Bought second hand A4 - Things to do

Hi all. I have recently taken the plunge into the world of Elektron and purchased a second hand A4. (and have one of the last machinedrums on order!)

Do you have any tips for a first things first for me as a new owner?

Is there a ‘trouble-shoot’ test to make sure its all working OK?

I will do a factory reset and get the latest firmware.

anything else I should be looking out for?

Thanks!

PS Im about halfway through the manual and am not new to synthesis so those aspects should be ok. Just wondering if there are some basic admin-y things I should do first.

welcome :thup:

learn the architecture of patterns/kits/sounds (also projects/+drive/soundpool) and experiment lots to establish the nature of things including that some aspects (like kit state) can be temporary … do this before you commit and backup anything you like

best way to learn fast is actually to browse the questions and answers on here

only thing I’ve read of (extremely rarely) having been ‘quietly’ breakable is the CV outputs, so if you have CV gear test those, failing that it is actually possible to generate low voltage impulse ‘clicks’ and feed those out as audio to the ins ,so you’d also be testing your ins … but tbh, I expect most things would be verified if you simply entered test mode (see manual)

Encoder smoothness is the only aspect i’d be looking at with there being a realistic prospect of minor (repairable via warranty) issues

By all means ask away when you’re ready to go, but try to use the search function to see if your questions are already asked (most are) or just keep posting any queries in your own new-owner thread :okej:

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Test mode! that’s the doozy! I’d seen it mentioned somewhere…

Anyway thanks for the input. I will be trawling this forum thoroughly. YouTube has been pretty good so far too!

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I found when you start with these machines, even when you say to yourself this is just an experiment to familiarise myself with such and such a function and content is irrelevant. you start to create something you like. Then you do something and its changes or disappears and you don’t know what you did so learn how to save things when you get something you like and reload when you mess it up.
I created to many projects when I started now Iv got what seems to be the arduous task of getting everything into one and hopefully when you will think theres something wrong with the machines it will turn out to be a misunderstanding.

yeh take note of this… had so many instances of this, its pretty humbling after a while… altho not nearly as much on the AK as the OT

all the settings, all the different modes, triggers, modulations, etc. - you really need to “cut your teeth” on these things

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Yeah i’ve set aside an entire weekend. not in the studio with other distracting gear, the GF and the dog are away. just gonna be me the manual, A4 and youtube/this forum to have a go at learning the bugger

I’ve had my A4 for a couple of months - it’s a beast of a machine : ) I love it!
I’m no expert and this may seem obvious to you but I have found the easiest way to work without losing material is to save a kit to every pattern that I work on and then save my sounds within those kits to the + drive and lock them so they won’t get edited and screwed up on another pattern.
128 patterns and 128 kits per project so it kinda makes sense to save 1 kit to 1 pattern - well to me it makes sense! I’ve also go into the habit of hitting pattern save, project save and kit save when I’ve been working on a pattern for a while.
Also, the first thing I done was start plocking sounds but it took me a good hour to figure out I needed to use the sound manager to select sounds and add them to the sound pool. Only sounds in the sound pool can be plocked and you get 128 per project.
Hope some of that’s useful! It isn’t really that complicated…the architecture is probably the most alien part but the rest is your standard synth stuff…have fun : )
Please correct me if I’m wrong!

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I also use the 1 Pattern <-> 1 Kit relationship a lot.
Yet, I save the Sounds only when they are really nicely crafted.

Note that you can reload the Sound within a Kit by selecting your Track and hitting Yes+Sound : this will reload to the state of the state saved in the last Kit, no need to save to Sound.

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Firstly, the sounds you have within a kit are entirely divorced from everything once they are in a kit … saving them elsewhere is a good idea, but they cannot be ‘screwed up’ … sounds on the +Drive are not related to kit sounds, even if they were originally derived from those sounds … sounds within a kit are not bonded to sounds elsewhere in any way, they are 100% standalone … if you want to protect a kit, back it up and never re-save it once you’re happy with it

Secondly, it may just be semantics, but you don’t save a kit to a pattern, a pattern retains a link (once saved) to the current loaded kit ID number, that’s all, it’s a reference to a Kit slot … by operating a 1:1 relationship between Kit ID and Pattern ID you can make this easy, but you have the headache of duplicating kits you use a lot and keeping those in sync

:thup:

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Thanks for clearing that up, that’s gonna help me! I’ve been working in my own super safe mode I guess.

Yeah that’s semantics I wasn’t implying saving the kit to the pattern but just a way to work. I guess it just depends how you work…I’ve not had any headaches with this method as I’m copying and pasting patterns and then editing the kits and saving a new one. I guess this will probably change as I learn more.

The most important piece of advice that I’ve been giving to new users that has helped me most in the past has been to use the safest backup/update procedures.
I had a bad experience with doing an OS update on my A4 last year that corrupted the project I had loaded into RAM.

Fortunately, I had this project .sysex backed up on my computer, but it gave me pause and caution moving forward.

So, now in addition to backing up my projects before updating the OS, I always load a dummy “new” project on the machine before I update the OS. That way I can just trash this dummy project after the update, and load my functional project(s) afterward, and with less worry about data corruption during the update process.
I also do this with my Analog Rytm.

Is this procedure overly cautious? Perhaps. But it certainly saves some worry.

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the problem with your method is if you use more than one pattern in a jam, song or whatever - and you are using the performance knobs - because those are saved at the kit level

for example, if you are tweaking a perf knob while changing into a pattern with a new kit, it will stop working, and the new perf knob will take over… if those 2 different patterns are using the same kit, the performance knobs will work the same and the tweaking is uninterrupted

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Ahh I didnt know u could tweak the perf macros over 2 patterns like that, thanks!

Getting used to using the conditional trigs, sound locks and playing live Ive been getting so much out of 4 bars Ive only been changing patterns for transitions in songs so I havent ran into this
Will chain a few patterns up later an mess about with this.
Cool thanks for the info : )
If you have say 4 patterns chained with the same kit and you change synth parameters on one of the patterns does that change that setting on the other patterns with that kit? Hope that makes sense!

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Yes, unless you have the Reload Kit toggle enabled at the change which would restore the temporary Kit buffer back to the saved state

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yeh i think thats why the kits and patterns are separate… also gives you more reasons to tweak shit like crazy while you are running thru the patterns - you can keep it going until its unrecognizeable, then press “no + kit” and everything reloads to the original kit settings… its much more interesting to do this across a number of patterns rather than just one

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Great thanks for the tips. Glad I chipped in - even if my insights were not the best hah!