If you’ve checked out any of the pro producer studio tours that frequently appear online, you’ll almost certainly have heard of Elektron, creator of top-notch synths, drum machines and other products that have found favor among some of the best electronic electronic music makers in the world.
However, excellent as these machines are, their powerful feature sets and detailed programming methods may feel a bit overwhelming if you want a box that you can just sit down and ‘play’; that’s where Elektron’s Model:Samples and Model:Cycles come in.
Let’s consider Model:Samples first - a six-track groovebox that comes with 300 presets supplied by the sample mavens at Splice. You get all the drum kit pieces you need - kicks, snares, hi-hats, etc - and also some more experimental sounds. And if these aren’t enough for you, you can also import your own samples.
Model:Samples really comes to life, though, when you start jamming with it. There are six velocity-sensitive pads that enable you to add plenty of feel and dynamic variation to your grooves as you play them; and the hands-on controls allow you to tweak your sounds as you go.
And then there’s the sequencer, which goes far beyond simple pattern generation. Parameter Locks mean that you can make every single step sound slightly different, and you can even set the probability of a step triggering, giving you yet another way to add variation. And all this with hardly any menu-diving.
Model:Cycles has a similar look and feel, but this time, rather than using samples to generate its sounds, it uses a synthesis technique called FM (Frequency Modulation). This is what was used to create all those shimmering synth sounds back in the ‘80s, but rather than being complex and difficult to work with, as it was then, Model:Cycles makes FM a breeze.
Again, you have six tracks, each of which features a different ‘Machine’ (Kick, Snare, Metal, Perc, Tone and Chord). These cover both rhythmic and melodic bases, so you can use the Model:Cycles to create complete tracks.
You’ll have a huge amount of fun doing this, too; the Model:Samples’ excellent sequencer is carried over here, as are the hands-on controls, which make sound-shaping something to be enjoyed rather than endured.
Model:Samples and Model:Cycles aren’t just designed to be enjoyed in the studio, either. Their lightweight and compact designs make them perfect for taking out on the road, and the new Power Handle BP-1 enables you to run either device from just four AA batteries, while also doubling up as a handy kick stand.
Whatever your level of experience, if you’re looking for Elektron’s know-how in a truly accessible format, Model:Samples and Model:Cycles are for you. Find out more on the Elektron website.