Is Analog Four a good complementary to DSI OB-6?


#1

Hi all,

I have just purchased by first-ever hardware synth, after saving and reading a long time. I decided on the DSI OB-6 Desktop, after first considering the DSI Prophet 6 Desktop vs Elektron Analog Four. Originally, I was planning on getting the Elektron Analog Keys, but since it got discontinued and is a little too large for my space, I started considering modules instead. As I found the OB-6 sound very special, and saw a sale, I pulled the trigger on it.

However, I’m still considering Elektron gear since the OB-6 has a very distinct “retro” sound, and I’m seriously looking to combine it with something more “modern”. The A4 still comes to mind. I’m not sure however if it still makes as sense as a purchase now that I have a polysynth. Perhaps as a “modern sounding” monosynth with smart sequencing it is a good choice – what do you think?

I’ve also considered going down more of the sampling route, the Octatrack seems equally interesting. However, I’m not yet sure if I cover all the synthesis ground I need, again given the particular nature of OB-6.

Finally, I’ve also considered the Novation Peak.

If you were in my shoes, would you go for the A4, OT, Novation Peak or something completely else after the OB-6?

NB: This is solely for studio purposes, I do not live gig unfortunately.

Thanks a bunch!


#2

Definitely the Peak from those options


#3

What is missing from your music?


#4

Sound-wise, I’m definitely looking to add on more “modern-sounding” synethesis in a hardware package (e.g. Analog Four, Novation Peak or perhaps even something like the Korg Minilogue which I haven’t studied that much). By modern-sounding, I would probably characterise it as being more brooding, metallic, experimental areas, as well as more advanced parameter locking. Genres I work with is more atmospherically-oriented ambient, techno, drum & bass etc (FYI, the OB-6 sounds really 80’s, but I like it when it goes to the more subtle areas).

The way I imagine it, the OT would open some interesting domains in hands-on manipulation of soundscapes for ambient/D&B, etc. While the Novation Peak seems quite versatile when it comes to various forms of synthesis. I think A4 seems to have a bit more character than the Peak, and do some stuff like acid, sub bass and drums well – which isn’t really OB-6’s area. Those latter components would be important for me therefore, although can probably be done well with software VSTs too. Tough choice.


#5

The A4 is very versatile. It does so many things and it does them well. Don’t forget that it is a very capable drum machine as well.


#6

You can produce very awesome metallic sounds with FM. Peak can use all three Oscillators for FM and has very „clean“ character. The modulation possibilities are very extensive, has wavetables, and it would be a good complement to the sound of the OB-6.

The A4 can do just very simple FM. Has a very warm sound character, basically everything from aggressive or smooth as a cat. I use mine in almost every sessions. The sequencer is bloody awesome, and is perfect for the „experimental areas“. I prefer the A4 over the Peak but that’s just a matter of personal preferences. The CV track of the A4 is very powerful in combination with a modular synthesizer.
Plus the A4 has two filter per voice. Unfortunately no midi sequencer.

Do you use a DAW to sequence your gear or do you have dedicated hardware sequencer?
If you want setup without a PC, the Octatrack is probably the way to go. The sequencer can send MIDI cc‘s to the OB-6 for a greater variety of sound possibilities. I use the OT to control all my gear, and for live stuff.

Whatever you choose from those (Peak, A4, OT), they are all almost perfect in their own unique way and all are worth the money.

Other suggestions would be Virus: Two filters, more voices as Peak/A4, more wavetables as the Peak, but only little FM and no Filter FM. The sound possibilities are immense, 16x multi timbral, many effects,EQ, comb filter…multiple stereo outs plus input so you can use it as effect box too.
Or wait until next year and get a Kyra instead of a the Virus.


#7

Have you taken a look at the Digitone?


#8

Thanks for the thorough reply – good advice.

I work extensively with a DAW, and it’s actually my preferred working method. For that reason, I’ve probably started to move away from the idea of the Octatrack, although I’m still curious about what it could offer in terms of chopping and screwing samples, particularly creative drum programming.

I’ve continued my searches today, taking second looks at the options. The A4 is still in the contest, as is the Novation Peak and although I’m not entirely in love with its sort of “hollow” sound, it has some pretty impressive sweet spots. I’ve also started considering the DSI Prophet Rev2 16 Voice Desktop version. I was planning on getting the Prophet 6 Desktop sometime in the intermediate/distant future and therefore crossed of the DSI Rev2 as I assumed it would compete for the same space as the OB-6 and the P6. I’ve more now started to view the Rev 2 as a potential alternative to the Novation Peak due to its many voices, although it does sound kind of retro.

I did in fact look a couple of hours at the Virus, even finding a Virus TI2 Desktop on the bargained market. It sounds good to me, but it’s a little scary with unsupported software. I could not find a definitive answer to whether the TI2 is alright to use without the TI software. Some forum posts say that it’s not really that different from some modern VST synths like Serum, Massive, etc. But I did definitely like the sound of the Virus when compared to Sylenth in a few videos. I would need to investigate the Virus some more, perhaps something like a Virus B or C is better than the TI2.

I’ve also looked at the Digitone, and while it does sound good, I’ve decided to probably hold off for the moment until Overbridge arrives and some time has passed. I read that it may have a somewhat weaker tone than some other FM options out there, but I have enjoyed listening to it. Not sure what contemporary options would be better (the Korg Volca FM or Yamaha Reface DX?) – I’m likely not in the business of getting something vintage.

Back to the A4 – the mk2 is selling new at an all-time low price at the moment, and I have eyed it more than once, but honestly it doesn’t feel right to make decisions based on price as a largely motivating factor. Given that I use a DAW rather than hardware sequencing, and other options offer sometimes overlapping but also equally interesting features, I’m not always finding a clear rationale for the A4. However, I still get the sense that it has some sort of attraction that I’m intrigued by. Finally, I did for a moment entertain the idea of dabbing into modular sometime in the future, perhaps something like the Moog Mother 32. In that regard, the A4’s CV outputs make sense.

As usual, I guess the answer really is that there is no one synth. I sometimes get the feeling that I’m trying to square the circle. Complementary synths are needed, but there’s always that devil on the shoulder saying that the money isn’t well spent if the common venn diagram area is too big. But I digress…


#9

Virus TI definitely ok to use without the software. Plenty of big guys use it from Sasha to Depeche mode live. I have never had an issue in ten years


#10

If you’re looking for useful advice there’s no way around answering @PeterHanes’s question and doing so will help you to determine whether you’re dealing with GAS or lack of sonic options.


#11

General rule is if you don’t know exactly what you want, or more importantly need, then you don’t need it


#12

The last two posts + Peter Haynes are boss man questions that are worth there weight in gold.

That said, I have the OB6 and I run it through effect pedals - the BOSS 500 series. Have you thought about spending your dosh on some hardware effects instead? I know they don’t make any sound by themselves but they can do to audio is amazing. Check this out… https://youtu.be/lNA5PSOlV7U

Getting excited about music making equipment is fun… aside from the reality of what has been suggested to do lol have you checked out the Sub 37? Sonically, it is very different than the OB6.

Lastly, I’d like to suggest getting to know the OB6 inside and out by making complete tracks with just that alone. It can do drums very well, the pads are to die for, and it has a great bass sound. Maybe after exploring this area you will be presented with your answer!

Good luck!


#13

The A4 and AK definitely have their advantages (mod routing/p-locks/sequencing) and fit what you’re looking for.
Don’t let the OB-6 sound dictate the direction you go in, just because it’s there.
If you’ve been living with VST analog renderings then the A4 will do you just fine.
BUT. DONT FORGET OVERBRIDGE for your DAW/Elektron needs!!!

As an OB-6 owner, I find it sits perfectly with the DSI Rev2 for pads and strings, and Subsequent37 for bass.
The OB-6 just overpowered the A4 and AK, so I packed them away. I still like that cold Elektron sound, I just don’t have a place for it atm.
But I’m the opposite to you in that I don’t come from the VST/DAW thing. I grew up with a Polysix and then added a Model D.


#14

Hey, thanks for the reply.

That video (https://youtu.be/lNA5PSOlV7U) is actually the one that finally won me over to the OB-6. Really a brilliant performance and very delicate sound. He uses the Strymon Big Sky which I’ve seen in a lot of videos, it seems promising. It’s on my research list currently. I’ve also looked at the Analog Heat a little, and some modular effects like the the Intellijel Rainmaker, but beyond that I haven’t gone deep into hardware effects yet.

Sub 37/Subsequent 37 sounds great in my ears, but unfortunately I do not have the space for it (thus why I’m looking for desktop units). I’ve decided to not go for rackable solutions for the moment as it would interfere in my room space a little too much. But with that said, the authentic “Moog sound” would definitely be a valuable addition, so that’s what got me a little interested in the Moog Mother 32 as it’s basically a desktop/modular unit. I haven’t investigated it much sonically yet, beyond a few videos which I thought sounded great. Not yet sure what it can pull off alone, versus a triplet of them, versus say the Sub 37.

As for what’s lacking in my music – going back to my first reply, I would say that it’s the more “modern” and experimental sounds (with a small caveat for the “Moog” bass etc discussed above). This video has some examples of things that get pretty close to what I’m interested in: https://youtu.be/ZTlJbTOkuHg?t=1848, sequenced from the Arturia Keystep. While it’s quite experimentally-sounding, it does have quite the “musical” quality to it, and when judged on that criteria I found the Rev2 to excel although probably not being as versatile. The Virus is definitely interesting too, although not true analog.

It might be the case that the OB6 + A4 is too narrow in sonic scope compared to the OB-6 + something else (like the Peak, Rev2 or Access Virus). Although I’m sure parameter locking etc is very useful.

As for not buying things that can’t be clearly defined and has a sound rationale, I agree completely. That’s life advice, and it goes with any decision one makes in regards to investing time, money, care or effort (something I adhere to).


#15

OB-6 + Radikal delta CEP = 2 modern legends in one room


#16

Hadn’t heard about the Radikal Delta CEP before, wow. That’s one sick-sounding synth imo. There’s a Desktop version too. About the same price as the Peak, less voices but sounds super.


#17

What about DSI Pro 2? Has 4 osc with kind of wavetables + 2 filters + cv sequencer.


#18

If you want Moog bass and space is at a premium, really check out the Minitaur. Rock solid low end and can go really interesting places with all the new features in version 2.2.


#19

The Octatrack can be very useful, even if you use a DAW to sequence your gear. But a lot of the good stuff isn’t necessarily the more obvious stuff. Like being able to manipulat any input via the fader and the scene features. The fader can be used as macro to morph between parameters. From effect, over retrigger amount, to delay time just anything can be controlled with the fader, so it feels like some kind of instrument. I can morph a Bassdrum to the sound of a plucked string, when I use the comb filter. Of course those things can be done with a midi controller and DAW. Another advantage IMO is the ability to jam an mix patterns on the go, plus the fun and simplicity of hardware in general.

About the Virus. As „Buzz“ already stated, the Virus can be used without the dedicated plugin. The way to do this would be over MIDI, like you probably do it already with your OB-6.
There is one function that can only be used with the plugin. It’s the createion of custom patterns for the intern arpeggiator. Those arp patterns are cool because the can be used as manipulation source. Besides that, you can do everything on the hardware itself. I got the desktop version of the ti2, build quality is exceptional well done. I prefer the Virus sound more as sylenth, Massiv. Unfortunately you can’t edit the wavetables for the Virus, something that is very well done in Serum.

The DSI REV2 make sense, 16 voices of analog is something you can only emulate in DAW. (Diva plugin is pretty cool!). The REV2 has much more manipulation options and therefore probably a wider sound range as the OB-6. If I would buy a analog poly it would probably be the the Rev.2 Desktop 16 voice.

For FM sounds i would use FM-8 from Native Instruments. Not sure if the Digitone would add much to a DAW based setup, plus IMO there is still a few things that needs to be added per update. If you want a hardware synth for FM. The Montage serie is the synth flagship from Yamaha. Two engines, one sample based for natural realistic sound and a extremely powerful FM engine (8 operators, 128 voices, etc) Ther is even a version with less faders and buttons, cheaper converters, but much less the price of a Montag. But again everything could be done with plugins to.

If you not sure about semi/modular synthesizer, check out VCV rack. It’s a free open source based emulation of a Eurorack. Countless of free modules, even some 1:1 emulations of some high class Mutable Instruments modules or doepfer inspired emulations. Since the last few updates, it is possible control VCV parameters via your DAW.

If I were in your position i would try to find out what is missing most. Definitely try out gear in a store if possible.


#20

I have found a new Access Virus TI2 Desktop selling on the short-term used market selling for about 1000 EUR. If you were in my shoes – would you go happily for the TI2 Virus Desktop? Given all the responses so far, I would guess yes!

Since I found the unit however, I have been scouring over forum posts and there is quite a lot of people saying that Serum or Spire can do the job in a stereo setting, and that the TI2 pretty much makes most sense for people who jam live with the keyboard version. Even though the price is good for an almost non-used TI2 Desktop, it may be smarter to just get Serum etc instead since I only work in DAWs… I don’t mind working with computers and MIDI-controllers as opposed to true hardware, tbh. Most of all, I value incredibly good sounds that you just can’t get anywhere else (i.e. workflow is important but secondary). Still, the Virus give some lush and warm-sounding results.