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Our Elektron Analog Four MKII Review
Elektron was founded in 1998 in Sweden and mainly produces electrical musical instruments, but they also produce software and effects units. They have many famous musicians who rely on their equipment, including Autechre, The Knife, and Depeche Mode.
Their first product was a hybrid tabletop synthesizer, and while they have improved development and made more powerful equipment each year, their hybrid tabletop synthesizers are still incredibly powerful and valued. The Analog Four MKII is no different, and it offers tons of features that make it a great tool for any musician.
What Is the Elektron Analog Four MKII?
One of the great things about the Elektron Analog Four MKII is that it is loaded with reworked elements from past synthesizers, specifically the MKI, which allows Elektron to take the best of their past equipment and put it into one powerful piece. The most noticeable change in the Elektron Analog Four MKII is that there are more backlit buttons and an improved OLED display, making it much easier for musicians to use.
Additionally, the chassis has been updated not only to look nicer but to provide additional protection. While the MKI is a powerful synthesizer in its own right, the MKII has faster performance controls, precise and hi-res encodes, improved stereo audio outputs, and reworked analog circuitry. Any musician who used and enjoyed the Analog Four MKI is sure to find the MKII even more user-friendly and powerful, making it a great option for today’s musicians.
Who Is this Synthesizer Designed For?
This refined synthesizer is surprisingly easy to use, making it a really wonderful option for new musicians who will benefit from the clean interface and simple design. Not only does it look better, but it also sounds better than the original design, which is great for musicians who are worried about the quality of their music and want to ensure that it meets their standards. It’s great both for recording and for producing live music.
The learning curve on the Elektron Analog Four MKII is fairly steep, which is pretty typical of all Elektron products; this means that more advanced musicians are going to have a much easier time using the Analog Four MKII and will be able to produce the high-quality sounds that they crave. Because users need to understand how to set the filter key-tracking and how to adjust the arpeggiator speeds, this equipment isn’t ideal for beginners.
The Elektron Analog Four MKII ships by itself, which is normal for this type of digital keyboards and synthesizers. It does have plenty of inputs and outputs, which means that you can easily plug in your other equipment and gear to the synthesizer for the best musical results. It’s smart to have great headphones on hand when you receive your new equipment so that you can play music without disturbing other people.
Primary Features of the Elektron Analog Four MKII
One of the best features that the Elektron Analog Four MKII offers is the combination of digital and analog controls. Both of the oscillators are analog, but the pitches are controlled digitally, resulting in incredible and precise control.
- Back-lit buttons are incredibly durable
- Dedicated buttons make workflow faster and easier
- Expression/CV units provide external control of parameters
- Enhanced analog overdrive
- The large OLED screen is easily visible in dim environments
- 4-note polyphony
- Storage for 128 products
Thanks to the reworked analog circuitry in the Elektron Analog Four MKII, it delivers more refined bass that is deeper. When used with the enhanced overdrive, the Elektron Analog Four MKII offers growl and bite that makes it really stand out from other equipment.
The FX has a wonderfully lush chorus, ping-pong, and overdrive controls, and delay with filters. It also boasts an incredibly algorithmic reverb. Since the FX track has its own dedicated LFOs and sequencer, it’s easy to modulate delay times as well as feedback amounts.
One complaint is that the Elektron Analog Four MKII doesn’t have a MIDI sequencer that is used to control the external kit. Elektron wants musicians to rely on the Digitakt and Octatrack boxes for this use.
Alternatives to the Analog Four MKII
The original Elektron Analog Four is a good alternative if you’re not sure that the MKII is the right equipment for you. It features an incredibly powerful step sequencer that makes it easy to create songs and patterns when you’re performing. Thanks to the loaded effects station, musicians will be able to choose from a wide variety of effects that they can include in their music.
If you have a slightly smaller budget and want the power and sound of the Elektron Analog Four MKII without the high price tag, then it’s time to consider the Moog Grandmother. This semi-modular analog keyboard synthesizer doesn’t require any patching and has a sequencer and an arpeggiator that are both easy to use. While the interface isn’t as smooth as the Elektron Analog Four MKII, it’s easy to use and looks great.
Conclusion – Is the Elektron Analog Four MKII a Good Choice for You?
If you have experience using powerful synthesizers in the past, then you may benefit from using the Elektron Analog Four MKII. This incredibly powerful piece of equipment is too advanced for beginners to be able to handle easily, which is why it’s a much better option for more advanced musicians as well as professionals.
Once you understand the ins and outs of the Elektron Analog Four MKII, you will be able to produce custom songs, sounds, and tones, but getting to this point can be tricky for some people. Another stumbling block is the price. While it is not the most expensive synthesizer on the market, the price may put it out of reach of some musicians. If you have experience with synthesizers, are willing to work hard to learn how to best use the Elektron Analog Four MKII, and have a budget that can accommodate this powerful piece of equipment, then it may be a great option for you.