Analog 4 for Synthpop


#1

Hi. This is my first time on the new forum. Some of you may remember me from the old forum. But it’s been two years since I even used that one. Hello.

Now, I’m sure this has been gone over many times in the past, but I’m too lazy to search it.

How fit is the A4 for doing analog synthpop music?

I’m talking Erasure

Depeche Mode

etcetera. you get the picture (or should I say, photograph?).

Now, obviously this is a powerful 4 track analog synthesizer, with a dedicated sequencer.
On paper, all the specs sound perfect for synthpop. To the T. With what sounds like an excellent engine, and a very tight meticulous sequencer.
However, knowing how these things go, once you start to make music with a machine like this, the workflow changes things.

Let’s say I buy one, fully intending to create music like this, and then once I start using the machine, I’m hit with the realization that it’s just not meant for that kind of music!

Is the sequencer even adept for this kind of music?
Is it good for stringing whole songs together?
Or is it more of a live performance/improv machine?

Are there any demos of people making this kind of music with it?
I can’t seem to find any.

Thank you.


#2

I think it’s fantastic for synth pop. My stuff is kinda popy and so it suits my needs perfectly.

Check out Cuckoo as well.

You’ll get a good idea of the workflow and of the poppy sounds it can do.

I will spare you the spam of my own videos but it’s a fantastically versatile synth. From pop to ambient it does it all imo.


#3

I have yet to get my hands onr one. ( mine is en route) but I purchased the a4 knowing it can do as nedavine mentioned. +1 on checking out cuckoo, interesting vid with his reflection as he does live pop tune.


#4

The A4 was made for synthpop.


#5

Pretty much does synth pop automatically. Will start doing elektro and industrial automatically if you don’t pay attention.

If you really concentrate you can get it to do nu disco, and funk.


#6

yes. i subconsciously recreated enjoy the silence


#7

Agree - Good for synth pop, though doesn’t really do buzzy dreamy kind of sounds well like say a DSI Prophet 08…


#8

as of today, A4 is still a 4 part monophonic unit… good for early minimal synth-pop but you’d need other synths for stabs/chords… now with poly mode in the future update it will be a lot more versatile & capable…


#9

:joy:

So true. It’s almost difficult not to do electro-pop with it. Vince Clarke would have been all over it the early 80s.


#10

+1 to 80s minimal synth
Most minimal synth especially nowdays has a very common setup with example:
Roland sh-101, Roland Cr-78 (or Roland tr-808) and used a leads like Korg M500 Micro-Preset.

So if you have a Elektron Analog 4 and a Elektron Machinedrum, then you have everything you need for some 80s goodie similar to this:
[url=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caP3tAmMEbc”]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caP3tAmMEbc
[url=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caP3tAmMEbc”]


#11

That’s technically correct, but each of the four parts has four oscillators which can be tuned independently - although the two ‘sub’ oscillators have limited waveshapes and they all share a filter path.


#12

Maybe I´m wrong but most people here saying it´s perfect for synthpop should be younger than me

I think for us (40+ oldfarts) the A4 does a very good 2013 representation of 80´s synthpop
That means that the round low end of a Moog and the bouncing character of a closing Roland filter isn´t here

You got rawer oscillators with not such low end…you can do some tricks to achieve it but they tend to be thinner in the low octaves, specially the saw wave (look at this old thread at E.U.)

http://www.elektron-users.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=28&func=view&catid=9&id=209098

So, can you get synthpop out of it? in a word: YES, but if you´re looking for 80´s softer sounds it´s hard to achive…you can get a more “modern” sounding synthpop though, and this could be even better for some people

Other than the tricks in the link above there is some stuff that you can do to get such sounds out of the A4:

use long release times in fast attacked sounds

use just 1 filter, mostly in LP mode

use saw waves with square subs, like in the old roland
monosynths…sometimes I use the saw wave of oscillator 1 with the sub square of oscillator 2, just to get control of the suboscillator level

use the sub square wave as your main square wave…even without PW control it sounds closer to an old monosynth

use vibrato…just a touch of it and any sound will get a more 80s flavor…low depht and hi speed

use the chorus…better yet: abuse it! it sounds great and (((STEREO)))…I almost don´t touch it because the factory settings are what you expect from a chorus fx in a synth: lush, dimensional, juno-like chorus

use reverb, of course

use arpeggios, lot of them, with delay better!

this demos are not synthpop but use a lot of synthpop-ish patches


#13

Hmm… Thank you Anselmi.
That’s about what I was thinking.
After listening to many many examples of the A4, I have concluded that it just doesn’t have the character I keep hoping it would have.

Now. If only there were alternate voice cards you could install into the A4.
Put in a Juno-clone voice, a OB clone voice, and etc.
Then we’d be in business.

But truly, the A4 is pretty damn cool as it is. I’m glad it exists. I’m very very glad there’s still a market for analog. It bodes well for the future.

I may get one someday, but I might get an OT as my first piece of Elektron gear instead, and fill it with Fairlight CMI samples.


#14

hey! you can get great NEW synthpop out if! it´s not instant but it´s workable!

anyway I think that a combination of the A4 with a juno-60 and maybe a minitaur would deliver even greatest old-school synthpop tunes


#15

It’s great for Synthpop. I’ve found turning off ‘oscillator drift’ on sounds helps it sound more ‘plastic-y’


#16

I am excited to hear that Daren Ager is developing a vintage synth patch collection for the A4. It sounds to me like you would be better off with sample banks though, if you want the exact character of old synths.

My solution to have some classic-sounding synths mixed in with the A4’s sharpness is to hook up a couple of inexpensive Korg Monotribes to it. They have almost identical filter achitecture as the Korg MS 20, which was a staple of the early Depeche Mode sound.

I often think about the paradox of trying to replicate the sound of early electropop/techno etc. Everything about it was progressive and futuristic, so the closer we get to emulating the sound, the further away we get from capturing the spirit.


#17

Just to make a point, depeche mode now use viruses (how un 80’s and un analog of them). Yes, the A4 doesn’t sound exactly like a “insert name of any other synth here” but can it do synth pop? I would say yes. Because we are talking about a genre right?
Can it emulate a roland Juno 60 with 100% accuracy ? No, probably not. But if you want “that exact sound” (the sound that the majority of listeners wouldn’t even know was any different because lets face it it’s only us synth geeks who argue which oscillator sounds fatter) then just buy yourself an OBXA and play “Jump” to your hearts delight.

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#18

Hey, i found this treasure Posting, and Had to Bring it Up again…man what a great A4 Demo!
Where is Anselmi? Last Post is from 2017 on this Board…
Is His waveform Analysis for the Mk1 still valid for AK and A4 mk2? http://www.elektron-users.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=28&func=view&catid=9&id=209098


#19

Hi pulsn, thanks for the kind words about the demo.
Since this I owned 2x A4 and 1x AK…then sold them all just because I wanted to move to another kind of sounds and also another workflow
I never did this test with the MK2, but I performed all this tricks in the AK and the results was similar (never use a scope but they sounds the same to me)
I hardly enter this forum now, just saw your comment because of the automatic email that this thread sent me
Cheers!


#20

Thank you too, i would Like to See you around more often, but i can understand your reasoning too. Its just Life. Take Care and See you soon.