Drums : A4 vs AR

OK, I own an A4 & I absolutely love it! I can’t find anything about it that I don’t like, which is rare. It’s honestly a perfect box since the 1.1 update was released. I use it for everything. I just record into Ableton (I prefer Ableton over OT because you can tune samples -/+ 48 semitones, OT only allows -/+ 12 (this is why I sold OT)).

Anyway, I recently purchased Daren Ager’s DRUMA patch kit & I can honestly say it is incredible. His kit takes you in so many different directions as far as drums are concerned. My question is, other than being able to load samples on the Analog Rytm, will the Rytm have that much of a different sounding engine? I feel that I can get extremely far with just an A4 & Ableton. However, my lust is strong for the AR. I’ve never wanted a machine so bad.

Sure, AR has the pads (huge plus) but I can get by without them. I usually quantize and then shift the micro timing, anyway. Not a big deal. Being able to load samples is great and all, but I can bypass by using Ableton. Also, 8 tracks is nice but I can also bypass that with Ableton. As much as using a computer can suck (I hate the glow of the screen) I still don’t mind it at the end of the day because of what it can accomplish.

So, with that being said, what is it about the AR sound engine that differs from the A4?

I have my tax return all locked up & loaded for an AR… convince me otherwise?

Has Elektron addressed the tuning limitations on the OT yet? I really wish you could go beyond -/+ 12 semitones. Even the MPC3000 has a better range than the OT.


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A4 = more sound sculpting options albeit only 4 voices, no sample playback… in my books it’s more of a sound creator than sound mangler

AR = 8 dedicated analog voices specialized for percussion sounds.

Elektron has designed these to work in tandem, not to replace each other. All the machines can play drums successfully (even the MnM) but depending on the style of drums you prefer your usefulness will vary.

Imagine assigning one of the AR pads to trigger one of the DRUUMA sounds on the A4. Process that A4 audio back into the AR and you have some neat possibilities with all the other effects/lfos/etc

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Yeah, agreed. I see the relationship between the two being extremely mutually beneficial. Can’t wait.

I know you edited your post, but, yes, I am able to read the Elektron website. However, I’m seeking subjective opinions on the matter as well, not just technical.

Anyway… anyone else with input?

Yea sorry about that. I took my own advice and took out the negativity in my post. But yes, your question has been asked quite a bit and in various threads leading to the same type of arguments. I know the search function is broken, but hopefully you know where to look now.

Also you should watch a few of the videos posted on the elektronauts home page containing NAMM footage. Cenk explains the architecture of the voices in many of them. Also watch the sonic lab A4 review closely to better understand the A4.

And this might sound crazy, but you might just have to wait until the product is complete to get a proper understanding of how it will compare to existing hardware that is more refined (quite a few A4 updates since release).

I’m not here to convince you, just to point you in the right direction so you can convince yourself based on solid facts and information from the manufacturer

Both are analog synthesis, but how do the drum sounds made on the A4 compare to the AR?

Is there major overlap? What are the major differences? Are the drum sounds made on the A4 noticeably worse? Which do you prefer?

Anyone have sonic examples they can share? Post your tracks or videos if you’ve got ‘em.

Anyone have any samples they would be willing to share for DT/OT owners.

The Overdrive really helps out on the AR, which puts it ahead IMO. However the synthesis engine is much deeper on the A4/AK. So if you have an alternative overdrive source, such as a distortion pedal or mixing desk that you can gain, then I’d go with A4/AK.

However for a one box solution I’d go with AR


Thanks for the info! I have a Digitakt, which has nice overdrive, so would probably sample drums into that. I’m also considering adding an Analog Heat at some point.

I preferred the A4 drums until Rytm got the machines update. BD Silky, BD Sharp, SD Natural, CH/OH/CY Metallic are all some of my favorites.
The cluster OSC sound of the Metallics are particularly good and just impossible to make on A4.
Plus you get the sample layer to make sounds even more complex on Rytm.

Free A4 drum samples here:

I use them in my Rytm! :wink:


Prefer A4/AK Drums

Why is that?

can get a lot more kraftwerk type drum sounds that i like out of A4/AK.
For sampled drums i prefer the Digitrak over the AR

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Okay heres the thing. I’m seriously considering one of the above to accompany an Udo Super 6 which is on the way (i hope). The thing is do i need another synth like the A4 or would i be better off with a dedicated drummer like the Rhythm? I guess two synths could play off each other and the drums are a bonus on the A4. But dang it the Rhythm keeps calling me. I don’t know why.

Any thoughts for either? Cheers guys. Hope you are all well!

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I love the A4, but if I had to choose one to pair with a serious synth like the Super 6 I would definitely go with the Rytm. Samples along with synthesis plus polyphony and separate outs.

Do you know what the differences are between the Analog Four and the Analog Rytm?

Well i just go on options. The Rhythm has more drum options from samples obviously. The A4 has 4 voices which get used up fairly quickly. But it does produce some nice synthesis from those voices. The other thing is playing live the rhythm maybe easier if i’m concentrating on the Super 6.

The 4 voices do get used quickly, HOWEVER, between Sound Locks, and the external inputs, you can get a WHOLE lot out of that box.

I think the big difference here is interfacing to sculpt the sound you’re after.
On RYTM for “synthy” stuff like pads and leads, my guess us you’ll prefer the sound of relying on samples, overdrive and minimal filer settings with fx, while Perf Pads let you roughly modulate things. Bass lines, definitely the DUAL VCO! But sequencing notes is very different on the AR unless you are using a Keyboard maybe. It’s oriented for drums indeed.
As many have stated, the AR sounds massive, and can get lots of low end you might find yourself taming in a final mix.
The Perf/Mute/Scene mode on AR feel very independent from each other, fun to use, but feel broken apart from each other in some way.
Love the PERF mode, but it is by no means sensitive modulations. The velocity sensitivity on the AR is just so so. It works plenty good, but I’m not finger drumming a lot on it as a result.

The A4’s drums seemingly sit perfectly in a mix, and the perf mode/mute combo feels performance friendly. If you really put the time into perf macros, you can do wild stuff with drums, things you’d NEVER do with the AR.

Sorry I published my comment too soon by accident earlier.
Morning coffee


That’s a nice summary: you can just choose whichever instrument fits your needs.

Yes it does seem a no brainer.

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I could have stopped here.

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