My Analog Four

meandmyA4I’ve had it for a few months now, and I’ve played a couple of gigs with it so far. I got to say that my Elektron Analog Four is a dream come true for a synth player without a car. It looks very similar to previous Elektron devices: digital groove boxes that offer a lot of flexibility for make all kinds of techno music, but with this thing, the sound is generated by four genuine analog synthesizers. (just in case you didn’t get that from the name) The great thing about it is that with the on board sequencer and effects, it has all the tools that I need for my own characteristic approach to experimental music. Yes it’s that versatile, its light and compact, and it sounds awesome! Having it makes me feel like my musical abilities are something more akin to a super power.

It’s hard to think of options that went left out: Many filter types, waveform shapes, just about any parameter can be modulated by the LFO. There is no form of Ring Modulation available but that’s about the only part of the synth architecture I find missing. The sequencer can be set to an ‘Advanced Mode’ where the length of each track can be different lengths and with any number of steps up to 64, allowing for any crazy kind of time signature you can imagine. I like the way the effects are set up on this as well. The effects (Delay, Reverb and Chorus) are on a whole track of their own and each synth track has it’s own send to each effect so it works like it would if you had three send/returns on a mixer.

I do have a few gripes about it. No piece of gear is perfect. One thing that I find strange is that most parameters have a positive and negative value. What that means depends on what it is and in most of them I don’t understand enough to explain myself, at least not yet. It’s cool to have so many options but one side effect of this is that it’s hard, with the encoder knobs, to get a parameter to an even 0. Sometimes, when I’m improvising like I do, that’s what I will want to do really bad and fast. I’m starting to learn the technique of pulling it off anyway but it’s a sight pain.

Overall, this thing is really cool and fun to play. I definitely will be wanting to play out with it more. I’ll probably be wanting to use it in a more expanded set up later, but for now, all I need is in one tiny box!

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