I have waited about a month to finally get to write the review of this machine since I wanted to take a good look at it first and test its possibilities.
A little bit of background first - I have been producing music (electronic) for more than 10 years now and I am using digital/analog setup. What I needed was a drum machine with great sonic character and decent sequencer for making beats as I was not happy with anything I tried before in "cheaper" price range (TR's, Volcas, ....) due to either a weak sonic character or limited tweaking options.
Of course this was my first purchase of a drum machine in this price range, so my expectations were high and Analog Rytm seemed as something that would be perfect for me.
My first impressions were really great - the machine is built like a tank, it looked amazing straight out of the box. But you are probably more curious about the sound/features...
There are rumors going around that Elektron machines are complicated to use, that there is lots of menu diving and so on. Honestly, I got a decent grip on the features after a few days of using it and it really isnt difficult to use at all if u have any basic synthesis/sequencing experience. Of course there are tons of features on the machine which will require more time to get comfortable with and of you need to develop some muscle memory to quickly jump from menu to menu and edit parameters. But as with everything in life - practice makes perfect.
What I really love about it is that everything is laid out very logically (commands/parameters/menus). In my opinion this machine has one of the best UIs I have experienced. Analog sounds are amazingly tight - there are so many sonic shaping possibillities especially with kick/snare/hats/cymbal sounds but also other devices do not disappoint. It has its own unique synthesis approach and its own sound which enables lots of tweaking. Not to mention the FX section which enables you to run each track through (fantastic!) filter, dedicated LFO, Rev/del sends, analog overdrive and distortion which all sound great and expand sonic shaping possibillities.
If that is not enough - you can layer each track with its own sample (loading your own samples is really simple drag-n-drop approach with the latest Transfer software).
Next thing which I never thought would amaze me that much is the famous Elektron sequencer which is simply amazing. Parameter locking opens a whole new door in beat making plus you can adjust probability or so called "trigger conditions", meaning that a 16-step pattern can quickly become an ever evolving pattern.
Plus there are scenes/performances which I allow you to enable a set of parameters with a single pad press (for example to open/close reverb/delay on certain sounds and so on). So basically it is incredibly powerful for live applications.
So to the conclusion - you know the feeling when you start making a beat and a few hours pass by without you even realizing it? Well, this machine does that to you... It is incredibly inspiring and fun to use and I can see myself using it for a very long time. It is a bit expensive but worth every penny...
- amazing analog sound, tweakable + sample use = lots of sonic possibilities
- great FX section (fat sounding compressor, distortion, overdrive, ...)
- amazing ELEKTRON sequencer - probably worth buying it just for that reason basically
- scenes and performances which combined with the previously mentioned sequencer enable you to jam "the hell out" of this machine - great for live applications.
- could use another LFO/additional filter on a single track but that is really cherry picking (Elektron actually has really powerful updates so who knows what they will add to the machine in one of the following updates).
- maybe a few different types of delays/reverbs (there is only 1 type of reverb/delay on the machine which can be a little bit limiting but it sounds good to me).
If you want a powerful device for beat making and you are not on a tight budget, I would definitely suggest you go for it. For me this is one of those machines that puts a smile on my face even after so many years of music making and brings me lots of inspiration.