Analog Four MKII: do or do not. There is no try


#1

I’m very interested in buying an Analog Four MKII to sit next to my Novation Peak, Ambikas and Micromonsta but I’m not entirely certain about it.

The problem is I won’t be able to try it personally. I’ve listened to a lot of samples and although it sounds nice , it’s not a conventional synth. It seems to be a very peculiar sounding machine, not so much bass, kind of metallic. What do you guys think about it’s sound?

About specs, the sequencer capabilities are pretty attractive but, for someone who works almost entirely ITB, is it really worth it? And what other A4 skills would you say are game changers?


#2

I had one (mk1 though). Great synth overall. Excellent at drum synthesis. Kind of miss it now.


#3

I have an A4 mk2 and love it to bits. Even working ITB, you can sequence stuff from the A4 and fly it in. It’s sequencer is just fantastic. Drum sounds are really great and as you’ve implied, it’s entirely unlike anything else. For me that’s been a very good thing


#4

have to say, it can do killer bass. Capable of going very deep. very flexible in that department.


#5

Definitely not “metallic”, if we don’t make use of any kind of FM-modulation.

This might be of interest:

  • Many of the factory sounds are not everybody’s cup of tea, but its one of the most versatile synths I know. This said, judging by the factory presets is missing much of its potential.
  • The typical initial patch is very neutral, or let’s call it uninspiring. It takes some twiddling of the knobs to go to other places, and there are many. I love this machine.
  • We should not expect the typical classical sound of Moog, Oberheim, Roland of the 80ies … that’s definitely not its realm.

We can get big and strong bass from the A4, but as mentioned already, different to Moog as an example.

One particular advantage of all Elektron machines is the sequencer. The magic is in the combination of this sequencer with all its facilities and an excellent sound engine.


#6

I bought my A4 (a cheap used mk1) last year basically just to sequence and provide FX for my 0-coast and provide some drum synthesis (which, as mentioned above, it’s really good at), but having had it for a while I use it for a lot more than that (textures, weird sequenced stuff, arps, acid). The sound design possibilities are immense, it’s very flexible. I don’t really use it as a poly–like you I have a Peak and a Micromonsta for that–but the combo of the Elektron sequencer and all the options you have for sound design makes it a very useful and fun thing to have around.

I use mine to do more OTB stuff (it basically acts as the brain for my little semimodular setup for jamming), but with Overbridge it works very nicely ITB, too.


#7

hoo boy “not so much bass”, not sure where you got that idea…

Literally anything with a triangle wave and a bit of overdrive, I have to cut back with a highpass or external EQ…


#8

Working OTB I think the A4 is great, either standalone or in conjunction with other hardware; for me either my Electribe E2 synth or my Virus Snow (via a Kenton CV to MIDI converter).

Working ITB I don’t use the A4 simply because I think there are better sounding VST instruments and FX. (and for me this would probably also apply to the Peak, Ambikas and Micromonsta).

I do sometimes use my Snow ITB because for a 1% CPU hit I can have 4 polyphonic tracks each with their own dedicated set of FX, which includes delay and reverb. By contrast the A4 gives me a 5% CPU hit for 4 monophonic tracks without dedicated FX.


#9

My favourite piece of musical equipment (the MKI that is, I have not played the MKII).

I can’t even remember the circumstances that led me to buy it. I remember watching some YouTube videos and thinking “errrr, not my style.”

The presets are (mostly) dated and terrible. The minute you start designing your own patches you realise fhe A4 can do just about anything (it’s only lacking a vactrol emulation). :nerd_face:


#10

I have both and I’m only just starting with the combo, but honestly, I find initially the A4 sounds like a wet fart next to the peak. I’d be interested to know what peoples tricks are for post-processing in order to make it sit well in the mix.
Sorry for the hyperbole, I’m just frustrated at my own ineptitude with the synth so far :smiley:


#11

I have a mk2 and i really like it. I sold my original a4 to get the mk2 but honestly the mk1 is a no brainer for the price they go unless you really need the additional outputs or the bigger screen.

I use it with an old Ensoniq Dp4 to warm the sound a little bit. Killer combo because the Dp4 has 4 inputs so an effect for each track. The A4 FX are nice but the DP4 is just way better there is no contest. Anyway.

I also have an Ambika with smr4 filters. Considering sound quality only i prefer the Ambika but its the combination of the sequencer + sound engine that make the a4 very special and one of my favorite synth.

Its really really good for percussion. The env are very snappy and configurable unlike the Analog Rytm.


#14

@anguslocke Most of the samples I heard don’t show a strong bass. But, you know, samples are samples.

@Stickhit Would you recommend any VST so I can compare it with what I’ve heard of A4?

@nutritional_zero That’s exactly my reaction: “errrr, not my style.”


#15

When I work ITB it is more a case of which sounds I would prefer to use over the A4 (to be honest even over any of my hardware synths).

My personal favourites are Massive, Razor, Reaktor Blocks, Monark, Diva, Sylenth and Halion Sonic.

I think it is fair to say that the sequencer is a very big part of Elektron boxes. If you use the A4 ITB you won’t be using its sequencer .


#16

re Bass, I thought the same, but then discovered that the A4 can indeed do bass…badass bass even. for this, you have to reduce the volume of OSC1 (and/or OSC2, whichever you might be using), and then turn up the overdrive in the Filter section… then play with the filters to your liking. the 2nd filter set to 24db lowpass can contribute to nice, round lowasf*** bass. OR use the second filter as a peak filter and add some around the frequency of your liking.

re Presets & styles, I don’t use any of the A4 presets, found all factory presets I’ve auditioned quite cheesy so I stopped going through them. But the sounds I can get out of this thing are amazing, I especially love making pads and atmospheric sounds, it sounds so beautiful and has a very “cosmic” vibe about it… :slight_smile:


#17

Do, do !


#18

That’s what attracts me most in it. Atmospheric sounds. I just feel “afraid” of buying it and leaving it unused because I’m always using other things to do the same things.


#19

I know what you mean :slight_smile: went to the shop today to look at polysynths, but thankfully managed to remind myself that I already own a polysynth, so I left as I came :slight_smile:

Personally I feel that VSTs cant hold a candle to the Analog 4, given hardware handling and the sequeuncer + synth hands-on combo. But if you have something that works for you and you’re happy with it, by all means make the most of that!

Edit: one of the polys I looked at was the Peak, and if I were to get one, it would be that one. Sound wise I feel it serves another plane than the A4, so quite complementary. :slight_smile: