Elektron Syntakt

Would it be time for a dedicated thread already? Have people gotten their hands on Syntakt yet, how are you liking it? I just got a message that mine is on the way from the store, I got pretty badly bit by the hype and how well it seems to fit my personal needs, I have never bought a piece of kit this early from its announcement.

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First impressions: first contact with a Elektron machine, (coming from Op-z and modular), i feel its not easy to make melodic stuff (no “song mode”), I always end up making dirty-dusty-gritty beats (but what a beast!). Have to dig deeper in the sequencer stuff (no conditional trigs?).

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There is conditional trigs: hold the trig → on Trig Parameters page appears Prob parameter changeable with encoder D (manual page 42). To me dirty-dusty-gritty sounds good as my issue with Digitone was both too clean and pristine sound, and that I felt the sound engine didn’t offer me enough flexibility for making non-melodically-tonal sounds that weren’t percussions. Some demos that I’ve heard of Syntakt have been quite encouraging in that department.

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I received mine on tuesday. I like it a lot so far. Specifically the digital synth machines are really nice and the dedicated sequencer track for the analog fx is great. I think out of all currently available Elektron devices, it’s the most complete standalone groovebox. Nothing particularly extraordinary, but a very fun machine.

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I would have bought it the second it came out if not for the Machinedrum that always sits right in front of my keyboard. Maybe one day…

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Thanks Curu. Its not a issue, its wonderful! one of the key factors to buy it was the FX track, always wanted a Analog Heat. Whats next: Syntakt+modular.

I think I’m going to resurrect my Machinedrum UW Mk.II for an upcoming short live set.

I was going to take along several boxes, but the Machinedrum + a couple of Norns running custom scripts does most of what I’ll need, so why take more? Especially as I don’t drive so will be carrying my gear on buses.

Sorry, OT. Syntakt does look nice!

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I don’t consider myself a “drum machine person”, but I never owned any Elektron box before and I was curious what all this hype is about, so I ordered one just to try it out – and expected to send it back after a few days. Now I have it since three days, and I think I’ll keep it.

Pros:

  • It sounds really really good.
  • It’s tiny and portable: a perfect couch machine.
  • Even as an Elektron newbie I made interesting arrangements after just one hour. I have a pretty complex setup (mostly Buchla), so I think a little more immediacy in my music making won’t hurt.

Cons:

  • Almost everything is monophonic. There’s a “chord machine” with up to 4 voices, but all notes of a chord have to have the same length and chords are defined by root note, chord type and voicing parameter. You can’t just play chords on a MIDI keyboard. Once you embrace it and modulate/parameter lock the chord parameters you gain interesting results though.
  • The MIDI machines (record/playback MIDI for external gear) are also restricted to monophonic or straight block chords – no real polyphony.
  • And a final complaint about missing polyphony: Not even allocating more than one voice to monophonic lines is possible: each new note on a track cuts off the previous one, even with long release settings.
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welcome to the “elektron workflow” :slight_smile:

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  • Its tiny…and HEAVY!
  • it seems durable: it can survive a zombie apocalypse without a scratch
  • i embraced the monophonic world yeas ago with my modular, so no problem here.
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It is a workaround, for sure, but this might help you get some polyphony:

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Yes, thanks, I know. But editing becomes a nightmare this way.

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After playing more with the Impulse machine (which i already loved on the machinedrum), i have to say it’s even better on the Syntakt with the analog filter(s) behind it. There’s a lot to explore there. I wish there was an oscillator for filter fm that can track notes. But even with the lfos, it’s already really nice. Also, using one LFO as an exp. envelope on the filter resonance makes for great pings that can be sculpted quite extensively.

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The Syntakt is a remarkable instrument. Not really an Electron guy–but I did have a M:C and l liked it, but it wasn’t a good fit for my style. The Syntakt has a lot going on under the hood and tons of potential. Audio quality is beautiful and I find it much easier to get analog/tapey sounds out of it–especially with the fx section. I also love the two octave keyboard mode and the crazy amount of options for expressive playing. I’m in filter/envelope heaven with the Syntakt and every day I find something new that astounds me. Twelve tracks opens up a lot of possibilities. The interface is well thought out and the display is super helpful with all the info/animations. It takes some work to learn, but this is a deep deep instrument.

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I got the Syntakt and RYTM mkii on the same day through sheer providence and poor planning/impulse control.

They are both incredibly interesting machines and have fascinating styles of sound production and process.

It’s Syntakt most excited me as a descendent more than the RYTM, which seems like a full usurper in the eye of Elektron.

The electric engines are absolutely fantastic and the parameters they’ve laid out are awesome and somewhat more curious than than I expected.

The mod keys and the FX parameters are extremely cool too! I appreciate that they represent a cross section of Octatrack type Scene function and sequencing performative effects (which the OT didn’t have any control over) with the velocity and retrigger. (Or do the scenes do that?)

Either way, I’m excited to dig in to both machines, but I kinda wanted to do a Cheat Codes jam today, and I think the Syntakt will prove to be a good performative buddy for the day.

Lots of fun to explore!

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I’ve had mine for a couple days now and I’m starting to get an understanding of it. I’m familiar with the Digitakt (love it) and Elektron philosophy in general so the sequencing and general use was easy to pick up and the form factor and UI was a big reason I decided to buy right away.

I guess I’m not one of the people who were immediately very impressed by the sound, not that it in any way sounded bad. I needed to spend some time working with the different machines before I let some simple grooves settle in and then it started to be more apparent when the kicks were really nice and the percussion sounds were really fitting into a slot nicely. The dual VCO is a neat trick and the Bit machine is my standout favorite so far… the Toy machine is a disappointment for me, though I want to revisit it for sub bass before my final verdict.

The analog “FX” section is a nice finishing touch, but does leave me wanting for more. Not a complaint since it’s pure value added IMO, but I really don’t understand what I’m meant to be doing with the amp envelope. I realize I can use it to create a pseudo pump… but that’s really unsatisfying and so far it’s the only use I’ve been able to come up with. I’m thinking that if I get out of the headphones and connect a subwoofer I may find that using the amp env will present some interesting dynamics shaping opportunities ala the tr808 where the accent affects all instruments at once, otherwise I’m finding that not sending the kick, bass or other foundational instrument through the drive really just sucks the joy out of the sequence.

One other trick that the FX track allows that leaves me wanting more again is the ability to send only a few notes of a pattern through the delay, and then obviously use conditional trigs to get more mileage out of the usual rhythmic delay stuff… Elektron constantly disappoints me with how basic their delays are given that they have little character to offer, I’m always hoping they finally add some jazz to them in order to really get more rhythmic value.

Overall, probably a keeper, if only for the size and portability. I’m successfully running it off a 100watt USB PD pack with the Birdcord 12v adapter. Very cool for rooftop jams :slight_smile:

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Just made an ambient composition with the syntakt. Really enjoying the syn bits and syn wave engines. Reminiscent of some of the parts of IME Hertz Donut and Piston Honda

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Other people have drawn lines between the performance effects on Syntakt and scenes on Octatrack. I don’t scenes offer any kind of sequencing which would be cool though, but I usually use track 8 as master track and it can parameter lock effects parameters on the sequencer which is quite fun. Also took me embarrasingly long time to realize it’s possible.

how do you feel, does it replace Digitone for you?

Very different machines. The digitone has much deeper fm engines plus it’s actually polyphonic. I think the polyphony is probably the main reason I might keep a digitakt around. But for me, the syntakt is definitely the more fun experience. And since I don’t fully depend on hardware boxes, I personally don’t think I’d keep the digitakt together with the syntakt.

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