In the 2010s, Korg and Roland were manufacturing compact devices with pleasing price tags. Elektron, on the other hand, furnished us with high-end gear with deep feature sets that often proved mind-boggling to the uninitiated.
Now, however, the Swedish brand has at last decided to pay attention to the budget market with its Model range. The sample-playing Model:Samples was first off the mark in 2019, and has now been followed by the Model:Cycles. Neither are as simple as a Korg Volca, and even though both boast knob-per-function controls, each knob comes with a dual purpose. And much like the Samples, the Cycles invites questions. Is it a drum machine? Yes, but it can also do leads and chords. Why only six tracks? The price won’t allow more, it seems – unless you want to lose some of Elektron’s programming highlights such as conditional trigs (which other tech companies have been quick to emulate).
Read this next: 5 of the best modular gateways
The Cycles now seems to confirm that the Model range will be based around Elektron’s pricier originals. Their FM synth, the Digitone, has proven one of their most popular machines in recent years, so it’s no surprise a cut-price version reimagined in the body of a Model:Samples has appeared, and it wouldn’t be a crazy assumption to think the next machine will be some sort of tweaked Analog Four. If you’ve been eyeing up the the Digitakt, Octatrack and Digitone but haven’t been able to stretch your wallet, the Samples and now Cycles are a happy intermediate buy.
Read this next: Get the best of Mixmag direct to your Facebook DMs