The boys of Elektron, jamming out. The analog lineup at the booth was a big hit at Messe, but the news story was making that analog play nicely with your lappy.

The boys of Elektron, jamming out. The analog lineup at the booth was a big hit at Messe, but the news story was making that analog play nicely with your lappy.

It’s a funny thing about this latest hardware resurgence: everyone kind of expects to use that gear with their PC and Mac. Elektron isn’t the first ever to attempt to make their gear integrate smoothly with computers; some of the techniques they use in Overbridge we’ve even seen before. (Roland and Virus spring to mind.) But with complete features for making their hottest, latest equipment behave well with software, they’re firmly in the territory of “why wasn’t everyone doing that before?”

Elektron unveiled their approach this week at Musikmesse. It’s called “Overbridge,” and it applies to their latest analog equipment (Analog Four, Analog Keys, and Analog Rytm). When firmware updates for those machines arrive later this year, here’s what you’ll get:

1. Multichannel audio drivers. Now, when you connect a USB cable, you won’t only get one stereo audio output. You’ll get both input and output, up to 24-bit. You can route audio from your computer into the Elektron machine for processing. You’ll be able to record separate tracks in your DAW for different voices (so, say, you can process a bass drum separately from a snare). And you’ll be able to use the Elektron as an audio interface. Basically, you save the extra cables and interface you’d normally have to use.
2. Plug-ins. With VST and AU plug-ins, you can use your Elektron machine as if it were a soft synth – but with the sound of an analog piece of equipment. That’s handy when it comes to controlling and automating parameters.
3. Save settings with projects. The other advantage of using plug-ins is that you can save and recall parameters with projects, rather than having to load them separately on hardware. You can easily open a different project and your hardware picks up where you left off.

There wasn’t a whole lot of this to see yet at Messe. Elektron had the audio interface functionality working, but not the plug-in. No matter: having the audio functionality was already great. (Actually, dear Elektron – would be great to see that as an OS update even before the plug-in if it is working reliably.) And it appears these will work as class-compliant devices, so once you install the OS on the hardware, you won’t need separate drivers.

Updated: Elektron tells us they are in fact working on class-compliant drivers, though this is not yet a confirmed feature – fingers crossed.

We’ll check in later this year. I’m also going to get a unit in for review, so let me know what you’d want to know (and, for that matter, which device is most important to you, the keys or drum machine).

  • Mutis Mayfield

    Iconnect 4+ could do the same for desktops/ipads (audio/midi part)

    Cool gear coming!

    • redgreenblue

      It could if it EVER gets released.

  • Taylor

    This is excellent! Do we know if the plugin has multi-channel output as well? Would be cool not to have to use an aggregate audio device.

    • mercury

      this is very important otherwise could create a lot of latency issues, esp in windows

    • bob dobbs

      this is the money question

    • Tony Scharf

      I saw a demo video where they said each part would be individually streamed. I imagine that means ‘yes’.

  • mdc

    Well there be an AAX version for use with Pro Tools?

  • Jakob Penca

    hey, I just open-sourced my iOS/OSX sysex-control framework for A4/MDUW. Basically gives you the controller part of Overbridge today, and then some.

    • Lasse Munk

      Hi Jakob,

      Do you have a pre-made Xcode project for iOS / machinedrum that you could share? I am not strong in Xcode, but would very much like to try your app. I do though have access to a developer license, so I can try it out on my iPad.

      All the best,

  • Marko Vierimaa

    I’d love to see/hear more info about the new drummachine.

  • Genjutsushi

    Any chance of the Octatrack gaining this facility as well at some point? I would love to be able to multitrack stream straight out of it for recording purposes.

    • Henry

      You did read the second paragraph of this article, didn’t you?

  • ProgressiveSoul

    The funny thing is that just 2 weeks ago I posted something in a facebook MPC forum discussing how electron and the octatrack/Analog Rytm might give AKAI a run for money. I also said that adding streaming multichannel USB audio was something AKAI should have done years ago. Well then, Cheers to innovation! hopefully akai well release some kind of upgrade for the older MPC’s.

    instead of buying the 8 analog outs you can get 8 ch’s of USB Audio!

  • tam cooper

    it would be good if the midi specs were up to the standards of the MPC3000. sadly they’re not, whats the point in all that analog goodness if the thing dont play in time?

    • Henry

      Interesting. Which Elektron products do you mean specifically (considering that this article is about an upcoming feature for the very latest of their machines, and *not* for the classic MachineDrum and MonoMachine…)?