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Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:57 am
by breitt
I know there's been a tiny bit mentioned months ago about the pros and the cons of each the Speckie and the Elektron A4, but I am at a crossroads here with my speckie--I just can't take the menu diving anymore. I've owned the Speckie on and off for 6 years and the hate portion of my love-hate affair with the machine is winning. As soon as the A4 hit the market, I was salivating, but decided to hold off to give the A4 buyers and tweakers time to give a full-bodied opinion after close to a year of production. What's turned me off of the other elektrons I've owned in the past has always been a strange, claustrophobic feeling I would get using their little interface and screen. Does the A4 give anyone else that feeling? Though more complex, the Speckie at least allows a slighlty more open feeling (and richer sound), depsite its maddening menus.

Well, I've decided at this time, that my love of tweaking sounds (preferably analog), and hatred of Speckie's interface, has me concluding that the time is right to sell the Speckie and buy the A4. Nope-can't keep 'em both. Before I do this, can anyone give me a reason not to make this switch? I no longer care about the myriad capabilities of Speckie's sequencing and tweaking; if the A4 is less maddening, while providing me with what appears to be a decent analog sound, with easy-to-figure-out knobs and menus for soundcrafting, I'm sold.

Any thoughts on this or advice against this move?

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:56 am
by Stab Frenzy
The speckie does a lot more than the A4 doesn't it? It's got drums, a sampler and a filter bank vs the A4s four analogue voices. Seems to me you'd need and A4 and an OT to replace the speckie.

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:03 am
by breitt
Stab Frenzy wrote:The speckie does a lot more than the A4 doesn't it? It's got drums, a sampler and a filter bank vs the A4s four analogue voices. Seems to me you'd need and A4 and an OT to replace the speckie.
Thanks, Stab, and I'm well aware of the versatility I'm giving up, but at present I'm more interested in crafting noise and sound in an analog (or, at least MORE analog) environment. I'm also more interested as to whether or not people are finding the A4 interface to be, on the whole, a lot less frustrating than the Speckie.

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:22 am
by zoomtheline
Well, I have limited knowledge on the Speckie but initially I found it a pain so I didn't go very deep plus time was limited. The A4 is a breeze to work with. With all Elektrons, you can go through stages of getting bored with what it offers and think you have exhausted the possibilities (same with anything I guess) I know I certainly do but this is just in the mind when you are not actually using it and maybe Gassing over something else. But when you turn them on and start something new that all disappears and you're in love again. For the MD, all it takes is loading a new sample or two. For the A4 it can be simply changing the source parameters in the performance section on a patch/sequence you feel has become stale because of over listening and not taking it further. the A4 sounds amazing and while the raw waves are standard and pretty flat, a couple of tweaks and they transform. So quick to use and you can quickly build inspiration by tweaking randomly if you do not have anything specific in your head. That is the main problem with Elektron machines, I overthink ideas in my head and go through the motions of how it would work on certain machines and usually get to a wall, get disheartened that the machine is incapable and have a slump. I should really just dive in and go at it without over analyzing before I have even tried.

Sorry for the waffle haha. In summary, there is nothing wrong with the A4, it's the most inspiring synth I have as far as doing things differently, the problems with the gear are actually in the mind.

I think i'd find problems or irritations with the Speckie though.

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:40 am
by breitt
Excellent input, as always, Zoom. I haven't been in the forum for awhile and I'm glad to see the regualrs still here. I think you nailed it on the head when talking about overthinking things, particualrly with the Elektrons.

I think I'm at the point with the Speckie where my inability to travel fluently through the menus leaves me at a point where I'll settle on the first musical 'happy accident' I come across, since further and further experimentation into the unkonown, though exciting in a sonic spaceship sort of way, feels as if the machine is controlling me and not vice versa.

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:19 am
by hyphen nation
If you can afford to own both, own both for a while. If the Spectralis goes untouched for long enough to clarify it for yourself. I am probably bordering on Elektron fanboydom, but to be honest they are so much fun and easy to use, and incredibly flexible.

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:22 pm
by acemonvw
After now trying out the Monomachine (my first elektron gear) I am a bit more qualified to understand what Elektron gear provides that the Spectralis loses out on. But I don't know how the A4 is different than the monomachine (other than what they do conceptually)...

In terms of sequencing external gear... I'd say they're probably very similar. You can use a keyboard to 'learn' the note you want to sequence at a given time. You can more easily assign CCs in the MM than you can the Spectralis I think, but you can use sequencer lines for this purpose in the spectralis, also not as easy, but if you create a default pattern that has all of these CCs assigned, this would largely not be an issue. That said, I think Elektron wins in simplicity, while Spectralis wins on power (different length sequencer lines, can sequence in any direction plus random). That said, most of my music is 4/4 and the only external sequencing I do is note on/off...

In terms of actual synthesis, well. I really love the MM's simplicity in terms of synthesis, everything on separate pages that are really easy to leaf through. The spectralis is far more complex in this region. If the A4 has 4polyphony (I'm guessing it does, like the MM has a poly mode), then in this way you gain something. The Spectralis has 4 very powerful oscillators (completely digital but if you thought they weren't powerful, I'd say you're crazy), but they are all monophonic, make sure you understand Trigger Groups before you get rid of your Speckie ;) You can sequence each one individually up to three different groups. I will say that complexity of the spectralis is not an issue if you learn it well enough. I think the first few months it's really hard to understand but it isn't that complicated once you've figured it out.

However, if it doesn't move you, inspire you, or help you create music, then you should look towards something else. I have a roland MC-808 that, is probably a decent sequencer, but it doesn't inspire me. I'm hoping to get rid of it soon, while my RS7000 also doesn't inspire me. But my MM does help me write music, and quickly. I feel inspired by it. I feel inspired by the Spectralis. I know you've been toying with the idea of getting rod of the Spectralis (You had a very similar thread before this, didn't you? I have found the MM and Spectralis are the most inspiring pieces I use, but I LEARNED EVERYTHING I know about synthesis with the Spectralis, so the way it works is the way I work. This is probably not the case with everyone else. Its stupidities, oddities... are all "That's the way it is" for me. But Elektron has made something that works within that flow for me too. EMX? Nope, not close. MC-808 or 909? Nope. RS7K? Nope. If the spectralis doesn't move you... lose it.

In a nutshell... follow hyphen nation's advice above... keep em both for a while, if you don't use your spectralis, toss it out (well, for money).

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:24 pm
by acemonvw
Just so you can answer some of my main questions:

1) Which spectralis do you have? I see the answer to that...

2) Do you understand trigger groups on the spectralis?

...The latter question is the most important, because knowing how trigger groups function is essential to getting ANYTHING out of the spectralis. It's a c**p machine if you can't figure out how to route the oscillators to different filters.

I'd be willing to put you on skype to show you how Trigger groups work, but I have a tutorial on them as well, it's just easier to probably talk someone through their machine as they're doing it instead of following a pre-scripted commentary.

EDIT: TO ADD... you will have way more 'musical happy accidents' if you can separate and sequence your oscillators...

EDIT EDIT: Oh, and if you need some inspiration, here are trigger groups in action:

Re: Elektron A4 to replace Spectralis 2

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:31 pm
by zoomtheline
The A4 is much simpler than the monomachine. It has no poly mode but is easy to get around if you are in the sequencer by copying tracks. With 4 tracks each having 2 oscillators and sub osc's it has plenty of scope and with p locks you can fake complex polyphony with just one track. The performance mode is simply mind blowingly fun too.