Elektron SYNTAKT, a 12-track machine-driven analog digital groovebox

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Elektron SYNTAKT is a new 12-track machine-driven drum computer & Synthesizer groovebox that creatively combines analog and digital synthesis.

The rumors that have been circulating on social media for the last year are true. The trademark from September (2021) gave us a very clear clue about the next Elektron product.

Yesterday then the leak from Reddit which is also true. Say hello to Elektron SYNTAKT, a new hybrid groovebox.


Elektron SYNTAKT

SYNTAKT is a 12-track drum computer and Synthesizer or in the words of Elektron: “a drum specialist full of percussive possibilities”. It is based on the legend of the MachineDrum but also on bits and bytes of the Analog Rytm and Model Cycles.

After Digitakt and Digitone, the new release is the first box to use analog synthesis again. But also digital. So a synthesis fusion. SYNTAKT gives you 4 analog tracks and 8 digital tracks in the same Digi form factor with the same clicky buttons.

Play With Machines

The sound engine is based on so-called machines that can be compared to algorithms. Independent programs that bundle a number of parameters that makes sound design very straightforward.

On the first three drum tracks, you can select from 15 different machine programs including different bass drums, snare drums, rimshot, a dual VCO synth, impulse, and noise generator.

Fourth and last analog track (cymbal) gives you another 12 different machines including hi-hats, cymbal, cowbell, impulse, and noise. Then for each analog track, you get an analog overdrive, analog multi-mode filter, and two assignable LFOs.

Elektron SyntaktOn the other 8 tracks, you can discover and experiment with versatile digital machines. There are 10 to choose from: bass drum, snare drum, cymbal/hi-hat, percussion, clap, and four tonal synths. Plus, you activate per track a digital overdrive, multi-mode filter, base-width filter, and two assignable LFOs.

As with the Digitakt/Digitone, the parameters are visualized with beautiful, animated icons that give you instant visual feedback and tons of tweaking fun.

Deeper Sound Shaping

Another highlight of the SYNTAKT is its flexible audio routing. It allows you to route any of your synth tracks or external audio sources through the FX box that gives analog distortion & filtering as well as a couple of LFOs. Additionally, you can also drive them through a delay and reverb. So the SYNTAKT is not just a powerful groovebox but also an FXTAKT for your external sources.

Besides the multi-mode filter per track, you can also work with two amplitude envelopes with either an ADSR characteristic for rich synth lines or the AHD perfect for transient percussive sounds. There are also two fully-featured multi-wave LFOs per track with different modulation destinations. So lots of creative tools to tweak the sounds in new directions.

Elektron Syntakt

Modifiers & Keyboard Mode

SYNTAKT incorporates four modifiers offering four deep levels of expression. The first two modifiers set the retrigger and velocity behavior of your sounds, while the other two are for custom intensities of other parameters.

The new Elektron groovebox is not just a drum Synthesizer machine but a full-fledged synth for notes. Thanks to the different keyboard modes, you can play right away with different scales. They promised that there will be some familiar faces and some maybe a little less familiar to try out.

Supercharged Sequencer

Elektron instruments are loved by many musicians for their very deep and creative sequencers. This is consistently continued here. SYNTAKT comes with a 64-step sequencer with the all-time classic parameter locks functionality. So notes, as well as parameters, can be captured very quickly and intuitively in sequences.

Of course, it also supports individual pattern length per track, individual time scale multiplier per track, trig conditions & chance, retrigger, and micro timing. Much of what we know from older devices.

The new modifiers mentioned earlier that give you new expressive layers can also be recorded in the sequencer. The same goes for the effects. This way you can precisely plan the input and output phases of the delay or reverb. Or selectively modify the character of sounds.

Elektron Syntakt Backside


MIDI is also on board and yes, the 12 tracks can also be switched to 12 MIDI tracks if required. Thus, SYNTAKT is also a 12-track MIDI sequencer with four-note polyphony, LFOs, and more.

On the backside, you can find a 12VDC 2A power supply input with a dedicated switch, a MIDI in, MIDI out, and MIDI thru, stereo input, and output on two 6,3mm mono jacks each and a headphone input. Too bad no CV/Gate for analog gear. Something I would have liked very much here.

SYNTAKT is also ready and able to connect to Class Compliant devices, meaning it can easily hook up to computers, smartphones, or tablets for USB audio and MIDI. Connect with ease. And the device is Overbride ready.

First Impression

At first glance a very exciting analog/digital groove box. I’m happy to see that Elektron is back in the analog field. The huge selection of “machines” makes it very tempting. At least for me. Too bad that the modular people were left out a bit without CV/gate connections.

The same design for the third time is a bit boring, I would have wished for a new layout. The Digi design is certainly not bad, since you can work with it very quickly and intuitively. The ideas from the other devices (Analog Rytm, Model Cycles) are indispensable. Could the child be from an AR and MC marriage.

Elektron SYNTAKT is available now for $999,99 USD/949,99€

More information here: Elektron 

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  1. Uninspiring? It doesn’t do anything new, it isn’t even a new interpretation of anything old. It is very boring in my opinion. It isn’t much of a synthesizer from what I can tell with only 8 parameters per machine, I will stick with my analog4.

  2. Imagine if Elektron copied the specs of the Yamaha RS7000 that came out over 20 years ago!
    It had:
    16 tracks that each can be sampler tracks or synth tracks
    AND an additional 16 tracks of MIDI sequencing tracks
    Add to that, each (non-MIDI) track has more than 6 filter types, reverb send with 12 reverb types, delay send with 24 delay types, and an additional effect slot with a whole bunch of effect types.
    And a dedicated ENV and(!!) LFO for each of the following: Amp, Pitch, filter cutoff

    Each track (including midi tracks) had per-track swing amount, midi delay! (it replicated a delay by triggering the note multiple times with lowering note velocity), and a really cool generative sequence mode called beat remix that could take any kind of track sequence and add variations according to parameters that you could later discard or keep – and you can do that live.
    It recorded live knob movements into the sequencer pattern and the midi data could later be edited – you could record off midi grid or quantized – also obviously can sample – beat slice, edit samples, etc…. the list goes on for so many days.

    Seriously, why can’t we revive something like this? Compared to this – all the Elektron boxes look very limited. Octatrack has only 8 tracks + 8 MIDI – Rytm has only 8 voices – digitone is fully digital but only has four synth sequencer tracks. Monomachine only 6 tracks.

    • Sounds like you describe Akai MPC Live Mk2 and it’s siblings. It is exactly everything you describe and more, really a modern all-singing-all-dancing machine.

      I think Syntakt is quite interesting, it covers more narrow sonic ground, but Elektron products have been much loved as a part of bigger setup.

      Further, this concept of analog engines that can be freely routed or swapped is mind-boggling, who ever who realized this on a PCB, in such a small device, is a genius.

    • I had the RS7000. And the Syntakt is lightyears ahead of the RS7000. The RS sequencer isn’t real-time. You had to stop / start the machine to live record or step record. The RS synth engine is AWM2 sample based that was already outdated when the RS got released. Synthesis parameter are reduced to Filter and Envelopes. So yes, on the paper the RS looks more powerful, while in reality, it basically sucks.

  3. Am getting very tired of seeing all the usual people being “super-excited” about making extended ads about their latest piece of free gear. Every one of them is gushing about how great it is while many “normal” users are asking whether this is just Model:Cycles V2.

    • it’s called influencer marketing and companies like Elektron, Korg… prefer working with these than classic media.

      • OK, but it feels a bit dishonest to me. None of them include the “paid promotion” tag even though these are clearly promo videos. Is it just me or is this not quite right?

        • Every YT takes it differently. If you look at it by country, each has a different rule. For many, a free unit is not a paid promotion as it’s not money. If I get a device it is a “paid promotion because the unit has a value.

  4. I’m trying hard to not be jaded, even wanted to be excited because the excitement of Elektron stuff is very contagious and their marketing is very good too. Even watched many of the videos that appeared overnight in my YouTUbe feed about this (and boy, they were A LOT with the usual ppl) but the excitement wore off rather quickly and unexpectedly even when I started to see this by it’s parts…

    …and dont get me wrong, if I get this thing for free I’d be over the moon and for sure will be joining many news letters “for a chance to win a Syntakt” but it is what it is: 1.5x the Model Cycles (down to the default sounds), 0.5x of Analog Rytm capabilities, in a 100% Digitakt body, 100% Elektron sequencer, and admittedly very cool graphics and animations in it’s menu (expect this to become a staple in this synth revival) for 999,99€? Nah…

    The diehard Elektron fans already pre-ordered it but more sensible Elektron fans, already owning other boxes (Rytm, Four, Tone, etc) will not buy due to redundant sounds and capabilities. This pairs really well if you *only* have a Digitakt (probably Elektron best selling box) but once these buyers are fulfilled, this will be dropping price for the usual 749,99€ this is supposed to cost.

  5. It’s good! I don’t see anything major to complain about.

    To those pining for the days of the Yamaha rs7000, that is a cool machine but it has some drawbacks. For one, it’s huge and heavy. It uses outdated smart media for storage, which can be difficult to find. And finally, the “keys” on the unit are not sensitive and are infamously prone to fail.

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