Differences between mk1, keys and mk2


Around the time Elektron introduced the analog keys, there’s been several discussions about differences in overall sound between the units. I believe I read about differently calibrated filters, different filter circuitry altogether, bass-boosting hard eq at the end of the signal path and what not.

Is there a general consensus or better yet - official confirmation of the changes made to the signal path between the three units?

Also, I wonder if this is the case with Analog Rytm mk1 vs. mk2.

A4 MK1 vs A4 MK2

I’ve had experience with all three. My opinion? Minimal changes. Once you’ve EQ’d and mastered your track there’s very little difference.

IIRC, there isn’t any change to the Rytm mk2’s circuitry.


maybe you find some answers here:


the product page on the A4mk2 states:
“-Reworked analog circuitry delivering very deep and defined bass
-Enhanced analog overdrive for more bite and growl”

I’m just curious how does this marketing speak translate to actual changes :wink: and correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the same thing when they introduced the AK?


I think the fact that this topic comes up every few weeks on Elektronauts or r/synthesizers is all the answer we need to the differences :slight_smile:


yeah, uhm, ok. so how about I add “definitive thread” to the topic? will it make it more palatable to you?

Or try to look at this topic from a different perspective: Elektron is basically selling the same product for the third time, each time making slight changes - in connectivity, interfece, enclosure etc. Now consider an Elektron enthusiast like myself, saving up to buy the Octatrack, then the A4, then - oh shit - they just released a keyboard version! and people are saying it’s got better bass! but fuck it my A4 is cool anyway; then the Rytm. I take my sweet time to embrace the many quirks (or as some people see it - shortcomings) of the devices to make the best possible music with them.
And suddenly, 3 LPs almost entirely produced on the three black elektron boxes later, I find myself having ‘legacy instruments’, because all three boxes got repackaged in those new grey buckets.
Now the way I see it, especially given the practice of making end users essentially beta testers by selling products in 0.xx versions, promising all sorts of new shit in future upgrades, sometimes delivering on those promises, sometimes not and sometimes going sideways (when I bought my A4 nobody knew it had a +drive inside, nobody expected the now-coveted trig conditions or polyphony), I think it’s pretty fair to ask expecting answers a bit more substantial than “the question pops up every week”.
On a personal sidenote - I felt really cheated by the sudden release of the mk2s, especially given Elektron’s noble history of retrofitting the machinedrum and that made less of a frequent guest to these boards, so pardon my ignorance of this matter being touched upon every few weeks…


I wasn’t having a go at you, just pointing out that there’s very little in the way of a consensus or definitive position on the differences. Which doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but it’s subtle, not life changing.


One has bass, other has deep bass, then the other has even deeper bass.
Just a question of how deep you want to go?


Let’s put it this way. The sound of the AF MK1 didn’t do it for me enough to buy one. The AF MK2 sounds noticeably rounder, deeper, and stronger. I’m pretty tempted, but Rytm MK2 is first on my shopping list.


Had all 3.

To my ears, Mk1 and AK were identical. That will as much down to how shit my hearing is getting as much as how I used it.

This is a lazy was of putting it but I found the Mk2 to be “rawer”. An even poorer way of putting it would be to say it is more analogue. I guess what I mean is a harsher, sharper sound if that makes sense.

Mk2 has a slightly wider range but I found the Mk1 easier to fit in a mix without tweaking a little bit.


I’ve been comparing the sounds of the mk1 vs the mk2- while the mk1 prices are too cheap to not buy, the mk2 has those workflow and overbridge enhancements in addition to the screen and encoders.

I gotta say, I prefer the sound of the A4 mk1 from what I’ve heard- it’s the sound I fell in love with. It’s the sound I still love.

Looks like I’m going to be getting another synth soon.


So guys I bought a display model A4 MK1 last Saturday and loved it so much that I traded it in for full credit towards a Mk2 and bit the bullet for the more expensive one.

The thing is… I dont like the Mk2 like I liked the MK1. It doesnt have the sound that I loved so much from the MK1 which to me was a natural, chilled out, ambient, Groove Salad: Soma FM type of sound.

Is the Mk2 just not capable of this? It sounds like it wants to be a Moog or MS-20 or something and lost its character. Do I need to go back to the Mk1 or do I just need to get to programming?



I think I know where you are coming from but it’s hard to pinpoint what the issue is. I def like the sound out of my Mk1 more than I did the Mk2 when I bought it. Perhaps it was all in my head driven by the realisation I had paid double for a bassier version of the the Mk1 with some UI changes.

Anyway, what I noticed was more bottom end on the Mk2 so filtering that out would probably get me most of the way towards that Mk1 sound. But I’m kind of leaning towards the belief that it was other factors that influenced me into believing I like the Mk1 more (form factor, pricing, even look). Really cant tell!


Yeah man… I hear ya.

I don’t think its all in your head though. I think we may just prefer the sound of the MK1. I am going to try to see if I can love the MK2 but right now its looking like its going back for the MK1.

Thanks for your reply


I’ve only owned the original A4 and Analog Keys, and while I love the Analog Keys dearly (it’s one of my favorite synths in a room full of legendary instruments), it does indeed sound different from the original Analog Four. It’s the keyboard/joystick, etc that made me go for the AK - and I am glad I did - I wouldn’t want to be without it. However, I preferred the sound of the Analog Four to the Keys, and it is for this reason (along with form factor) that I never bought the Analog Four Mk2. While I understand that some may prefer a more aggressive sound and deeper basses, the original A4 served a different role in my studio. I really don’t need more bass. To my mind, the Analog Four is a sequencing masterpiece, the perfect synth for pulsing Berlin School patterns. And despite claims to the contrary, it can be persuaded to thump with the best of them.

Lately I have been trying to decide if I need to replace the A4. In the near future, I will likely have room for exactly one more Elektron in the original 13.4" x 7.3" format, and I have been thinking of getting a second Octatrack, however, I may simply replace my original A4.


Scot, now that I think of it; I was instantly making Berlin style sequences on the A4 MK1 right out of the box. This coupled with the dark, warm vibe I was getting out of the sound is what made me fall in love with the little box.

As I go through all of the presets on the MK2 its just a completely different beast to me. I dare say the MK2 reminds me a bit of my Monologue on steroids. The MK2 is aimed to have a very bass, aggressive sound for most of the patches. It does do Boards of Canada sounds\pads well… but I’m not really digging that.

I also use a Cirklon so the new workflow features don’t really mean much to me.

Well, looks like the guys at the music store will be seeing me for another return. I want my MK1 back.


I never thought the Analog Keys/Four would become something of a ‘hub’ for my Berlin School things, but it has. It is so easy to set up complex sequences with its internal sounds, and the CV/Gate options are the best I’ve ever seen in hardware - I am not aware of any other hardware sequencer that can easily be scaled to sequence and safely trigger a VCS3. Also, the transpose function! So good.

What surprises me most is how often I end up routing my other synths through the AK for effects. I didn’t expect that.

I’m gushing a little. I often do that when discussing the AK/A4. :blush:


Really interesting to read these opinions.
I thought everyone thinks the mk2 sounds better.
Anyway, since I love the mk1, no real need to compare


It’s a conspiracy Unifono, and confirmation bias for the expensive purchase. Don’t do it! lol



I do believe its possible that a lot of the people that love the MK2 just don’t have other synths to fill that bass, aggressive sound maybe? Not sure… but I am on the way to return the MK2 so I can get the MK1 back.