tomcat

It seems Akai is staying in the analog synth business. Following the Rhythm Wolf – introduced quietly at Messe (literally, it couldn’t make sound), and then getting a mixed review here on CDM – they have both a second drum machine and a four-voice synth.

Availability has leaked as July – which means again, we may not know how these actually sound until they ship.

Let’s look at what we know. (Bookmark this page, as I will simply update information here as it comes in.)

First up, the Tom Cat. It’s definitely a second take on the Rhythm Wolf – we just don’t know if that’s because so many people bought the Rhythm Wolf and they’re minting money, or whether they might address some of the sound/parameter complaints about the original. We can see in the picture what controls changed:

Kick Drum has “Pitch” in addition to the original “Tune” knob – so, presumably, a much needed pitch envelope.
There’s a Clap in place of Percussion.
That Clap appears to have a Spread control in place of the horrible Noise Mix on the original Percussion, as well.
The somewhat thin single-voice bass synth on the original has been replaced with Toms – sorry, make that Disco Toms. (Disco Tom, not to be confused with Disco Stew.)

And everything else is the same, but with different colors. Wait a minute – I’m going to bet my money that the label beginning with the letter ‘m’ is Meow, in place of Howl. But I can’t quite see it. Maybe it says “Maul.”

Anyway, all of this is at least promising, because some of the Rhythm Wolf’s reviews went something like this. (There’s a part two for that video. I know some day I’m going to be subject of a video like this, so I’m keeping my mouth shut.)

Updated: here’s the film from Future Music with the Tom Cat:

Here, at least, there’s some good news to report – Tom Cat does appear to take some steps forward from the Rhythm Wolf. Claps, good idea, more useful sound controls, yes. And replacing the synth with toms is a smart idea. I’m just unsure from this video whether it’s enough to recommend an Akai drum machine with other good-sounding alternatives (like KORG and Teenage Engineering). The onus is on Akai to tell us we won’t get hurt again, so I’d rather hear a final, non-prototype unit properly (it’s just too hard to tell in this video).

Fingers crossed they’ve improved things. Certainly, if the Tom Cat is an “archenemy of the Rhythm Wolf,” it’s a friend of mine.

As for the Timbre Wolf, that’s another story.

timbrewolf

Next up, the Timbre Wolf, which looks like it takes the synth voice from the Rhythm Wolf, copies it four times, adds a keyboard and a pitch wheel, and adds a switch for MONO/POLY/UNISON. Seriously, it looks like they copied the voices four times. Update: and I didn’t edit the previous two sentences. That’s exactly what they did.

I can even make out the same rocker for triangle / square wave as on the Rhythm Wolf (which happens to be here on my desk). The switched under each voice are solo, so all I don’t know is whether the other controls per-voice are the same (or, indeed, whether they really are that same voice or modified in some way). Those controls are Volume, Tune, Filter Cutoff, Filter Res, Env Amt, and Decay. Now, perhaps the change here is giving each voice proper envelope controls, as copying Volume and Filter knobs for each voice would be a little strange.

Apart from that, you get the same step sequencing functions from the Rhythm Wolf (the one part of the Akai drum machine that actually was pretty good). Oh, and you get … unfortunately, that horrible Howl knob, though maybe Akai has reworked what it actually controls. Update: Nope.

Small keyboards are a good idea. It depends on what they sound like. (Yes, I’m very, very sorry for having been bitten on this before. Let’s not talk about the CDM Musikmesse preview of the Rhythm Wolf that didn’t actually make sound ever again.)

So, my guess is, if they take the time to get the envelope controls right and tame the circuitry from the Rhythm Wolf, this could be worth a look. On the other hand, if it really is a Rhythm Wolf with a keyboard, maybe … don’t look it in the eyes. Update: It’s the latter. Oops.

I guess we’ll find out in the summer. Actually, right now. See below.

Anyway, glad we could bring you the news you were waiting for about Akai hardware.

What? M – P – … E? What? MPC? No, sorry, didn’t get that. Did I mention Korg has an app that teaches you how to dance and there’s probably a dozen more Roland press releases to get through? I’ll work on that.

I’m sure none of this makes any MPC owners angry, so I invite you to please share your general absence of any hostility toward me, CDM, and Akai here, in the convenient comment form below. Thanks!

Updated: we’ll find out right now.

Update – uh, okay, watch.

“Forgive my horrible playing” – uh, yes, the playing is what we have to forgive.

Anyway, this costs US$500, we hear.

  • Tony Scharf

    I finally got to play a rhythm wolf the other day. I couldn’t believe my ears! Its absolutely as terrible as some people have said! I liked the sequencer, but the sound was just….bad.

    That synth better not just be 4 voices off the Rhythm Wolf. I likened playing it to filtering a walrus fart and I stand by that assessment. Why anyone would need to play with four farting walruses is beyond me.

    • Jesse Hall

      Same here, I went to the local store in Bristol on my lunch time the other day and had a go, atrocious was the word that sprang to mind! It’s not even worth £100 in my eyes. Linking the decay on the open and closed hats was a big mistake too…

      • Tony Scharf

        If I could put a USD price on it, I’d go no higher than $50. I figure they will eventually be blown out at that price. Even then, I’d have to think about it.

        It’s only hope is that circuit benders get a hold of it and find a way to do something interesting with it.

        • Well, now you can have just the synth voice repeated four times — for $500. Fixing nothing.

          • Tony Scharf

            $500? Did Akai move their headquarters to Denver so they could smoke for inspiration? That’s just…insane.

          • Lando O Lusion

            Stoned R & D team…

        • Jesse Hall

          I did think that maybe it will be easy to mod but for that I think I’d probably pick up a second hand one, I bet there will be loads!

    • Gary

      Call me crazy but I really like the drum sound of both the Rhythm Wolf and the Tom Kat. I played with the Wolf in-store and preferred it to the Volca Beats side-by-side.

      If you’re comparing the Akais to a 808 or 909, of course you’ll be disappointed The Akai stuff is more in line with (the even older) Roland CR or Maestro Rhythm King type sound. In my opinion, there’s already too much 808 and 909 in current music. The Akai stuff is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it’s not best suited for your next hard-hitting trap or EDM track, but for quirky pop tunes or an experimental downtempo synth jam it’s probably perfect. It’s nice not to hear the same snare you’ve heard on a million other songs. Like a lot of gear from yesteryear, the Akai drum sounds are just the building blocks to a production. Nowadays people are spoiled with included FX and genre-focused sounds. They expect a finished record coming out of the main outs. Classic drum machines don’t sound like that.

      Akai should really put these machines in the hands of real producers/drum machine enthusiasts to demonstrate, instead of guys that are just going to randomly press buttons and slap distortion over everything like ketchup.

      • Tony Scharf

        No, it just sounds like crap. I had a yamaha drum pad I bought at a department store in the 80s that had a more fulfilling sound.

      • Jesse Jensen

        did you buy it after you played with it? Maybe you could make some videos showing us how it’s good.

        • terrible.dee@gmail.com

          It’s good for trash, nasty noisy low-fi, low down, Homeless-core, crap your pants and DGAF, rocking.

          There is actually a cover song I wanted to do using the wolf only, but as I am a signed artist my label doesn’t let me throw shit out there, let me see if I can get it cleared, you have re-inspired me to do it! Check back for the youtube link if you are interested,

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        I’m with you dude!

        I’m all for crapping on AKAI as I know what their deal is and it’s not good,

        But I LOVE my Rhythm wolf!

        BTW You and I are in a VAST minority

        And your comparison to the CR ,Rhythm king ect. is dead on,

  • Tony Scharf

    I finally got to play a rhythm wolf the other day. I couldn’t believe my ears! Its absolutely as terrible as some people have said! I liked the sequencer, but the sound was just….bad.

    That synth better not just be 4 voices off the Rhythm Wolf. I likened playing it to filtering a walrus fart and I stand by that assessment. Why anyone would need to play with four farting walruses is beyond me.

    • Jesse Hall

      Same here, I went to the local store in Bristol on my lunch time the other day and had a go, atrocious was the word that sprang to mind! It’s not even worth £100 in my eyes. Linking the decay on the open and closed hats was a big mistake too…

      • Tony Scharf

        If I could put a USD price on it, I’d go no higher than $50. I figure they will eventually be blown out at that price. Even then, I’d have to think about it.

        It’s only hope is that circuit benders get a hold of it and find a way to do something interesting with it.

        • Well, now you can have just the synth voice repeated four times — for $500. Fixing nothing.

          • Tony Scharf

            $500? Did Akai move their headquarters to Denver so they could smoke for inspiration? That’s just…insane.

          • Lando O Lusion

            Stoned R & D team…

        • Jesse Hall

          I did think that maybe it will be easy to mod but for that I think I’d probably pick up a second hand one, I bet there will be loads!

    • Gary

      Call me crazy but I really like the drum sound of both the Rhythm Wolf and the Tom Kat. I played with the Wolf in-store and preferred it to the Volca Beats side-by-side.

      If you’re comparing the Akais to a 808 or 909, of course you’ll be disappointed The Akai stuff is more in line with (the even older) Roland CR or Maestro Rhythm King type sound. In my opinion, there’s already too much 808 and 909 in current music. The Akai stuff is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it’s not best suited for your next hard-hitting trap or EDM track, but for quirky pop tunes or an experimental downtempo synth jam it’s probably perfect. It’s nice not to hear the same snare you’ve heard on a million other songs. Like a lot of gear from yesteryear, the Akai drum sounds are just the building blocks to a production. Nowadays people are spoiled with included FX and genre-focused sounds. They expect a finished record coming out of the main outs. Classic drum machines don’t sound like that.

      Akai should really put these machines in the hands of real producers/drum machine enthusiasts to demonstrate, instead of guys that are just going to randomly press buttons and slap distortion over everything like ketchup.

      • Tony Scharf

        No, it just sounds like crap. I had a yamaha drum pad I bought at a department store in the 80s that had a more fulfilling sound.

      • Jesse Jensen

        did you buy it after you played with it? Maybe you could make some videos showing us how it’s good.

        • terrible.dee@gmail.com

          It’s good for trash, nasty noisy low-fi, low down, Homeless-core, crap your pants and DGAF, rocking.

          There is actually a cover song I wanted to do using the wolf only, but as I am a signed artist my label doesn’t let me throw shit out there, let me see if I can get it cleared, you have re-inspired me to do it! Check back for the youtube link if you are interested,

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        I’m with you dude!

        I’m all for crapping on AKAI as I know what their deal is and it’s not good,

        But I LOVE my Rhythm wolf!

        BTW You and I are in a VAST minority

        And your comparison to the CR ,Rhythm king ect. is dead on,

  • Tony Scharf

    I finally got to play a rhythm wolf the other day. I couldn’t believe my ears! Its absolutely as terrible as some people have said! I liked the sequencer, but the sound was just….bad.

    That synth better not just be 4 voices off the Rhythm Wolf. I likened playing it to filtering a walrus fart and I stand by that assessment. Why anyone would need to play with four farting walruses is beyond me.

    • Jesse Hall

      Same here, I went to the local store in Bristol on my lunch time the other day and had a go, atrocious was the word that sprang to mind! It’s not even worth £100 in my eyes. Linking the decay on the open and closed hats was a big mistake too…

      • Tony Scharf

        If I could put a USD price on it, I’d go no higher than $50. I figure they will eventually be blown out at that price. Even then, I’d have to think about it.

        It’s only hope is that circuit benders get a hold of it and find a way to do something interesting with it.

        • Well, now you can have just the synth voice repeated four times — for $500. Fixing nothing.

          • Tony Scharf

            $500? Did Akai move their headquarters to Denver so they could smoke for inspiration? That’s just…insane.

          • Lando O Lusion

            Stoned R & D team…

        • Jesse Hall

          I did think that maybe it will be easy to mod but for that I think I’d probably pick up a second hand one, I bet there will be loads!

    • Gary

      Call me crazy but I really like the drum sound of both the Rhythm Wolf and the Tom Kat. I played with the Wolf in-store and preferred it to the Volca Beats side-by-side.

      If you’re comparing the Akais to a 808 or 909, of course you’ll be disappointed The Akai stuff is more in line with (the even older) Roland CR or Maestro Rhythm King type sound. In my opinion, there’s already too much 808 and 909 in current music. The Akai stuff is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it’s not best suited for your next hard-hitting trap or EDM track, but for quirky pop tunes or an experimental downtempo synth jam it’s probably perfect. It’s nice not to hear the same snare you’ve heard on a million other songs. Like a lot of gear from yesteryear, the Akai drum sounds are just the building blocks to a production. Nowadays people are spoiled with included FX and genre-focused sounds. They expect a finished record coming out of the main outs. Classic drum machines don’t sound like that.

      Akai should really put these machines in the hands of real producers/drum machine enthusiasts to demonstrate, instead of guys that are just going to randomly press buttons and slap distortion over everything like ketchup.

      • Tony Scharf

        No, it just sounds like crap. I had a yamaha drum pad I bought at a department store in the 80s that had a more fulfilling sound.

      • Jesse Jensen

        did you buy it after you played with it? Maybe you could make some videos showing us how it’s good.

        • terrible.dee@gmail.com

          It’s good for trash, nasty noisy low-fi, low down, Homeless-core, crap your pants and DGAF, rocking.

          There is actually a cover song I wanted to do using the wolf only, but as I am a signed artist my label doesn’t let me throw shit out there, let me see if I can get it cleared, you have re-inspired me to do it! Check back for the youtube link if you are interested,

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        I’m with you dude!

        I’m all for crapping on AKAI as I know what their deal is and it’s not good,

        But I LOVE my Rhythm wolf!

        BTW You and I are in a VAST minority

        And your comparison to the CR ,Rhythm king ect. is dead on,

  • Uh it all looks good but let’s wait to hear.

    And why not 3 octave?? or 2&1/2?

    • Yes, and with a July 2015 ship date, I expect we won’t hear it for a while.

  • Uh it all looks good but let’s wait to hear.

    And why not 3 octave?? or 2&1/2?

    • Yes, and with a July 2015 ship date, I expect we won’t hear it for a while.

  • Yanakyl

    Uh it all looks good but let’s wait to hear.

    And why not 3 octave?? or 2&1/2?

    • Yes, and with a July 2015 ship date, I expect we won’t hear it for a while.

  • chaircrusher

    I can’t remember who posted video of the rhythm wolf on my facebook feed. He was of the opinion that it was brilliant and people just weren’t using it right.

    PS Korg Volca beats are cheap but have no swing. I can imagine using them live, but what I’d really want is a Swynx. The Rhythm Wolf, if nothing else has a good swing facility.

    • Foosnark

      The kick is sort of okay. The hats are almost okay.

      The snare is inexcusably terrible.

      Someone on KVR uploaded samples, which I put together into a barebones Maschine kit. I spent a while trying to make the snare sound like something that wasn’t embarrassing, and finally just gave it up as a pointless exercise.

      I feel like Akai is just cashing in on the Cult of Analog without having any idea what they’re doing.

      • Actually, another good reason to ignore the Cult of Analog – that PO-12 getting all the attention yesterday has an ARM chip.

        So, people in the end do have the sense to focus on sound and usability. 😉

        • DJ Hombre

          This is only going to stoke sales of the PO-12 (and the others in the Teenage Engineering PO line)…all of which are now available on their website!

          I could chain 9 or 10 PO-12s together for much the same cost but still sound better & have more fun than the AKAI Wolf / Cat!

      • just passing

        The Cult of Analog was only ever a cargo cult anyway.

    • Well, look, people can convince themselves of whatever they want. I was pretty precise about the complaints with the voicing and design of the Rhythm Wolf, and it has nothing to do with how it’s used.

      But, I’m happy to give them another shot. Because these were voicing and parameter control issues, they are also fixable.

    • With the volca you can use the analog sync to do all sort of things.
      I use it with the minibrute and give the sync with the arpegiator, this way I can give the minibrute swing and switch step resolution, lots of fun!
      With a friend having the microbrute I also tested sending the lfo to generate clock, crazy things happens and there are some sweet spots tha gives such a nice groove.

      Look here 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTnVtRSusvU

  • chaircrusher

    I can’t remember who posted video of the rhythm wolf on my facebook feed. He was of the opinion that it was brilliant and people just weren’t using it right.

    PS Korg Volca beats are cheap but have no swing. I can imagine using them live, but what I’d really want is a Swynx. The Rhythm Wolf, if nothing else has a good swing facility.

    • Foosnark

      The kick is sort of okay. The hats are almost okay.

      The snare is inexcusably terrible.

      Someone on KVR uploaded samples, which I put together into a barebones Maschine kit. I spent a while trying to make the snare sound like something that wasn’t embarrassing, and finally just gave it up as a pointless exercise.

      I feel like Akai is just cashing in on the Cult of Analog without having any idea what they’re doing.

      • Actually, another good reason to ignore the Cult of Analog – that PO-12 getting all the attention yesterday has an ARM chip.

        So, people in the end do have the sense to focus on sound and usability. 😉

        • DJ Hombre

          This is only going to stoke sales of the PO-12 (and the others in the Teenage Engineering PO line)…all of which are now available on their website!

          I could chain 9 or 10 PO-12s together for much the same cost but still sound better & have more fun than the AKAI Wolf / Cat!

      • just passing

        The Cult of Analog was only ever a cargo cult anyway.

    • Well, look, people can convince themselves of whatever they want. I was pretty precise about the complaints with the voicing and design of the Rhythm Wolf, and it has nothing to do with how it’s used.

      But, I’m happy to give them another shot. Because these were voicing and parameter control issues, they are also fixable.

      Just remember, there’s competition.

      Could you very carefully adjust the Rhythm Wolf into the narrow aperture in which it sounds okay, then drench it in effects? (Literally, that’s what some readers suggested.) Sure!

      But — you can take $200 right now and buy all of those brilliant Teenage Engineering devices, or a volca beats, or a volca sample, or even something weird and funky from Bleep Labs. So no, I can’t recommend this.

    • With the volca you can use the analog sync to do all sort of things.
      I use it with the minibrute and give the sync with the arpegiator, this way I can give the minibrute swing and switch step resolution, lots of fun!
      With a friend having the microbrute I also tested sending the lfo to generate clock, crazy things happens and there are some sweet spots tha gives such a nice groove.

      Look here 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTnVtRSusvU

  • chaircrusher

    I can’t remember who posted video of the rhythm wolf on my facebook feed. He was of the opinion that it was brilliant and people just weren’t using it right.

    PS Korg Volca beats are cheap but have no swing. I can imagine using them live, but what I’d really want is a Swynx. The Rhythm Wolf, if nothing else has a good swing facility.

    • Foosnark

      The kick is sort of okay. The hats are almost okay.

      The snare is inexcusably terrible.

      Someone on KVR uploaded samples, which I put together into a barebones Maschine kit. I spent a while trying to make the snare sound like something that wasn’t embarrassing, and finally just gave it up as a pointless exercise.

      I feel like Akai is just cashing in on the Cult of Analog without having any idea what they’re doing.

      • Actually, another good reason to ignore the Cult of Analog – that PO-12 getting all the attention yesterday has an ARM chip.

        So, people in the end do have the sense to focus on sound and usability. 😉

        • DJ Hombre

          This is only going to stoke sales of the PO-12 (and the others in the Teenage Engineering PO line)…all of which are now available on their website!

          I could chain 9 or 10 PO-12s together for much the same cost but still sound better & have more fun than the AKAI Wolf / Cat!

      • just passing

        The Cult of Analog was only ever a cargo cult anyway.

    • Well, look, people can convince themselves of whatever they want. I was pretty precise about the complaints with the voicing and design of the Rhythm Wolf, and it has nothing to do with how it’s used.

      But, I’m happy to give them another shot. Because these were voicing and parameter control issues, they are also fixable.

      Just remember, there’s competition.

      Could you very carefully adjust the Rhythm Wolf into the narrow aperture in which it sounds okay, then drench it in effects? (Literally, that’s what some readers suggested.) Sure!

      But — you can take $200 right now and buy all of those brilliant Teenage Engineering devices, or a volca beats, or a volca sample, or even something weird and funky from Bleep Labs. So no, I can’t recommend this.

    • Yanakyl

      With the volca you can use the analog sync to do all sort of things.
      I use it with the minibrute and give the sync with the arpegiator, this way I can give the minibrute swing and switch step resolution, lots of fun!
      With a friend having the microbrute I also tested sending the lfo to generate clock, crazy things happens and there are some sweet spots tha gives such a nice groove.

      Look here 🙂

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTnVtRSusvU

  • teej

    It’s becoming crystal clear; Korg gets it, and Akai just doesn’t get it. Korg keeps successfully wrapping nostalgia, quirk, and good design into FUN, MUSICAL packages. While Akai seems to be developing based on, I dunno… anyone know?

    • I’m not even going to say that’s the problem. Akai has some decent products out there. I have no idea what happened here … why they would take a product that was clearly flawed, and then repeat it, and try to sell it again.

      • teej

        Hilariously, this makes it look as though they must think “Ah, clearly people aren’t into wolves…back to the drawing board” and out comes a bright yellow cat.

        I wonder if Akai is capable of solid manufacturing, but only under strong guidance? Look at the old MPCs, and of course, Push — fine specimens there, and both made under 3rd party direction.

      • ilpero

        i personally believe that guys at akai had ordered tons of components for the original RW, and now they just try to get some of them out of their hands while some people still think that the kings clothes look kinda neat.
        seems like they realised that no one would buy so many rhythm wolves so this might just be their try to disguise those same components into something that hasn’t got name rhythm wolf printed at the front panel.
        here for once the marketing trick is well balanced with the actual product itself.

    • just passing

      The Korg connection is interesting. Because after Korg came out with the nano* range of USB controllers, Akai did much the same – launched some remarkably similar controllers clearly intended to fill the same niche, with some ostensibly desirable features – but a far less useful implementation.

      Perhaps we should start calling them Akharinger?

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        BAMM!!!!!

    • terrible.dee@gmail.com

      Korg deserves MAJOR props! They are kicking ass and taking names.

      Note to other companies: Watch Korg, THAT is what an INDUSTRY LEADER looks like

  • teej

    It’s becoming crystal clear; Korg gets it, and Akai just doesn’t get it. Korg keeps successfully wrapping nostalgia, quirk, and good design into FUN, MUSICAL packages. While Akai seems to be developing based on, I dunno… anyone know?

    • I’m not even going to say that’s the problem. Akai has some decent products out there. I have no idea what happened here … why they would take a product that was clearly flawed, and then repeat it, and try to sell it again.

      • teej

        Hilariously, this makes it look as though they must think “Ah, clearly people aren’t into wolves…back to the drawing board” and out comes a bright yellow cat.

        I wonder if Akai is capable of solid manufacturing, but only under strong guidance? Look at the old MPCs, and of course, Push — fine specimens there, and both made under 3rd party direction.

      • ilpero

        i personally believe that guys at akai had ordered tons of components for the original RW, and now they just try to get some of them out of their hands while some people still think that the kings clothes look kinda neat.
        seems like they realised that no one would buy so many rhythm wolves so this might just be their try to disguise those same components into something that hasn’t got name rhythm wolf printed at the front panel.
        here for once the marketing trick is well balanced with the actual product itself.

    • just passing

      The Korg connection is interesting. Because after Korg came out with the nano* range of USB controllers, Akai did much the same – launched some remarkably similar controllers clearly intended to fill the same niche, with some ostensibly desirable features – but a far less useful implementation.

      Perhaps we should start calling them Akharinger?

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        BAMM!!!!!

    • terrible.dee@gmail.com

      Korg deserves MAJOR props! They are kicking ass and taking names.

      Note to other companies: Watch Korg, THAT is what an INDUSTRY LEADER looks like

  • teej

    It’s becoming crystal clear; Korg gets it, and Akai just doesn’t get it. Korg keeps successfully wrapping nostalgia, quirk, and good design into FUN, MUSICAL packages. While Akai seems to be developing based on, I dunno… anyone know?

    • I’m not even going to say that’s the problem. Akai has some decent products out there. I have no idea what happened here … why they would take a product that was clearly flawed, and then repeat it, and try to sell it again.

      • teej

        Hilariously, this makes it look as though they must think “Ah, clearly people aren’t into wolves…back to the drawing board” and out comes a bright yellow cat.

        I wonder if Akai is capable of solid manufacturing, but only under strong guidance? Look at the old MPCs, and of course, Push — fine specimens there, and both made under 3rd party direction.

      • ilpero

        i personally believe that guys at akai had ordered tons of components for the original RW, and now they just try to get some of them out of their hands while some people still think that the kings clothes look kinda neat.
        seems like they realised that no one would buy so many rhythm wolves so this might just be their try to disguise those same components into something that hasn’t got name rhythm wolf printed at the front panel.
        here for once the marketing trick is well balanced with the actual product itself.

    • just passing

      The Korg connection is interesting. Because after Korg came out with the nano* range of USB controllers, Akai did much the same – launched some remarkably similar controllers clearly intended to fill the same niche, with some ostensibly desirable features – but a far less useful implementation.

      Perhaps we should start calling them Akharinger?

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        BAMM!!!!!

    • terrible.dee@gmail.com

      Korg deserves MAJOR props! They are kicking ass and taking names.

      Note to other companies: Watch Korg, THAT is what an INDUSTRY LEADER looks like

  • kittylitter

    next up akai ” perkussion pussy”!!!’

  • kittylitter

    next up akai ” perkussion pussy”!!!’

  • kittylitter

    next up akai ” perkussion pussy”!!!’

  • Peter

    You guys are going to be really salty with Eastern Bloc Era New Wave becomes in vogue again and these things are super hard to get at any price.

    • Don’t knock Soviet synthesizers. I love Soviet synthesizers – I’d definitely take one of those over this. 😉

      • ja

        Until you have a polivox which is out of tune….

    • just passing

      It was ever in vogue a first time…?

  • Peter

    You guys are going to be really salty with Eastern Bloc Era New Wave becomes in vogue again and these things are super hard to get at any price.

    • Don’t knock Soviet synthesizers. I love Soviet synthesizers – I’d definitely take one of those over this. 😉

      • ja

        Until you have a polivox which is out of tune….

    • just passing

      It was ever in vogue a first time…?

  • Peter

    You guys are going to be really salty with Eastern Bloc Era New Wave becomes in vogue again and these things are super hard to get at any price.

    • Don’t knock Soviet synthesizers. I love Soviet synthesizers – I’d definitely take one of those over this. 😉

      • ja

        Until you have a polivox which is out of tune….

    • just passing

      It was ever in vogue a first time…?

  • At least now we know Buzz Lightyear can’t play the keyboard…

  • At least now we know Buzz Lightyear can’t play the keyboard…

  • Yanakyl

    At least now we know Buzz Lightyear can’t play the keyboard…

  • Kinetic Monkey

    lol, the keyboard is just bizarre. What workflow were they thinking of? “Ah, the analog arturia and korg keyboards have sold like hotcakes, lets make something like that, but with very very little control over the sound. Then lets send someone who doesn’t play keys to demo it.” I mean it’s not a terrible terrible sound, it’s just… why?!

  • Kinetic Monkey

    lol, the keyboard is just bizarre. What workflow were they thinking of? “Ah, the analog arturia and korg keyboards have sold like hotcakes, lets make something like that, but with very very little control over the sound. Then lets send someone who doesn’t play keys to demo it.” I mean it’s not a terrible terrible sound, it’s just… why?!

  • lol, the keyboard is just bizarre. What workflow were they thinking of? “Ah, the analog arturia and korg keyboards have sold like hotcakes, lets make something like that, but with very very little control over the sound. Then lets send someone who doesn’t play keys to demo it.” I mean it’s not a terrible terrible sound, it’s just… why?!

  • Lando O Lusion

    I have not used any of the new Akai products or the Rhythm Wolf, but the marketing of these products seems confused at best. Who are they targeting with these instruments?

  • teej

    I gotta ask… Whose idea could it possibly have been to print all the control labels in light blue on top of cement gray?! I’m sure the video isn’t making it any easier, but that looks like it would be damn difficult to read.

  • Lando O Lusion

    I have not used any of the new Akai products or the Rhythm Wolf, but the marketing of these products seems confused at best. Who are they targeting with these instruments?

  • teej

    I gotta ask… Whose idea could it possibly have been to print all the control labels in light blue on top of cement gray?! I’m sure the video isn’t making it any easier, but that looks like it would be damn difficult to read.

  • Lando O Lusion

    I have not used any of the new Akai products or the Rhythm Wolf, but the marketing of these products seems confused at best. Who are they targeting with these instruments?

  • teej

    I gotta ask… Whose idea could it possibly have been to print all the control labels in light blue on top of cement gray?! I’m sure the video isn’t making it any easier, but that looks like it would be damn difficult to read.

  • teej

    The pattern being demo’d around 2:30 was so ungodly lame and BORING, that when he finally stopped it and the first words he said were “lotta fun!”, I actually thought for a minute that this video could be an elaborate prank.

  • teej

    The pattern being demo’d around 2:30 was so ungodly lame and BORING, that when he finally stopped it and the first words he said were “lotta fun!”, I actually thought for a minute that this video could be an elaborate prank.

  • teej

    The pattern being demo’d around 2:30 was so ungodly lame and BORING, that when he finally stopped it and the first words he said were “lotta fun!”, I actually thought for a minute that this video could be an elaborate prank.

  • Bynar

    They even ripped off the cheap roadside fireworks logo. What’s going on here?!

    • just passing

      I have to assume that the name is fair warning that Akai are going to piss all over your furniture.

  • Bynar

    They even ripped off the cheap roadside fireworks logo. What’s going on here?!

    • just passing

      I have to assume that the name is fair warning that Akai are going to piss all over your furniture.

  • Bynar

    They even ripped off the cheap roadside fireworks logo. What’s going on here?!

    • just passing

      I have to assume that the name is fair warning that Akai are going to piss all over your furniture.

  • just passing

    Well, at least sticking with the wolf theme for the 4-part bass synth (are there a LOT of polyphonic basslines out there, Akai?) makes it easier for those of us who think it somewhere between a dog and a total howler. Not content with the age-old analogue fuck-up of the sucky filter, they’ve now made a synth that won’t stay in tune. In 2015, when fast 32-bit processors (which can be used to analyse incoming frequencies and correct output voltages pretty bloody accurately) more or less come free in cereal boxes.

    And I’ve just realised how old I’m getting… I just want to tell Dan to sit up straight and make him spit that gum out. God help me… unless it’s not just me, and he really is way too unprofessional, even in the pretty casual musical world. He just comes over as not really giving a shit about the products he’s demoing.

    Which, in fairness – why would he?

    • Adam Jay

      Yea, the gum in his mouth got me too. But it is a great metaphor for Akai’s recent foray into analog synthesis.
      Hard to be taken seriously with gum in your mouth, Akai.
      Spit it out, comb your hair, and get serious.

  • just passing

    Well, at least sticking with the wolf theme for the 4-part bass synth (are there a LOT of polyphonic basslines out there, Akai?) makes it easier for those of us who think it somewhere between a dog and a total howler. Not content with the age-old analogue fuck-up of the sucky filter, they’ve now made a synth that won’t stay in tune. In 2015, when fast 32-bit processors (which can be used to analyse incoming frequencies and correct output voltages pretty bloody accurately) more or less come free in cereal boxes.

    And I’ve just realised how old I’m getting… I just want to tell Dan to sit up straight and make him spit that gum out. God help me… unless it’s not just me, and he really is way too unprofessional, even in the pretty casual musical world. He just comes over as not really giving a shit about the products he’s demoing.

    Which, in fairness – why would he?

    • Adam Jay

      Yea, the gum in his mouth got me too. But it is a great metaphor for Akai’s recent foray into analog synthesis.
      Hard to be taken seriously with gum in your mouth, Akai.
      Spit it out, comb your hair, and get serious.

  • just passing

    Well, at least sticking with the wolf theme for the 4-part bass synth (are there a LOT of polyphonic basslines out there, Akai?) makes it easier for those of us who think it somewhere between a dog and a total howler. Not content with the age-old analogue fuck-up of the sucky filter, they’ve now made a synth that won’t stay in tune. In 2015, when fast 32-bit processors (which can be used to analyse incoming frequencies and correct output voltages pretty bloody accurately) more or less come free in cereal boxes.

    And I’ve just realised how old I’m getting… I just want to tell Dan to sit up straight and make him spit that gum out. God help me… unless it’s not just me, and he really is way too unprofessional, even in the pretty casual musical world. He just comes over as not really giving a shit about the products he’s demoing.

    Which, in fairness – why would he?

    • Adam Jay

      Yea, the gum in his mouth got me too. But it is a great metaphor for Akai’s recent foray into analog synthesis.
      Hard to be taken seriously with gum in your mouth, Akai.
      Spit it out, comb your hair, and get serious.

  • devmiles

    the answer lies in 1988 .. what the hell happened to akai? from industry pioneers to silly copycats making useless machines with very useless technology. give your ears some treat and just listen to this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyuIP3m9kds

    • Dave Whiting

      Completely different company that share a similar name. New Akai is rubbish.

  • devmiles

    the answer lies in 1988 .. what the hell happened to akai? from industry pioneers to silly copycats making useless machines with very useless technology. give your ears some treat and just listen to this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyuIP3m9kds

    • Dave Whiting

      Completely different company that share a similar name. New Akai is rubbish.

  • devmiles

    the answer lies in 1988 .. what the hell happened to akai? from industry pioneers to silly copycats making useless machines with very useless technology. give your ears some treat and just listen to this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyuIP3m9kds

    • Dave Whiting

      Completely different company that share a similar name. New Akai is rubbish.

  • Simon

    What the hell.

    At least, the design and build quality look pretty great and the sequencer looks really usable. A nice container without any good content.

    If they want to save face, what Akai needs to do is rip out the terrible synth circuits and just put 4x CV/Gate outputs + at least one or two automatable parameter per voice, also outputting CV. Send all that to MIDI too. Now they’d have a killer device that could be way cheaper.

    • Errr, sorry, the design? Have you watched the video and looked at the colour scheme? Or the plasticky, fake wood end caps? Come on, I could bolt on better wood end caps, cut in shape at the local hardware store. It’s got a metal chassis, maybe. But did anyone talk about the keybed? Or – as someone already mentioned here – the blue text on grey background. Seriously, everything is wrong on this, errr, synth.

      For the money, you could get so much else, which would actually have some character. Analog or digital. This one, for example: http://youtu.be/TyapZZPuqoo

  • Simon

    What the hell.

    At least, the design and build quality look pretty great and the sequencer looks really usable. A nice container without any good content.

    If they want to save face, what Akai needs to do is rip out the terrible synth circuits and just put 4x CV/Gate outputs + at least one or two automatable parameter per voice, also outputting CV. Send all that to MIDI too. Now they’d have a killer device that could be way cheaper.

    • Errr, sorry, the design? Have you watched the video and looked at the colour scheme? Or the plasticky, fake wood end caps? Come on, I could bolt on better wood end caps, cut in shape at the local hardware store. It’s got a metal chassis, maybe. But did anyone talk about the keybed? Or – as someone already mentioned here – the blue text on grey background. Seriously, everything is wrong on this, errr, synth.

      For the money, you could get so much else, which would actually have some character. Analog or digital. This one, for example: http://youtu.be/TyapZZPuqoo

  • Simon

    What the hell.

    At least, the design and build quality look pretty great and the sequencer looks really usable. A nice container without any good content.

    If they want to save face, what Akai needs to do is rip out the terrible synth circuits and just put 4x CV/Gate outputs + at least one or two automatable parameter per voice, also outputting CV. Send all that to MIDI too. Now they’d have a killer device that could be way cheaper.

    • Errr, sorry, the design? Have you watched the video and looked at the colour scheme? Or the plasticky, fake wood end caps? Come on, I could bolt on better wood end caps, cut in shape at the local hardware store. It’s got a metal chassis, maybe. But did anyone talk about the keybed? Or – as someone already mentioned here – the blue text on grey background. Seriously, everything is wrong on this, errr, synth.

      For the money, you could get so much else, which would actually have some character. Analog or digital. This one, for example: http://youtu.be/TyapZZPuqoo

  • Googie

    I find this hallarious all these ppl hating on the akai
    They spend $200 on a drum synth but expect it sounding
    Like a tempest or elektron
    You want a drum synth for $200 get a sparkLE
    I have a rhythm wolf and have no issues with it
    You have issues with tuning download the tuning tool
    Off Akai website
    I run the RW through Ableton , add few fx and it sounds
    Awesome
    If you’re shit you’re going to make shit music no matter
    How much you spend on a dum synth
    Maybe you all should stop blaming the equipment you use
    Or just get the 35k moog

    • Alternatives for less than price here:
      – KORG volca beats
      – the new Teenage Engineering PO-12
      – almost anything you can find used … including old Akai drum machines, among others

      Don’t blame the tools, but don’t take $200 and light it on fire, either…

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        BTW I think the XR20 is awesome!

        Incredible value for the price

    • Yeah, sorry, but you’ve missed the point. Completely.

    • terrible.dee@gmail.com

      BOOM!

      “If you’re shit you’re going to make shit music no matter
      How much you spend on a dum synth”

      THE TRUTH

  • Googie

    I find this hallarious all these ppl hating on the akai
    They spend $200 on a drum synth but expect it sounding
    Like a tempest or elektron
    You want a drum synth for $200 get a sparkLE
    I have a rhythm wolf and have no issues with it
    You have issues with tuning download the tuning tool
    Off Akai website
    I run the RW through Ableton , add few fx and it sounds
    Awesome
    If you’re shit you’re going to make shit music no matter
    How much you spend on a dum synth
    Maybe you all should stop blaming the equipment you use
    Or just get the 35k moog

    • Alternatives for less than price here:
      – KORG volca beats
      – the new Teenage Engineering PO-12
      – almost anything you can find used … including old Akai drum machines, among others

      Don’t blame the tools, but don’t take $200 and light it on fire, either…

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        BTW I think the XR20 is awesome!

        Incredible value for the price

    • Yeah, sorry, but you’ve missed the point. Completely.

    • terrible.dee@gmail.com

      BOOM!

      “If you’re shit you’re going to make shit music no matter
      How much you spend on a dum synth”

      THE TRUTH

  • Googie

    I find this hallarious all these ppl hating on the akai
    They spend $200 on a drum synth but expect it sounding
    Like a tempest or elektron
    You want a drum synth for $200 get a sparkLE
    I have a rhythm wolf and have no issues with it
    You have issues with tuning download the tuning tool
    Off Akai website
    I run the RW through Ableton , add few fx and it sounds
    Awesome
    If you’re shit you’re going to make shit music no matter
    How much you spend on a dum synth
    Maybe you all should stop blaming the equipment you use
    Or just get the 35k moog

    • Alternatives for less than price here:
      – KORG volca beats
      – the new Teenage Engineering PO-12
      – almost anything you can find used … including old Akai drum machines, among others

      Don’t blame the tools, but don’t take $200 and light it on fire, either…

      • terrible.dee@gmail.com

        BTW I think the XR20 is awesome!

        Incredible value for the price

    • Yeah, sorry, but you’ve missed the point. Completely.

    • terrible.dee@gmail.com

      BOOM!

      “If you’re shit you’re going to make shit music no matter
      How much you spend on a dum synth”

      THE TRUTH

  • Ian

    They’ve just got the marketing wrong on the Timbre Wolf:
    It’s not out of tune- it’s microtonal! 19TET, anyone?
    Volume drop when the resonance kicks in? Same as the classic SSM2044!
    Err, ok. Maybe not. Maybe just be honest and just call it “The Howler”.

  • Ian

    They’ve just got the marketing wrong on the Timbre Wolf:
    It’s not out of tune- it’s microtonal! 19TET, anyone?
    Volume drop when the resonance kicks in? Same as the classic SSM2044!
    Err, ok. Maybe not. Maybe just be honest and just call it “The Howler”.

  • Ian

    They’ve just got the marketing wrong on the Timbre Wolf:
    It’s not out of tune- it’s microtonal! 19TET, anyone?
    Volume drop when the resonance kicks in? Same as the classic SSM2044!
    Err, ok. Maybe not. Maybe just be honest and just call it “The Howler”.

  • Steven Arthur

    I actually really really like my Rhythm Wolf….but I don’t use the bass synth AT all. going to get a Korg Volca bass for that. But I like the Rhythm Wolf- it doesn’t try to be a TR808, because lets face it, it will never be that ever. But it has a fun format to play on and jam out, I add pedals to help the sound.

  • Steven Arthur

    I actually really really like my Rhythm Wolf….but I don’t use the bass synth AT all. going to get a Korg Volca bass for that. But I like the Rhythm Wolf- it doesn’t try to be a TR808, because lets face it, it will never be that ever. But it has a fun format to play on and jam out, I add pedals to help the sound.

  • Steven Arthur

    I actually really really like my Rhythm Wolf….but I don’t use the bass synth AT all. going to get a Korg Volca bass for that. But I like the Rhythm Wolf- it doesn’t try to be a TR808, because lets face it, it will never be that ever. But it has a fun format to play on and jam out, I add pedals to help the sound.

  • terrible.dee@gmail.com

    Akai isn’t really a company, it’s a brand. one of many (Including M-audio, Alesis and many others) owned by a huge music conglomerate, anything about the old company is dead and gone except for the logo,

    This mega-corp’s CEO apparently told Rodger Lyyn to GFO when he called about his royalty check,

    Do your own research but for me NO PRODUCT released by this group is to be trusted, I have boycotted M-Audio for years, for selling me crap other brands are close to the same fate.

    Ironically enough, I am one of the few people who LOVES the Rhythm wolf, it’s a nasty trashy mess with a personality all it’s own, right up my alley, also this thing drifts BIG time, giving it a feel, it’s almost like someone is playing it making the odd mistake here and there,

    I dunno, I realize everyone spends their lives trying to make everything sound like an 808 but I’ve had more FUN with the wolf than any other piece of gear I’ve bought in years, I can do F’ed up noise jams for HOURS,

    I think it’s major crime , to most is simply not being an 808, and it’s not so get over it.

    P.S But even I must admit, there’s no excuse for that raggedy-ass kik drum. AKAI ! Firmware update for the kik! Get on it!

  • terrible.dee@gmail.com

    Akai isn’t really a company, it’s a brand. one of many (Including M-audio, Alesis and many others) owned by a huge music conglomerate, anything about the old company is dead and gone except for the logo,

    This mega-corp’s CEO apparently told Rodger Lyyn to GFO when he called about his royalty check,

    Do your own research but for me NO PRODUCT released by this group is to be trusted, I have boycotted M-Audio for years, for selling me crap other brands are close to the same fate.

    Ironically enough, I am one of the few people who LOVES the Rhythm wolf, it’s a nasty trashy mess with a personality all it’s own, right up my alley, also this thing drifts BIG time, giving it a feel, it’s almost like someone is playing it making the odd mistake here and there,

    I dunno, I realize everyone spends their lives trying to make everything sound like an 808 but I’ve had more FUN with the wolf than any other piece of gear I’ve bought in years, I can do F’ed up noise jams for HOURS,

    I think it’s major crime , to most is simply not being an 808, and it’s not so get over it.

    P.S But even I must admit, there’s no excuse for that raggedy-ass kik drum. AKAI ! Firmware update for the kik! Get on it!

  • terrible.dee@gmail.com

    Akai isn’t really a company, it’s a brand. one of many (Including M-audio, Alesis and many others) owned by a huge music conglomerate, anything about the old company is dead and gone except for the logo,

    This mega-corp’s CEO apparently told Rodger Lyyn to GFO when he called about his royalty check,

    Do your own research but for me NO PRODUCT released by this group is to be trusted, I have boycotted M-Audio for years, for selling me crap other brands are close to the same fate.

    Ironically enough, I am one of the few people who LOVES the Rhythm wolf, it’s a nasty trashy mess with a personality all it’s own, right up my alley, also this thing drifts BIG time, giving it a feel, it’s almost like someone is playing it making the odd mistake here and there,

    I dunno, I realize everyone spends their lives trying to make everything sound like an 808 but I’ve had more FUN with the wolf than any other piece of gear I’ve bought in years, I can do F’ed up noise jams for HOURS,

    I think it’s major crime , to most is simply not being an 808, and it’s not so get over it.

    P.S But even I must admit, there’s no excuse for that raggedy-ass kik drum. AKAI ! Firmware update for the kik! Get on it!

  • Brett Anthony

    Seriously? Sounds aside, the Volca and the TE PO-12 are no where near as “playable” as the wolf, (pads, build strength? I mean did you even think before you posted?) and this statement just solidified your total lack of understanding “almost anything you can find used …”. Yeah right, I’m sure I can go out and buy a ton of used “true analog” drum machines for under $200? Where do you shop Pete, I want to go there!

  • Brett Anthony

    “I was pretty precise about the complaints with the voicing and design of the Rhythm Wolf” Oh, were you now, according to who? Theres nothing much precise about an opinion Pete, like assholes, theres lots of em!

  • Brett Anthony

    Oh yes I’m sure it did, thats because it uses samples, and any moron can hit a sample pad. But unfortunately you need to have some IQ in regards to sound design to use an analog instrument…which you are obviously lacking? Don’t worry, just hit the loop button and go back to sleep dearest.

  • Brett Anthony

    Yep so do I. I have all mine on seperate outputs, run them through some EQ/comp on the desk and these things sound great. The problem is most people just don’t understand how to use analog drums. They swipe a few dials and think it should sound instantly perfect. Its the mindset of the “sampler” generation Im afraid. No electronic knowledge, just software. That “minority” will grow over the years by the way. History repeats, Ive seen so many boxes like this come out in the 80s that were blasted the same way, and now we pay a fortune for them, yada yada yada and the wheel goes round.

  • Brett Anthony

    “but as I am a signed artist my label doesn’t let me throw shit out there”

    Lol you sound like a solid wanker. I laughed so hard reading that. Pathetic.

  • Brett Anthony

    Just a quick word to the Eurorack/electronic techs. These and the Wolf make great CHEAP base! oscillators. I mean they are 5 analog oscillators, and with some basic post processing can actually sound really good. A moron could rip them open and add individual output mods, the section on the circuit board is simple to find. The tom on the Tom cat is well worth the price. And the wolf has another oscillator that can easily be patched into decent filtering/Distortion. It seems the EDM guys don’t like them but ill happily mod these into a decent Euro drum rig for a bargain price.

  • Joseph Guerra

    Really don’t understand all the hate, especially at the price point. I’m pretty into my Tom Kat. I put it into Ableton and do all sorts of EQing, effects and I sometimes stack samples with it. This guy does some pretty cool sounding stuff with it.

    https://soundcloud.com/hardtek-studios/beast-frenzy