Ambika vs. Elektron Analog Four

Surprised this comparison hasn’t been raised yet: Ambika vs. Elektron Analog Four . Obviously, many differences, but also several similarities.


When I look at the Analog Four, I see what I could have made if I hadn’t spent so much time on DIY stuff, and it makes me feel really sad :frowning:

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It’s in no way too late. The Analog Four looks rather boring to me, honestly. Go design something better.

:(. When I saw it i was thinking: Cool, but now that I’ve actually made a Shruthi I’d rather hold out for the Ambika first.

@pichenettes - perhaps, but think of it in a glass half-full way rather than half-empty; starting on the DIY side has gotten you a really good, knowledgable, devoted and growing number of people who believe in you and your products. So when you start on the fully-assembled vs. DIY side of things, you will already have an eager group of people with wallets open. :slight_smile:

For me, without obviously having experienced either synth in person yet, I would have opted for digital oscillators (and the possibilities that they open up), rather than going for the analog oscillators as on the Elektron. I do like that they have included built in effects, as well as lots of UI controls (though tough to tell how usable it all is).

1099€! One has to have a big reputation to sell synths for that price. I guess you could do it now, Olivier, but not “out of the dark”, before DIY synthts. No need to feel sad. Will be a much bigger economical risk, say I, to try and sell synths like that.

But, a man has to do what a man has to do - and novadays you do have some name, so you may have a chance…it is not too late, really.

Edit: dnigrin said it faster. Same message, really.

four voices is unnatural…;-). 1 voice or more than 5, the number of fingers/thumbs is de rigeur…Electron and Dave Smith don’t get it…
Ambika is the way forward. Besides you can’t change the case colour…

Olivier, are you crazy?! If you had made something like the Analog Four I would not have discovered your stuff, would never had met the interesting people on this forum and would never had figured how much fun it is to actually build something. You have done so much more than just create an instrument. You have created a community.

Ambika is an amazing idea, the only truly open, hardware synth out there, that is not a modular. I only hope I get a job before you officially release the kit. The fact that Kurzweil or Clavia or one of the “big guys” have not grabbed you is because they are idiots.

The Elektron box is cute, but I see it more as a somewhat DJ-oriented box. Not that there’s anything bad with that, just that the Ambika is cooler in my book. I can build more MI boxes for 1099€… I’m just guessing, but I feel that the Ambika offers bigger sonic possibilities.

Obviously I agree with piscione above! There’s amazing people like Olivier and Torsten Klose and the guys at smaller companies like Radikal, Macbeth, Bugbrand, Wiard etc. I have a feeling that some of those guys are exactly where they want to be, doing their own thing instead of beavering away for some big company. Maybe do a dr Yves Usson and consult a bit while still doing DIY?

Also, “real analog oscilators”… Sure, they sound nice and fat, but they’re limited in certain ways. How do you make a poly with lots of sonic possibilities like waveshaping, PWM, subosc etc? How do you keep the filter structure sane? What about insert or ensemble effects? All this in a small-sized box? Sure, it can be done using ASICs and SMT or it will turn out to look like a gargantuan Korg PS-3x00.

I hope and trust we’ll see something amazing, yet affordable non-DIY from Mutable. There’s also room for some kind of new Andromeda killer that isn’t as expensive as a Code8, but I’m not sure that’s a project that’s viable yet.

It’s not only about making the best product. To succeed with selling products is very much about sales efforts and marketing. Much more than people generally think.

I see mutable instruments products as being a testament to the creativity inspired by limitations - it’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it. designing around DIY may be a blessing in disguise. I know my music is always better and more focused when I’m forced to do some things in certain ways - the main limitation of the design of a commercial product tends to be money - and who is to say that is a sensible primary limitation for a musical instrument?

I see the Analog4 as being what (to me anyways) the dave smith tetr4 should have been, with some extra bells and whistles. Long story short is that I’m thinking an Ambika will handily replace my tetr4 while simultaneously making me a sandwich, and if I’m feeling rich the Analog4 might be what i wanted the tetr4 to be in the first place

wow these are some uninspiring sounds on the demos, wonder what the raw oscillators and things sound like - my tetr4 has way more meat on its bones than what I’m hearing; maybe some of that is the onboard digital fx? Regardless of the sound, the interface for sequence and sound editing looks tantalizing, but such things rarely live up to their promises.

Thought about it yesterday and IMHO the Analog Four is going to be more of a rich kid’s Tetra (looks so good next to my OP-1!) than a rival to the Ambika-the Ambika still has the lock on the hybrid poly niche.

Plus sound is everything-the bass demo on their site is really harsh and thin and pretty awful in my opinion-makes a Minibrute sound like a Model D.

I wouldn’t worry Olivier. There’s a thread over at Muffs with people drooling over the Anushri right now, and I’m sure whatever you get rolling off the assembly line will blow this thing away.

When i hear demo’s from the Ambika i hear a dream synth because it makes sounds different then anything else… The Analog Four sounds like all the other analog synths. I do like the look of the UI on Analog Four though… nice little keyboard en sequencer step.

I agree with defenestration. As I get older, I find ‘blessings in disguise’ are truly beautiful things. They seem to lead to wondrous

Also agree on the demo sounds, weak tea indeed. The Ambika demos, on the other hand, are really something. And nobody has the ‘simultaneously making me a sandwich’ option - just shows how stifling corporate culture is, they probably never even bothered to consider adding that.


That Elektron box seems great.

  • The architecture is nice (osc > filter > overdrive > filter), and the featureset hits right my sweet spot (midi AND cv AND usb AND a polyrythmic seq AND a killer arp AND tasty FX + analog overdrive **+).
  • 1099€ is indeed a lot of money, and might be out of range of quite a lot of people, but on the other side, you get a box full of neat features (just considering 4 monophonic analog synths makes them worth “only” 250€, and on top of that you have a sequencer which seems to put the Europa to shame… and which costs alone more than 500€).

However, (despite the price) there are a couple of things which keeps me away from it (for now ?) :

  • it is “only” 4 mono synths, and i don’t need any other mono synth… I mean i wish each monosynth could be polychained (like the SBS or the Shruthi) in order to make a great 4voice poly synth (or a duophonic synth + 2 basslines !).
  • I would use the sequencer a big lot with other hardware… BUT there is no dedicated Midi track and “only” one CV track (well, it’s not bad, but it isn’t enough to qualify it as “the only external hardware you would ever need”).

So, when i have read the ELektron newsletter, i immediately thought about Mutable Instruments…
I remembered that the Shurthi also features a great arp, a nice tiny sequencer, a parameter modulator seq…
Then, i remembered that AMbika was coming to life, and should do what Analog4 might never do : dealing with each voice in a “modular” fashion (i mean : being able to be 6 mono synths OR a 6voice poly).
Then, i also realized that i was expecting that new Elektron to feature dedicated drumsynthesis/drumvoices stuff, and it isn’t the case… and it is planned for Ambika.

Unfortunately, i know that i will never have either the skills or the time to build AMbika myself, so i wish one day Olivier will be able to sell fully assembled AMbika…
I’m also pretty convinced that he has so many great ideas for sequencers and other stuff (drumsynths) that i hope all these ideas can come to life soon, in a valuable way for him and in all MI goodness glory and smartness :slight_smile:

Well, I can understand Olivier’s frustration.

While being not as original as an ambika, the Analog Four embeds a similar approach to that of Olivier’s, with full midi integration, usb, patches, sequencers, (seemingly) no calibration, no vintage components (or at least not advertised), a lot of modulation options… but it’s very professionnal looking, not too expensive, and it is therefore probably going to be a pretty successful commercial product.
Oh, and I think that the sounds are better than decent. Seemingly more conventional that the sound achieved with an ambika, but already very good.

Now stop thinking about what amazing things the mutable diy community has brought to your perception of synth and musical hardware. Can you imagine Olivier designing an equivalent of the ambika in the same fashion, with a compact size, rugged enclosure, more computational power and full usb integration? We’d be all rad about it, nevermind the not-diy aspect.

But Olivier, if my opinion can have any value… I’m really not sure what would have become of you getting involved into such a big, manufactured project as soon as this. I mean, I think that everyone, even people not involved into the community, regards the current mutable product line as a great success, or at least as a great achievement. But a manufactured ambika equivalent seems even like a bigger project. I suppose that the timing for a manufactured ambika release would have felt awkward compared to the Analog Four, so I don’t think there are much regrets to have about this. Your time will come eventually :slight_smile:

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I have yet to be as impressed by anything at: 1) the feasibility point (mixture of price and buildability) and 2) level of openness/hackability as anything you make Olivier. What you squeak out of an Atmega chip and a few other discrete components is nothing short of amazing. All of these comments won’t, however unfortunate it may be, assuage your personal assessment of achievement and where you are compared with where you want to be. It’s only too bad that the joy you have brought your customers and this community is not more tangibly measurable. Nonetheless, your contribution is immeasurable and you ahve and will continue to spark design. The openness of Ambika and the potential for other users to create our own filter/soundcards…

On that thought, will there be anymore of the Shruthi DIY filter pcbs again? Will there be a ‘blank’ protoboard for Ambika voicecard?

By the way, thanks for the fish.

Isnt this new synth 1199 though? thats 2 ambikas and extra voice cards too

> On that thought, will there be anymore of the Shruthi DIY filter pcbs again?

I don’t plan to release new Shruthi-1 filter boards.

> Will there be a ‘blank’ protoboard for Ambika voicecard?

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me… You’ll at least need a MCU that speaks SPI and the Ambika voicecard protocol…

Actually, what I was referring to wasn’t a new filter card, just the ‘roll your own’ blank filter pcb you used to have in the shop. That’s all I’m referring to, for those who want to tinker with that setup.