Elektron Intros Model:Cycles, A Six-track, FM-based Groovebox

Today Elektron introduced Model:Cycles, a new six-track, FM-based groovebox.

The six Machines of the Model:Cycles digital FM engine are Kick, Snare, Metal (a “flexible metallic voice for hi-hats, cymbals and more”), Perc, Tone, and the four-voice Chord. These cover both percussive and melodic synths.

Each of the instruments offers four controllers: Color, Shape, Sweep, and Contour. These alter the behavior of each Machine differently.

Model:Cycles has six velocity-sensitive pads and twelve dedicated knobs for sound sculpting.  Model: Cycles can also be used as a MIDI sequencer, with the capability of creating up to 96 projects and in each project, the ability to save up to 96 patterns.

Here’s a video overview of Model: Cycles’ features:

 

Model: Cycles Specifications:

Synth voice features

  • 6 × FM based Machines
  • 1 × Assignable LFO per track
  • 1 × Assignable velocity modulation per track
  • Storage space for up to 60,000 presets

Sequencer

  • 6 × Audio tracks (all of which may be used as MIDI tracks as well)
  • Elektron sequencer with up to 64 steps
  • Unique length and scale settings per track
  • Parameter locks
  • Micro timing
  • Trig conditions
  • Assignable retrig
  • Real-time or grid recording of notes and parameters
  • 96 × Projects
  • 96 × Patterns per Project

Send & master effects

  • Delay and reverb send FX

Hardware

  • 6 × Velocity sensitive pads
  • Class compliant USB audio 2.0
  • 1 × 1/4” stereo headphone jack
  • 2 × 1/4” impedance balanced audio out jacks
  • 1 × Hi-speed USB 2.0 Micro B port
  • 3.5 mm dual polarity TRS MIDI In, Out/Thru jacks
  • 128 × 64 pixel LCD screen
  • 48 kHz, 24-bit D/A converters
  • Hi-speed USB 2.0 Micro B port
  • Power inlet: Center positive 3.5 × 1.35 mm barrel jack, 5 V DC, 1 A
  • Battery In: Center positive 5.5 × 2.1 barrel jack, 4–10 V DC
  • 2 × slots for attaching Power Handle BP-1 (battery pack to be released at a later date)

Miscellaneous

  • 3 year Elektron warranty

Included in the box

  • Power Supply PSU-4
  • Micro USB Cable USB-2
  • 2 × MIDI adapter (5-pin DIN to 3.5mm TRS minijack)

Here’s a performance demo, via Perfect Circuit:

Pricing and Availability:

Elektron’s Model:Cycles has an MSRP of $399 US, and is listed for $299 at one online US retailer. The Elektron website says the first batch of Elektron Model:Cycles has already sold out in their webstore, and suggests that consumers check availability at Elektron retailers.

More information about Model:Cycles is available on the Elektron website.

83 thoughts on “Elektron Intros Model:Cycles, A Six-track, FM-based Groovebox

      1. Teenage Engineering is the very definition. Elektron ‘was’ the very definition. Polyend the new definition. Heck, even Akai have started to become interesting again.

        1. Sorry but that’s really vague. What exactly are you looking for that they are not offering you? If you are going to complain at least get to the details of the complaint otherwise it ends up sounding similar to people saying a synth sounds more “organic”.

    1. Musical instruments tend to be rehashes of previous ideas. What would you like Elektron to incorporate? A new synthesis technique? A new user interface? Too much “new” stuff makes things impossible to use.

      1. DreadBox and Poly end has that pretty sweet medusa with the grid that does some new and interesting things for a hardware device. Parameter locking as well as instant-modulation locking where you lock in parameters and manipulate the sound by hitting the P-locked grid button, sort of like octatracks fader. Thats pretty cool and at least new to me.

      2. A car is always modelled around 4 wheels and a steering wheel but we still manage to see inventive engineering magnificence. Elektron rehash the same ideas into new boxes, that’s it.

    2. You can say rehash, or you can say that they are making their inventive workflow available to more people. For ages, I’ve heard people say how expensive Elektron boxes are, and then they make affordable boxes, and now it’s “They’re not re-inventing.” They also see the market need, and they are making a profit responding to that need–they are a for-profit company, after all. The fact also remains the Digitone came out quite recently, and it was quite inventive in how it made FM more accessible to others; give their R&D department a bit more time to innovate. And to say Akai is innovating is kind of strange–they are essentially doing the same thing Elektron has done–made their workflow more affordable to others.

    3. A modern 6 tracks FM groovebox is exactly what I was waiting for. With probability and a chord track. It’s exactly what I was looking for. And I’m not a gear buyer. I ve been using only Renoise for years with no hardware. Now,this comes out and it’s perfect.Yeah the old dx200 is nice, I could’ve gotten an old electribe but it’s not fm. So, in a way, it’s pretty ‘inventive’ for me.. s

  1. Sounds great, plenty of hands on control with the fun Elektron sequencer at good value. I think they’re onto a winner with this.

  2. I was very excited at first, thinking “finally someone has made a DX200-style groovebox!”, but the pre-defined FM-voice architectures and limited sound-sculpting possibilities put me off. Too bad…

    1. digitone is a dx200 style groove box with a lot of advanced editing features. what more do you want? let me guess. all the features of the digitone for the price of cycles?

      1. Alright, kinda forgot about the Digitone while writing my comment. I’d have been happy with a Model:Cycles with bit more editing capabilities for an extra €100 though. This is digital stuff, not analog, it doesn’t take a whole extra heap of physical components to shove inside the box, just a slightly more powerful chip.

      1. I hardly believe so. They still go for above €500 second hand (in Europe anyway). Believe me, if I had the opportunity to buy a DX200 for the price of a Model:Cycle I wouldn’t think twice!

  3. They are disappointing or at the very least, underwhelming current owners of their other boxes. New guy are probably jumping in hot because of the price points. They are trying to compete so kudos to them if it works out. I’m sure they will make deep boxes again but they wont be making anything if they can’t make money.

    1. People will always grumble, but I think the idea that current owners are disappointed or underwhelmed doesn’t ring true for me or the owners I know. Electron have built a reputation for quirkyness, innovation, depth and quality. As I understand it Tobias is disappointed at a lack of innovation. Personally I like ease of use and find that limited options can often encourage creativity.

  4. i mostly use digitone as a preset box, so makes sense to me to remove some of the advanced editing features and repackage. not a fan of the categories personally, just give it 6 tracks.

    also, and this is oft overlooked, 6 tracks of external elektron sequencing is worth the price of admission before you even factor in the synth or sampler.

  5. was ready to go on a new octatrack with CV outs or anything euro rack they would do. As I am already invested heavily in elektron I will skip it but recommend it to friends. Enjoyed the hype campaign animations

  6. Randy is right. Yes, its a budget model that’s not as deep as the flagship. So? Too many forget that the biggest user base is those who want to get to their ideas more quickly & simply, but can’t or won’t drop $12k a year on the latest & greatest. Less is more if you find a couple of instruments that you can really embrace. This thing has decent range, even if it is tailored to their sampler version. I can’t tell if that was an editor I spotted mid-way, but 60k preset slots, multi-platform compatibility and a 3-year warranty aren’t bad.

        1. T— is that mysterious end user, the frustrated ‘producer’ looking for an invention to invent him some creativity and work ethic. the one we all want to sell to :/

          methinks Elektron is cashing up for a big new game-changing flagship. but that’s just how i think. satisfied Digitakt owner here

          1. Also, there seems to be the misconception that many of us don’t already have ipads and find them uninspiring and joyless to create on. That musicians, who play instruments, form actual emotional bonds and relationships with the instruments we play every day, so much that we can play them with our eyes closed. Try playing an iPad with your eyes closed some time.
            Anyway, if this thing is really floating around the $300 range, like the samples is now, that puts it in behringer territory, and it’s a whole lot more instrument for that price point. It’s not something I need or am in the market for right now, but I’d say it’s totally worth it for an entry level or accompanying groove box.

            1. I have one and use it all the time and in no way find it joyless – that said I still feel like the ipad is an instrument and not a be all end all anymore than than a laptop is a be all end all – physical instruments still tend to be more inspiring

          2. I don’t see any correlation between me advising someone to buy a cheap app on the iPad as being a “frustrated producer” who needs some magical invention. I would think before typing.

          3. this comment is on the money. but people now jack shit how companies work so you get synthopia comment section. also a happy digitakt owner. that thing slaps.

      1. Do buy it. Support smaller independent manufacturers. Spend less time on negativity and more time making beautiful music. Play with knobs, it’s enjoyable

          1. Why do you even look at a hardware synth, when you think that an iPad with some apps is all that you need?
            Why are you trying to convince people not to buy this box?
            You talk about “invention” and then suggest an iPad.
            You mentioned Teenage Engineering as the “very definition”, what did they invent lately? How to re-release a product at a higher price? Is that your very definition of invention?

            1. Recently they invented the OP-Z, silly.

              And I never referred to the iPad as being inventive but the apps most certainly are.

              P.S I’ve owned Octatrack MKII, Rytm MKI, Digitone Keys and a Model:Samples.

              This box, in my opinion, isn’t all that. However, I don’t be grudge anyone from buying it though. Opinions and alternative options are here to stay so no need to get upset and defensive about it.

              Genuinely, have a nice day.

              1. Clearly begrudged everyone from buying it by saying “Don’t buy it”.

                Then did that thing white people do when they’re called a racist, start saying they have black friends and calling them by name. P.S. I know Tyrone, Jim, Craig, Manny.

                Your opinion is valid and I think we get it but your coming in super hot for some reason and your alternative is an iPad app with a pretty whack user interface. Either way, to each their own, just seems like you really want to dismantle Elektron as a company. A company who is trying to do what companies do, expand and grow. Some rehash their own stuff, other rehash other companies stuff.

                1. – not to mention OP-Z being the exact same principle of taking already developed tech and repackaging it with a twist as a more affordable box in order to maintain cashflow for R&D and fill the lower entry-price markets.

                  …and condenscendingly calling people silly.

                  cant make this shit up yet here we are. good job dunning kruger…

                    1. oh FFS, what are you not understanding?

                      the engines in OPZ, share the same dna with the OP-1, improved obviously. that is what smart companies do if they dont want to go bust.
                      exact same shit happening with the model series. same shit with the volcas
                      or minilogue xd.

                      you dont have one flagship product that caters to higher end market but try and maximise the profit by using the same tech in the lower tier products and differentiating. remove the screen, use less fancy materials and presto.

                      hurr durr “i´ll wait.” jfc

  7. Seems ok, but I really wish companies would completely avoid/ditch micro usb. That format is such garbage and breaks way too easy.

  8. This is a must buy for me! I’ve owned an A4 MK1, Monomachine, and Digitakt. I eventually sold them because I find the workflow too taxing. I got the Model Samples last year, and it’s exactly what I wanted.

    1. Absolutely. I can’t think of any other fm drum machines in this price bracket. The main competition would be the drum brute or Behringer 808, both of which are analogue and neither out perform the Model Cycles in terms of sequencing or overall sound pallet.

  9. Its basically sound design at the level of Teenage Engineering OP-1. Control entire envelopes with only one parameter and having only a few parameters for creating a patch. To me that is not sound design but to others that are more interested in composition the model line might be just what they like.
    This really depends on your perception of what you did yourself creating your music to. Some need more tweaking of parameters then others to feel proud of what they have made, and feel like they actual did it themselves and where not helped a lot by a machine or preset.

    Elektron derived from there more full featured devices some years ago into making smaller end less feature rich devices for reasons unknown, probably because of money reasons by catering to customers that where not addressed by there line up then.

    I did not expect them to go lower then the Digi line up because that was already not expensive for a good instruments but here we are.

    I see a lot of comments everywhere that people should not complain about this but ask yourself this: apparently Elektron did not hit your bottom yet they might next year when they remove the last filter and last envelope remaining. Then you could have the same feelings about this subject.

    1. The sequencer has better microtiming and probabilistic options, but if you already have one of their flagship devices like the Octatrack then you are already equipped for that.

      I’m not crazy about the limited editing options, the institutional beige color scheme, or the tiny screen. Likewise the battery pack should be available at launch, and bespoke battery solutions are likely future technology orphans. But it looks very playable like all Elektron boxes, and $299 is really a great price. Velocity-sensitive pads are nice and who knows, they might get aftertouch in a software update 3 year from now. Lack of a song mode doesn’t bug me too much.

      The best way to think of it is as a band instrument, this is a pretty slick bleep-blorp drum machine with a lot of sonic range and a user interface you won’t get lost in. Use MIDI to share clock with bass and/or lead synths and run it all through some sort of mixer and you have what you need for live performance.

  10. why no song mode? same question for roland: why no song mode inside 101 and 707? laughable. meanwhile: akai force´s arranger mode still in beta.

  11. christ what a crowd. for some reason people take this release as a personal insult.

    its obviously filling the gap in the elektron gear entry level tier and anyone with two braincells to rub together could expect it after the model:samples.

    you guys are truly a monty python sketch ffs.

    1. I understand your frustration about reading complaints.

      What some are expressing is that they feel that Elektron management moved product development away from them for some years now. These are people that feel very passionate about the instruments they bought and feel sort of connected to Elektron. You can understand why they are boiling a bit.

      A new model was expected yes, but there is also no indication that they wil move back up the lineup any time soon. Personally i think they will release a new Octatrack in a year when that instrument celebrates it’s first 10 years but thats a tall order i know.

    2. I understand your frustration about reading complaints.
      What some are expressing is that they feel that Elektron management moved product development away from them for some years now. These are people that feel very passionate about the instruments they bought and feel sort of connected to Elektron. You can understand why they are boiling a bit.

      A new model was expected yes, but there is also no indication that they wil move back up the lineup any time soon. Personally i think they will release a new Octatrack in a year when that instrument celebrates it’s first 10 years but thats a tall order i know.

  12. I actually really like the sound samples from it – if it is $299 it really isn’t bad, would rather spend on that than another 808 clone – you can get a lot more personality out of it

  13. You know we’ve gone through the black hole when the comments for a groovebox release on a synthesizer site read like a bunch of entitled Star Wars fans angry that the new movie treats women like intelligent beings. Elektron didn’t ruin your childhood, but thanks for playing.

  14. A cheap experimental groove box!, perfect! Will be great partner with my octotrack,or even better through the filters and effects of the a4.

  15. Few people start out with a Moog One. You buy budget pieces & work your way up. A lot of the lesser boxes are still cheap & cheerful. Sequencing very deeply on them is a real PITA, but they make good modules. Pretty much everyone’s rig is like an octopus. Some tentacles don’t cost $4k.

  16. I’m a bit surprised by this box, other than parameter locks, it doesn’t compare very well in synthesis, polyphony, support for samples, and MIDI integration with the Novation Circuit which is similarly priced.

    1. I have a circuit and love it but this is a lot different – it is more comparable to the electribe e2 in the general workflow and much betterin a lot of ways –
      the circuit is great but it is a 2 synth + sample playback groovebox which is a totally different thing

  17. I agree with Rikmaxsped. Anyway Digitakt gives Model: Samples and Digitone gives Model: Cycles. What could be next from Elektron. A resurrection of the MonoMachine and Machinedrum or another generation of the existing boxes?

    1. I think this is as close to a Machinedrum as you’re gonna get in the next while – I’m actually digging it, the interfaces on the Model devices really allow for some fun interaction.

      I really don’t understand the hate Elektron is getting here, they’re making a Machinedrum Lite, something a LOT of people have probably been wanting. And the knobby interface is great compared to the normally very key-combo driven Elektron style.

  18. To anyone who uses (and likes/loves) Model:Samples the appeal of this is instant: the same fluid / beautiful / unique workflow and a different palette of sound to be manipulated in whole new ways. Plus that price is dare I say Massive bang for the buck.

  19. Pete gets it. With the mini-plugs, design reductions and cheaper-quality buttons, you should wire boxes like this up at home and only take them out on occasion. I’ve had some modest gear give me long service because I babied it. The downstream gear >sounds< essentially as good as most of the high-end goods. Things you think you're missing are just a quick sample session or a set of Soundfonts away now.

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