now so personally i would get an MK1 unless you really like the A4 like me

I kinda like the sound of the A4 , its Rolandish and the ENV are very very snappy so its very nice for plucky and percussive sounds. Its a bit Lofi and DARK but i happen to like that kind of sounds.

I really like to program Yamaha CS type of sounds with it because of the multimode filter + the LP filter.

It cant compete with my Boomstar 4075 for low end and it can sounds more sterile compare to me OB6 but i dont mind. The A4 is full of character, in fact its a very characterful synth and i understand why its not for everybody.

Edit : Just like the Monomachine i was not trilled at first, in fact i was quite underwhelmed but both are favorites of mine right now.
Old 14th January 2018
  #14
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Minx's Avatar
 

Get a Monomachine instead.
Old 14th January 2018
  #15
Gear Addict
 

I have a mki and I like the sound of it, but if sound is your only concern, I think you can do better. If you want that sequencer tho, I can't think of any similar options. I find the basic tone to be good, generic analog, if that makes sense, but the way you can twist and shape the sound with the sequencer and modulation options allows you to create really expressive and dynamic parts. So in that sense, it sounds amazing.

As for the polyphony, you can't create massive orchestra type sounds, but you can get a long way if you play with the osc tunings and the 5th interval sub osc.

I have a digitakt too and find them to be a great pair
Old 14th January 2018
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Pete View Post
I have a mki and I like the sound of it, but if sound is your only concern, I think you can do better. If you want that sequencer tho, I can't think of any similar options. I find the basic tone to be good, generic analog, if that makes sense, but the way you can twist and shape the sound with the sequencer and modulation options allows you to create really expressive and dynamic parts. So in that sense, it sounds amazing.

As for the polyphony, you can't create massive orchestra type sounds, but you can get a long way if you play with the osc tunings and the 5th interval sub osc.

I have a digitakt too and find them to be a great pair
The sequencer seems like the real difference. How do you route your A4 and Digitakt?

Generic analog/a bit rolandy is good for me. I've got a lot of character in my s950 already. The onboard FX are a good sell as well
Old 14th January 2018
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Novem's Avatar
YouTube

At 5sec and 28min 45sec you can hear the Minimoog VS Analog Four.



n.
Old 14th January 2018
  #18
Gear Addict
 

[QUOTE=zowno;13070039]The sequencer seems like the real difference. How do you route your A4 and Digitakt?
[QUOTE]

Right now I actually just sync them with digi as master and work them independently, but eventually I will send program changes from the a4 to the digi so I can use the a4's song mode to switch patterns for me.
Old 14th January 2018
  #19
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shreddoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Well, I think what youre saying is that you do agree with me, but maybe I wasn’t clear. Having four voices of the same synth isn’t an issue for me, it’s having four instances of that voice is where I’m out... kind of. I think if I could get a really great deal on the A4, I might get one again... but I’m pretty full up on synths at the moment. “Can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” (Stephen Wright) So, I’m content with using software for the types of sounds I was using the Analog Four for. Reaktor, Oxium, Obscurium and Apirillo are all great sounding synths (though not really like the Analog Four at all) with really fun sequencing options. I also now have a Pro 2, which to me sounds as interesting as the Analog Four for analog type sounds, but is also capable of way more. I got it used for $50 less than a new Analog Four Mk2 and while it’s not polyphonic, it’s paraphonic mode is very good The superwave variants are as good as detuned oscillators and it uses a software trick to copy the EG on each oscillator so while you only have one filter EG, it sounds like each paraphonic note gets it’s own amp EG. Cool trick. So... maybe not direct competition, but the Pro 2 would be a good alternative to an Analog Four, especially if you’re thinking of the keyboard version.
Naw dude - what you are saying is that I din't read your post carefully enough - Hahahahah, oops - DOINk.
Old 14th January 2018
  #20
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shreddoggie View Post
Naw dude - what you are saying is that I din't read your post carefully enough - Hahahahah, oops - DOINk.
Oh, more than once I’ve composed an argument against a post that was totally agreeing with me.
Old 14th January 2018
  #21
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shreddoggie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Oh, more than once I’ve composed an argument against a post that was totally agreeing with me.
I disagree with this post.
Old 14th January 2018
  #22
Oop
Gear Addict
 
Oop's Avatar
 

My favourite Analog 4 video:

For jamming, I've been using mine sync'd to the Digitakt as the brain. MIDI sequencing via Digitakt, A4 only as a patch selector.
Old 14th January 2018
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

dunno if you would call it direct competition but definitely look at the DSI pro-2...its sequencer has P-locks and you can get really crazy with it same as the A4
Old 15th January 2018
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

I ended up finding somewhere local to try out the A4 in person. I don't know why people have been saying it's generic, I thought the sound was rich and massive. Definitely had a character its own. I found patches that where fairly Rolandy and some patches that got pretty close to some Oberheim sounds. I didn't find anything particularly moog like about it, but then again I've never been into moog sounds. I couldnt find anything else in store that gave me nearly the same satisfaction. Novation peak just seemed lackluster, blofeld was a bit meh. The performance controls of the A4 were incredible. So easy to create exciting builds and transform sounds. I also really appreciated the sequencer and feel like it'll take a great place next to the digitakt in my studio.

What really sold me was the very first demo pattern on it. Just sounded really freaking cool.

Do people think it'd be better to clock it from the digi or clock the digi from the A4. I'm thinking the latter just because of the lack of a digi song mode, and if I was to play a whole set live with both I can see that being an issue.
Old 15th January 2018
  #25
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Bach666's Avatar
 

If you already have a Digitakt, I think a Virus TI desktop is a very compelling option.
Old 15th January 2018
  #26
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starmanwarz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zowno View Post
I ended up finding somewhere local to try out the A4 in person. I don't know why people have been saying it's generic, I thought the sound was rich and massive. Definitely had a character its own. I found patches that where fairly Rolandy and some patches that got pretty close to some Oberheim sounds. I didn't find anything particularly moog like about it, but then again I've never been into moog sounds. I couldnt find anything else in store that gave me nearly the same satisfaction. Novation peak just seemed lackluster, blofeld was a bit meh. The performance controls of the A4 were incredible. So easy to create exciting builds and transform sounds. I also really appreciated the sequencer and feel like it'll take a great place next to the digitakt in my studio.

What really sold me was the very first demo pattern on it. Just sounded really freaking cool.

Do people think it'd be better to clock it from the digi or clock the digi from the A4. I'm thinking the latter just because of the lack of a digi song mode, and if I was to play a whole set live with both I can see that being an issue.
Congrats on your purchase! I'll be getting mine as well in a couple of weeks

Did you get the MK2?
Old 16th January 2018
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starmanwarz View Post
Congrats on your purchase! I'll be getting mine as well in a couple of weeks

Did you get the MK2?
I haven't picked it up just yet, but I'll definitely be getting the mkii. I feel like it finally has looks befitting of it's sound and the additional buttons on the face of the unit really sell it for me.
Old 1st August 2018
  #28
Talking about the Analog Four... Am I going nuts, or is there no general Analog Four thread on GS?
Old 1st August 2018
  #29
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jbuonacc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zowno View Post
... Just wanted to know what else people would put in the same sphere as the A4. Really looking for a sonic centerpiece for my setup
rarely does anyone see it for what it really is - basically a modern Commodore 64 tracker in a box. in that sense, no, there's really nothing else like it.

seen as just a simple 4-voice mono/poly synth, i'm sure people could find some others to compare it to.
Old 1st August 2018
  #30
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Jamie munro's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickbenjamins View Post
Talking about the Analog Four... Am I going nuts, or is there no general Analog Four thread on GS?
It probably got closed due to people who couldn't grasp it shouting and abusing those who could.
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