A4 to AK - worth it?

Hi guys, so my very kind retailer has said I can bring back my newish A4 and swap it for an AK just paying the normal price difference. I originally ordered the AK then changed to A4 when I heard about Overbridge and because I thought I could just use Ableton Push as the ‘keys’ for the A4. But it feels like something is missing and I’m not finding the A4 very accessible. Anyway, before I confirm that I want to change it, who else swapped an A4 for an AK? Why? Was it worth it?
Thanks guys!

I have both. It’s a user interface difference. If you want more hands on control then go for it. If you are ok using controllers to get the same control externally, then go for it. The sound difference alone is not reason to spend the extra money. In my opinion of course. They are both equally amazing. They just happen to dictate a different workflow.

I personally am going to swap at some point. I’m in between controllers anyway and the ability to hit the midi local off or whatever it’s called and it goes into straight controller mode bypassing the synth engine (im sure you know this) - the joystick and overall ergonomics for me not only to enhance the a4 experience but will make it probably the most used piece in my studio and I’ll naturally use the a4 much more. Plus I can fit the OT just bellow it - all ergonomics which I’m finding out are just so important

Thanks for the replies so far…

Have an A4, just got an AK. The AK feels very different because of the jog wheel and especially the joystick, which is programmable. You can just do so much cool stuff with it. Get an A4 if you want to save money or room, those are the only reasons.

cool, thanks trickness :slight_smile:

I just sold MD and A4 to finance the AK. But because of the small display (comparing to my Monomachine) i am not so sure if i should get this, or rather a Clavia NL4 or a Sledge. How do you guys feel about soundcreation with the AK? Is it harder because you sit further away from the display? On the A4 it was ok for me, but just because i had my nose right at it. :wink:

I hope to gain better access and also a good controller for my Mnm (joystick!).

Well, I have pretty good eyesight (20/20) and I’ve had to prop up the back of the unit to tilt the whole thing towards me by about 30 degrees!

I like the idea of not staring at a screen, in fact that is one of the main appeals of outboard gear for me. But, as you know, you need to see parameters quite a lot of the time and this screen is woefully inadequate. The same size as the octatrack would have been perfect.

I still love the AK but this is a bit of an issue, for me at least.

I wonder why they didnt used the one from the OT or even better the OLED from TE out of the OP1. That display is so so great to look at.

For you guys that have both the A4 and AK, what are your thoughts about the difference in bass, as per the “circuits fine-tuned for delivering deep bass” claim?

Any chance you could record a few identical bass presets on both so we can hear for ourselves?

I have been to my local music store today and i was testing the Analog Keys for a few hours.

Well…good thing…creating patterns is definitely easier than on the A4 or for gods sake on the Mnm.
But…the tiny display…on the AK it is even worse…i had to bend over the machine in order to properly see the values. Right next to it, was the new Clavia NL4 sitting, which i tested as well, no problem of rme there to tweak a sound…on the AK it´s a sorry Elektron…but the micro display really makes it for tweaking sounds a pain in the ass for people with bad eyesight like me.

So no AK for me.

I think i will get again a Vermona Perfourmer plus Arturia Beatstep and use that additionally to the Mnm, Blofeld, TR8 and Sub 37.

thanks guys - particularly interested in the workflow differences - how exactly does the jogwheel and joystick change things for you personally (and keys I guess).

I had an analog four and now have an AK.

The scroll wheel makes a big difference, as browsing sounds and using it for various other functions makes some tasks easier.

The joystick is hit or miss imo. The fact that you can’t record it into the sequencer makes it useless for most of what I do. I’m guessing it will be more useful to guys who play live than anything.

Sequencing patterns is much faster with the keyboard built in, and the multiple outs are a life-saver when I want to use it with outboard or to mix down. Also, the visual feedback on what notes are on what step is helpful.

I don’t think it’s worth it to switch from an A4 to AK… the overbridge should compensate for the lack of outs on the A4, and you can always just use a midi controller if you need a keyboard. The jogwheel isn’t a game changer.

I’ve been debating (lurking this thread) about the same thing. My plan is to sell the A4 and Indigo 2. Then replace both with the AK.

  1. I don’t use the Indigo 2 as much as I should. I had the motherboard replaced not long ago.
  2. This would save space and simplify my setup.

I’m not sure if I’m thinking rationally. I should probably not bother.

I have both as well and I agree with the other statements in this thread.

I use the AK differently than the A4; Especially the poly aspect.

I tend to play more chords with the AK and I also use the live record function a lot more.
With the A4 I mainly used the small keyboard to trigger the sound I was tweaking and to change the key as I was sequencing the trigs.

With the AK I tend to use the live record and actually play the notes and then adjust the trigs’ plocks after that.
Entirely different workflow; I find that I now use the A4 for percussion and bass (single note trigs) and the Ak for strings, pads, and chords.

The screen is rather annoying though, it seems to best used standing above it which isn’t exactly how I work (especially when creating a sound).

If they would of simply angled it rather than have it sit flat it would of made a ton of difference.
I have my A4 in a case that allows me to angle it and I prefer to use it that way. Sadly there is no way to change the angle on the AK.

One more thing; the AK has a rather large empty area on the right hand side of the keyboard. I find myself placing my forearm on said area and leaning over to tweak the knobs (kind of like you would to sleep on a desk at school) I find that I am thankful for this as it seems to be the most comfortable way to dig into the parms.

My advise get a new AK and buy a used A4 from Ebay ($850 -$899 seems to be going rate)
Then you will have an unbeatable 8 voice system
Go go used for A4 --3 year warranty is transferable

Dave B

Does that mean you can’t hear a difference in the bass between the the AK and A4 since you are choosing to use the A4 for bass?

Wow, super cheap.
They are regularly selling on eBay for £850 ($1,400) here in the UK.

Does that mean you can’t hear a difference in the bass between the the AK and A4 since you are choosing to use the A4 for bass?[/quote]
Honestly, I have not done a comparison.
I use the A4 for bass simply because I tend to sequence my bass lines rather than play them.

I’ll have to do a head to head bassline test and report back.
(something tells me that I wont be noticing much of a difference)

OK just got my AK which I swapped for the A4. For me it is MUCH more fun (plus my Rytm arrived at the same time which is double fun). The workflow seems a lot more intuitive to me.