Model Cycles were born from DNA taken from the FM-based Digitone. It landscapes both drum and melodic sounds, and while it is strictly polyphonic, in practice, it is primarily a monophonic instrument.
The Model Cycles Carefully Resembles the Model:
Samples but in grey this time (and yes, it comes with a sheet of labels to decorate, if that’s your thing). Though it’s plastic, this is not unexpected given the price point (£289), but it in no way textures flimsy or ill-made. The buttons are comfortable and receptive, and the endless rotary encoders are stable with much resistance.
The chassis is lightweight and begs to remain taken on the go. The LCD screen is minor but easy to read, and the visual feedback is valuable and welcome. Power originates via an adapter or micro USB-2 cable, both included. The USB cable can also convey MIDI and audio information, which worked flawlessly. It also has two mini MIDI connectors for those using five-pin DIN MIDI.
The Model: Cycles have six Machines, or sound generators, each responsible for a different kind of sound. Kick and Snare do what you’d expect, while Metal handles clangy percussion-like hats and cymbals. Perc is a general, all-purpose percussion sound, like the FM sound on Arturia’s Drumbrute Impact.
Finally, the 2-operator Tone and four-voice Chord handle non-percussive sound duties. Model: Cycles are polyphonic in that they can play more than one sound at a time, but as previously mentioned, each Machine is monophonic.
The exception is (unsurprisingly) Chord, which acts like a synth stuck in chord memory mode, with every single note generating a customizable chord. With everything based on FM synthesis, the six Machines tend to develop very electronic sounds. Think buzzy hats, artificial snares, booming bass, and dub techno chords.
You may very well be disappointed if you’re looking for soft analogue tones or realistic acoustic drums. That existence said the sound quality is uniformly excellent. The bass is deep and punchy, the snares crisp and snappy, and the musical tones clear and precise.
Each Machine can also remain sent through a delay and reverb. Effect controls are global. However, it can remain accessed per Machine through parameter locks, which we’ll cover in the sequencer section next.
Model Cycles: An Affordable and Approachable
Model: Samples, an affordable, sample-based groove box that simplified Elektron’s unique workflow for beginners. In many ways, it’s a stripped-down version of the company’s Digitakt sampler. If you’re familiar with the Digitakt, you’ve often seen it paired with the Digitone, a sort of sibling groove box that relies on FM synthesis in its place of samples. So it only types sense that Elektron would reduce poverty by giving the Model: Samples its FM-based partner in crime.
Physically the Model: Cycles is a palette-swapped version of the Model: Samples — Subzero to the M:S’ Scorpion. At its core, it’s the similar six-track monophonic sequencer — but with a streamlined version of the Digitone’s sound engine under the hood. As a result, the Cycles isn’t precisely a budget-friendly replacement for the Digitone. Instead, it’s very much its instrument.
Those gripes aside, I can’t help but be enamoured with the Model: Cycles. The sound engine inside is excellent. It takes a little effort to ring the greatest out of it, but it’s versatile for an FM synth. And the Elektron sequenator remains second to none. The two share a ration of aural DNA, but the Cycles is much more of an actual groove box and lacks polyphony.
That existence said it’s a powerful and creative instrument in its own right. More significant, it’s every bit as fun to play as the Model: Samples. Oh, and at just $299, it’s the most affordable, full-featured groove box you can get.
Model: Cycles are ready for magic music-making straight out of the box. There is plenty of top-notch factory content to play with from wonder peops such as Skinnerbox, Richard Devine, Animistic Beliefs, (d) glitched, Blush Response, and a whole bunch of Elektron staff supplying their slices of excellent.
Model: Cycles is a six-track FM-based groove box that brings exploring into the heart of sound sculpting. With six unique machines in one lightweight unit, you can effortlessly mould rhythm and melody across the digital spectrum using instant, tactile controls.
Exploration made attainable. To model is to shape the formless. Model: Cycles is a six-track FM-based groove box that brings exploring into the heart of sound sculpting.
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