I owned an Analog Four 4 years back and ended up selling it. This was way before features like polyphony and Elektron Overbridge were added. I got interested in the A4 again to pair with my coveted Octatrack for a quick setup fly rig. To make a long story short, the Analog Four MKI is back in the lineup and I’m dusting off my chops and exploring the features new to me. In this post I’ll offer short video then some first impressions after my initial session using the touch screen on a Surface Pro 4 running Windows 10 to improvise (one virtual knob per-function) on the Analog 4 using the pen and multitouch. Overbridge is running as a VST in Ableton Live.
In a related note, I’ll be doing my first performance with the Analog Four at Freq Boutique in Denver on Monday August 14th. Nothing like jumping back in the deep end :^)
In this video, I’m triggering notes using the Analog Four’s built-in keyboard and then manipulating they synth engine parameters using the Surface Pro 4. The Analog Four is sitting at an angle on a Cremacaffè SPIKE tabletop synth stand and the Surface Pro 4 is at a matching angle on its kickstand at a matching angle with keyboard detached. Caution – I’m hammering out seriously gnarly Andromeda Strain noise with this little session – haha.
- Synchronization between A4 and Overbridge – Selecting tracks on the hardware selects corresponding pages on Overbridge. Parameter sync seems snappy and smooth.
- Overbridge virtual knob response – the throw of knobs and sliders with your fingers and the pen works well for both fine and larger adjustments.
- Multi-touch support – Yes you can control multiple parameters at the same time with multiple finger.
- GUI & User Experience – Working with Overbridge is shortening my sound design learning curve as the GUI exposes the anatomy and signal flow in a clear way. Cheers to Elektron for such a great looking interface. I LOVE graphics in the delay section!
- Stability for live performance use – Seems good. The combination of Surface Pro 4 + Overbridge definitely makes the Analog Four an even more compelling solution for expressive live performance doing sound design on-the-fly. I will still commit to gaining muscle memory using only the hardware – but I plan on using Overbridge + Surface Pro 4 live in some of improvisational ensembles such as (no)poem and The Denver Synth_Drone Collective where sound design as performance is the name of the game.
- Sound Design Use – Sound design is faster using Overbridge. I can see using it to build up a library of custom sounds, then taking on the road with just the hardware.
- Ableton Link – When using the Overbridge VST, ABleton is the master clock and therefore the Surface Pro 4 could be used to sync the Analog Four’s clock in a Link jam.