As a seasoned guitarist, I'm always concerned about how expressive electronic music gear can really be, which is why I'm so impressed with the Elektron Analog Four. Even without a MIDI keyboard hooked up to it, its step sequencer and extensive controls let me program in details and nuances that make this 4-part analog synth come to life. And when I do use a controller, the range of tone and the depth of real-time control the Analog Four delivers is as natural as any instrument I've played.
not for beginners
If you're familiar with subtractive synthesis you'll pick this up quickly and be blessed by the ease of its workflow. I learn new tricks all the time, but i was able to put my ideas down almost immediately.
The knees of the bees
Before buying this synth I heard that the learning curve was pretty steep, and while that is somewhat true, there are plenty of online resources to help you get your bearings in the Elektron orientation. The first night sitting down with this I was able to compose some incredibly clean and powerful sequences, and with the performance functions, tweak-ability is basically unlimited. A deceptively powerful sound engine, unbelievably vast sequencing capability and pretty much all you need to make some killer sound in one compact, sturdy build of a box. I highly recommend this instrument to anyone who works with electronic music. The only limitation is the four voice maximum for polyphony. Even still there are sneaky ways to make the very most of this and you can, of course, bring in other components. While there are synths that offer more or equal polyphony, I just don't think any of them accomplish what the Analog Four does for what it is and how much it costs.
Very inspiring & innovative synth
The Analog Four is one of the most inspiring synths I have purchase in a long time. I have built so many song starting with just this synth. Electron really came up with a game changer. The Analog Four works well with my DAW (midi studio) and my modular synths with it's CV outputs. The built in effects sound very rich and the four synths have endless possibilities. The front panel is well laid out but does take some time to learn. Once you are familiar with it you can burn through a song in minutes. I always thought that the screen was too small but found it to be adequate for the job. I just loaded a free update from Electron that makes this unit function as 4 voice poly and also can now store thousands of patches, patterns & kits. Well built with a metal case & solid sturdy knobs. Most important it inspires music writing and that is the big winner for me.
I got away from the groove box thing about 7 yrs ago.
I just was never satisfied with the end result.. Tho they were always
Easy for me to program... Someone turned me on to the elektron machine drum I was floored buy its performance. And easy use. Picked up a mono machine again floored! Stacking analog track that didn't end up sounding like mud.. So I purchased the analog 4. Same results! I'm pleased to not always be working with VST's and starring at a computer monitor for hrs on end.. Plus I can control all my CV out board patch synths as well! Worth the money!
The Analog four shines in the sequencer department. Being able to sequence my other CV compatible gear along with the very good sounding A4 synth engine is really incredible. With the ability to assign almost any parameter to every step of the sequence you have much more than 4 analog voices. There is really 2 osc per voice plus 1 sub osc per voice that can even be tuned to a 5th. So you have 12 Osc per step times 64 steps plus the ext input.
I really like the drum sounds that can be created. To my ears my Moog Slim Phatty has a more pleasing and musical sound in the monosynth department but the Analog 4 complements it nicely.
The A4 also has beat synced LFOs transmitted through CV.
To purchase a CV controller, An analog sequencer, and a 12 voice analog synth would cost much more than the A4.
Fantastic Bread and Butter Machine
For nearly two years, I owned a DSI Tetra 4-voice analog synth. While the thing was a fantastic poly synth, what I really wanted was to exploit it's capacity to run 4 monophonic channels simultaneously. Unfortunately, the Tetra's lack of a competent software editor rendered this wish obsolete, and the tiny programming screen meant that doing it in the box was just not reasonable.
Then came the Analog Four. I knew that the synth gods had heard my cries, and they released this wonderful little beast. Unlike the Tetra, this one has no poly mode (for now), but what it does have is so much better. Four independent step sequencers with 2 Osc, 24db/oct analog filter and multimode analog filter, envs, lfos, and the lot. It is truly a great piece of kit, and the sound is quite usable and functional. It lacks some grit and rawness that the Tetra had, but its functionality is unmatched for step sequenced analog synths. Of course, you can make 303 acidlines and fat analog kicks. But, there is so much more hidden inside this bad boy. Get one and explore! You won't regret it.
Elektron make top notch gear with innovative features and approaches to workflow...it's no different here! Great sound quality, intuitive and easy to get going on, unique all around. GET IT!
Great synth, great customer service!
These synths are awesome, and the customer service at sweetwater is top notch. Also they added candy to the box sweet!
There is nothing else like this on the market. 4 analog mono synths, deeply integrated digital modulation, and sequencing. The sound is excellent. The synth engine is a basic solid analog design, but the modulations capabilities are what put this thing in another league. The price is really very reasonable, considering what you get.
I've only had this box for a few days, and I can say I am immediately impressed. I heard all the hype about Elektron gear on forums and YouTube, and I had my eye on the A4 just to have a polyphonic analog; but this thing is simply amazing. The synth has a unique sound (fits in with my Moog SubP and my DSI Mopho). The oscillators and filters both sound great. There are tons of possibilities with the synth without using the sequencer. There's a nice overdrive in the filter that gives the A4 a very gritty, but not squelchy sound, and the effects are top-notch.
I haven't had a chance to wrap my head around the sequencer yet. It is somewhat true what they say about the Elektron gear being a bit complex, but not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. You can open the box and make music with this thing very quickly. The synth part is incredibly intuitive; you just have to get your head around the Kits/Patterns/Saving bit. I think I figured it out, but we'll see. Use the Elektronauts forum when you get confused.
If you want a four-voice analog synth (with over 4000 sounds), then this synth is for you. Those 4000 sounds are great places to start if you want to tweak, or you can build sounds from scratch.
I see an Octatrack in my future.
Also, special thanks to Brendan Murphy again for getting me on the waiting list and getting my A4 to me quickly. The number one reason I shop at SW is because of the professional treatment. It keeps me from going back to that "other" music dealer.
AnalogFour 4-voice Tabletop Analog Synthesizer Module with Fully Analog Signal Path, Onboard Multi-Track Step Sequencer, and CV/Gate Outputs More Info...