Synth Journal: The Return of the Elektron Analog Four

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Back in August I picked up an Anlog Four MKI as Sweetwater was closing the MKI out. I really kicked myself when I didn’t get a new Monomachine when they closed them out. I actually had an Analog Four way back in 2013 when they were first introduced but sold it to focus on my love affair with the Octatrack. Anyway – I decided to go on the Analog Four “ride” again as with all the OS updates and Overbridge it’s like a whole new animal.

Back in August I only had time to mess about a bit and wrote the post First Impressions Using Elektron Overbridge on Surface Pro 4 with Analog Four and published this video.

After a little stall out – I’m back at it with the Analog Four and have been working on:

  1. An original long-form Krell improv piece using only the Analog Four using custom presets for a performance in 2018.
  2. Doing tests to use Analog Four as an audio interface for Ableton Live.
  3. Studio sessions to practice sound design as performance from init. No overbridge here so I could really gain some muscle memory for the box so I could use it effectively in free-form improv situations.
  4. Spending time wrapping my head around the best way us Analog Four as a composition platform – or companion for the Octatrack. These sessions are both with and without Overbridge.
  5. Spending time wrapping my head around data management and backup.
  6. Using the Analog Four as a live performance synth with USB MIDI Controllers using Kenton MIDI USB Host MKII.

Long story short – I’ve learned a lot and taken a lot of notes. Watch for future posts with on all this on the category https://modulatethis.com/category/elektron-analog-four.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Elektron has decided to…

…offer Overbridge free of charge for all our Overbridge enabled instruments. This means that Overbridge Basic and Premium are now simply Overbridge https://www.elektronauts.com/news/387.

Mark Mosher
Composer, Synthesist, Electronic Musician, Multimedia Artist
Boulder, CO
MarkMosherMusic.com
ModulateThis.com

 

 

 

First Impressions Using Elektron Overbridge on Surface Pro 4 with Analog Four

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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 :^)

Video

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. 

 

First Impressions

  • 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.