Rytm and its sound

Was reading that “rank them all elektron” topic and was surprised to see so many ranking the AR so low. Then there is the comments about its sound that people didnt gel with or how it has small sweet spots, or its not versatile enough.
I havent got much xp with highend hardware so when i first got it i was actually surprised by all it does at the least.
Well my question is what is your impression of its sound? Its character?
What is its strength?
What are its weaknesses?

When i first made a beat on it i was like " Damn! This sounds almost like a finished track! And all inside the machine!!! A little dry maybe…"
Then the filter reso sounds weird, kinda, and the filter envelopes are weird too.
And then the amp env is like not exponential, a reason to rebel, for sure!
The dvco is like out of tune and too “grrrrr” but super unique nonetheless, like it was a mistake that stuck as a " well planed decision", but then they thought well " have you heard any synth sound like that?!" An aquired taste maybe?You know …


I say it all over the forum, but I love the AR, for functionality and sound. I didn’t contribute to that ranking thread ‘cos I’m tired of my own “voice” on this issue. I’ve described its sound as like having a pile of peaches poured over you: weighty, firm, round, and slightly fuzzy.

The hi-hats & cymbals take some work but no-one said sound design was instant all the time. The DCOs are out of tune at the upper registers, but it’s a percussion box not a lead instrument. The kicks are amazing, the hats totally functional, the snares are ok if you find the sweet spots, the various other percs and fx are insane. Just don’t expect it to sound like something familiar. Work with it and make it work for you.

The amp envelope is odd. I think it’s how it is because all the analog voices have their own envelope on the [SRC] page, and samples will usually have their own envelopes. I agree an exponential curve would “make more sense” and probably be more useful.


Absolutely agree. Love the AR.


I wonder if some of the negative comments take into account how expensive it is. I don’t own one, but have a friend who does and loves it.

I’ve heard the same comments about some of the analog machines. My question would be, how much would you pay for the AR MkII (or would you even buy it) if it didn’t have the ability to use samples? Is it up there with the best analog (only) drum machines?


I’ve never owned an AR, heard plenty of good sounding demos and tunes using them. I honestly think some people are just always looking for the next best piece of gear.


This is such a perfect analogy! Bright, juicy, and sweet; not a lot of nuance, but more often than not it puts a smile on your face.


I love it. The performance modes are amazing. I sold my beloved DT to keep the Rytm which wasn’t an easy choice. I agree, the AMP is a bit shit for sure. I dislike the way the compressor shows me whats going on and on that and the Single LFO i do think back to the DT some times.

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it sounds amazing, but to me it also sounded very modern and i wanted something a bit more retro.

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The synth parts of it sound different to other synths because different synths are different to each other.

Joking aside, I think there’s a huge issue of expectation. If, like me, you’ve spent years wasting time watching music production videos on YT then you may have drawn the same conclusion - most modern “electronic” music, at least that which reaches any kind of mainstream, has been processed to death after the fact. Layering, filtering, EQ, dynamics etc in huge quantities. people spend hours fiddling with one snare sound. It bores the sh*t out of me personally, but I guess that’s why I’m where I am and those successful producers are where they are.

In short, expecting anything to come out of one hardware box sounding “ready” is a tall order.

Back to the AR - it’s a synth but it’s also a great one-shot sample player. Those filters can add a lot and, in combination with the usual amazing Elektron sequencer and performance stuff, it’s a very fun and capable box of tricks.



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It sounds good, but it’s real crunchy, real boomy. I think that its sound is so different from Elektron’s other boxes that it doesn’t slot into a digitally-dominated mix. I think you’d have to either have gotten the AR first, or rework your sounds to go with it (or literally just run everything through its overdrive).


I love my AR but I wonder if some people expect it to sound powerful right out of the box, without any tweaking. For me, drums always need saturation/distortion + compression + EQ before they sound good, and I love AR because it provides excellent raw material for further processing. It’s not going to sound killer without that processing but that’s true of every drum machine I’ve used, hardware or software.

It’s easy to pull down the low mids with an EQ if they’re too boomy. I do that sometimes. I’d rather have a drum machine with lots of frequency content that I can pull back if I want, versus a drum machine that doesn’t have that content – you can’t EQ up what isn’t there.


I really like my Rytm though I feel it quickly gets somehow muddy when not tweaking it in a surgical way. Really another Machine compared to the other Elektrons.
I compare it a bit like to a Moog…its nice on its own, but can be a PitA to place it right in the Mix.
You have to really get into Gain-Stagin’ with this Machine to get what you want.
Sometimes when switching between older and newer Patterns, they are heavily different in Levels.
That makes it hard to use it in Live-Situations when not carefully prepared.


It seems to me from what people are saying here is that they don’t like the Rytm because they have to do basic things like mixing, gain staging and patch building to make it sound good lol


I’ve heard a similar comment before. Can you clarify what you mean by “retro” vs modern?

i mean like kinda crappy sounding but awesome. think TR606, CR-78, Vermona DRM, those weird built-in rhythms you used to get on home organs, that kinda thing.

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Fuck, we’re so spoiled, it isn’t even funny. You know some of the legends of electronic music would sell body parts back in the day for a synthesizer that did the things the AR does.

It does, however, require you to learn how to operate it and play it properly if you want to get the sounds you’re looking for. I really enjoy sound design though.
For those that aren’t necessarily tweakers, I’d suggest get a roland or something more instant.


oh yeah for sure, it’s a great machine and i sucked at getting the most out of it! for now i’m super happy with my TR-6S, and believe me i’ve been through many, many drum machines in my time.


That’s it, making music is about vibing out; if the equipment is not working, switch it out! Addition by subtraction is sometimes what needs to happen.

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