Lost in Elektron's Space!

Hi Elektronauts!

( I have posted that topic on the OT tread as well to get different opinions ) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

First of all, I wanted to thank all members here for insights and tips that you are giving on a daily basis, and in advance for the ones that you will give me :+1:

Also want to thank in advance the ones that will read ths post till the end to try an dgive me some insights!

This is the question that have been asked many times over but i need to ask it in my own way… I am going to get my first bit of kit next week and I need some advice.

I am pretty lost and hesitant between the OT, A4, MDUW and RYTM!
Yes all of those at the same time!..

I am just bored staring at my DAW and i am ready for something refreshing.

So here it is, I love sound design and synthesis, i am planning on leaning towards ambient/IDM/experimental pieces for personal project but also will be using the gear towards live tek/minimal gigs.

I have never been the one to be really leaning towards ‘sampling’ mangling but rather being a knob tweaker on my synth :wink:

That was until I stumbled across an OT vid on youtube looking for something completely different and I can’t explain it but it was like a “this is it” moment! I had tons of ideas to work in a new way, I could see possibilities there that I couldn’t see before.

One link led to another and I ended up wanting all of the Elektron’s gear of course :smiley:

Now I know each Elektron’s machine is different and each of them got their own ‘personality’ and I am really hoping to be able to get them all in the near future but right now I need to decide.

Now comes the trouble for me as i think it is a bit difficult to really grasp some differences between for example, the sampling function on the MDUW and the OT or event AR ( to a certain extent of course! )

Is the MD UW a better choice that the OT as a ‘starting point’ since it can sample as well as being a drum machine ( even a synth )?
Or the OT is a better choice since it can do all this as well ( using single cycle wave )!..

To what extend can you use the samples on the MD compared to the OT?
Is the MD enough to ‘start’ and get the OT later?
Is the OT even necessary if you get the MD UW?

From what I have red here, it’s a lot about ‘workflow’ and some of you prefers one way over the other but, to be honest, it’s quite a pain to choose when you have never had one!

Also it’s hard to know if the MD UW will be a bit left out on Elektron’s part to lean towards concentrating a lot of their focus on the AR.

Is it a good idea to buy an MD UW now or beatmakers will slowly loose interest to lean towards the AR and the MD will slowly become obsolete?
I do not want to offense anyone here of course as I personally think that the MD looks like an awesome piece of kit but I need to ask!

Overbridge is looking rather sexy as well but i think I want to use Elektron to get away from my DAW, not being brought back to it!

Now towards the A4, is this machine worth it as well or if i end up getting the RYTM, you can pretty much do what the A4 will do by knob tweaking?

I know that the best is to have them all but I guess what I am asking is what is the best option right now to dive into Elektron’s world and get maybe a taste for what each machine can do since they all seem to have bits in common.

Is the OT ‘the more versatile’, powerful in a way, since it seems that it can morph from a sampler to a modular synth to a drum machine working with single cycle wave and samples.

Anyway, i need help guys so any insights will be much appreciated :smiley:

The OT can be a drum machine, more easily than an MD can be a sampler.

The MD sampling feels more restricted. But I would have to list and compare every step of operation to explain, and I just woke up.
If the sampling functions are influencing your decision, I would get the OT first.
Both machines are different enough to be a powerful combination; neither can truly eliminate the other.
I got the OT first, and after a long time got the MD. I would not want to be without one or the other.

I do not think the MD will go truly obsolete for a long time - it is a unique machine. It could eventually go away simply because it has been with us for many years, but I don’t think that the AR will be the reason.

I think the OT is more versatile in almost every way. I’ve never played with single cycle waveforms - I have too much creative fun with samples, parameter locks and scenes.

If I could only have one machine, it would be the OT without question. But I love the MD and would not want to give it up.

Consider all of the above to be my opinions only.

@bryan thanks for input mate… much appreciated.

I might get the OT and a bargained MD mk2 in the end!
Seems maybe that I would not need the MD UW if I get the OT?

No, but it will be even better if you have both :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Seriously, you will appreciate having the MD for all your percussions, and free the OT for everything else.

A new OT + bargain MD MKII is a good plan.

But yes, you could do great with only an OT.

Highly recommend getting the UW version anyway. If you already have an OT you won’t necessarily need it per se, but it opens up the MD to do a great many useful and fun things I can’t easily summarize.

Suffice it to say that while a non-UW MD is an amazing percussion synth that will reward a patient sound designer, the UW model’s sample engine adds a lot more options than you might assume, just because of how tightly it is integrated into the MD. It’s rare that a UW owner regrets their purchase, while many non-UW owners eventually realize what they missed out on.


All the way - it samples and synthesizes. Only machine that does that.

You can turn it on with nothing but a pair of headphones and get results. With another sampler, you’ll either need some preparation, or something to sample.

I’ve owned an MD SPS1 non-UD and currently own an Octatrack. While the Octatrack can definitely cover percussion duties, it is vastly more interesting to tackle other jobs with it.

The MD I had was very well used and scored at a good price. That said, I regret selling it and someday will own another. Probably the UW, but that part won’t be a deal breaker. The MD’s synthesis engines is what I miss the most… I barely liked a sound on the default kits, a few tweaks in, the realization was clear, the MD is a BEAST.

Faced with the choice of an MD UW or an Octatrack, I’d have to go with the MD UW. But I’d probably add the Octatrack next.

Thanks for the replies guys! Much appreciated.

I never thought it would be so hard to choose a piece of kit :joy:


I am biased, due to the MD being the center of my studio, but it’s MD all the way. I might add a precontextual note: I dont use a DAW to do anything other than record. The MD is for all intents and purposes, my powerhouse sequencer. Right now I have it controlling 4 synths, 3 effects and 2 external drum mahcines. Due to its reach, it can also control modular(think event sequencing) and do things normally only Daws can do. Well kind of.

That being said, since your DAW savvy and not against using one, I think the OT might be a better fit for what you want to get done, while the MD would be a get at a later time.

I actually dont plan on getting the rythm, as I think it doesnt seem like an out right “must have.” I need to see something cool other than a better version of the tempest.

I have the MD UW and an OT, so can’t comment on the other boxes. i would say go for the MD first, it’s much more instant and you get a lot more tracks. The OT, for how I use it anyway, requires a bit more preparation such as sourcing good samples, and I often find the 8 tracks just not enough.

Ps. If your into idm type stuff you definitely need the UW version. The RAM machines are amazing, and I actually prefer their sonic characteristics to the OTs cleaner resampling.

Sounds like I need to make better use of the UW feature on my MD lol. Because I was going to say the UW doesn’t make up for an OT, at least not for me. The 2.5MB’s of 12-bit memory vs 16GB+ (whatever CF card you have) and 24-bit on the OT was big for me. I needed to be able to play many samples at least a few seconds long and 2.5MB’s of memory for ALL BANKS just wasn’t cutting it. I also have had no prior experience with classic samplers that would normally have less memory so I just don’t know how these people worked with that.

Some things that the MD needs that I love about the OT
Playback of long samples
Independent pattern lengths and pattern chaining

Honestly from what I have seen of the Rytm, if I didn’t have any other Elektron boxes I would be in line for the AR. It seems to be a bit of all the other boxes to a point. Drums, analog synth, and I think about a gig of sample space. Can’t do live sampling but if you only want to do just some sample triggering then it works. Seeing what they unlocked with the A4, who knows what is inside of the AR that can be “unlocked” later on. Already they have an FM machine coming which should be able to do some interesting non percussion if it works anything remotely close to the MD. Seems to be an excellent first box. For someone like me with an MD and OT already, it makes the AR a hard sell.

I don’t own the OT, so I can’t speak to whether that will suit your needs, but as an A4, MD and AR owner, I can honestly say you can’t go wrong with any of them. They can all do both drum and synth sounds (even the MD!), but they do them all differently and to different effect. I don’t think any recommendation on this list is going to be particularly helpful to you. We all have different tastes. I think you just need to watch/listen to as many demos as you can and decide which one sounds best to you and which has the most important features to you at the moment. It’s kind of like asking whether you should eat food or drink water. It doesn’t matter in the long run, because eventually you’ll want and need both. Similarly, once you get your first Elektron machine, you are inevitably going to get the others on your list. It’s only a matter of time…

I’m in exactly the same boat as you. Bored of sitting at my computer staring at an arrangement on the screen.

For me taking the visual aspect out of it is the main pull. I think it will force me to use my ears more. I also think it will be more intuitive and fun to create music on an MD instead of using my mouse for 90% of the work.

I chose the MD SPS-1 UW+ MKII as my first, which I have only just ordered. I plan to add a Monomachine when I have the money.

The main reason I chose an MD is because drums and percussion make about 80% of the style of music I produce, and in some cases it’s nothing but drums. Plus if I can’t get the sound I want out of the MD I can just record my soft synths and upload the samples to the UW.


I have an Octa and MD non UW.
My advice would be get a cheap MD as its alot easier to learn than an Octa, then when you get your next Elektron product (you will) it will be easier to understand.

So here it is, I love sound design and synthesis, i am planning on leaning towards ambient/IDM/experimental pieces for personal project but also will be using the gear towards live tek/minimal gigs.

I have never been the one to be really leaning towards ‘sampling’ mangling but rather being a knob tweaker on my synth

the MM would be a great synth to start with. if you like sound design and synthesis, then there’s plenty in there for you :slight_smile:
it’s a deep machine and it takes dedication to learn how to use it properly, but once you know how to do things and you’ve got your head around Elektron’s workflow, then all the other machines will be easy to use…on the other hand:

That was until I stumbled across an OT vid on youtube looking for something completely different and I can’t explain it but it was like a “this is it” moment! I had tons of ideas to work in a new way, I could see possibilities there that I couldn’t see before.

i would start with something which gives you a wider range of sonic options then: the MM :smiley:
you could still use your DAW partially (or something like an MPX16),during the transition, just for samples playback for instance whilst you learn how to use the MM and once things are clear, you could then get an OT or a MD/AR otherwise you could find yourself not spending much time on sound design but rather on sampling :imp:

… who said OT?! OT?!? where? hu? gimme gimme :smiley: :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: