AK vs A4 : the sound is VERY different

Did I miss the sound samples showing the difference?

I didn’t see any yet…I’m not buying there is a difference until I hear it.

I guess I’m not the type to just go out on a limb over hearsay though…however, if I had the cash, why not. :slight_smile:

I mean I did buy a MOOG MF-104M Super Delay to upgrade my standard MF-104M but there was a clear difference there, I could even see the extra 400ms on the dial. :wink:

The key is that Elektron themselves say there IS a difference.


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they’re analog synths, they ALL sound different.

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From the FAQ on Elektron’s own site (http://eu.elektron.se/support/?connection=analog-keys)

"Does the Analog Keys and the Analog Four sound exactly the same?

The Analog Keys uses the same means of analog sound generation as the Analog Four, but features circuits fine-tuned for delivering deep bass."

The video that sold me on a difference is :

around 3:45

Yes, it’s a youtube video and all sorts of reasons that it may be inaccurate sound, but… when I first that the first thing I thought was that my a4 desktop does not have that same saw sound.

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I have the a4 and love the form factor. My band mate has the AK. I am of the opinion that the AK sounds more vital.
How’s that for subjective?

Very good.
I have the AK and not the A4, and I think the AK sounds more… inquisitive.

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Don’t have a comparison but I am not too fuzzed about the sound of the a4. The sounds I like most out of it are drums actually but maybe I just have to sit down and start making my own presets…

im gonna play captain obvious here - difference or not, in the context of the vast majority of actual recorded music, this is really a moot point. maybe the nerdiest among us could hear it in a side by side, but mix em into tracks, and i would bet no one could tell a difference at all.


I don’t own an AK, but I have a Monomachine and an A4, and I really feel like they sound different !



I used to own an A4 and then decided to “upgrade” to the AK because it seemed like it would also fuction as a great master keyboard for my minimal setup,

I did some testing when I had both, and I could not measure any meaningfull difference between the two. I also couldn’t really hear any really obvious difference. The AK did seem to have a bit of a bass boost with some patches, but nothing that a little EQ-ing on the A4 could not fix.

The experience of using the AK (nice responsive keyboard, with aftertouch, lovely joystick pitch/CC control) vs. the A4 is of course different which probably translates in a different interpretation of how they sound.

and to be clear, the a4 desktop has more bass than I need. No complaints at all. Almost wish Elektron had never mentioned it because it likely is a very small technical difference which then makes our minds “hear” all sorts of “differences”

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It’s splitting hairs and every tool is a weapon of you hold it right.
Like others, A4 gives me more than enough bass response.

:+1: :+1::+1:agreed ! I have both… and I never felt the need to compare them … why should I ?.. to me they both sound fantastic :wink:
I think it’s all very subjective…; and we seem to forget that it’s the player that makes the sounds…
How a bass is percieved dépends a lot on the surrending sounds … in the same way a color is seen depending on the colors that surround it.

hi simon to complete your key / four comparation could you add two ‘square raw’ tracks,square wave is usefull to analyze low end,

Freudian slip?

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To summarize:

  1. There are slight differences between the A4 and AK, coming either from the actual, physical sound-generating circuits, calibration, or both.
  2. Additionally, being analog instruments, minute variance in tolerance, heat or other factors may influence the sound, slightly.
  3. Whatever the real or imagined difference, the only substantive issue is whether you prefer keys, desktop space, or a particular workflow.
  4. If you have an A4, there’s no reason to feel you’re “missing out” on anything, with regards to sound-quality or more bass or whatever (and vice versa).

^ This.

(Sorry to rehash this, but for just today I have an A4 and AK right next to each other. Both with the same settings so I am doing some A/B tests with my ears.)

Doing some A/Bing of the same kick patch and yes A4 and AK sound different. AK is clearer in the highs on that patch, ironically. More of a finished sound. A4 is woolier.

On 2nd kick patch test, the differences are more apparent. AK circuits have more of a scooped (lows are higher, and treble higher) frequency response. A4 is less so (more mid forward).

On fat, moog-ish bass sounds, it’s a bit different since those sounds don’t have the high frequency attack content that good kicks do. So the bass bump is more noticeable on AK, for sure. A4 sounds more mid forward, again, with good mid presence for bass lines. They are objectively different - but I think neither is objectively better. A lot of times, in production settings, forward mids (A4) are a very desirable thing in an analog synth.

More to the point, these comparisons are with the exact same parameters on each machine.
When moving beyond the differences, we must also examine capabilities. I am finding that with some quick use of high resonance HPF or even using the peaking filter, I am able to get that same bass bump out of the A4.
And inversely, I can get more forward mids out of the AK when using the peaking filter.

While these two synths don’t sound exactly the same, they are equally capable.


Have you made a calibration on both units before your tests, Adam ?

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