Elektron Analog Heat MKII by Apendica
This device is extremely good value. If you are are an ITB producer, this might very well be the only hardware unit you ever purchase.
for £600, I simply can't find fault with this device. It's a very niche device; you won't find many stereo distortion modules at this price, with this feature set, with such a wealth of options, my reasons for the 5/5 for all scores is set out below. This is also the first Elektron device I have ever purchased.
Build quality, it is built like a little tank. Metal enclosure, the buttons have a wonderful springy motion, the dials solid and the screen bright and user friendly. Labels are bright and easy to read.
Comes with high quality USB cable, Elektron power supply and a few stickers. Can be used straight out of the box as an audio in/out effect (like any pedal or 19” processor) or download the software from Elektron website and get started.
Flexibility & User Experience
This device can be used as a standard in/out processor, or can be used as a ‘plugin’ anywhere in your DAW signal path via USB. There is an Overbridge plugin which you can use to process audio through the unit.
Upon opening a project, it automatically adjusts to the previous settings used in the project. This has been pretty much flawless for me when switching projects. The device automatically detects audio input or USB input. Very thoughtful inclusion by Elektron.
In the settings on the device, you can select whether the dials pickup the preset setting when adjusted, or whether an immediate jump to the dial position upon adjustment. Again another much appreciate detail.
In terms of gainstaging and volume, you have two volume settings when using as In/Out device; Output volume and Preset Volume. When using over USB, you only control the Preset Volume. These are brilliant as you can very quickly match the volume of your original audio and A/B as you go along.
It’s worth noting that this is an analogue device and only one instance can be used per project, I usually export the audio to WAV once happy with settings so I can use on another track.
Additionally, there is little to no menu diving. The Filter/EQ, Envelope and LFO sections do have a second page of settings, you simply press their button once and it switches to the second page. Easy and intuitive.
Can be used as an audio interface too however have not used that setting.
The sound is what this is all about. I find myself using the first four settings; Clean Boost, Saturation, Enhancement and Mid Drive. These are brilliant for mixbus, drum bus, individual elements or whatever else you feels needs a bit of depth, drive or punch.
The Clean Boost is exactly what it says on the tin; when really pushed can provide a very subtle drive, otherwise a great way to process digital audio and give it a bit of depth by passing it through the converters and analogue circuits. Saturation circuit and Enhancement circuits are my personal favourites. Saturation provides warmth and depth, Enchancement imparts a bit of sheen and attitude. The EQ section is invaluable when driving these circuits.l, to really sculpt your sound.
Mid Drive is brilliant for when you whole mix is lacking a bit of low mid drive; I find an element which is slightly lacking in this area and set to 100% Dry, slowly blending in with the mix knob and finally adjusting the Wet volume.
The other 4 settings, Rough Crunch, Classic Distortion, Round Fuzz and High Gain are a selection of 4 analogue distortions, all with their own character. These can annihilate any audio coming in, or used with the mix knob to enhance or completely transform your sound. This takes the device into the realm of a sound design
Due to the amount of subtlety you can dial in, this unit can definitely be used within a mastering chain. The drive settings appropriate for this would be Clean Boost, Saturation or Enhancement modules. These can dialled in extremely subtlety, with the mix knob and the wet volume allowing you to really make the finest of adjustments and fine tune exactly how much of the sound you want imparted on your audio.
Analogue EQ + Filter
Apart from the distortion modules, you have a 2 band-analogue EQ and filter section, in effect a 3 band analogue EQ when filter is in notch or boost mode. These sound absolutely brilliant and can be used subtlety again with the mix knob or for more extreme effects. The filter can be bypassed by pressing both buttons. The filter also has a drive dial which allows you to drive the circuit and get some grit.
It’s not often you can buy a 3 band analogue EQ, of which one band is a 7 mode filter, with its own dedicated drive section.
So to summarise, for £600 you get:
- 8 Analogue Distortions
- 7 mode analogue filter (bypassable), 7 modes, with it's own drive module.
- 2 Band EQ, with curves dependant on distortion module selected
- Envelope Follower
- Audio Interface
- VST controllable
As a mainly ITB electronic music artist, this is a no brainer purchase for my needs and wish I had purchased this earlier. Am even considering a second box to use in In/Out mode and live permanently on my mixbus as a colour box.