MUSIKMESSE 2014: Following in the wake of the Korg Volcas and Roland's Aira range, Akai is the latest brand to get in on the vintage-inspired groovebox action with the announcement of the Rhythm Wolf – an analogue unit combining a five-voice drum machine and single-oscillator bass synth.
The drum machine section of the Rhythm Wolf comprises kick, snare, metallic percussion, and open and closed hi-hat sounds, all of which are tuneable. The bass synth, meanwhile, can be switched between saw and square waveshapes, and features a filter with resonance control and a basic envelope shaper. Akai describes Rhythm Wolf as having an "authentic analog design that references classic rhythm machines and synthesizers" - no prizes for guessing which instruments the company is alluding to.
The whole unit is built around a 32-step sequencer, and also features six MPC pads for live performance. There's also a 'Howl' distortion circuit for adding a bit of dirt to the sounds. Additionally, the Rhythm Wolf features a USB MIDI connection and has both MIDI and gate in and out ports, so can be triggered via a DAW or external hardware. It packs a swing control on its front panel, and the unit also appears to have a built-in preset bank.
Arguably the most interesting aspect of the Rhythm Wolf, however, is its price. At an estimated street price of $199, the unit comes in at slightly cheaper than the combined price of the Volca Beats and Bass, and cheaper than either the Roland TR-8 or TB-3.
The Rhythm Wolf is due to arrive summer 2014. Visit Akai Professional for more details.
Rhythm Wolf highlights (from the official press release)
- 5-voice analog drum machine and synth—authentic analog design that references classic rhythm machines and synthesizers
- Legendary analog drum sounds—kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat, and metallic percussion
- Synth-bass module—selectable square or sawtooth wave with classic filter design for warm, deep basses and squelchy leads.
- Onboard 32-step sequencer—classic drum machine workflow for quickly laying down grooves and melodies
- Six genuine MPC pads—responsive controls for sequencing and finger drumming
- Howl knob—custom distortion circuit for additional sound design
- USB-MIDI and MIDI In/Out—flexible MIDI connectivity for easy integration into modern studios
- Gate Trigger—triggering via modular synths, vintage sequencers, or external sound sources
- Independent audio outputs—dedicated outputs for the drum machine and synth-bass module for precise mixing