overbridge

It’s deja vu all over again. This time last year, the big announcement from Sweden’s drum machine mavens at Elektron was Overbridge – technology for integrating their hardware with your computer setup.

Overbridge is the topic again this year. And it’s still not quite shipping – though at least there’s a new date of “summer 2015.” (And in Sweden, “summer” is a pretty specific time, marked by the sun never going away. A public beta is due next month, which we’re keen to try.)

But it seems that what’s happened is that Elektron has expanded the scope of the technology. The pitch: make an “analog” plug-in.

The original idea of Overbridge is the same. At its simplest, you plug in a USB cable and get all your ins and outs from the hardware. And they’re still planning editor/librarian features, so you can recall settings and automation with projects easily.

The new angle is what they’re calling “real analog VSTi’s,” with the dramatic promise that “for the first time in history, seamless computer integration of analog synthesizers and drum machines is a reality.”

Of course, we’re not really talking analog here – by the time you’re recording to the computer or doing a round-trip through your Elektron for effects and back again to the computer, you’re digital, by definition. Rather, it seems what we’ve really got here is a more fleshed-out vision of how the Overbridge software will look and work.

And you get an actual VST or Audio Unit you can drop in a project. It also has a slick new UI teased in the screen shot.

Analog or not, it’s cool.

In other words, I think this is what was more or less described verbally last year, only now taking form in software.

In public beta, they promise:

CoreAudio / ASIO / WDM sound card functionality
Multi-tracking via single USB
Overbridge Control Panel
Analog Four/Keys/Rytm plugins
VSTi plugin format
Parameter automation
Kit/Sound editing capabilities
Sequencing via DAW – “Analog VSTi”
Elektron sequencer sync to DAW
Multiple Elektron units support
Mac and Windows support
Overbridge 1.0 to be launched before summer 2015

Logic users are left out of the beta, but AU shows up in 1.0 (the summer edition):

AU plugin format
Total recall of machine state
Analog Rytm sample management
Analog processing via plugin
Overbridge 1.1 to be released autumn 2015

1.1 offers more traditional (but important) editor functionality:

Librarian
Pattern/Song editing

Reading through that list, you can see why this might prove worth the wait. Using your analog Elektron as outboard processing gear from a plug-in is pretty cool. And while the process of managing samples and patterns is right now painfully clunky, this could be the most computer-savvy drum machine hardware we’ve seen yet.

No, I think the bad news is that the Octatrack is left out, as this sort of integration would seem to be hugely interesting to that audience.

I’ll try to track Elektron and find out more, and see if we can get a closer look at the software.

  • Korhan Erel

    This is a very interesting concept. I wish I had the resources to afford a Machinedrum or an Octatrack. Actually if I had an Octatrack, I don’t think I’d necessarily want it to work as a plugin in my computer and would instead use it as a center of my set up, perhaps even controlling the computer from it (if I use a computer, that is).

    • Aiki

      Overbridge wont work with octatrack anyway. Its Analog Four/Keys and RYTM only.

    • Michael Aldridge

      What you said there about the Octatrack as the centre of a setup is exactly what Elektron intended in my humble opinion. You don’t even get MIDI over USB with the Octatrack (as you do with the new Elektron models) – forces you away from your computer and onto the hardware 🙂

      Overbridge is certainly very interesting!

      • Mactley

        Yes, it’s just a shame about the lack of outputs though. Almost cripples it as a studio hub, forcing you to do all the mixing inside the OT. I have one and love it, but damn, it annoys me sometimes.

        • Michael Aldridge

          Haha, gotta agree with that. I suppose it depends on which direction you’ve approached the OT from (sweeping statement alert) – I’ve approached the OT from a mainly software background (using the heaps of soft samplers from Fruityloops [yeh I said it, Kelloggs :P], Reason and others like Kontakt) and I have some gripes with the flexibility, but as a tool for making something new away from my computer it comes into its own. I also use the MIDI sequencing capabilities of my OT to control other outboard gear which increases its usefulness still more… Ah I dunno. Probably shouldn’t deviate into a hardware vs. software debate…

      • Octacrack

        I love my OT, but I unfortunately developed an interest in granular synthesis when I bought my OT… and still have to do that in Live.

  • Korhan Erel

    This is a very interesting concept. I wish I had the resources to afford a Machinedrum or an Octatrack. Actually if I had an Octatrack, I don’t think I’d necessarily want it to work as a plugin in my computer and would instead use it as a center of my set up, perhaps even controlling the computer from it (if I use a computer, that is).

    • Aiki

      Overbridge wont work with octatrack anyway. Its Analog Four/Keys and RYTM only.

    • Michael Aldridge

      What you said there about the Octatrack as the centre of a setup is exactly what Elektron intended in my humble opinion. You don’t even get MIDI over USB with the Octatrack (as you do with the new Elektron models) – forces you away from your computer and onto the hardware 🙂

      Overbridge is certainly very interesting!

      • Mactley

        Yes, it’s just a shame about the lack of outputs though. Almost cripples it as a studio hub, forcing you to do all the mixing inside the OT. I have one and love it, but damn, it annoys me sometimes.

        • Michael Aldridge

          Haha, gotta agree with that. I suppose it depends on which direction you’ve approached the OT from (sweeping statement alert) – I’ve approached the OT from a mainly software background (using the heaps of soft samplers from Fruityloops [yeh I said it, Kelloggs :P], Reason and others like Kontakt) and I have some gripes with the flexibility, but as a tool for making something new away from my computer it comes into its own. I also use the MIDI sequencing capabilities of my OT to control other outboard gear which increases its usefulness still more… Ah I dunno. Probably shouldn’t deviate into a hardware vs. software debate…

      • Octacrack

        I love my OT, but I unfortunately developed an interest in granular synthesis when I bought my OT… and still have to do that in Live.

  • Korhan Erel

    This is a very interesting concept. I wish I had the resources to afford a Machinedrum or an Octatrack. Actually if I had an Octatrack, I don’t think I’d necessarily want it to work as a plugin in my computer and would instead use it as a center of my set up, perhaps even controlling the computer from it (if I use a computer, that is).

    • Aiki

      Overbridge wont work with octatrack anyway. Its Analog Four/Keys and RYTM only.

    • Michael Aldridge

      What you said there about the Octatrack as the centre of a setup is exactly what Elektron intended in my humble opinion. You don’t even get MIDI over USB with the Octatrack (as you do with the new Elektron models) – forces you away from your computer and onto the hardware 🙂

      Overbridge is certainly very interesting!

      • Mactley

        Yes, it’s just a shame about the lack of outputs though. Almost cripples it as a studio hub, forcing you to do all the mixing inside the OT. I have one and love it, but damn, it annoys me sometimes.

        • Michael Aldridge

          Haha, gotta agree with that. I suppose it depends on which direction you’ve approached the OT from (sweeping statement alert) – I’ve approached the OT from a mainly software background (using the heaps of soft samplers from Fruityloops [yeh I said it, Kelloggs :P], Reason and others like Kontakt) and I have some gripes with the flexibility, but as a tool for making something new away from my computer it comes into its own. I also use the MIDI sequencing capabilities of my OT to control other outboard gear which increases its usefulness still more… Ah I dunno. Probably shouldn’t deviate into a hardware vs. software debate…

      • Octacrack

        I love my OT, but I unfortunately developed an interest in granular synthesis when I bought my OT… and still have to do that in Live.

  • Freeks

    “Analog VSTi” Gotta love the marketing BS here 😀

    • Michael Aldridge

      Utterly agree, but you can bet that tagline is gonna shift units.

    • asdasdasdasd

      haha well its kinda true tho. you’ll be having a vsti controlled analog synth so shortening it down to analog vsti is pretty close wouldn’t you say?

  • Freeks

    “Analog VSTi” Gotta love the marketing BS here 😀

    • Michael Aldridge

      Utterly agree, but you can bet that tagline is gonna shift units.

    • asdasdasdasd

      haha well its kinda true tho. you’ll be having a vsti controlled analog synth so shortening it down to analog vsti is pretty close wouldn’t you say?

  • Freeks

    “Analog VSTi” Gotta love the marketing BS here 😀

    • Michael Aldridge

      Utterly agree, but you can bet that tagline is gonna shift units.

    • asdasdasdasd

      haha well its kinda true tho. you’ll be having a vsti controlled analog synth so shortening it down to analog vsti is pretty close wouldn’t you say?

  • Michael Weiss

    I think Waldorf was doing something like this way back in the early aughts with their AFB-16 analog filter bank: http://www.waldorf-music.info/hardware-archive/afb-16

  • Michael Weiss

    I think Waldorf was doing something like this way back in the early aughts with their AFB-16 analog filter bank: http://www.waldorf-music.info/hardware-archive/afb-16

  • Michael Weiss

    I think Waldorf was doing something like this way back in the early aughts with their AFB-16 analog filter bank: http://www.waldorf-music.info/hardware-archive/afb-16

  • Elektron scam

    Sick of hearing about this.. What overbridge has done is made the Analog Rytm basically update free!!! I bought this machine almost a year ago and it’s a unfinished product. You should be ashamed Elektron.

    • Nagasaki Nightrider

      They didn’t promise you anything other than that Overbridge would come at some point in the future. It’s not fair to call the Rytm or the Analog Four unfinished because Elektron is still working on some extra free shit that you want.

      • Michael Aldridge

        YES! exactly this. I think we’re slightly spoilt in this app culture where you pay a one-time fee for something and expect lifetime free updates, complaining when a developer dares to charge for in-app purchases to keep themselves fed. Elektron (and others) don’t *have* to update their gear. Buying gear on the promises of what it could be in the future, rather than what it can currently do seems like a flawed strategy.

        • gustus

          no, we’re not. companies are spoilt by the option to release unfinished and half working hardware. and especially the so called boutique companies seem to love making use of that option. selling and advertising gear on the promises of what it could be in the future, rather than what it can currently do seems much more like a flawed strategy to me.
          the sample support on the rytm is definitely unfinished. and there’s no such thing as a free update. everyone paid for their gear and companies *have* to offer support.

          • mercury

            if you don’t like the product the way it is, why buy it? no one is forcing you to buy any of this and a little bit of research quickly tells you if the product is to your liking.

            i don’t think spoilt is the right word, stupid is probably more accurate.

          • Mactley

            What’s wrong with sample support on the RYTM?

  • Elektron scam

    Sick of hearing about this.. What overbridge has done is made the Analog Rytm basically update free!!! I bought this machine almost a year ago and it’s a unfinished product. You should be ashamed Elektron.

    • Nagasaki Nightrider

      They didn’t promise you anything other than that Overbridge would come at some point in the future. It’s not fair to call the Rytm or the Analog Four unfinished because Elektron is still working on some extra free shit that you want.

      • Michael Aldridge

        YES! exactly this. I think we’re slightly spoilt in this app culture where you pay a one-time fee for something and expect lifetime free updates, complaining when a developer dares to charge for in-app purchases to keep themselves fed. Elektron (and others) don’t *have* to update their gear. Buying gear on the promises of what it could be in the future, rather than what it can currently do seems like a flawed strategy.

        • gustus

          no, we’re not. companies are spoilt by the option to release unfinished and half working hardware. and especially the so called boutique companies seem to love making use of that option. selling and advertising gear on the promises of what it could be in the future, rather than what it can currently do seems much more like a flawed strategy to me.
          the sample support on the rytm is definitely unfinished. and there’s no such thing as a free update. everyone paid for their gear and companies *have* to offer support.

          • mercury

            if you don’t like the product the way it is, why buy it? no one is forcing you to buy any of this and a little bit of research quickly tells you if the product is to your liking.

            i don’t think spoilt is the right word, stupid is probably more accurate.

          • Mactley

            What’s wrong with sample support on the RYTM?

  • Elektron scam

    Sick of hearing about this.. What overbridge has done is made the Analog Rytm basically update free!!! I bought this machine almost a year ago and it’s a unfinished product. You should be ashamed Elektron.

    • Nagasaki Nightrider

      They didn’t promise you anything other than that Overbridge would come at some point in the future. It’s not fair to call the Rytm or the Analog Four unfinished because Elektron is still working on some extra free shit that you want.

      • Michael Aldridge

        YES! exactly this. I think we’re slightly spoilt in this app culture where you pay a one-time fee for something and expect lifetime free updates, complaining when a developer dares to charge for in-app purchases to keep themselves fed. Elektron (and others) don’t *have* to update their gear. Buying gear on the promises of what it could be in the future, rather than what it can currently do seems like a flawed strategy.

        • gustus

          no, we’re not. companies are spoilt by the option to release unfinished and half working hardware. and especially the so called boutique companies seem to love making use of that option. selling and advertising gear on the promises of what it could be in the future, rather than what it can currently do seems much more like a flawed strategy to me.
          the sample support on the rytm is definitely unfinished. and there’s no such thing as a free update. everyone paid for their gear and companies *have* to offer support.

          • mercury

            if you don’t like the product the way it is, why buy it? no one is forcing you to buy any of this and a little bit of research quickly tells you if the product is to your liking.

            i don’t think spoilt is the right word, stupid is probably more accurate.

          • Mactley

            What’s wrong with sample support on the RYTM?

  • Dom Harwood

    Very much looking forward to 4 channels of audio coming from my Analog Four. It’s been quite a wait but they’re smart guys and I’m glad they’re taking the time to get it right.

  • Dom Harwood

    Very much looking forward to 4 channels of audio coming from my Analog Four. It’s been quite a wait but they’re smart guys and I’m glad they’re taking the time to get it right.

  • Very much looking forward to 4 channels of audio coming from my Analog Four. It’s been quite a wait but they’re smart guys and I’m glad they’re taking the time to get it right.

  • Enda Grennan

    I wish they would just put out that beta already. Seems like we’ve been waiting for forever.

  • Enda Grennan

    I wish they would just put out that beta already. Seems like we’ve been waiting for forever.

  • Enda Grennan

    I wish they would just put out that beta already. Seems like we’ve been waiting for forever.

  • Tj Ward

    I’m much more interested in reasonably managing my kits/sounds/etc. on my Rytm than routing audio into my laptop. I really wish they’d ship a version of this software with the basics and then add the audio nonsense.

  • Tj Ward

    I’m much more interested in reasonably managing my kits/sounds/etc. on my Rytm than routing audio into my laptop. I really wish they’d ship a version of this software with the basics and then add the audio nonsense.

  • Tj Ward

    I’m much more interested in reasonably managing my kits/sounds/etc. on my Rytm than routing audio into my laptop. I really wish they’d ship a version of this software with the basics and then add the audio nonsense.

  • Charles

    Still no way to transfer Rytm patterns into a MIDI track in your DAW?

  • Charles

    Still no way to transfer Rytm patterns into a MIDI track in your DAW?

  • Charles

    Still no way to transfer Rytm patterns into a MIDI track in your DAW?

  • Axel Rigaud

    Interesting, but I like to record my analog keys through a good preamp, add guitar pedal effects on it, etc…

    • Yermom

      Why would you record your synth through a preamp?

      • Axel Rigaud

        To get/play with the saturation from the tubes

  • Axel Rigaud

    Interesting, but I like to record my analog keys through a good preamp, add guitar pedal effects on it, etc…

    • Yermom

      Why would you record your synth through a preamp?

      • Axel Rigaud

        To get/play with the saturation from the tubes

  • Axel Rigaud

    Interesting, but I like to record my analog keys through a good preamp, add guitar pedal effects on it, etc…

    • Yermom

      Why would you record your synth through a preamp?

      • Axel Rigaud

        To get/play with the saturation from the tubes

  • Octatrack

    Whether or not the signal remains analog (which it does not, when you route the AK/A4 through its built in effects) you are still getting the major benefits of an analog synthesizer, which IMO are oscillator drift and filter character. I can’t imagine too many Elektron users are going to be recording to an analog source, anyways.

  • Octatrack

    Whether or not the signal remains analog (which it does not, when you route the AK/A4 through its built in effects) you are still getting the major benefits of an analog synthesizer, which IMO are oscillator drift and filter character. I can’t imagine too many Elektron users are going to be recording to an analog source, anyways.

  • Octatrack

    Whether or not the signal remains analog (which it does not, when you route the AK/A4 through its built in effects) you are still getting the major benefits of an analog synthesizer, which IMO are oscillator drift and filter character. I can’t imagine too many Elektron users are going to be recording to an analog source, anyways.

  • Mattias Rickardsson

    You write:

    “Of course, we’re not really talking analog here – by the time you’re recording to the computer or doing a round-trip through your Elektron for effects and back again to the computer, you’re digital, by definition.”

    The roundtrip through the analog filters & distortion etc of the Analog Four/Keys/Rytm is indeed analog. Perhaps you misunderstood something?

    “No, I think the bad news is that the Octatrack is left out, as this sort of integration would seem to be hugely interesting to that audience.”

    From day 1 Overbridge has been announced for the Analog range of instruments only, so it is not news that Octatrack cannot have Overbridge.

    • griotspeak

      “and back again to the computer” == “digital, by definition.”

      You’re correct that it is old news that the Octatrack gets no Overbridge love. It is still both news and noteworthy to some. (Noteworthy to me, as I just purchased an Octatrack. I would greatly appreciate Elektron announcing more support.)

  • Mattias Rickardsson

    You write:

    “Of course, we’re not really talking analog here – by the time you’re recording to the computer or doing a round-trip through your Elektron for effects and back again to the computer, you’re digital, by definition.”

    The roundtrip through the analog filters & distortion etc of the Analog Four/Keys/Rytm is indeed analog. Perhaps you misunderstood something?

    “No, I think the bad news is that the Octatrack is left out, as this sort of integration would seem to be hugely interesting to that audience.”

    From day 1 Overbridge has been announced for the Analog range of instruments only, so it is not news that Octatrack cannot have Overbridge.

    • griotspeak

      “and back again to the computer” == “digital, by definition.”

      You’re correct that it is old news that the Octatrack gets no Overbridge love. It is still both news and noteworthy to some. (Noteworthy to me, as I just purchased an Octatrack. I would greatly appreciate Elektron announcing more support.)

  • Mattias Rickardsson

    You write:

    “Of course, we’re not really talking analog here – by the time you’re recording to the computer or doing a round-trip through your Elektron for effects and back again to the computer, you’re digital, by definition.”

    The roundtrip through the analog filters & distortion etc of the Analog Four/Keys/Rytm is indeed analog. Perhaps you misunderstood something?

    “No, I think the bad news is that the Octatrack is left out, as this sort of integration would seem to be hugely interesting to that audience.”

    From day 1 Overbridge has been announced for the Analog range of instruments only, so it is not news that Octatrack cannot have Overbridge.

    • griotspeak

      “and back again to the computer” == “digital, by definition.”

      You’re correct that it is old news that the Octatrack gets no Overbridge love. It is still both news and noteworthy to some. (Noteworthy to me, as I just purchased an Octatrack. I would greatly appreciate Elektron announcing more support.)

  • Adam Jay

    The Octatrack wasn’t “left out” of Overbridge support.
    Overbridge development came after the Octatrack and its hardware will not support it. Analog Four and Analog Rytm were designed with Overbridge in mind.

    The question to ask is, “Can we expect an Octatrack Mk2 with Overbridge supported hardware?”

  • Adam Jay

    The Octatrack wasn’t “left out” of Overbridge support.
    Overbridge development came after the Octatrack and its hardware will not support it. Analog Four and Analog Rytm were designed with Overbridge in mind.

    The question to ask is, “Can we expect an Octatrack Mk2 with Overbridge supported hardware?”

  • Adam Jay

    The Octatrack wasn’t “left out” of Overbridge support.
    Overbridge development came after the Octatrack and its hardware will not support it. Analog Four and Analog Rytm were designed with Overbridge in mind.

    The question to ask is, “Can we expect an Octatrack Mk2 with Overbridge supported hardware?”

  • Marcel Videla

    All u haters need to STFU. At least it’s not an announcement of jumping on the Eurorack bandwagon

    • Polite Society

      Though you have to admit that Elektron making modular would be interesting.

  • Marcel Videla

    All u haters need to STFU. At least it’s not an announcement of jumping on the Eurorack bandwagon

    • Polite Society

      Though you have to admit that Elektron making modular would be interesting.

  • Marcel Videla

    All u haters need to STFU. At least it’s not an announcement of jumping on the Eurorack bandwagon

    • Polite Society

      Though you have to admit that Elektron making modular would be interesting.

  • Polite Society

    Really hoping Access is paying attention, and is able to provide this level of sync into the Virus TI.

  • Polite Society

    Really hoping Access is paying attention, and is able to provide this level of sync into the Virus TI.

  • Polite Society

    Really hoping Access is paying attention, and is able to provide this level of sync into the Virus TI.

  • ChewBaka Flocka

    Why is it worth getting the AK over the A4 at this point?