Why So Many Selling A4's?


#1

I’m surely not the only one to have noticed the deluge of A4’s on ebay/gumtree over the past few months (in UK at least). And for pretty silly prices too - one went for about £465 recently. It’s not just the Mk1’s either, a few Mk2’s have been getting shifted at good prices.

So, why do you think the A4 has fallen out of favour with so many? Bedroom/home musicians happier with Diva/Pro 5 and a DAW? The likes of the Deepmind turning heads?

I was considering selling mine to be honest but not that desperate to let go for a pittance (yet…). My issue was more to do with time though and it gathering dust. Barely have time at the moment to get to the OT or boot up Live and have a bit of fun.

Anyway, not intended as an excuse to bash the A4 - it’s a cracking unit - it just feels like the market is getting flooded with them right now!


#2

For me it just was way to menu divey to unveil itself as an enjoyable instrument. Also seems minor, but what really bothere me was the way the encoders act. Somehow I did not feel it with them.


#3

Both been mentioned in the past to be fair so can understand why some would not enjoy the UI experience. It just seemed odd that there have been dozens up for sale on Ebay/Gumtree! Definitely a step up in volumes!


#4

My solution a year ago was replacing my A4 with an AK.

Never truly fell in love with the A4. Even choosing a preset required menu diving, but AKs workflow is a lot more streamlined. A huge knob for choosing/loading sounds which also is a push button so you only need to roll it and push when you find a desirable sound. A 3 octave keyboard with velocity & aftertouch don’t hurt either. Programming with them is a breeze, the joystick is pure genius and individual outs seal the deal. Better in every way. I’ll never sell my AK.


#5

What, if the combination of an Elektron sequencer and the A4 sound engine wasn’t the most important reason to get an A4?

Nowadays we have many alternatives which are very interesting sound engines too … like the Korg-logues, the Novation Peak, or others. The market is saturated with excellent synths …


#6

Maybe it’s because it’s just soooooo 2013…
Give the MKI a few more years and they’ll be up on eBay for a small fortune.
Fad world.


#7

I’ve considered selling mine a few times and probably would if Elektron brought out another little synth in the Digitone size/style (wavetable maybe). Oddly enough I find it pretty good for pads these days, but otherwise it always takes me a long time to get the kind of sequencey, zappy sound I want. I can get better stuff quicker from just about any other piece of gear I have.
Perhaps my single biggest UI complaint concerns the awful graphics and their relation to encoders. For example, the filter envelope depth controls are just so coarse that even a couple of points of amount makes a larger than expected difference. I can never tell what to expect from these controls just by looking. In contrast, the Digitone is almost exactly what I want from a small multitimbral synth in terms of clarity, speed of operation and usability.


#8

Yeah I had a lot of joy out of it for pads too.

If it wasn’t for the excellent FX I might’ve parted with it by now. They are truly excellent.


#9

There’s still nothing, repeat nothing, like the A4 out there - and therein lies some of the ‘issue’ (if you see it that way) - it’s too flexible to be super immediate, but it’s massively rewarding to tweak - so if you don’t have the patience, understanding or the desire to explore the myriad of sound design options or have a need to sequence by CV then there will be better alternatives

The bottom line is that hitting sweetspots isn’t as easy as it is with a less flexible synth - that can be an end to it for many folk and that’s not wrong - the device as a whole is still hugely capable in a way none of the possible devices it gets compared to are

These days, folk are getting way more options for ultra sweet ‘classic’ synths at cheap prices and jumping over to that is no wrong thing, but it doesn’t get you the flexibility and all the sequencer integration - it’s pros/cons - the A4 takes and rewards effort but it just ain’t as easy to keep in the sweetspot and there’s nothing like it as an all-rounder with poly, sound locks, CV, good FX and the sequencer

I wouldn’t want to be without that flexibility, but i wouldn’t want to choose it over a sweet-spot hands-on synth either, but as a one box solution + a cv synth it’s unbeatable


#10

had an AK for about a year. loved the basic sound. but for deeper programming, didn’t like the menu-divey nature to it. it wasn’t awful but almost all my other synths have zero menus, or even memory. so it was different. biggest gripe though was that when I played it with my right hand and tried to turn knobs with my left (which is how I normally interact with a mono-synth), I would block the screen with my hand and have no idea what actual parameter I was changing or to what. basically a show-stopper for me. very frustrating. maybe I’ll pick up an A4 down the road though; as I said, it sounds great, and is very powerful.


#11

The A4 is a great synth. Love it, especially the CV outs+ its sequencer. But as @avantronica said it’s not exactly an immediate synth; it is quite menu divey unless you use OB and dialling in sounds takes patience (though to be fair there are a ton of great sound packs out there, too). It’s not really a typical poly, especially with only up to 4 voices; I wouldn’t want it as my only poly.

I guess there’s quite a lot of them in the wild, so to speak, and people want to move on to the next thing, hence used prices get depressed. Plus with the mk 2 coming out that seriously lowered used prices of mk. 1. Definitely feels like good value for what you get at the moment. Also, they’ve been cheap for quite a while now – I bought my A4 used for about £500 last year.


#12

I think @avantronica hit the nail on the head, l think the A4 is a victim of its own flexibility in that it does not really have “a sound” or easily found sweet spots, it is the closest thing you will get to an analog modular in a box, sans spaghetti.

Like a modular you will need a pretty comprehensive understanding of synthesis to get the best from it, probably some users don’t though, but if you apply the same thought processes to the A4 as you would a modular - both in terms of modules and patching, for example levels into filters, modulation depths and destinations, and crucially constraining ranges into your own sweet spots by way of setting up performances, then it can be a formidable synth.

I mean just count out the number of VCOs, envelopes, filters, etc. Not to mention the sequencer, fx, CV outs - easily 5k in separate modules, then throw in all the nice stuff like every step can have a different sound, trig conditions and so on…

Edit: Point being it is deep and sometimes we don’t always have the patience or time.


#13

The A4/AK was the biggest surprise of all the Elektron boxes for me. I’ve got a room full of classic analog stuff, so it was very much not on my radar when it came out and, if truth be told, I bought the A4 on a whim and because I so loved the sequencer on my other Elektron boxes.

Much to my surprise, the A4 quickly became one of my “go to” synths for getting a good sequence going at the start of a new tune. Thanks to its excellent CV implementation, the fact that I had a room full of analog synths turned out to be the one of the best things the A4. It quickly became apparent that I would prefer the AK, so I sold my A4 and bought one of those instead. Now the AK sits front-and-center in my room and has become something of the hub for everything analog.

I have actually been trying to figure out how I might make space for another A4 in my room, as I’d like to have both the AK and A4.


#14

Thanks @avantronica & @darenager. - always good to read how others use it to make me pause for thought and think “god damn, I need to dig out the A4 again”! The most fun I had with it was when I sat down and used only the A4 actually. No PC, no OT, just A4.

The original A4 is what, 6 years old? I wonder if that + the influx of new and shiny bits of gear has left it a little tainted in the eyes of some. Being able to pick a Mk1 up for less than £500 is just crazy though.


#15

im in this situation right now - good to hear someone else has taken the plunge


#16

I went from A4 to AK too but something just felt lost in translation for me. I do think the AK is one of the finest looking synths that I’ve owned - it just struck a chord with me - but when it came to using it, I always felt I needed more polyphony. It’s odd cause I don’t feel that way when working on the A4! I think it’s just the fact it had keys and I’m used to playing 4+ notes regularly.

Anyway, after owning and selling the AK maybe 4 times (I think…) I went back to the A4. Picked it up for £500 with Elektron bag and protective lid. Really was a steal. I should stop worrying about why so many are selling and just use the bloody thing!


#17

I agree with most of the comments. The A4 is an awesome synth, but at the same time I believe it is the deepest menu diving Elektron synth as well (at least it feels that way) with a great deal of parameters. The MK1 needs really commitment and imho the interface does not make it easy to handle.

I am currently trying to sell my MK1 (as I am moving to MK2) but it has proven to be the least attracted sales I have made so far. AR, OT MK1’s were basically gone within minutes…

Maybe it is just a sign of the synth gods to use the double A4 power MK1/MK2 brotherhood for 8 voice polyphony.


#18

This all has me GASing for my AK that’s in storage while I’m abroad! I agree with others here saying that the AK/4 is probably going for cheap because there are similarly priced units that you can more easily get satisfying results from. I was pretty unhappy with the screen until I got used to it after about six months. Also overbridge is bananas with the AK.


#19

Absolutely. Ive always loved the look of the AK but felt it shoulda had more polyphony.
Lookin forward to what “may” be revealed at sooperbooth.
My guess would be half analog / half fm. 8 voice. or something :smile:


#20

I really fancy one. Having the Octa and the Digitone makes me realise the possibilities of the A4, and a friend has recently bought one (a mk2) and I was pleasantly surprised with just how great it sounded. It’s very definitely on my list - I’ve probably got one more Elektron box purchase in me, and it’s a straight bun-fight between this and the RYTM as to which I’d like more. At present it changes daily.