After 6 years I think I'm finally getting the hang of this

I think I can sum up my relationship with the A4 by saying that it’s definitely not an instant gratification synth for me. After a while of having it on the back burner I have been refocusing on it and I feel like I’m starting to get it to sound like me.
I think the big revelation was to focus on the filters as the sound source, and think of the oscillators as more like exciters than the primary source of tone.
Also I feel like I’m thinking of it less and less as an analogue synth? I don’t know what that means exactly but (shrug).

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I would really appreciate some kind of tips on workflow that works for you.

I always loved getting a workflow with synths no matter how the programming worked (ESQ-1, Juno 106, AX60, CZ5000) but for some reason the A4 still elludes me sometimes.

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I guess the workflow is just my figuring what makes the synth sound like what I’m hearing in my head. If you compare my AK videos to my M:C ones I think my voice is pretty clear in both of them and it was a case of finding the part of the A4 that has that melodic percussive thing I like.

Here are some things I would have liked to have learned earlier:

  1. Gain staging into the filters is important
  2. The filters are really important as sound sources. You can ping them with the noise generator.
  3. If you want a proper pulse wave use the subs
  4. Feedback oscillator! But AM it with osc2 to keep it under control
  5. FM with the LFOs is great, but less is more
  6. The effects are a voice, and there is a dedicated fx sequence track for a reason. If you’re at all into idm this is where it is
  7. There are lots of sweet spots but they are narrow. Fine tuning is key
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Really nice percussion/tom programming. Almost has the vibration transient sound from a real drum nailed.

I just got an A4 and basically haven’t touched it due to poor setup arrangement, in the process of building a new desk and I think it’ll help a lot with my focus and comfort.

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I find that the A4/AKs timbre in general has an almost acoustic vibe to it and that is one of the things I really love about that synth.

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Yea I can’t wait to bust it out of the box. Really reminds me of exciters like they said, A4 would probably sound amazing through low pass gates like Natural Gate.

With my recent Overbridge revelation that might have to happen…

Yes. Absolutely this.
Acoustic not like a buchla but sharper, cleaner.

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Hearing Taros’s drum demos was a huge inspiration to dig into this side of the A4.

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It’s a great synth to play on a couch with headphones while the desk is in progress!

You may forget to finish the desk though.

Those sweet spots may be narrow, but they are deep. You can get lost in there…

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That’s some lovely low end, cool fx track stuff too.

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Cheers! There’s a lot of low-end to be had from the filters :slight_smile:

I’ve heard things in the FX than makes me think a more hard-core programmer could go full Autechre with the A4. Between plocking chorus params and automating reverb predelay there’s a lot of wild space in there.

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Something a bit melodic & idmish

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It’s funny that the OP says to think of the A4 less as an analog synth, as after a few weeks I’ve noticed the same thing. I started out trying to find “classic” analog sounds from it, but everything just sounded really thin and I was kind of baffled by it. Next to no bass growl, no fatness and warmth or other attributes you’d expect from an analog synth. I then started to, like the OP, to play with the filters and concentrate less on the oscillators and it clicked. I’ve started to think of it as a sound FX tool less than a traditional synth, and have been finding a lot of weird and wonderful sounds.

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Recently started exploring a new A4 mk2. This is the thread I needed to see. It’s only been a couple weeks, and I have to remember these are deep machines. I’ve only just scratched the surface, so I’m looking forward to trying some of these techniques, especially exciting the filters with noise and definitely the FX track. That’s one of the main reasons I got an A4; I was hoping that it could be a playground of sorts, with all the modulation and routing.

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the A4 very much feels like a “lifetime instrument,” if one is willing to put in the time. it’s so versatile but really requires some focused time to gel with it. it can be immediate like some other synths, too. but it feels like i’ve only scratched the surface with mine.

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At the price the mk1s are going for these days it’s such a no-brainer if you have $500-600

For text book synth sounds I use other machines but for wild sonic exploration I really enjoy getting lost in the A4. It’s noise generator is one of my favorites…

Likewise @okpk, almost 4 years with the mki and just about getting where I want to be…

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I’ve just passed the “n00b” stage with a4 but getting past that next level to really connect with the synth has been a struggle.

I realize that I have to put in the time, but it’s like I don’t even know where to begin. I guess that might be why I like simpler synth architectures, since I can much faster get to that next level.

Please keep the tips coming, I’d love some more inspiration for synth recipes.

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