The sound of the A4/AK... like or dislike?

I personally like the sound, but I may not be as experienced in many analog synths as some here. I’ve come across many comments on various platforms of people not digging the sound of the A4/AK. If you’re among these people I’d like to know what exactly you dislike about it. Likewise if you love the sound, I’d like to know what about the sound you like. What other things about these two synths do you like or dislike?

I like it, It’s not a huge sound by turning 1 knob, but it’s a modulation monster…
Most synths play 1 sound at a time AF can do so much more and has a lot of tricks…

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It’s a great all-rounder soundwise but I do find the sound more brassy than creamy.

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I’m still kind of new to the sound engines so I haven’t really had the pleasure of fully exploring the Sonic capabilities but I think it’s pretty damn good. There’s some really good presets but not a massive amount. I feel like it would be difficult to make a really nice string sound…

Mainly I’m drawn to really raw synth sounds, so it’s right up my alley. I have a few complaints though. Osc. Sync doesn’t really seem to affect the sound as much as it does on my Miniak (probably because the Miniak has 3 VCO’s per voice giving the sync effect more complexity than the 2 VCO structure of the Analog Keys). The fact that, despite having great filters, only filter 2 is a multimode filter, which wouldn’t be a problem if I could route the OSC signal to Filter 2, and filter 2 signal to filter 1, but as it is, you have to send it through the lowpass before a bandpass or highpass or whatever (not a huge deal, but still worth mentioning). The fact that the VCO’s can’t produce sine waves is also noticeable, although it doesn’t personally bother me.

Obviously it’s not a eurorack. I think it does a super good job pretending to be one though, especially considering it has an analog audio signal path. As for the sound quality itself I mean, everything sounds great.

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You’re going to get a million (well, that’s an exaggeration, ofc) opinions on this. From my own point of view, I had an AK and found the interface and options too convoluted for creating stuff quickly. Yes, it can do a lot of things, but it’s not exactly loaded with sweet spots compared to other synths. Having said all this, now that I know more about what I like and how to get there, I would love another crack at it with a Mk2 A4. Then again, I’m getting great results with Ableton Live - I always felt the OB plug-in for the A4/AK was far superior to the actual interface! Just my opinion :slight_smile:

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There is a bigger difference between MK2 and MK1(Included AK) than some want to admit.
And its Not only the improved Bass, the overall Sound is brighter, more clear.
I prefer my Mk2. It still can be that mysterious cloudy Soundscape machine, but also do nice shredding Bass lines that sit Well in a Mix. Yes its Not as sweet spotty as other Synths, but offers some incredible amount of Features and has soundwise a very broad Palette. Sine Wave is indeed Missing, but a partner, a Digitone fills that gap nicely.
My favourite Feature on the A4 you say?
The rotating voices + using Tracks Sounds, each slighty different + playing polyphonically creates always some very interesting results!

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Stable, true analog Sine waves osc, are quite complex and expensive to make, or you can fake them creating a Triangle osc with an integrated low pass filter in order to cut out harmonics.
So the solution with the A4 (and not only for A4, check Moogs or Arturia too), to obtain a sine wave is to use a Triangle Osc + LP filter.
Usually, if a Sine osc wave is available along Tri-Square-Saw on affordable synths, they are not analog but digital.
Some analog eurorack vco modules have sine Osc, but rarely they are true sine, often they are integrated Tri+LP stage filter.

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I’d be totally happy if I had to stick with the AK and only the AK. I can’t say there’s anything I dislike about it. It just doesn’t help that I’ve got an OB-6, Prophet~6 and Rev2 on the bench with a SquarpPyramid.
I hate that the AK is in its box doing nothing. I’ve tried to find it a good home. Even treated it to an “Underbridge” recently because it’s worth it.
If all my gear was stolen I’d pull out the AK and get a dual 1073 or AH for it and call it a day.

This was a major reason I put it away. But having OB in standalone now cured that afaic. If they make OB standalone for iOS, I would immediately pull out the AK and keep it forever. But in another room, away from the Sequential gear.

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I like it and it has a more modern clinical sound just like the Access Virus synth has. Definitely not a Moog or Dave Smith Prophet or OB6 sound but I have a Moog for that stuff.

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…it’s my favourite elektron machine…AND my favourite overall analog synth…

the truu analog vibes, controlled by a digital mind behind is unique and nowhere else to find…

and hey, all elektron gear needs a deep dive in first place…and will lead u to unknown sonic terretories even after years in use…again and again…that’s the whole point about them…

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Same.
Ok fav elektron machine is shared with OT, but it’s my fav analog synth.^^
It can go to so many places, it’s even a great drum machine! Enough modulation and lots of clever features! It’s not a sweet spot synth, it takes some time to dial in and fine tune patches, but it rewards me with so many unique and nice sounds.
Love it.

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…there we go… :wink:

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joining the club. Tried quite a few, not too many. But from those I tried, some were sounding bigger, some had more sweet spots, but none was as exciting, deep and versatile.
And it can come close to some of the beloved analog sounds if you find the right settings (never had something vintage though)

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underwhelming!

I love it! I replaced multiple monosynths with a MKII (including a Minitaur) and haven’t looked back. Multiple filters, built-in modulators for common LFO uses, super flexible envelopes, Elektron sequencer, powerful “performance” modulation options, and excellent effects really sell it. It has a host of sound design tricks that are very different than my Peak or any other “mod matrix” style synth. I use it in nearly every song for bass or leads, and the occasional pad using distinct oscillator/sub-oscillator tuning.

The one thing I would love that would make it even more immediate would be a built-in paraphonic mode.

Downside of course is that Elektron machines are anything but knob-per-function. Fortunately, if you get good at one Elektron machine, you are already well-prepped for the others.

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What do you mean by paraphonic? It is already polyphonic…

Raw sound is ok, it takes a bit of time to dial in a tone I like compared to my vintage synths but I’m used to that on newer gear (and the newer stuff is usually more versatile!)

But the reason I cant sell my A4 is how fun it is as a sequencer FX machine processing other audio. So much fun to run drums through

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I have a bit of experience with analog synths :blush: and I have said and will continue to say that the Analog Four/Keys is among my absolute favorite modern analog instruments. In fact, it’s the only modern analog synth I have at the moment (unless you count the Rytm or Model 10 re-issue), and I have no plans of ever ditching it. In fact, I hope to someday add a second AK to my studio.

What do I love about it? Well, apart from the sequencing, CV abilities, and the ability to process incoming audio signals, the sound is Very Good Indeed. Is it instantly recognisable? No, but that’s all to the good, as such identifiable character would make it less useful in a room full character-filled classics (or clones thereof). However, it seems always to fit in a mix. The basses can be made to sound nice and tight - kind of like a vintage Roland - and the pads can be quite evocative with a proper amount of patching. Surprisingly, it gets called into play for kick drums a lot in my music, despite the Analog Rytm sitting nearby.

Oddly enough, it was the Elektron I was least interested in, as I thought I had more than enough analog synths. As it turns out, it’s the one I’m least likely to ever be without.

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When I owned an A4 I thought it sounded fine when used 100% standalone, plus, IMHO, when used standalone it is ahead of the other Elektron boxes due to the mini keyboard buttons. However, when used in conjunction with my other synths it could sound less impressive to me.

Regarding the sound of the A4, I just didn’t think it sounded “overly analogue”. I was not totally sure about this at the time because all the other synths I have ever owned were digital. But, since buying a BSII, I am more convinced that the A4 sounds “less analogue” than I would expect.

Having said that, if it was a desert island choice I would always pick an A4 before a BSII because in the long run it would be less boring due to being multi-timbral, polyphonic, the sequencer and FX.

Strangely my favourite sound I could get from the A4 was hi-hats, they definitely sounded terrific to my ears.

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Paraphony is basically using the same voice and adjusting oscillator pitch of one of the oscillators of that voice. If the A4 got an update to do that natively (there are some MIDI hacks for this), you could effectively have an 8 voice-paraphonic synth.

Paraphonic playing also adds a really cool timbre, similar to “hammer-ons” or fingertapping on a guitar. But it does have limitations, since it typically will not retrigger the envelopes or LFOs. Still, a very cool and expressive effect.

If you have an A4, you can parameter lock the tuning of one of the oscillator in trigless trigs to do it, but some synths support it via the keyboard natively.

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