Options to AR if you're looking for sample playback

Friends at the forum,

So I’ve created similar topics about this here and there, but I wanted to focus in on this particular issue about options.

I know a lot of musicians go “Not really intended for just sample playback” about the AR and “Only plays back mono samples” and “Can’t time stretch” and so on.

And I listen to the contributions in the Elektron Science contest.

And I’m thinking - what the hell are these people talking about?

What other sample playback instrument out there today, offers that kind of quality in terms of filter, amps, effects and so on? No matter if the AR was intended as an analogue drum machine with samples to boost, but I’m shopping around and I’m not finding options that compete with the AR in what it can do with samples.

Am I wrong?

Octatrack, obviously :slight_smile:

Well, I own an Octatrack and it’s great, but the way it works with sounds is very different from what I’m looking for.

The Analog Rytm to me treats a sample like an oscillator, and the quality of the filters and the amps and whatnot reflects that.

The Octatrack is something else to me, it treats sound like a slice of something recorded (which it usually is when it comes to the Octatrack :slight_smile: ) and offers other options, but not the synth sound design approach that AR has.

Perhaps what you are looking for …




You had to go there.

The horror, the horror.

pre p.s.
i totally didn’t read the whole question…i thought you wanted options for sample playback other than the AR. i’ve started to eye the AR the past few days (no way i can justify the purchase at this point) as it looks like an incredible piece of equipment that could easily replace my current sampler freeing up some space in my studio case for other things. in any case, i hope to purchase one in the future.

original post
this is what i tackled with for the longest time. i tried to find a sampler that would work well with the monomachine. i tried the s5000, sp404, sp505, etc… the s5000 was just super buggy and randomly froze. the sp404 only could be triggered via one channel and you couldn’t control CCs. i forget the issue with the sp505.

i eventually got a sp606 and it just fit. it triggers via 8 midi channels. so i fill up banks 1-4 with kicks to be triggered by channel 9 (midi track 6 on the mnm), banks 5-8 are snares triggered by channel 10 (midi track 5 on the mnm), banks 9-12 are random percussion/claps/etc triggered by channel 11 (midi track 4 on the mnm), banks 13-16 are hihats triggered by channel 12 (midi track 3 on the mnm), banks 17-20 are field recordings/sndfx triggered by channel 13.

this then allows me to mute my kicks, snares, etc.

it also has 2 effect blocks that i can save their settings via the mnm’s ccs, a waveform view for editing samps, and pads if i wanna trigger samps or notes on the mnm.

i don’t use its sequencer, and i sometimes think i should…maybe i’ll learn how sometime. but as simply a playback sampler to be triggered via the mnm, it works pretty well.

In all seriousness, you won’t find an option with the same capabilities/features because, like all Elektron products, the Rytm is incredibly unique.

The closest options to Elektron instruments are always other Elektron instruments, and they are designed to only overlap to a point and offer expansive functionality in other directions.

Octatrack sequencing a Volca Sample is a powerful combo, but not the same.
There’s Maschine Studio and MPC Ren, but they require computers, so not the same. Maybe the forthcoming Electribe Sampler, but that’s still a month away, or so…

The thing about Rytm is it is so well thought out with so many features besides the sample playback capabilities, that samples are just the icing on the cake, and not the cake, at all. Once you start getting down with Waveform chains and sample hit chains, it really takes off.

I’m glad they arranged the Science Lab challenge in the fashion they did, it really showed off the capabilities of all their sample capable machines. .

Well there won’t be options. You’d have to go mid 90s and get a rompler because they “treat samples like synths”. And they simply don’t make hardware romplers anymore. Or anything that had expansion rom cards and expension interfaces.

Well there is Waldorf Blofeld that has sample support. But they really only take single cycle waves I believe so that’s pretty much a full synth.

But of course if you go software then there is just too many. Anything from Reason to Maschine and Ableton.

But after listening to the competition and other examples I came to the conclusion that the analog filter on AR has some sort of magic touch. It makes samples sound huge and deep.

Actually the reason I got an Octatrack is believing it will give me hands on approach of the old romplers. But now I believe AR has surpassed it in term of sound fidelity. Not live hands on performance or control but just sound.

Also my unqualified device contribution is the Akai MPX16

Once you go black, you never go back :wink:

On a single voice. leaving aside the analog/VA debate and the unique elektron seq side, you’d get a heck of a lot more control and variety from the Blofeld than the AR, no contest, cheap too and sample playback(60mb) is its second strength - slower than AR for loading though

The MD UW+ ! Others mentioned ‘other elektrons’ before, but this needs to be said! :smiley: don’t be fooled by those 2,5 megs of Ram and the device being so old compared to the AR.

Thanks for the tip on Blofeld. Checked it out, and I realised the sequencer is a big deal for me, it needs to be there.

Honestly, I think I’m just talking myself into getting an Analog Rytm. I really think the ESX or the upcoming Electribe Sampler could be viable options, too, but I wonder if any of them can match the quality of the Rytm. And the +Drive, to have all your s**t stored in one place. That’s good too.

They can’t. Go get one. :smiley:

If you have the coin, buy it.

Just remember that a large part of the character for sample playback sound comes from the filter and analog circuitry. As such, they dominate the sound and provide a certain sonic sameness. I like that sound so it’s okay for me :slight_smile:

I’m unimpressed by a lot of the drums and I do hope that are expanded sometime soon…

This is all very helpful, thanks guys.

I should add that I’ve owned an Octatrack for about a year, and I’ve worked with it quite a lot and produced many things with it that I’m pleased with.

But I’m finding that I prefer the Analog Rytm’s workflow. I work a lot with harmonics, frequent variations in the drums in each beat, I like to play and hammer out stuff and just see what happens. I’m currently enjoying the Volca Sample a lot, sequencing it both internally and from the Electribe, and like the workflow of the MPC:s and Electribes in general.

So I’m just liking the way you work with music in the ARytm as well, more than with the Octatrack.

Speaking of - anyone in this thread composed anything with just the AR and only (or almost only) samples, none of that analogue thing going on?

I’ve listened to the contributions in the Science contest, all sounds great.

All the same, I’m interested in more examples. I’ve got a slim rig, if I could settle for just one instrument for final output I would, and for awhile Octatrack was it, but I’ve come to terms with using two now, and I’m thinking maybe the ARytm and the Electribe.

Now, this is interesting. Tell me more. I owned an OP-1 briefly, but it never occurred to me that it could be use for samples in a, well, useful way.
But you’re saying it can?

Oh I didn’t realize you didn’t have it then if money is not a big problem for you - just get that.

I became a bit of an Elektron fan. The problem is that like you I tried to find alternatives and in the end ended up selling all of them (LXR synth, Korg Electribe, Monotribe and something else can’t remember now) Basically all that was replaced by AR.

Then I was looking for a complement, my choice was the Blofeld or the new Electribe. But after doing a lot of video watching and demoing I chose to get Octatrack instead them. See I am not a musicican in a traditional sense, I really need those sequencers. I fell in love with OT and it’s awesome hands-on feel. I was going to get a Blofeld still since OT can sequence it. But in the end I decided not to. Well at least not now. I just got OT and AR. And I feel if I don’t spend more time with them alone I might miss a lot of features.

After hearing what AR could do I am positive it’s all I need. I recorded some samples from pure digital synthesis engines (Sculpture in Logic, FM8 etc) and I loaded them into AR and they sound epic.

At this point with AR and Octatrack by my side I have all I need, I love Blofeld but I believe I don’t need it right now and I 'd rather focus on making tracks on the machines I have because they have powerfull sequencers and parameter locks. I might not even get Blofeld.

I believe Elektron downplayed the sample support of AR. If you can go to a music store, arm yourself with an instruction and try playing just with stock samples you will see a powerful hidden feature.

See the thing is AR already is armed with a powerful amplitude generator making stock kicks sounds huge and passing thin digital samples through them coupled with overdrive you get amazing results.

I would get an AR for sure before anything else. There is a reason they call it a “Drum Computer” and not a drum machine. I went through a few pieces of gear trying to find replacement for Elektron and I didn’t find any.


I’m on the bus to town to get one now.