Analog Four Mk1 - yay or nay?

The story is known: very reasonable prices are to be found. I don’t need one but I may want one anyway.

Persuade or dissuade!

Thoughts appreciated as always.


But you might wanna also check out the 50+ previous threads on this topic :slight_smile:


Yay is good.

I have done the reading but I want the spontaneous ramblings of the here and now! Apologies to the community for cluttering our board.

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I wouldn’t exchange my MKI for an MKII. Size and form factor don’t match my other Elektrons and sound differences don’t seem significant enough to me.

Edit : I’m used to UI and the screen is ok for me.

It’s possible to add 4 individual outputs with pretty simple soldering.
Interest check Separate outs mod - #163 by panelist



My A4 is currently boxed up, waiting for USPS to open so I can send it on to it’s new home with a fellow Elektronaut. I picked up an Analog Keys on Saturday morning and had them side by side over the weekend before I reluctantly boxed up the A4.

I didn’t really push the bass, but I have a fair amount of bass in some of my patches. With the same pair of Sony 7506s on I think the difference in sound between the two devices is small enough to be accounted for by random component variation and aging in different environments (the A4 spent most of it’s life in humid Seattle, the AK in the dry SF Bay Area). If this is a serious concern for you then audition all three devices before you buy. But for most people I suspect the sonic difference will be negligible.

I bought my A4 originally to sequence my Eurorack. But I ended up using it as a standalone bassline / monosynth instead. It doesn’t try to be a 303, but it can produce very nice acid.

I haven’t played with an A4 Mk2, but I did trade my Mk1 Octatrack for the Mk2. The Mk1 OT was too awkward to use, and the Mk2 UI was a huge improvement. The A4 UI is fine as it is. The AK UI is a little better, but I bought it for the keys & joystick. I’m sure the Mk2 is nicer than the Mk1, but I found the Mk1 pleasant and easy to use.


yay if you want something really flexible to dive deep and discover the many strengths and some weaknesses.
Yay if you want to write whole little tracks on one synthesizer.
Yay if you like elektron sequencers and workflow.
Yay if you’re owning cv gear to sequence and modulate.

Nay if you want a sweetspot synth.
Nay if you expect it to be your favorite moog, roland etc out of the box.
Nay if you don’t like menus and (small) displays.
Nay if you prefer knob per function interfaces.


yay: if you are a cowboy
neigh: if you are a horse

Nothing wrong with being a horse. It’s just hard to operate Elektrons with hooves, I’m told.


Yay if you want a very flexible way to treat input.
Yay if you want to add FX, filter, and CV control to a 0-Coast or another semi modular.
Yay if you’re ready to take your time looking for the sweat spots.


well put.

I’d add yay if you’re very into patch design,
and nay if you’re reliant on presets.

Some might disagree but I found the A4 to have an especially high number of unusable presets. There are certainly enough that are usable as a starting point to design your own though.

Another strength is that is can fill a few different roles, be implemented in a nice variety of ways (four monos, poly, drum machine). Also the ability to add reverb, delay, chorus to external audio and sequence external gear thru midi is great.

There really are some nice deals out there, I’d be all over it if I didn’t already own.


These yays resonate with me.

I have one of those complexes where depending on presets in synths feels like cheating and is usually unfulfilling. Will take some shitty patch I made over a hall of fame preset 10 out of 10 times.


Give it a shot. You can always sell again.



You must have heard it from the horses mouth :slight_smile:


It looks like you’ve got a Digitakt and a Digitone already. I haven’t used those, but everything I’ve read suggests they are like the big Elektrons in that it is fun and easy to start with a blank pattern and init patches and build everything up from scratch. Put headphones on and turn on the A4 and the hours will melt away.

The A4 should also compliment your Prophet and Moogs. Your studio suggests that you have a deep affection for analog synths. Even if you don’t end up clicking with the A4, you seem like the sort of person who would enjoy the process of discovery nonetheless.

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I found it very capable at drums. Ultimately I sold it because because I found a broader (and more aligned with my taste) range of tones in the Digitone. Also, just like with the AR mk1, I really don’t like the screen (small + lack of contrast). But if you have good eyes, it’s a very nice synth. And there are tons of great patches to get you started.

So that’s a yay.


Ok the yays are crushing the nays. Very cool and, I suppose, unsurprising.

Further Q:
Has the Mk2 created longing for the Mk1 owners? From what I’ve heard (from demos on the internet) the sonic differences are not very substantial. And for the price difference (basically half) it seems like the Mk1 is in epic deal territory these days.

Again, really appreciating the engagement with my curiosity here.

…at actual 2nd hand pricetags around 600 bux, the a4 mk1 is an absolute no brainer…
it’s the last truu analog synth i got in use and will never let go…
or i should say…the last four analog mono synth voices i’ll ever need…
if u see ot as an ableton in a box, u can see the a4 as a whole modular rig in one box…
many people will regret big time, for selling it that cheap in only just a few years from now…
remember the days when many people got tired of their mnm’s for the first time after using it in quite a while, only to realize years later what they’ve missed out on…
and well, it’s THE machine that gave birth to the whole ob idea in first place…
while a single open osc feedback plockable alone is worth the money already…
everybody who did not get there, should have tried a little harder…
so…YAY…grab one…


No, I don’t really have the space, and for the things I use it for (mostly sequencing my semi-modulars, drums, FX) I don’t think a mk2 would add much. If I didn’t have a bunch of other synths, the tweaked sound engine might make more of a difference, but I like it for what it does.

I bought my mk1 a couple of years ago originally to sequence my 0-coast and add FX, but I’ve been plesantly surprised by the sounds I’ve gotten out of it, and it is suprisingly great at drums, as other people have noted. They’ve been such a bargain price for quite a while now so you can pick one up and if you don’t like it you won’t lose much money if you sell it again… Just check that it has no isses on test mode, all the encoders are good, and that the screen is not blown out.

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Very interesting discussion by @Eaves of A4 mk1 vs. mk2 in another track: Track from scratch on the A4: half workflow video, half tutorial - #6 by Eaves


I’ve had the A4mk1 since well before the MK2 came out. While the OLED screen would be nice, I’ve never felt that it would be worth it to me to upgrade. To my ears, the sonic differences fall in the territory of “magical fairy dust”. I was massively tempted to upgrade to the AK, but I never had a sweet deal come my way. The A4 is a future classic, and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who dumped them for $500.


I’ve mostly used mine for the CV outs and FX but wow have I been missing out, a4 is amazingly versatile synth, forget about presets and just dive in and have fun, big yay.