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Review: Elektron Analog Drive

We got down and dirty with Elektron's latest effect unit
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Swedish hardware company Elektron is a household name in the world of drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers. In fact, you could almost say that their Analog Rytm is the modern day 909. I say that because if you look at almost any live techno or house setup, there's an extremely high chance you'll see one of their machines. But, the company has somewhat recently begun expanding their lineup into effects units to complement their hallowed machines. First was the Analog Heat, which we will be doing a review on soon as well, and then more recently, a somewhat stripped back version called the Analog Drive. What's the difference? 


As I said, the drive is a somewhat stripped down Heat and lacks the Overbridge connection and routing capabilities of its cousin. Most importantly, its aim was to deliver the quality of Elektron's products, to the guitar players and traveling musicians, in a rugged and classic looking package. It looks fairly similar to the Analog Heat, but with rounded edges, lack of screen and cream colorway. It has 8 different "circuit types", or distortion types, and the ability to save presets. But how does it sound when used in the world of electronic music? In the video below, we throw the Korg Monologue through it for a simple acid test, and the results vary from warm to destruction. Below is a full description of each circuit type. 

Clean Boost – A boost ranging from 0 to 20 dB, run at a high internal voltage, thus giving plenty of headroom.

Mid Drive – Can be compared to the sound a well-known green stompbox. If more bass is needed, just increase the Low EQ setting.

Dirty Drive – Really dirty and swampy. A gate-ish feel can be obtained at low Gain settings. Higher Gain settings result in an old school fuzzy sound.

Big Dist – Adds quite a lot of distortion, but with an intact bass response. A reference would be a Marshall stack pushed to the max with a lot of power amp distortion.

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Focused Dist – Strong focus on the upper mids. An extended version of the mythological horse/man pedal, but with more flexibility.

Harmonic Fuzz – Octave fuzz with a smooth feel. Based on a fuzz that is out of production. (Which one is a well-kept secret.)

High Gain – Clear sound with a lot of gain. Nice string separation, great sustain.

Thick Gain – Adds loads of gain, more than a lot of preamps. Really crispy when palm muting the lower strings and using the EQ to add some top end.

*Special note: the unit I was given to test came with an older firmware that could cause the indicator lights to get stuck when changing circuits. Newer models do not have this problem.

To purchase your very own Analog Drive, visit Elektron's website

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