Analog Keys vs Nord Lead A1 vs Prophet 08

Hey AK owners.

I want to buy a poly synth.

My alternatives are: AK, Nord Lead A1 or Prophet 08

Would you recommend the AK?

I’ve heard that the sound is a bit cold and the menu diving it’s a pain. Others that is way better sounding than…say…Prophet 08.

I’ll appreciate your comments!


All great choices!

I wouldnt say the menu diving is too bad, there are lots of shortcuts (buttons combos to jump to pages etc). And some degree of menu diving is the trade off for a complex yet compact synth really.

if you have other cv gear the elektron is fricking amazing - sequencer kicks arse. Best bet, right out your wants needs in a synth and try and get to a shop to demo them - see how many get ticked - failing that, watch tons of videos. Synths are a very personal choice so any online advice you get comes with a ymmv tag…

Well, the AK is inferior in polyphone, but it’s a workstation, a complete solution for creating tracks. The Prophet and the Nord are poly synths but they can’t produce tracks on their own.

If you’re going for the poly count and you plan to sequence it from another source, the A1 is the way to go. Multitimbral, 24 voices, great effects, looks awesome.

If you’re into the workstation thing, the AK is your only choice of the three you’re listing.

Don’t go for the Prophet. It’s solid, but a bit ancient. And a bit of a brute, as well. Like many DSI synths, it needs some work before it plays well with others in a mix.

Thanks for your comments!

And for basses?

There are people that say that ir has great and fat basses (better than Novation BS2 or Mopho) and others that basses aren’t good at all

Theres actually a thread going in the a4 sub forum for tips on getting a nice bass end - I think when people say they dont like the bass of the ak they may be missing the fact that filter one (the dedicated low pass) has quite a steep slope so is a bit more surgical than theyd expect. There are two other lp filters on filter 2 which give a slower roll off for a fatter sound - or peak and hi pass which work nice when tuned and keytracking with a bit of res for a ballsy bass end. I cant say I have any issues getting the bass I want at least but as ever, horses for courses!

If you hadnt guessed im a bit of an ak fanboy btw XD

Apart from the AK/A4, are there other synths (not only analog) with a good built-in sequencer and multiple tracks?

MonoMachine with +Drive with the Oxford Overdrive & Immortal Waves free digibanks has me very happy lately.
Those banks made an already versatile machine a total tone monster.
Plus you get a 6 track midi sequencer to sequence other multitimbral synths. Old Nord Racks go for $450 these days.

As I like to say, there isn’t any menu diving on the AK, only menu wading. There are no synth parameters more than 2 button presses away, and even though the display is stupidly tiny, it’s really very easy to edit.

It’s a one of a kind instrument.

The bass is ok I think. Could be bigger, could be thinner. For some people only big VCO bass will suffice. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to add a Moog or Boomstar, etc to any of the options you listed.

And the NL A1? Any references? It’s a good sounding poly? I’m not a fan of Nord sound…but…tomorrow never knows…

It sounds great and it’s a lot of fun if you’re into sound design.
But if you’re not into the Nord sound, it won’t win you over. It’s classic Nord, audiowise.

If you have a piano/keyboard player background, want to “play” chords and have direct access to a lot of parameters (jamming/improvising?), then prophet/nord.
If you want to prepare a lot or want to produce more, then AK.

If Prophet, you´ll need FX (Reverb&Delay), which is nice to have in the A1.

I use Nord Stage (scaled down A1 included) and Prophet with OT for Live playing (jazzy/funky stuff).

I really wanted to like the AK, but for jamming live those 2 clicks are too much - I need the cutoff, the LFO speed and some other parameters to be reachable anytime and spontaneously. And with the OT I already have one piece to always be aware of - the others have to be easy to use.


Thanks for all your comments !

I own & regularly play the Prophet 08, the Analog Four, and a Nord Lead 2X. Here’s what you probably don’t want to hear: their respective timbres work quite well together!

You specified the new Nord, but here’s a little trick to the 2X… the four slot buttons allow you to pick what MIDI channel to transmit on at any time. That’s fantastic for controlling something like the A4. I can layer slots with sounds from the elektron, then switch which if its tracks I’m directly controlling at any moment. The new Leads aren’t set up to allow that ( in an effort, I assume, to make MIDI conflicts a non-issue.)

You may not care to do this, but I’ve found the combo to be amazing.

A note about the Prophet: I love the sound and the playability. As another post mentioned, I use these instruments in a live context, so using just one synth for a more full production isn’t an issue for me.

Best of luck! I don’t believe you really can go far wrong with AK, a Nord, or the Prophet. ( Unless you lust for the new Prophet 6… then wait! )

Ahaha best reply !!

I sold my Prophet '08 to buy the Keys and have no regrets. The only advantage would be if you need more than 4 part poly. For my particular use case I was mostly using it for mono-sequences/arps, so in my case now I can run 4 parts instead of 1.

I admit the synth is more “cold” or clean than my other “vintage” synths - but the effects really add a nice character out of the box.

If you really want warm tones, more than 4 poly and straight up subtractive synthesis save up with the new Prophet, the 08 is no more warm than the Keys.