I wish an AK without the keys


I am GASing over the A4/AK. I love that the AK have multiple outputs for each part. That’s something the A4 does not have.
However, however hard I squint, I can’t just like the keys themselves. They are too big. I don’t need them at all. I am not a keyboard player. These keys would make the important things harder to reach.
Have you ever faced a similar dilemma? Any meaningful conslusion?
What do ya think?


If you’re using a DAW, just buy an A4 and wait for Overbridge.
Shouldn’t be much longer now.
If not . . . I don’t know.
I use the internal mixer/effects on the A4 and have never really needed much more.
If I’m tracking, I just do it track at a time into my DAW and add effects as needed.
Not an ideal solution, but it works for me.

I’ve never used the unit live, but in the case of live performance I think I’d want the AK more for extemporaneous jamming anyway.

off course only speculation…

but I can imagine Elektron will create a mixer that accepts audio over USB input… to have multi channel input from A4

I am looking forward to OB, but prefer to work without a computer

I also think that keys is a different way of interacting with the voices - I too am not a keys player (I suck beyond suckishness) but the types of chords or lines you produce WILL differ than pure step sequencing and using buttons on the A4. step seq id very logical (to me at least) and planned, noodling on the keys is more expressive… There is also input time and pitch quantise, so ‘stupid fingers’ is less of a problem. Hell even accidentally leaving recording on and improving over a sequenced piece can come to some happy accidents - funky ass sequences that jump up and down, id never have sequenced similar but was cool so used it.

OB probably killed this.

This is exactly why I want an AK.
I “noodle” as much as one can on the small 1 octave button board on the A4, not unlike how I noodle on the step keys on Monomachine. It is limited in many ways, however. It is certain to me that writing on AK will result in excitingly different compositions. If only the joystick were recordable.

A4+midi keyboard > AK for me.

I like that the A4 is compact, but I have the option to use a midi keyboard.

AK is too big for my desk and travel needs.

No doubt AK is very immediate with its integrated keyboard and extras though.

Good points…
Maybe AK is for me after all, hmm.
Thanks for the insight!

You could always just plug a midi keyboard into the A4 any time you feel like jamming out.

+1 on the keys being valuable for noodling and composition even if you’re not a serious keyboardist. I find I make more interesting melodic choices when I have more than one octave available to me.

If you put it on a stand with an adjustable angle, you won’t have to reach as far across the keys when you’re not using them. Added bonus: it makes the screen easier to read.

ak without keys is called Analog Four. get this one.

Did you even read the original post?
“I love that the AK have multiple outputs for each part. That’s something the A4 does not have.”

My Analog Four is on its way right now. I, like others, opted for the A4 because of its small size. I have slowly been phasing out keyboard synths from my studio due to their cumbersome size and redundancy. Lately I’ve been going for a “lean and mean” setup of small, desktop-sized powerhouses. The A4 will join my AR and MM (and a handful of other similar-sized devices).

I’ve already been using a Korg MicroKontrol with my Monomachine and it works great. It has pads, encoders, and faders and everything is assignable, with multiple user-created templates (saved to internal flash memory), so you can set it up for various devices. Straight away, the faders on mine were already set up to control the mix levels of the six MM tracks, which is awesome in and of itself.

The joystick in particular can be set up to behave like the stock SFX-6 joystick (and I’m guessing that of the Analog Keys, as well), and the action is very nice.

Finally, a couple of its biggest benefits are its size and portability: the MicroKontrol is very light and its footprint is small; it can be moved around a studio easily or carried to and from live gigs with no hassle. It also supports battery power (6 AA-size cells) so it’s a nice option for live use or even moving from one room of your house to another, with one less cable waggling around. Remember that having a detached controller keyboard means you can arrange it wherever you like, as well. Put it side-by-side with the A4, on a different shelf, on a computer desk’s hideaway keyboard shelf, etc… very convenient!

The downsides to this option are that, of course, you’d still lack multiple outputs, and it has mini keys (like a MicroKorg). For me, that second part isn’t really a downside since I’m not much of a player and the mini keys still let me play chords and multiple octaves, quickly and easily. For its size, I think one can still play quite expressively, when compared to the trigs and clicky keys of the Elektron machines.

I figured I’d mention the MicroKontrol as an option to anyone trying to split the difference between an AK or A4, and where portability and convenience were concerned. You’d still lack multiple outputs, the lights above the keys, and a few other bonuses, but I think you get a lot of value with the MK and it should help bridge the gap for some folks. It’s no longer being produced, but from what I’ve seen of the online used market, they’re still reasonably-priced and availability looks pretty good.

Incidentally, I happen to own a MicroKorg (‘XL’), and I love the keys. It’s just very convenient and espressive for me, contrary to popular opinion.

Oh wow, in that case you’d be right at home with the microKontrol! I also owned a microKorg (the old one) and feel the same way. Definitely give the Kontrol a look!

Thanks, I’ll keep it in mind! Although right now I don’t feel that I’d need any more keys, but that might change any moment, who knows!

Your A4 probably arrived by now. Can you confirm that you can set up the MicroKontrol’s joystick to work the same way as the built-in AK joystick?
I’m trying to decide if I want the A4 or AK (I’d prefer the A4 for the smaller size), and the joystick was one of my concerns.

It did! I will try it tonight and let you know.

I went with the A4 for the same reason. I’ve been getting rid of most of my keyboard synths (I’m not much of a player anyway). I wanted the individual outs of the AK but that was the only reason I was considering it.

Now that the A4 is here, I’m glad I went with it instead. The convenience of its tiny footprint just can’t be ignored (at least, in my studio).

I can confirm that the microKontrol’s joystick can control the same parameters as that of the Analog Keys. I ran out of time today to test all of the parameters stacked but I should be able to tell you conclusively tomorrow. But from getting it quickly set up earlier today it looks to be no problem.