Uninspired by the A4. What am I missing?

I have the A4, MK1 and MK2 actually :slight_smile:

I’ve been able to stumble on some great sounds from time to time, but in general I’m not getting such great sounds out of the boxes.

I know how every feature works, more or less, but I guess what I’m missing is technique. Like sequencing techniques using p-locks and s-locks, and LFO tricks.

Are there any tutorials out there that don’t just focus on explaining what the buttons and settings do but rather focus on teaching you proper sound sculpting techniques?

Or even if someone has patterns to share that I could reverse engineer, that might be even more interesting.

I’ve heard such praise about these synths, so Im quite sure I’m just missing something here. :slight_smile:

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Hmm, no one can really teach you how to sequence great patterns - that’s where the musicianship side of things comes in. But for sound sculpting, have you tried downloading some sound packs? Many of them are free. Then you can look into what’s making patch X sound so Y and use it in your own creations (let’s call them Z :slight_smile:)


When I’m uninspited, I like to check my spelling.


What kind of sounds are you wanting specifically? Let’s start there and then maybe we can direct you to a patch pack or three to use as demonstration/inspiration.


Did you try drugs? :pl:

Randomize! ( Revelations with a4 parameter randomization)
Record notes, tweak in Live Rec mode (change lfo dest). Add slides.
Soundpool > soundlocks, perf macros to modulate them.
Use inputs (guitar straight in, Analog 4 as fx processor)


Good idea with the soundpacks. I’ll check into that.

I’m not looking for tutorials or advice on how to “make music” :slight_smile: . It’s just that I’ve heard that p-locks are one of the things that make the A4 shine, but you can basically p-lock anything you feel like, so there has to be some methods that work better than others when using the sequencers for sound sculpting.

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For starters, I’d be interested in sequencing a “general” acid line.

I’m also heavy into ambient, and was hoping to use the parameter slide functionality and p-locks to generate some evolving sounds.

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This sounds amazing. Are you sequencing the effect channel here?

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Not entirely related to your request (and shown on AR not A4) but this one gets in there with parameter slides like you mentioned. Shouldn’t be too difficult to apply similar techniques to A4:


I could try this on my Rytm, and definitely learn something in the meantime. Thanks!

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Thats a good starter. Randomize, didn’t know of that!

Thanks :slight_smile:


Midi keyboard that’s velocity sensitive with after touch brings everything to life.


Have you checked out the Files section of this community yet?

Many very kind contributors have been posting patches and what not there over the years.
I just had a peek and filtered by A4, did a “find” for the word “303” and came across this:

“Dual 303 Kit” uploaded by @TBN three years ago.

I’d say it sounds rather good! (note the tips to set up performance macros in a way that gives the parameters similar range as the TB-303, keeping you “in the ballpark” for that 303 sound.)

Have a dig through the Files section for free sounds of all sorts.



I get this all the time with my AK.
There are a couple things I do when I feel uninspired/ lacking direction or knowledge.

  1. Switch it out
    I put it away and grab a different synth. My frustration will go away because new and different. This also will give me ideas for patches on the AK. Ex: played my nord lead 2x instead which has a dedicated fm knob. This made me want to explore fm with the analog keys.

  2. Watch videos for gear I want.
    I’ll feel like I want a new sound or different character (which a4 excels at) or a different instrument altogether. I’ll go watch some videos of that instrument and then do my best to make those sounds on the AK. Ex. I want a Lyra 8. So I watched some videos which inspired me to not worry so much about sequencing and really go for some uncontrollable nasty noise. Reaaaally fun.

  3. Use it for things it’s not named for.
    This is where the a4’s great value shines. Using it in ways you’d never be able to use other synths. Try unison voice with tracks sounds for crazy multitimbral goodness (joystick on these settings is rad). Use it as an FX processor. I mean it’s a filter bank, it’s a looper, it’s a weirdo!

Hope this helps :smiley:


No I’m not sequencing the fx but the AM osc (more details in the link).


here’s a thing i’ve been noodling with over the last couple days - just my AK + a bit of post-eq in ableton. 1 track for the drums, other 3 tracks for the ambienty arp’d/p-locked stuff…

get friendly with the scale per track feature - it’s opened the synth up for me. also try the sync modes with large variation in tunings between oscs 1 & 2 and modulate the sync amount for some wild auto-arp weirdness :smiley:


Trying different envelope types for short sequenced and arpeggio sounds is also inspiring

Keys- you’re missing keys. The AK will help you out (at least did in my case).


explore the second page of osc 2. also bandpass, highpass and peak of filter 2 in with high resonance settings and in combination with filter one. Try feedback + different overdrive settings.
Explore all pulse width settings of the different osc waveforms.
Try high lfo speed settings on various parameters.
Try different voice allocation settings in polymode.
Try modulating effect settings.
Use randomizing.
Try all envelope types.

I like the basic tone of the A4 most when resonance boost is turned off for the filter and I‘m using triangle waves with max pulsewidth as saw waves instead of the actual saw. I usually keep osc levels quite low.